Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Women of the Cousins’ War: The Duchess, the Queen, and the King's Mother-Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin and Michael Jones

The Women of the Cousins’ War: The Duchess, the Queen, and the King's Mother
Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin and Michael Jones
Touchstone, Sep 13 2011, $26.00
ISBN: 9781451629545

“Jacquetta of Luxembourg” by Philippa Gregory. The ultimate survivor (including giving birth to ten children in fifteen years), Jacquetta the Lancastrian married twice but it was her daughter from her second marriage, Elizabeth who enabled her to live prosperously in spite of reign change and constant war. That is until Warwick accused her of witchcraft and executed her husband and son without a trial.

“Elizabeth Woodville” by David Baldwin. The ultimate commoner, Elizabeth married the king of England as her second husband. She loved King Edward IV in spite of his womanizing and had four children with him (plus two from her first marriage). When he died she risked all to insure her young son Edward V would sit on the throne. Her brother-in-law Richard the Protector sent Edward and his younger brother to the Tower.

“Margaret Beaufort” by Michael Jones. The ultimate matriarch, Margaret married four times, but it is her second marriage to Edmund Tudor that impacted history. Deeply religious yet as deeply ambitious she insister her son Henry was the rightful king of England though his claim was weak. He became Henry VII and started the House of Tudor.

This engaging biographical collection makes a strong case that women played major roles in the War of the Roses leading to the rise of the House of Tudor. The three bios are well written, filled with facts, references, pictures and maps. Although a brief treatise on what led to the Cousins’ War would have anchored the scenario that enabled three courageous women to influence the future of England, readers will relish learning the impact of these intrepid females.

Harriet Klausner

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