She-Wolves : The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth Paperback
by Helen Castor
In medieval England, man was the ruler of woman, and the King was the ruler of all.
How, then, could royal power lie in female hands? In She-Wolves, celebrated historian, Helen Castor, tells the dramatic and fascinating stories of four exceptional women who, while never reigning queens, held great power: Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France and Margaret of Anjou.
These were women who paved the way for Jane Grey, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I - the Tudor queens who finally confronted what it meant to be a female monarch.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 496 pages, Illustrations (chiefly col.), map
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 07/07/2011
- Category: British & Irish history
- ISBN: 9780571237067
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Review by riverwillow
A good introduction to the lives of these extraordinary women whose actions shaped English medieval history. Castor tries to explode the myths that surround them, concluding for example that the story of Edward II's murder with a red hot poker originated several years after his death. Castor's prose is engaging and really brings her subjects to lives. My one quibble is with the book's structure, it opens with a description of events leading up to the death of Edward VI, before jumping back several centuries to William the Conqueror's granddaughter, Matilda, and her challenge of Stephen's assumption of the crown.