Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Review: The Queen's SIsters

The Queen's Sisters: The Lives of the Sisters of Elizabeth Woodville

The Queen's Sisters
Sarah J. Hodder

When Elizabeth Woodville married King Edward IV in secret in 1464, the fortunes of her family changed. The Queen's Sisters looks at the less documented lives of Elizabeth's sisters, with each chapter dedicated to one of her six or possibly seven sisters. The lives of these women were often exciting but also full of uncertainties and tragedies, especially when the fathers, husbands, or brothers were called to war or caught up in political intrigue and were faced with conflicting loyalties.

I found this book well written, easy to read, and full of interesting information. I liked that the author pointed out the role women were expected to play within the household and managing estates, especially when their husbands were away. It is hard to imagine how girls who married so young must have felt when they were expected to move in with in-laws and grow up away from their own families. Also, the fact that widows gained some independence after the death of a husband only to lose much of that if they remarried, almost made me wonder why they would even contemplate another marital alliance unless they were forced to do so.

It is sad to think how little was documented about the Queen's sisters. Considering their advantageous marriages and the fact that they were close to the center of power, one would think there would be more information available about them. And although the author might not have intended it, I found myself rather bothered by the fact that these women were largely ignored by history. Why should their lives and stories be so unimportant? Was it merely because of their gender? Thinking about this made me appreciate the author's interest in shedding light on this forgotten past, even if it meant having to dig through the history of men to learn about the secret lives of interesting and historically significant women.

Thanks to Chronos Books for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

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