Author: Helen Castor
Year published: 2012
Time It Took To Read: Four days
I love Helen Castor. Unlike her nearest rival for female TV historian Lucy Worsley, she doesn't act like sex is a great, taboo delight, and she credits her sources properly. The role of women in history fascinates me from a personal and feminist perspectives. Much of the oppression women are still faced with dates from the Victorian era, but some of it dates back centuries, if not millennia.
The first truly independant queen of England was Mary I, but there were queens before her, who held power. Her own mother, Katherine of Aragon acted as regent when Henry VIII was fighting in France. This was carrying on a long held tradition, where queens could rule in their husbands stead, as power was considered to rub off on them.
This book looks at Empress Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitane, Isabella (known as the She Wolf of France) Margaret of Anjou and the circumstances that led to the quick succession of queens beginning with Jane Grey and ending with Elizabeth I.It explains how they took power, often through treasonous intrigue, and how they were considered by their peers and subjects. It is fascinating, and if you're interested in history, a very good read.
Book count: 48/50