Cover Image: The Woodville Women

The Woodville Women

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Member Reviews

This book covers 3 generations of Plantagenet women who all had a lasting, significant impact on English history. Elizabeth Woodville, her daughter Elizabeth Tudor, and a granddaughter, Elizabeth Gray.

This book was well researched and written in a way that was informative, enlightening, and entertaining. These three women all experienced love, war, and tragedy. Their places in history are well established and we are lucky to be able to learn how these women (and others of the era) made their mark and influenced history.

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As a possible relation to the Plantagenet families, any book referencing the women is always an interest to me. I did really enjoy reading this book and one day hope to verify an ancestry link.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by NetGalley.

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Absolutely fascinating history of the often misunderstood and maligned women of this family. There’s a lot of misogyny surrounding the Woodvilles treatment and this book does a lot to dispel that and to good effect.

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The Woodville Women is a combined biography of Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and her cousin who you probably never heart of: Elizabeth Grey. She was the daughter of Thomas Grey, Maquis Dorset who was of course Elizabeth Woodville’s son by her first marriage.

There have been biographies of Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York before. I don’t think this book is an alternative to them so much as complimentary. It highlights the familial connections of the three women who are the subjects & at times what they were willing to do to help and protect their families. Their lives spanned over 100 years of the 15th and 16th century, and the most tumultuous period: because of their marriages and the status their birth afforded them they became Queens or the companions of Queens.

There’s a tendency to see The Woodville Women (and Medieval women in general) as passive and helpless, but Sarah Hodder shows how these women could take control of their own destinies even if it was to a limited extent. Some might complain about the use of terms like “might” and “perhaps” but there are certain things we do not know for certain in history and we can only speculate: especially about the thoughts and feelings of people who lived 500 years ago.

There were couple of times when I got a bit lost because figures were introduced years before they became relevant or connected to the main subject of the book but I found it enjoyable and informative overall.
Pen and Sword Books approved for a PDF of this title on Netgalley. This did not influence my opinions which are all my own and freely given.

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Three generation of women who share a common name, Elizabeth. They share more than a name, their lives are intertwined through the Royal Tudor court. The three women experienced love, family and tragedies. A poignant story of the lives of these women and what they had to endure as women in a royal court. They carved a place in history. This a wonderful account of their lives.

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Pen and Sword History for this review copy and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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I was really excited about this book because it is about Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York. However, it was mostly suppositions rather than factual research. I also thought that Elizabeth Grey did not add much to the story and rather instead focused on the Boleyn since they more talked about than her. Overall, I recommend this for those who are fans of the War of the Roses and the Tudors. However, a newcomer should other books on the subject before this one. This should not be a newbie’s first book. It had great potential and premise. However, it was not executed well. It leaves much to be desired and to conduct one’s own research.

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A retelling of the story of Elizabeth Woodville and her oldest daughter, Elizabeth of York. The author of this work quotes several others of the many, many other works about these two women in the popular media. The reader respectfully suggests the author find a less well trampled area of scholarship to write about.

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Princess Fuzzypants here: Three generations of Woodville women, two queens and one great-aunt of another queen, they lived during a transformative time in English history. The first Elizabeth won the heart of Edward IV and was his Queen and the mother of his legitimate children, including the second Elizabeth. Edward and his brother Richard were the last Plantagenets. The little princes who died in the Tower were her children too and would have followed their father on the Throne. Needless to say, those years of “musical” Kings, were fraught with danger for her and her daughter. In those days, power was masculine and all that a woman could wield was influence and intrigue.

Her daughter, the second Elizabeth was the conciliator between the Plantagenets and the Tudors as the wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII. Her years as Queen were tempestuous too but they established the dynasty of the Tudors. The final Elizabeth, niece of the first and cousin of the second, also lived a colourful life in the Courts of England and France. Her life is less documented but provides the link that validated Jane Grey, the nine day Queen. All three women named Elizabeth had impact of varying degrees but through their lives, we see the world from the War of the Roses to the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth.

Well written and researched, it is a fascinating story. I enjoyed it immensely. Five purrs and two paws up.

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Okay - so what did I think. Well, what I had hoped for was a bit more about the Woodville Women - not just three Elizabeths. Whilst it is fairly obvious that there was a lot of research involved, the application could have done with some finessing. It is a very pro-Tudor piece, covering the usual myths, rumours and tropes, interspersed with assumption and supposition.

The first part deals some background including that of the period in which these women lived; Elizabeth Woodville's mother, Jacquetta of Luxembourg; the potential (and I stress potential) household dynamics, with a whole of lot of myth (including the legend of Melusine) and repeated referencing the works of Christine de Pizan. Whilst there is some merit to this introductory chapter, there is much that should have been left out.

The second part looks at mother and daughter - Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth Plantagenet - both queens of England, before the final part deals with Elizabeth Grey - though interesting in her own right, a rather curious choice.

Whilst we began with Jacquetta, and followed this with her daughter, granddaughter, and great granddaughter, as I mentioned, I was looking for a few more female family members. The inclusion of Elizabeth Woodville's sisters and nieces would have fleshed this out to present a more rounded overview of this particular familial branch of women. It is clear, however, that these three main women - four if we include, as we should - Jacquetta - managed to navigate the male dominated political world of their own times, to ensure that their place in it would not go unnoticed nor unremarked.

I would suggest that before diving head first into this tome, a little preemptive research of your own would be recommended.

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For a book that is supposed to be about the Woodville Women, the author seemed easily distracted by various tangents and much more in depth discussion of the men in their lives. Huge chunks of quoted text of the era that didn't seem entirely relevant beyond proving the author did her research. Very little actual concrete information about the subjects and almost no direct quotes. Everything is 'we can assume' or 'she must have felt.'

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I read this ARC for an honest review
All thoughts and opinions are mine

Im a bit of a history geek and this looked intriguing
Loved this
Really well researched and learned loads

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I have been on a nonfiction kick recently and this one stood out for many reasons. I loved the honesty and emotion. I felt like I was in the moment with the author and I felt like the articulation of the circumstances were easy to understand which I appreciated with such a complex issue.

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Having previously read Sarah's books; The Queen's Sister's, The York Princesses and Cecily Bonville-Grey, I was thrilled to see Sarah continuing to write women's history and especially women I am really interested in.

Sarah looks at three women; Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Elizabeth Grey and I loved every word. I really enjoyed reading about the background of all three women, particularly Elizabeth Woodville and her parents, Jacquetta and husband Richard Woodville. Rather than focusing on the bits that are much more known we are treated to aspects of their lives that are not commonly written about such as where they resided and how they spent their time.

Sarah uses her research to track where the women would have been during certain times to tell a rounded history of three generations. Between them these women lived through some of the most tumultous times in England and it was wonderful to read about this era of history from a refreshingly different perspective.

To say I enjoyed this would be an understatement, its a well researched, detailed but not boringly so, wonderfully written book. I was so entranced by reading about Elizabeth Woodville and her coronation I could almost see it.

Sarah clearly has a passion for this subject and as a huge fan I can only hope she continues to bless us with her work.

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A great book, this period of time has always fascinated me and I enjoyed this too much! It kept me awake at night I could not put this down!

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Clearly well-researched, which is always a pleasure to see after many people subscribe to the Phillipa Gregory world-state of the Wydvilles and Tudors.

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What an amazing biography of Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York, and Elizabeth Grey! Every time I picked up "The Woodville Women", I was whisked away back in time, and learned so much about these three women, as well as the life and times in which they lived.

The War of the Roses, Tudor Era, and the Elizabeth Eras are three of my favorite time periods to study! As soon as I saw this book, I just knew I needed to read it!

Sarah J Hodder is such an incredible author. This book is so well-researched (I can only begin to imagine the amount of time she spent researching it oh my goodness!), informative, and gripping. This book felt almost like a novel in that everything flowed brilliantly from one moment to the next, and I often forgot I was sitting on my couch reading!

Elizabeth Woodville married King Edward IV and became queen, Elizabeth of York (Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV's daughter) married King Henry VII and became queen, and Elizabeth Grey was Elizabeth Woodville's granddaughter through her son Thomas, who was one of her two sons from her from her first marriage. Throughout this non-fiction read, I really feel I got a deep understanding of these women's lives, and they intertwine in many ways. They were so involved in everything going on around them, both in their own personal lives as well as historic events surrounding them too. As the reader, I was seeing and learning history here from the women's perspectives, and I can't wait to do more research on these three women on my own time as well.

If you love history, I highly recommend this book! I look forward to reading what Ms. Hodder writes next!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Pen & Sword History for the ARC of this book, it is such an incredible biography of these three women! All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Fabulous read….. This is the tale of three generations of women, linked by their name, Elizabeth, and by their family relationship. The story begins in the reign of the great Plantagenet Kings with the life of Elizabeth Woodville and ends in the reign of perhaps England’s most famous dynasty, that of the Tudor kings and queens. Through the life of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor queen and Elizabeth Grey, cousin to Henry VIII and Mary Tudor, we explore the Tudor court and its dealings with the Earls of Kildare.

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Brilliant! This is well reached and well written. A great insight into the lives of the woodville women.

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Interesting account of Elizabeth Woodville, her daughter Elizabeth of York and grand daughter, Elizabeth Grey. Their stories take us from the latter Plantagenet years towards the end of the Tudors. A very neat and interesting account full of detail of the royal courts and family life. Thanks to Netgalley.

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What a fascinating book packed with such important history over 100 years, but told from the female line which is very unusual which made it all the more fascinating. The author has certainly revealed lives and facts that you very rarely hear about and whilst the Woodville's are well-known there were many facts that are less well known.

These women witnessed and were part of such an important time in our history which saw the end of the Plantagenets and the birth of the Tudors. I am aware of all three and have read many books about them but knew less about Elizabeth Grey and her family in Ireland until this book.

Because it was about the women you also learnt facts about the times which you would not normally hear about

I really enjoyed this book because it felt much more personal and provided a different perspective on such an important part of history

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