Book Review: The Woodville Women: 100 Years of Plantagenet and Tudor History by Sarah J Hodder

Genre: History
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Pub date: 30 November 2022

Elizabeth Woodville, queen to Edward IV and mother of the Princes in the Tower. Elizabeth of York, daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and the first Tudor queen of England. Elizabeth Grey, granddaughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Countess of Kildare, whose life both in England and across the Irish sea was closely entwined with the Tudor Court. This is the tale of three generations of women, linked by their name, Elizabeth, and by their family relationship. The story begins in the reign of the great Plantagenet Kings with the life of Elizabeth Woodville and ends in the reign of perhaps England’s most famous dynasty, that of the Tudor kings and queens. Through the life of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor queen and Elizabeth Grey, cousin to Henry VIII and Mary Tudor, we explore the Tudor court and its dealings with the Earls of Kildare. From the birth of our first Elizabeth to the death of our last, these three women lived through wars and coronations, births and deaths, celebration and tragedy and between them they experienced some of the most exciting and troubled times in English history. Mother, daughter and granddaughter: individually they each have their own fascinating story to tell; together their combined stories take us on a journey through a century of English life.

Having previously read Sarah’s books; The Queen’s Sisters, The York Princesses and Cecily Bonville-Grey, I was thrilled to see Sarah continuing to write women’s history and especially women I am really interested in.

Sarah looks at three women; Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Elizabeth Grey and I loved every word. I really enjoyed reading about the background of all three women, particularly Elizabeth Woodville and her parents, Jacquetta and husband Richard Woodville. Rather than focusing on the bits that are much more known we are treated to aspects of their lives that are not commonly written about such as where they resided and how they spent their time.

Sarah uses her research to track where the women would have been during certain times to tell a rounded history of three generations. Between them these women lived through some of the most tumultous times in England and it was wonderful to read about this era of history from a refreshingly different perspective.

To say I enjoyed this would be an understatement, its a well researched, detailed but not boringly so, wonderfully written book. I was so entranced by reading about Elizabeth Woodville and her coronation I could almost see it.

Sarah clearly has a passion for this subject and as a huge fan I can only hope she continues to bless us with her work.

The Woodville Women is out today and would make a fabulous Christmas gift for anyone or yourself of course, with an interest in the Plantagenets or Tudors.

Thank you to NetGalley and Pen and Sword for an advanced copy it has been an absolute pleasure to read.

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