Blood Sisters: The Hidden Lives of the Women Behind the Wars of the Roses

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9780007309290: Blood Sisters: The Hidden Lives of the Women Behind the Wars of the Roses

How the Wars of the Roses were won and lost by the political and dynastic skills of the royal women: this is the true story behind Philippa Gregory’s dramatic novels about fiery Queens and the perils of power.

The events of the Wars of the Roses are usually described in terms of the men involved: Richard Duke of York, Henry VI, Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII. The reality though, argues acclaimed author Sarah Gristwood, was quite different. These years were also packed with women’s drama and – in the tales of conflicted maternity and monstrous births – alive with female energy.

In this completely original book, Sarah Gristwood sheds light on a neglected dimension of English history: the impact of Tudor women on the Wars of the Roses. She examines, among others, Cecily Neville, the wife of Richard Duke of York, who was deprived of being queen when her husband died at the Battle of Wakefield; Elizabeth Woodville, a widow with several children who married Edward IV in secret and was crowned queen consort; Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, whose ambitions centred on her son and whose persuasions are likely to have lead her husband Lord Stanley, previously allied with the Yorkists, to play his part in Henry's victory.

Until now, the lives of these women have remained little known to the general public. Sarah Gristwood tells their stories in detail for the first time. Captivating and original, this is historical writing of the most important kind.

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Blood Sisters How the Wars of the Roses were won and lost by the political and dynastic skills of the royal women: this is the true story behind Philippa Gregory's dramatic novels about fiery Queens and the perils of power. Full description

Review:

‘For viewers who plan to settle in with The White Queen, one recent work of history will guide them through the distaff maze of the Wars of the Roses: Blood Sisters by Sarah Gristwood’ Boyd Tonkin, Independent

‘In this gem of a book, she effortlessly weaves the dramatic, often tragic, lives of seven royal women...If you treat yourself to one history book this Christmas, make it this one. It’s the book that I wish I had written’ Alison Weir, Books of the Year, BBC History Magazine

‘Entertaining and vividly drawn ... A different way of looking at this complex period and Gristwood weaves the story with considerable skill ... highly readable’ Literary Review

‘Gristwood successfully evokes the lives of all these women, and in doing so brings a new and welcome perspective on the Wars of the Roses... [a] very agreeable narrative’ Dan Jones, Sunday Times

‘Gristwood’s sensitive approach marks out Blood Sisters as much more than the narrative of an age. It is an exploration of what it was to be a medieval queen... A compelling portrait of this bloody age, complete with the heartbreak and triumphs that went with it... Like a delicately woven tapestry, threads of evidence have to be gathered and pulled together with care. Gristwood does an excellent job of examining in sensory detail the impact of ermines, cloths of gold, Spanish leather and purple velvet’ Spectator

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