Woodvilles : The Wars of The Roses and England's most Infamous Family
In 1464, the most eligible bachelor in England, Edward IV, stunned the nation by revealing his secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, a beautiful, impoverished widow whose father and brother Edward himself had once ridiculed as upstarts. Edward's controversial match brought his queen's large family to court and into the thick of the Wars of the Roses. This is the story of the family whose fates would be inextricably intertwined with the fall of the Plantagenets and the rise of the Tudors: Richard, the squire whose marriage to a duchess would one day cost him his head; Jacquetta, mother to the queen and accused witch; Elizabeth, the commoner whose royal destiny would cost her three of her sons; Anthony, the scholar and jouster who was one of Richard III's first victims; and Edward, whose military exploits would win him the admiration of Ferdinand and Isabella.
Join bestselling novelist Susan Higginbotham as she draws on little-known material such as private letters and wills to shed light on the controversial events surrounding one of England's most notorious and perennially popular families.
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This controversial family has been brought to the attention of many recently with the television adaptation of Phillipa Gregory's book The White Queen. Many popular mysteries and stories are attached to Elizabeth Woodville and her family and this book aims to present all the evidence and attempt to dispel some, if not all, of them.
With individual members of the family being dealt with in separate, relatively short chapters, the author manages to pack in a great amount of detail and information to present a balanced view on the many myths surrounding each of the Woodvilles. This allows the reader to take an informed and balanced view of each person. Obviously, with such a structure, some events are revisited just to place the individual focus of that chapter in context. However, this does not distract from the main purpose and, in fact, helps to reinforce the positions of all members of the family.
My one 'gripe' with this book is that the text is far too small and the print is pale - not ideal for someone with less than 20/20 vision. Having said that, the text flows and is very readable. There is little verbosity and all arguments are presented in a clear and concise way.
Substantial notes are included for each chapter and there is an appendix of some of the Woodville family wills, a good bibliography and also an extensive Index that all enhance the usefulness of this book. This is a very readable and interesting book that should appeal to the serious historian as well as the interested casual reader.
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