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Cecily Neville (Hardback)

Mother of Richard III

Medieval History Social History Women of History

By Dr John Ashdown-Hill
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 290
ISBN: 9781526706324
Published: 18th April 2018


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Wife to Richard, Duke of York, mother to Edward IV and Richard III, and aunt to the famous ‘Kingmaker’, Richard, Earl of Warwick, Cecily Neville was a key player on the political stage of fifteenth-century Britain England.

Mythologically rumoured to have been known as ‘the Rose of Raby’ because of her beauty and her birth at Raby Castle, and as ‘Proud Cis’ because of her vanity and fiery temper, Cecily’s personality and temperament have actually been highly speculated upon. In fact, much of her life is shrouded in mystery. Putting aside Cecily’s role as mother and wife, who was she really?

Matriarch of the York dynasty, she navigated through a tumultuous period and lived to see the birth of the future Henry VIII. From seeing the house of York defeat their Lancastrian cousins; to witnessing the defeat of her own son, Richard III, at the battle of Bosworth, Cecily then saw one of her granddaughters become Henry VII’s queen consort.

Her story is full of controversy and the few published books on her life are full of guess-work. In this highly original history, Dr John Ashdown-Hill seeks to dispel the myths surrounding Cecily using previously unexamined contemporary sources.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Interesting and informative. Exactly what I would expect from this learned and talented writer. Brings this proud yet pious woman back to life in it's pages.

NetGalley, reviewed by Cath Bell

Truly exciting.

NetGalley, reviewed by Nureeni Lem

If you're looking to learn more about Cecily Neville, someone I've learnt about in my classes but never really got to delve into, this book is for you.

NetGalley, reviewed by Ellie Crowson-Jeffery

This was a meticulously researched book, and I was very impressed from the start about old inaccuracies being cleared up about Cecily Neville.

I enjoyed reading more about Cecily also, where I had only come across her as a secondary story in another person’s book. Though I thought it a shame the book had to be subtitled ‘the Mother of Richard III’ and linking her book to a man, even though he was one of her sons.

I would certainly like to read more books by this author.

NetGalley, reviewed by Alison L

Oh my goodness, I wish I had words to describe the awesome that is this book. I am a huge lover of this time period, and in all of my research, I have yet to find books on Cecily that do her justice. Until now. The research put into this book, along with the writing and ease of readability...not to mention the care given to Cecily's memory...make this my now most recommended book on all things Cecily Neville.

NetGalley, reviewed by Stacie Tyson

This is a well researched book that goes through the life of Cecily Neville. You can tell that the author used various sources of records to write this book. In cases where sources conflicted each other, he showed the discrepancies. If you are interested in learning more about the mother of Edward IV and Richard III, then I recommend this book.

NetGalley, reviewed by Cheryl Reichert

I give Cecily Neville five out of five stars!

NetGalley, reviewed by Michelle Kidwell

Overall a good read.

NetGalley, reviewed by Louise Fry

This is a detailed work of historical research about Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV and Richard III. We follow her life from birth until death, learning all possible facts about her upbringing, family, and surrounding environment.

The book is obviously expertly researched, with as much information about Cecily Neville as anyone could possibly find. There are detailed genealogy charts, as well as thorough narratives of the lives of both Neville and her husband. I found the chapter about DNA and dental research particularly intriguing. All in all, it is a very interesting and useful book for the fans of history, as well as for researching students.

NetGalley, reviewed by Ioanna Tatari

About Dr John Ashdown-Hill

Dr John Ashdown-Hill is a well-known medieval historian, having published extensively on a variety of topics within that period but focussing mainly on the Yorkist era. He is best-known for his pivotal role in uncovering the burial place of King Richard III for and for tracing collateral female-line descendants of Richard’s elder sister to establish his mtDNA haplogroup, which matched the mtDNA of the bones found in the Leicester car park. He continues to write about this period of history, and in 2015 he was awarded an MBE ‘for services to historical research and the exhumation and identification of Richard III’.

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