Cover Image: The Woodville Women

The Woodville Women

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Member Reviews

These are the women who impacted British history and have mostly been forgotten. The three Elizabeths were fantastic to read about. The intricate details of their marriages, children and stories were all there and the best part is that it was all about them. This is a book for anyone who loves the hidden side of history.

I received an arc via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

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An overall well researched book on a few key women to live during the time of the Wars of the Roses. I definitely liked how well author Sarah Hodder placed people and their ideas or actions in the historical context of the time. Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York's sections were particularly well done in historical documentation and context. Elizabeth Gray's section I had more trouble with, since there seemed to be little documentation on her life and so much of the section was speculation and focused more on the men in her family, or the other men and women she might have known who were doing more famous things at the time. It often seemed like Elizabeth Grey was in there more as an excuse to talk about the Boleyn family and the scandals of Henry VIII's many marriages instead. Speculations about how they felt, while I assume in there to try and make the women more relatable, just threw me out of the history and annoyed me with far too much of the "no doubt she would have hugged her child" type statements that were-to me- highly unnecessary. The book also needed some major editing to remove misspellings and lots of repetitions in some sections that often made the book feel amateurish while other sections were better written.

Overall a book worth reading, especially for history lovers, and definitely check out the bibliography for more sources.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As a Yorkshire girl, I could not wait to read this book. I wasn't disappointed, the story is fascinating and extremely well researched. i recommend this book to anyone who loves history and has an interested in the war of the roses.

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Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York, and Elizabeth Grey. Mother, daughter, and granddaughter. Three women witnessed the end of the Plantagenets era and the Tudors. The first two Elizabeths are well-known from the various fictions; the third one was new to me. Therefore, I was happy to learn something new.
I would call this book history from the women's point of view. The standard history books are full of politics, battles and male roles. Here we can read how the women felt when their men fought. However, there is much more in The Woodville Women. Besides the expected biography of the three family members, we can learn a lot about other women of that time (their surnames are famous for the lovers of this period!). The general facts related to the subject of this book (the dark and warm room in which women gave birth to their children should recreate the womb) are also included.
I enjoyed this book because it provided me with thorough information on the period I know from fiction. Moreover, the Woodville Women allowed me to meet real historical characters.

Thank you to NetGalley and Pen and Swords History for a free digital review copy. This is my honest review.

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I really enjoyed the in depth look into some of the most notorious Woodville women. I knew that their ancestors were supposedly descendents of a water goddess, however this book went into greater detail with the story. The only thing that could have made the book even better is if it went over the life of Jaquetta, the original Woodville witch.

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This work explores the lives of Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York, and Elizabeth Grey, three women who were influential in England’s history during the 15th and 16th centuries.

I enjoyed the author’s use of primary documents, both as sources and for direct quotes, but that she also used modern histories and research as well. I do think the quotes would have been more impactful if only portions of letters/documents were used in the original text while the remainder was summarized. The inclusion of in-text references and a list of the sources at the back was wonderful. This greatly added to the depth of the work and my confidence in the author’s writing. This work was fascinating – gaining insights into these women adds so much to European history of the 15th and 16th centuries.

While this work was about the women, the author also made sure to include plenty of context. Relevant cultural details surrounding topics such as childbirth or religion at the time also added to this work. I also enjoyed that the author used the lives of these women to discuss the social and political events and changes that were occurring during their lives. This was an excellent way to ground the book in the broader context of history.

I did feel that the section about Elizabeth Grey was the weakest. Because not much is known about her or recorded in history, this chapter includes a lot of speculation concerning her life. I still enjoyed it and understand why the author chose to include it, but it may not be satisfying for some readers.

I recommend this work to history lovers, or anyone interested in learning more about this period of England’s history. My thanks to NetGalley and Pen and Sword Publishing for allowing me to read and review this work, which will be published October 30th, 2022. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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I'm a huge fan of Tudor-era fiction and non-fiction, so I was really excited to read this latest contribution to that work. I have read some on Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York, but I didn't know anything about Elizabeth Grey previously so that was interesting to learn more about.
Overall I enjoyed this. It set up a good narrative and was easy to follow and see how these women played a role in the major events of the time. I did think a bit too much space was spent on speculations. Some were helpful to fill the gaps when the facts were unknown. But some really didn't add anything - such as "Elizabeth would have no doubt hugged her daughter", just feels like filler.
I'm also not quite clear why Elizabeth Grey was selected as the third focal point of the book, when there were so many women in this family to choose from. As far as I can tell, she was just another woman named Elizabeth in this line? But both previous Elizabeths had a ton of children so it seemed like someone else who was more directly in that line would have made sense.
But I still enjoyed and learned a lot from reading this.

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book.

I wanted to read this book because I love reading about Elizabeth of York and there’s not a lot out there about her (I’m not a fan of Philippa Gregory). My knowledge of her mother, Elizabeth Woodville, has a few facts, but not a lot. And I had never heard of Elizabeth Grey before (the only Grey I know is Jane Grey).

The focus of this book is how all three of these women, are connected together by their familial ties and their name as they live through many kings and almost the entire Tudor dynasty. [For EoY fans, there is talk of the George Buck letter and it’s basically, “EoY was wanting RIII to mediate her marriage with some guy in France, not HVII.”] I will say it was disappointing to go from two queens [Woodville and York] and then read about, Grey, who I’m still trying to figure out what her importance was. She never attained the level of queen so it’s odd to dedicate a third of a book to a non-queen when the other two-thirds were about queens.

I will say there are a lot of names coming at you. I wouldn’t say this is a beginner-level book but if you have some awareness of the War of the Roses, then you should be fine.

Like other Tudor books, there is little to do with the three women because there are hardly any records about them. We don’t know their thoughts and feelings, just suspicions of what those may be, so be prepared for a long history lesson with the three Elizabeths thrown in. I will say that I found it odd/hilarious that there is meticulous attention to detail everywhere else and then glosses over Bosworth in less than a paragraph. You know the battle that guaranteed the start of the Tudor dynasty.

There are parts where it was confusing to read since the author would state something and then take a page to backtrack and explain the previous statement.

There is a family tree available, but it’s at the back of the book. This would be better suited at the front especially since the author jumps right into storytelling that things get a little lost.

This book is obviously researched very well, but since there isn’t much left of the women’s whereabouts and what they felt, a lot is left up to conjecture.

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The Woodville Women is a fascinating book, full of things that I did not know about these women. We hear so much about the men-- the Plantagenet and Tudor ones, but the women are described by their looks, suspected witchcraftery, or on their ability to bear children from this time. Sarah J. Hodder does a great job discussing their importance, their contributions and their lives. I did not know of Elizabeth Grey before this book!
Gorgeous cover, narration and story of these women's lives. I was happy to receive this as an ARC by Netgalley and would recommend to anyone interested in history, especially for history rarely written about!

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Sarah Hodder should be applauded. Her book The Woodville Women traces the lives of three little spoken of women during the the Wars of the Roses and subsequent reigns of Henry VII and VIII. While it can be a bit dense at times, it is a remarkably accessible text that brings the lives of the Woodville Women into the reach of the general crowd, rather than the academic sphere. Her book is a fun jaunt through their history examining their portrayals and speculation as to the ways in which they may have reacted to certain events in their lives that, while not exactly scholarly, helps make the text more engaging. As someone deeply familiar with these women and this time period, this book is a great reminder of why they are so interesting and an excellent study of the interconnectedness and value of family in this time period.

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3 .5 rounded up ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you so much to Pen & Sword and NetGalley for an e-arc of this book.

I really enjoyed this book, telling the story of three women over 100 years,particularly shedding light on a less famous woman from the 16th Century.

I found this to be very readable and engaging, this would be a good book for those with some knowledge of the time but are still novices as the writing is very accessible.

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When you're writing history, you can't use assumptions or jump to conclusions or assume that the people you're writing about are like you or have a life like yours in any way. This poorly-written account of Elizabeth Woodville, her daughter Elizabeth of York, and her granddaughter, Elizabeth Grey, is full of assumptions and guesses and personal opinion. There's a lack of research and contextualizing, and there are so many other, better works on these same people that there is no way I could recommend this to anyone.

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I received this ARC from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was thrilled to receive this book as I’ve long since had a fascination with Tudor History and I’ve watched countless tv dramas recreating the life of Elizabeth Woodville and read fiction novels about all The Woodville Women .

When I read the first page I just knew that this book was going to be incredible, you can just tell that so much research has gone into it and that makes the words just leap off the page.

I was fascinated learning all the intricate details of each woman’s family and ties that brought them to be at the forefront of our history.

I recommend this to anyone who loves history and strong fierce women.

Does anyone else love Plantagenet & Tudor history ? If so leave me a comment.

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This was a pretty decent read, well researched and written though this author definitely has read a lot of Alison Weir because she loved to inject what she felt the characters were feeling or thinking, aka using phrases like "she must have felt" or "this must have been" repeatedly. Some readers don't mind it but I found it super distracting,

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The Woodville Women follows three generations of women from the same family: Elizabeth Woodville, her daughter Elizabeth of York, and her granddaughter Elizabeth Grey.

This work reminded me why I love reading history books. It was well researched but also very readable. I liked how it used the lives of the three women to explore the political and historical changes of the period. I also appreciated how, even though for most of the time it's impossible to know what these women felt or thought, she attempted to challenge some popular misconceptions about them, and how she tried to explain some of their actions.

I must say I enjoyed the parts about Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York more. I had never heard of Elizabeth Grey before, and, even though it was interesting to learn more about Ireland through her personal history, I found myself a little bored towards the end. But all in all it was definitely a good read, which I would recommend.

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This was probably one of the most straightforward accounts of the Wars of the Roses that I have read. Sarah Hodder provided enough political context within her accounts of the Woodville Women, that it was extremely easy to follow. Writing history without making the subject matter sound stuffy and dull is difficult. Hodder created a space to enjoy this historical account without feeling like you have to hold a Ph.d in Medieval history. Highly recommend for fans of the White Princess tv series or Philippa Gregory.

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Sarah J. Hodder presents to us a well-researched history of three women: Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York, and Elizabeth Grey, Countess Kildare. Three generations of the same family, all tied to the English crown.

The author has done her work particularly in the case of Elizabeth Woodville, showing her noble lineage and how false the stories were of her being of “low birth.” Further, she illustrates how close Elizabeth of York and Henry VII were. Finally, her hard work recounts the not-well-known life of Elizabeth Grey which is of great interest. The research around Elizabeth Grey’s life, tied up in the Irish Rebellions of the time, must’ve been labor intensive.

I found that the author’s explanations of family relationships (i.e who is related to whom and how) was the first time that I really understood the royal houses of this time period. THANK YOU! Author Hodder’s tracking of family relationships became crystal clear in a time period in which there were far too many Elizabeths, Marys, Thomases, and Henrys! Finally, from these explanations, I can also see how Lady Jane Grey wound up being crowned and then executed.

What a refreshing change of pace with historic FACT instead of the FICTION presented on TV and in novels. I found the footnoting to be excellent and interesting in and of itself. One note though is that in the text the author refers to a thesis about Queen Catherine as being authored by Dakota Fanning. NO. That fairly jumped out at me. I checked the footnotes, and the footnote is correct, the thesis is by Dakota L. Hamilton. I hope the editors catch this prior to publication. I found the Master’s Thesis in question from 1992 and intend to read it.

Thank you to Sarah J. Hodder, Pen and Sword History, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a pre-publication egalley of this work. My opinions are my own and I received nothing for posting reviews. I will post this review on NetGalley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Facebook.

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With the popularity of Philippa Gregory's books and their adaptations, I anticipate that this would be a high interest book for the library. I appreciate that the author stuck to known facts as much as possible and quoted historical documents even if they were a bit difficult to follow.

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I found this an interesting read overall. Taking the lives of three generations and looking at both their lives and the wider political/social context, worked quite well. It is more of an overview, so you get the background history but not too much depth. The focus is on what can be said about these women, and while it is clear there are a lot of gaps and some speculation, the details that are here are really interesting. I loved the inclusion of the letters, they were fascinating to read. I also liked the more objective look at Elizabeth Woodville and her family, looking at what we actually can prove, and allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions.

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I have been fascinated by this period and intrigued about Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York ever since I watched the series on Starz based on the same. This book is an amazing and informative read if you too are intrigued about these women who lived and played a significant role during this period.

It is well researched and the narrative style is quite engrossing. I loved the introduction section that provided an overview to set the context before we get into the book.

Thank you NetGalley and Pen & Sword for this eARC in exchange of my honest opinion.

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