Blood Sisters

Blood Sisters

The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses

Book - 2013
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To contemporaries, the Wars of the Roses were known collectively as a "cousins' war." The series of dynastic conflicts that tore apart the ruling Plantagenet family in fifteenth-century England was truly a domestic drama, as fraught and intimate as any family feud before or since.

As acclaimed historian Sarah Gristwood reveals in Blood Sisters , while the events of this turbulent time are usually described in terms of the male leads who fought and died seeking the throne, a handful of powerful women would prove just as decisive as their kinfolks' clashing armies. These mothers, wives, and daughters were locked in a web of loyalty and betrayal that would ultimately change the course of English history. In a captivating, multigenerational narrative, Gristwood traces the rise and rule of the seven most critical women in the wars: from Marguerite of Anjou, wife of the Lancastrian Henry VI, who steered the kingdom in her insane husband's stead; to Cecily Neville, matriarch of the rival Yorkist clan, whose son Edward IV murdered his own brother to maintain power; to Margaret Beaufort, who gave up her own claim to the throne in favor of her son, a man who would become the first of a new line of Tudor kings.

A richly drawn, absorbing epic, Blood Sisters is a tale of hopeful births alongside bloody deaths, of romance as well as brutal pragmatism. It is a story of how women, and the power that women could wield, helped to end the Wars of the Roses, paving the way for the Tudor age--and the creation of modern England.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group, [2013], ©2013
ISBN: 9780465018314
Branch Call Number: 942.04 Gristwoo 2013
Characteristics: xxv, 390 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm


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Dec 18, 2014

This is an interesting read. It is not an easy read, however. So many characters flow in and out of the story – many named Henry, Elizabeth, Margaret, Richard, and so on – that it is difficult to keep track of everyone. The author has a "Glossary of Select Names" preceding the text, and that helps somewhat. She has following that what she terms a "Simplified Family Tree." Too simple, in my opinion, for a book describing all the inter-family and intra-family relationships and rivalries. Still a worthwhile read, however.

May 17, 2013

Provides a different perspective on a familiar period in English history. (Note that unlike most accounts of the Wars of the Roses, this one doesn't end with Bosworth Field but includes the reign of Henry VII.) It uses household records to supply many details about the ceremonies that attended royal life, and some of the everyday expenses too. The author succeeds in bringing the royal ladies to life without exaggerating their influence.


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