Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
Elizabeth of York won’t be released until December 3, 2013, but history lovers may want to put this lavish and detailed biography on their holiday wish lists now. One of my favorite ways to absorb the twists, turns, and ambiance of the past is through the life of an interesting person in a fascinating time, and Elizabeth of York fulfills that compulsion thoroughly.
Her father was Edward IV, who overthrew Henry VI, the last king in the Lancastrian line, and became the first king in the Yorkist line, but Edward married for love, not political alliance, which was something of scandal. Her mother was Elizabeth Wydeville or Woodville, who before her marriage to the king was an impoverished, mid-level aristocrat and a widow with two children--shocking! Elizabeth of York was also sister to the two young princes who may have been murdered in the Tower of London (it’s still a matter of debate), niece of the notorious Richard III, whose skeleton was recently found under a parking lot, wife of Henry VII, who overthrew Richard III to become the first Tudor king, mother of Henry VIII, one of England’s more fascinating monarchs, and through her daughter Margaret Elizabeth is an ancestress to the Stuart monarchs of Great Britain and the royal bloodline that continues to Queen Elizabeth today.
Elizabeth of York went from obscure name on an old family tree to palpable woman navigating privilege and challenge as I read this book. If you want to enrich your understanding of royal women, or the War of the Roses, or the Lancaster to York to Tudor transition, or the early life of Henry VIII this is the book for you. While thoroughly scholarly, with pages and pages of notes at the end and a lot of time spent in the text on detailed, substantiated arguments and counterarguments for every point of historical contention, the book still manages to be as irresistible as gossip. It’s full of vivid descriptions of the personalities, the ceremonies, the clothes, the residences, the beliefs, and the viewpoints that made up royal life, and to some extent common life, during the time of Elizabeth of York. I read an advanced review ebook copy supplied by the publisher through NetGalley.