She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth
"Helen Castor has an exhilarating narrative gift. . . . Readers will love this book, finding it wholly absorbing and rewarding." --Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize-winning author of Wolf Hall
In the tradition of Antonia Fraser, David Starkey, and Alison Weir, prize-winning historian Helen Castor delivers a compelling, eye-opening examination of women and power in England, witnessed through the lives of six women who exercised power against all odds--and one who never got the chance.
With the death of Edward VI in 1553, England, for the first time, would have a reigning queen. The question was: Who?
Four women stood upon the crest of history: Katherine of Aragon's daughter, Mary; Anne Boleyn's daughter, Elizabeth; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Lady Jane Grey. But over the centuries, other exceptional women had struggled to push the boundaries of their authority and influence--and been vilified as "she-wolves" for their ambitions. Revealed in vivid detail, the stories of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, Margaret of Anjou, and the Empress Matilda expose the paradox that England's next female leaders would confront as the Tudor throne lay before them--man ruled woman, but these women sought to rule a nation.
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About the Author
Helen Castor is a historian of medieval England and a Bye-Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Her first book, Blood and Roses, was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the English Association's Beatrice White Prize. Her second book, She-Wolves, was selected as one of the books of the year by The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, Financial Times, and BBC History Magazine. She lives in London.
"A fascinating biography of four powerful English queens...An insightful look at issues still relevant today, related by an accomplished historian and storyteller."--Kirkus Reviews
"Castor has done a masterful job of outlining the burdens these women faced. . . . Readers of popular history of British royals will enjoy their immensely human stories."--Library Journal
"Exceptional, even inspirational reading."--BookPage
"A fascinating biography...An insightful look at issues still relevant today, related by an accomplished historian and storyteller."--Kirkus Reviews
"Beautifully narrated . . . learned and exciting. This is medieval history at its best."--Evening Standard
"Helen Castor's very readable She-Wolves is . . . full of beautiful, imperiled ladies; fearless knights; and remarkable, often unbelievable turns of fortune. . . . Castor is a fine scholar and an equally fine storyteller."--Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A gripping book . . . She-Wolves is a superb history of the powerful women who have surrounded England's throne, combining blood-drenched drama, politics, sex and swordplay with scholarly analysis, symptahy for the plight of women and elegant writing."--Simon Sebag Montefiore, Daily Telegraph (London)
"Castor skillfully combines this analysis with driving narratives, using vivd details from contemporary chronicles to bring those distant days alive. She-Wolves makes one gasp at the brutality of medieval power struggles--and at the strength and vitality of the women who sought to wield royal power."--Jenny Uglow, Financial Times
"Castor's deep research will please European, military, and women's historians, while [her] tight storytelling makes this unusually fine royal history enjoyable reading for casual readers."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)