Book Reviews

  1. Kingmakers by Timothy Venning.

This has proved a valuable resource to support my interest in the medieval Marcher Lords. Chapters organised in time blocks and packed with details. There is a fairly comprehensive index making it a useful reference.

The text is densely packed with a vast number of individuals and locations from the entire period, but with no maps or genealogical tables, I really felt the need to cross reference and look at maps to support my reading. Having read it from cover to cover, it provides a detailed overview of this important area. Thereafter it provides a valuable cross reference when reading other texts on the period.

2. The Queen’s Sisters by Sarah J. Hodder

The story of the sisters of Elizabeth Woodville. Women in the medieval period were pawns in power struggles and they tend to remain shadowy figures, if mentioned at all. I’m sure they made important contributions but they rarely figure in ‘history’. Sarah Hodder has investigated each of the Woodville sisters, pulling together fragments of data to give an idea of the lives of these women and how they may have been affected by their sister’s elevation.

Edward IV and his Queen arranged marriages for many of her siblings, creating a network of alliances amongst many of the most significant families in the country. I really enjoyed the carefully assembled jigsaw of information. I was also interested to associate them with events and locations during the War of the Roses. A little book and an easy read. Highly recommended.