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The Woodville Women

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Member Reviews

Well researched and written with the exception of a few misplaced,old,out of date concepts.I was of course familiar with Elizabeth Woodville's story as well as that of Elizabeth of York however less familiar with Elizabeth Grey's.I learned a lot and was pretty blown away by the amount of detail.I loved that the author used first hand sources as well as modern and I have just become a big fan of her work.

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Three women in one family who shared the same first name saw England change over a tumultuous century. They saw the end of the Plantagenet dynasty and the rise of the Tudors while on the sidelines of great battles. Through heartaches and triumphs, the women of the Woodville family became princesses and queens that would transform the political landscape of England forever. These three women, Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York, and Elizabeth Grey, were incredible examples of what it meant to be medieval royal women. They are featured in Sarah J. Hodder's latest book, "The Woodville Women."

I want to thank Pen and Sword Books and NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book. I have read other books by Sarah J. Hodder about women from the Woodville family, so when I heard about this title, I wanted to see what new information she would share with her audience.

We begin our adventure into the Woodville family by exploring the matriarch of this rather extraordinary family, Jacquetta of Luxembourg, the future wife of Richard Woodville. For a woman of Jacquetta's status to marry a man well below her rank was unheard of in medieval Europe, but their union would change history during the tumultuous time known as the Wars of the Roses. Their daughter, Elizabeth Woodville, would marry a Lancastrian soldier named Sir John Grey of Grosby, but when John died, she caught the eye of the young Yorkist king, Edward IV.

During King Edward IV's reign, Elizabeth Woodville, now queen of England, showed her true strength. As a mother to a large family, including the infamous Princes of the Tower, and her eldest child Elizabeth of York, Elizabeth Woodville fought for her children's rights, even after her beloved husband's death. Elizabeth of York would follow in her mother's footsteps and become Queen of England when she married the victor of the battle of Bosworth Field, Henry Tudor, the patriarch of the Tudor dynasty.

The woman who proved the most fascinating character in this particular book for me was Elizabeth Grey, the daughter of Thomas Grey and Cecily Bonville. Elizabeth Grey would marry Gerald Fitzgerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, who she met at the Field of Cloth of Gold. They would live in Ireland and have many children together, but things were not smooth sailing as Kildare's rivalries would lead to rebellions in Ireland and land him in the Tower of London a few times. Although Kildare had a rocky relationship with King Henry VIII, Elizabeth Grey was cordial with her royal relation.

Hodder was able to tell the stories of these three women in an illuminating way that reminds readers of the tales of Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York while giving new insights into their lives and telling the story of Elizabeth Grey. This book was engaging and informative, just like Hodder's previous books. If you want a book that tells the thrilling tales of Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York, and Elizabeth Grey, you should check out "The Woodville Women" by Sarah J. Hodder.

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Sarah J. Hodder has written a most readable, informative and enjoyable history of the Woodville women. I like to read history like that. Actually I found that the accounts of Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York were much better than that of Elizabeth Grey. In fact I am uncertain how Elizabeth Grey came into the story other than to make the third Elizabeth.

It’s in the story of Elizabeth Grey that the long quotes in confusing old English appears. Those are my pet peeves as I am usually too impatient to decipher what the quote is saying when all the “i”s become “y”s.

Having said that, I did find that this was a worthwhile read and I learned a few more interesting facts and details about these intriguing historical figures.

4 stars from me overall but 5 stars for the first two Elizabeths.

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Elizabeth Woodville ★★★★★

My first introduction to the Wars of the Roses was in 2013 when The White Queen debuted on Starz. My mom and I watched this and every series that came after it. Maybe it’s because I read The White Queen before The Red Queen, but I have an affinity for the House of York.

I never understood why the Woodvilles were so hated. Doesn’t everyone in a position of power try to stay there? And gift their friends titles and lands? That is literally the way of the aristocracy.

Elizabeth came to Edward IV a widow, whose family fought for the Lancastrians. He fell in love with her and married her. Her enemies called this witchcraft.

While Elizabeth’s father had a low birth, her mother came from one of the greatest families in Europe. Women don’t count, though, so all of the history chronicles list Elizabeth as gently born but definitely lower on the pecking order. Are you rolling your eyes? I’m rolling my eyes.

Following three daughters, Elizabeth gives birth to the long awaited York heir, Edward V. He doesn’t reign long, as his uncle Richard III steals his throne. Shakespeare’s Plantagenet series has its ups and downs, but my favorite is Henry VI, Part 3.

As someone who has toured the Tower of London, it’s insane to me that we still don’t know what happened to the Princes in the Tower. Was it Richard’s fault? Seems obvious that it was. Or was it a Tudor plot? Margaret Beaufort is a little wack, ngl.

How the mighty have fallen. In only one lifetime.

Elizabeth of York ★★★★★

Daughter to a king. Sister to a king. Wife to a king.

Even more so than her mother, Elizabeth of York has always captivated me. She is not seen in history as a strong queen, but a likeable one. Isn't that more important?

Betrothed to near countless men before being pawned off on Lancastrian upstart Henry VII, I wonder how young Elizabeth envisioned her future life. Surely not with murdered brothers.

I die a little inside every time some mentions she maybe had a romance with her uncle Richard.

I didn't know her name until nine years ago, and she birthed the very infamous Henry VIII. Quite the legacy.

Elizabeth Grey ★

Not much is known about this last Elizabeth. Her father is one of Elizabeth Woodville's sons from her first marriage.

I feel like she could have been left out of this book. So much is unknown about her life that the author only makes mere speculations. I'm fine with a few guesses, but none of her chapters seem based in fact. Surely there were other Elizabeths to choose from. Or we could have sufficed with mother and daughter.

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Edward IV's family and courtiers were shocked when he married the beautiful commoner Elizabeth Woodville. He was supposed to marry a French princess, or at least a foreign royal. 'Heavy the head that wears the crown' goes the old saying, and Edward IV had to bear great trials during his reign, due to his battles with Henry VI, and the treachery of his brother George and The Kingmaker. Elizabeth, a supportive wife, helped him through it all, but she is still accused of being too ambitious for her family. Rumours of witchcraft still abound! She lived through exciting and dangerous times, involving two terrifying escapes into sanctuary.

Elizabeth's legacy lived on through her daughter, Elizabeth of York, who united the White and Red Roses by marrying Henry VII, Henry VIII's father. Elizabeth had to battle her powerful mother-in-law, but by all accounts, she and Henry had a loving and happy marriage. Elizabeth was kind and generous to her family.

Elizabeth Grey married a feisty Irishman, who often got into trouble with Henry VIII, even being imprisoned in the Tower. Her story could be a novel, and I would love to find out more about her.

Sarah J. Hodder brings these women to life in this captivating book, which is, as always, well-researched. She recreates the atmosphere of the times vividly, with extracts from documents and letters, and descriptions of the colourful era.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Long time ago I heard fact about England court political and war become the inspiration behind an epic fantasy Game of Thrones. I love how complicate and bloody those series both in political and physical war, that's why I want to learn more nonfiction and true events from England throne. The Woodville Women is told us stories of three Elizabeth in their family line. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York, and Elizabeth Grey. I always love read history and I am glad can learnt about it from here.

This book come with alot data and infos about each characters. All of that give us insight about background each Elizabeth but not much depth. The storytelling style is kinda difficult to follow at beginning when I personally feel like drowning into infos, names and dates. But after I found my footing I can follow the writing style perfectly. This book will peak reader interest who love history NF to doing personal research and digging more infos about England history.


Thank you Netgalley and and Pen and Sword History for let me read my copy. I am grateful and my thoughts are my own.

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"The Woodville Women" by Sarah J. Hodder is an engaging read. She focuses on the lives of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV; their daughter Elizabeth of York, wife of King Henry VII & mother to the ever famous Henry VIII; and Elizabeth Grey, cousin to Henry VIII. These three women lived through some turbulent times, and endured losses that would probably emotionally destroy most women. Yet Hodder is able not just to tell their story but to demonstrate the strength and grit these women had to survive. Secondary (and I use this term lightly) figures include Jacquetta of Luxembourg, mother to Elizabeth Woodville; Cecily, sister to Elizabeth of York; and finally, all the various males that made life difficult, from king down, with their political machinations and power struggles.
No matter how many books I read on the Wars of the Roses & the Tudor era, I always learn something new with each new book on the time period. That was the case with this book. I learned about Jacquetta's background, about Elizabeth Woodville's first marriage and the drama following the first husband's death, and about Elizabeth Grey, whose descendant Jane Grey would briefly (extremely briefly) be Queen of England. It was great discovering more about these figures, but sometimes the text was a little wordy, particularly when Hodder includes entire letters. Also, while it may take away from the authenticity of the letters, I feel it would be easier for the reader to understand if those letters included were written in today's English rather than how they wrote English in Tudor times. It's hard to grasp the point of the letter if you're busy trying to decipher a particular word due to odd spelling.
Despite those two issues, this was worth reading because it gave a new take on a period in time on which soooo much has been written.
Thanks to NetGalley, Sarah Hodder, and Pen & Sword for this advanced reader copy that I voluntarily read and reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Loved this book looking at the Woodville women one of which was the mother of a queen. And one who would be the mother of King Henry the eight. And would shape the fate of England for years to come.

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This is an informative and very well-researched book about the influential Woodville women. especially the

three Elizabeths. All of them had a voice behind the throne. of England. The facts have been woven into a

well-described narrative. of one hundred years. It is a compelling read from the myth of Melusine to

royalty, and dynasty.

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Three generations of women: Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Elizbeth Grey.

Hodder digs deep into the record to go back multiple generations of Elizabeth Woodville's family, on both the paternal and maternal line, showing how she wasn't as low born as her enemies tried to make her out to be. Hodder tracks her rise from minor nobility to queen, and fairly paints a portrait of a woman who worked hard to try and help those she loved as well as having to deal with so much criticisms.

As we see her story play out we learn more and more about her eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, who then goes on to be queen of England herself, thanks largely in part to her own mother's finagling. Hodder rejects previous portrayals of Elizabeth of York as powerless and in a cold marriage, showing just how close she and Henry VII grew and what she was able to do for the people around her.

And then, as we get into the reign of Henry VIII, Hodder explores the often overlooked life of Elizabeth Grey, granddaughter of Elizabeth Woodville and niece to Elizabeth of York. Due to this Elizabeth's marriage to the Earl of Kildare, she gets sucked into the violent bog of Irish politics, but she never just goes along with events, always working hard to protect her family and to try and keep them safe.

Hodder does a good job finding specifics about the lives of each woman, and when the record is sparse, she takes a wider view at what most women of the era were going through, showing both the lives of these specific women, but also showing how England changed in so many ways over these three generations. A fascinating study of the era and of this family.

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