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Monday, November 7, 2011

Crazy Book Tours: The Women of the Cousins' War by Philippa Gregory

Title: The Women of the Cousins' War
Author: Philippa Gregory
Publisher: Touchstone
Publish Date: September 6, 2011
Source: Crazy Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You can't get enough of Gregory's Cousins' War Trilogy.
  • You want a non-fiction book that feels like a fiction.
  • You want a little insight into how historical fiction writers like Gregory do their research.
What's the Story?:

From "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?"

My Two Cents:

Jacquetta, Elizabeth, and Margaret are three formidable ladies that Gregory covers in her Cousins' War trilogy. Jacquetta was known for her witchcraft and for giving birth to one of the Queen's of England, Elizabeth Woodville. Elizabeth Woodville becomes one of the founding mothers of the new royal family. Margaret Beaufort becomes the grandmother of Henry VIII. All of these women had a profound affect on the future of the English royal family.

Gregory, Jones, and Baldwin each take on one of these ladies and fills in a little more of their background than you get in the trilogy. It was nice to learn a little bit more. It even made me appreciate Margaret Beaufort a little more (you'll remember I wasn't a big fan of her book, The Red Queen). This is a great introduction if you haven't read the trilogy yet or a great complement if you have read some or all of the trilogy.

Okay, and for all you that fear non-fiction, this is a great springing off point to show you that non-fiction books don't have to be scary. This book is fact filled but still very accessible!

Bottom line: History and Historical Fiction lovers alike will enjoy this book!


  1. I read one book in the trilogy and would love to read some more info about these three women. This sounds like it would be an interesting read.

  2. @Anne I liked it. I thought that the book gave a lot good information on the historical context of each of these women.

  3. I'm reading this book for my book club and found that the sections written by Jones and Baldwin were much better written from a historical point of view. I am now reading the trilogy (just finished The Lady of the Rivers) and can appreciate Gregory's grasp of the history she presents in the fictional account.


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