• She-Wolves by Helen Castor

    She-Wolves. – The woman who ruled England before Elizabeth.

    This is a substantial book which as the subtitle suggests looks at the configurations of linage which chart the female rulers of England between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. It shows these woman as strong and independent rather than simply dutiful consorts to their husbands.

    “When Edward VI – Henry VIII’s son – died in 1553, there was no one left to claim the title King of England. For the first time, all the contenders for the crown were female. In 1553, England was about to experience the ‘monstrous regiment’ – the unnatural rule – of a woman.

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    And between the 12th and the 15th centuries three more exceptional women – Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, and Margaret of Anjou – discovered, as queens consort and dowager, how much was possible if the presumptions of male rule were not confronted so explicitly. The stories of these women illustrate the paradox which the female heirs to the Tudor throne had no choice but to negotiate.”

    “Man was the head of woman; and the king was the head of all. How, then, could a woman be king, how could royal power lie in female hands?”

    Used as we are to a history with the successful reigns of two Elizabeth’s and a Victoria it is easy to forget that this was not always the case.

    While I appreciate the content of the book and significance of this period, I am not that interested in the English succession and so I struggled to keep all the names dates and places in context, however for anyone who does care I am sure they would thoroughly enjoy this book

    It is a well written, well researched book which investigates a vast historical period. The writing style is light and easy to read making it an absorbing topic for a historical literature devotee.

    I would give this book 2 Ms Winos based purely on the fact that I am not one bit interested in the history of English Queens.


    (Ed I have have added a Wino to make allowances for my mismatching reviewer and book. The written review seems to deserve more than 2 Winos)

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    Comments 1 Comment
    1. montydollar's Avatar
      montydollar -
      Sounds like one for me, nice to know its accesible history, as I dont think ive read any by her before