Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review: The Women of the Cousins' War by P.Gregory, D. Baldwin & M. Jones

Title: The Women of the Cousins' War
Author: Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin & Michael Jones
Genre: Historical, Non-Fiction
Publisher: Touchstone
Release Date: September 13th, 2011
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon

PHILIPPA GREGORY and her fellow historians describe the extraordinary lives of the heroines of her Cousins’ War books: Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford; Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV; and Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII.
In her essay on Jacquetta, Philippa Gregory uses original documents, archaeology, and histories of myth and witchcraft to create the first-ever biography of the young duchess who survived two reigns and two wars to become the first lady at two rival courts. David Baldwin, established authority on the Wars of the Roses, tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the first commoner to marry a king of England for love; and Michael Jones, fellow of the Royal Historical Society, writes of Margaret Beaufort, the almost-unknown matriarch of the House of Tudor.
In the introduction, Gregory writes revealingly about the differences between history and historical fiction. How much of a role does speculation play in writing each? How much fiction and how much fact should there be in a historical novel? How are female historians changing our view of women in history?
The Women of the Cousins’ War is beautifully illustrated with rare portraits and source materials. As well as offering fascinating insights into the inspirations behind Philippa Gregory’s fiction, it will appeal to all with an interest in this period.

The Women of the Cousins’ Wars talks about three important women that were forgotten by History. Jacquetta Luxembourg, a duchess, but also a woman who married for love, and survived two husbands, fourteen childbirths and two wars. Elizabeth Woodville, Jacquetta’s daughter and queen consort of Edward IV of England; and Lady Margaret Beaufort the mother of King Henry VII and grandmother of Kind Henry VIII of England. Those three women are the main characters of Philippa Gregory’s books; The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Lady of the Rivers, and in this book we will have the opportunity to learn about their lives.
Elizabeth Woodville

This book is a non-fiction book, so it’s a little bit complicated for me to talk about it and to review it. Like Philippa Gregory says at the introduction, in a non-fiction book we cannot criticize the development of the plot, or the characters. That it’s impossible, because in this kind of book, the author is only an intermediary who is telling us the story the way it happened, the way the characters behaved, and also the way the story ended. This time, the author cannot play with the plot. The author only tells us what he or she knows about the topic. That’s why this book cannot have a good or a bad review; it depends of the reader taste.

But well, in my case, I really liked this book. Even though I haven’t read the novels by Gregory, I had a great time reading about those women and learning about them and how the things were in the time they lived. I must admit I got lost in some occasions with a few names and characters, that I didn't know, but after searching on the web and reading a little bit about them, I found the reading much more interesting and I could understand it much more.
So, if you like historical books, and you like to learn about real people who lived in different times from ours, you’re going to enjoy this book, specially if you have read the novels by Philippa Gregory (The women of the Cousins’ War Series) and you want to expand your knowledge about the topic, or just because you’re curious about their lives.

But if you prefer novels with dialogues, or not so realistic topics, this book can be somewhat tiresome… like a History book. : )

Happy Reading! 

Philippa Gregory: Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC radio.
Philippa obtained a BA degree in history at the University of Sussex in Brighton and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature. Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant world wide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer, and now lives with her family on a small farm in the North of England.
David Baldwin taught history at the Universities of Leicester and Nottingham for many years, and is the author of four books dealing with people and events of the Wars of the Roses, including the acclaimed Elizabeth Woodville, Mother of the Princes in the Tower.

Michael Jones did his Ph.D. on the Beaufort family, and subsequently taught at the University of South West England, the University of Glasgow, and Winchester College. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and now works as a writer and media presenter. He is the author of six books, including The King's Mother, a highly praised biography of Margaret Beaufort, which was shortlisted for the Whitfield Prize.

1 comment:

  1. I love history books, and this sounds like a good one. Although, I disagree about not being able to criticize the writing style of a non-fiction book. In a book, no matter what genre, writing always counts.

    Still, Philippa Gregory is one of my favorites. Thanks for the review! :)


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