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Sisters of Richard III (Hardback)

The Plantagenet Daughters of York

Military > Pre-WWI > Wars of the Roses P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 15th Century P&S History > Royal History Women of History World History > UK & Ireland > England

By Sarah J Hodder
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 30 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399063869
Published: 14th March 2024



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This book is the narrative of three women of York, sisters to not one, but two kings of England. Anne, Elizabeth and Margaret Plantagenet were the daughters of Richard, Duke of York and his wife, Cecily Neville, and therefore sisters to Edward IV and Richard III. These women watched from the sidelines as their father challenged England’s anointed king and lost his life, as their brothers fought together for the throne of England and then amongst themselves and as the Plantagenet dynasty fell, making way for the reign of the Tudors.

But they were not just bystanders; they had their own stories to tell. Anne of York was married to the Lancastrian Duke of Exeter who sided against her father and brother, before finding later happiness, albeit briefly, with her second husband. Elizabeth of York married John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk and became the mother of eleven children who would become thorns in the side of the Tudor kings and Margaret of York became Duchess of Burgundy, a hugely influential woman in her adopted kingdom although she never stopped supporting her family back in England. Between them, they witnessed and contributed to one of the most turbulent times in English history yet they have naturally been overshadowed by their more famous brothers. This is their story.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Having read previous works of Sarah J Hodder I was really looking forward to another book focusing on women.
The three sisters Anne, Elizabeth, and Margaret were siblings to two kings and lived during the tumultuous period of the Wars of the Roses.
Not knowing much about these ladies made me even more eager to dive in. From the three I knew a little more about Margaret so I found it fascinating to learn more about her and her sisters.

These women are often mentioned in the shadows of their brothers (with the exception of Margaret who seems to a little more in the limelight) but the author has brought them out of the shadows and breathed life into these influential women.

All three sisters became duchesses and were influential members of the Yorkist faction, Margaret becoming a thorn in the side of Henry VII following the Battle of Bosworth.

I found it fascinating to learn about the lives these women led, the events that occurred during their life times, and how their marriages impacted their experiences and actions.

If you're looking for something offering a different view point of the Wars of the Roses I would highly recommend.
I also could not end this review without mentioning how much I love this cover. Pen & Sword have some beautiful covers but I really like this one, and love the white roses as a little nod to the York sisters.

NetGalley, Amy McElroy

I really enjoyed this book. It never got boring and even though it sometimes had to go beyond the three sisters they were always still relevant. There is large amounts of speculation as not a lot is known for sure about these women but the speculation kept itself within the realm of possibility so it didn't bother me at all. If your looking for a good summary of the period through the eyes of the sisters of Edward and Richard this is a great book to pick up.

NetGalley, Eva Bosboom

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In this incredible read about the sisters of Richard III and Edward IV of England, Sarah J. Hodder brings these fascinating yet overlooked historical women to life in her latest book. Following Anne, Margaret, and Elizabeth Plantagenet from their births to their deaths, readers get to explore these women’s lives as sisters to two kings and threats to a third (Henry VII) in incredible historical detail. Heavily drawing on primary documents and the historical record, Hodder explores the political roles that these women took on as the Duchess of Exeter, the Duchess of Burgundy, and the Duchess of Suffolk as well as the roles that their children or stepchildren played in fifteenth and sixteenth century politics during their lifetime. Hodder humanizes these women and gives them the voice which they had been denied for so long, and she gives them credit for their political and social power as well as their domestic power as wives and mothers. Through this incredibly detailed and immersive book and the shifting of the historical lens to these women, readers will gain a valuable insight to fifteenth and sixteenth century English politics as well as the roles of upper aristocratic women in the English court.

NetGalley, Lily Amidon

The story of the three Yorkists sisters - Anne, Elizabeth and Margaret - as told against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses. And the story of the sisters is one full of persistence in keeping both the Yorkist cause and that of their family name, alive. With their mother Cecily, these three women were the great survivors of this tumultuous period in history.

Hodder provides the reader with a well-researched tome that covers off the events of the Wars of the Roses, whilst linking the lives of these women to both their family and the events.

That there may have been a perception that they had gone unremarked is only due to the fact that two of their brothers - Edward IV and Richard III - outshone them. However, they did not go completely unobserved - a careful historian or student of history will find all three women, scattered across the pages of numerous tomes. What Hodder does is bring this all under one book cover and puts their lives into context with events as their not only occurred but also how they impacted this particular family.

The keen reader of the Wars of the Roses history will enjoy this as will someone who is coming new into this period. There were many extraordinary women at this point in history - this is the story of three of them (four if you also count in their mother, Cecily).

NetGalley, Melisende d'Outremer

Women in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance tend to get short shrift in historical sources. The sisters of English Kings Edward IV and Richard III are perfect examples of this. We know a decent amount about the youngest sister, Margaret of York, because she married one of Europe's wealthiest and most powerful princes, Charles, Duke of Burgundy. But her sisters, Anne and Elizabeth of York, are much less well known.

As members of the House of York, the sisters were all involved in the Wars of the Roses. Margaret was still unmarried when her brother Edward became king, and she became a marital prize. Her marriage to the Duke of Burgundy doesn't appear to have been happy, but it gave her the influence and power to be able to help her family when the war drove them from the throne.

Anne was married at age 6 to another child, who turned out to be an enemy of her family. Elizabeth seems to have had a happier marriage, but her family was deeply affected by the ongoing wars.

If you're not familiar with the Wars of the Roses, the author provides an excellent first chapter that gives an excellent introduction to the later Plantagenet kings and the wars between the houses of Lancaster and York. This is a complex story, and Sarah Hodder does a great job of setting the scene for the sisters' stories. This book is a fascinating look at some lesser known people from English royal history.

NetGalley, Etta Kavanagh

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have been attempting to learn more about the notorious Richard III. Did he kill the princes in the tower? That is a question that will most likely always remain a mystery. I enjoyed reading this book because it examines the lives of his three sisters Anne, Elizabeth, and Margaret. It is very short making it quick to read. What knowledge is known about them was put together well in this book.

NetGalley, Stephanie Peterson

Hodder did a terrific job working with the resources she had. She brought Anne, Margaret and Elizabeth to life on the pages, making the reader want to know more about these women, whose stories are seemingly lost to time. Margaret was a figure I had some previous knowledge on but not much, and I felt sadden by Anne's death, which occurred so much earlier in life than her other two sisters'.

I definitely recommend this to any history lovers, especially those fans of the Wars of the Roses and Tudor eras. It's a very readable nonfiction work, making it accessible to all, regardless of how much previous knowledge they may have on the subject. I look forward to reading more of this author's works.

NetGalley, Danielle Holeman

I have read multiple books on the House of York, before and during the Reign of Richard III. None of those have touch on the women, as they aren't viewed as interesting. But I have been curious of the lives of these women. It's why I'm glad that this author has written the book, as it's one that gives me a good overview of the time, but also gives possible further insight on the women of that time.

I would highly recommend this book, to be read along any other books of this time period. It's a great follow-up to this point in history, and further expands on it.

NetGalley, Kat Corish

Despite limited resources, Hodder is still able to paint a compelling picture of her subjects. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this volume and it definitely helped to reinforce my knowledge of this particular period.

NetGalley, Nicholas Artrip

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I honestly and never heard about these Lady's, but boy was I glad to have found this book! The facts and story's of these fascinating women where very entertaining and engaging!!

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

History knows well Edward IV and Richard III, they have bold lives that make for interesting stories. We never hear about their sisters. When I saw there was a book about the lives of these women, I knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed. Hodder dives into all aspects of the three sisters lives giving background information and sources for so many different things that happened throughout their lives. I highly recommend this read!

NetGalley, Megan Craddock

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this, I really didn't know anything about Richard III's time in history. This had everything that I was hoping for and thought the history elements had a great overall feel to this book. I thought Sarah J Hodder wrote this perfectly and was well-researched. It felt like the sisters were brought to life.

NetGalley, Kathryn McLeer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love this period of time and loved reading more about the sisters of Richard III, the king who seemed to be cursed due to the lost Princes in the Tour. I enjoyed the well written and told story of his sisters as they went onto become well known women in history, powerful women especially Maggie who became Queen of Scotland - someone I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of.

A fantastic journey into the past with Sarah's storytelling of a period after The War of the Roses or the Hundred Years War before the Tudors came along.

NetGalley, Laura Snaith

About Sarah J Hodder

Sarah J Hodder began her career as a production manager for Shire Publications, a unique niche publisher that introduced her to an eclectic mix of subjects and encouraged her already well-founded love of books. After leaving Shire to raise her daughter, she was able to explore and develop her passion for history, particularly medieval and Tudor. 
Her focus is very much on social history and family relationships and she writes mainly on the lives of women during this period. Sarah is the author of The Queen’s Sisters (Chronos Books, 2020), The York Princesses (Chronos Books, 2021) and Cecily-Bonville-Grey, Marchioness of Dorset (Chronos Books, 2022).

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