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The Kingmaker's Women (Hardback)

Anne Beauchamp and Her Daughters, Isabel and Anne Neville

P&S History > British History P&S History > Royal History Women of History

By Julia A Hickey
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 19 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399064859
Published: 30th August 2023


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They were supposed to be pious, fruitful and submissive. The wealthiest women in the kingdom, Anne Beauchamp and her daughters were at the heart of bitter inheritance disputes. Well educated and extravagant, they lived in style and splendour but were forced to navigate their lives around the unpredictable clashes of the Cousins’ War. Were they pawns or did they exert an influence of their own?

The twists and turns of Fate as well as the dynastic ambitions of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick saw Isabel married without royal permission to the Yorkist heir presumptive, George Duke of Clarence. Anne Neville was married to Edward of Lancaster, the only son of King Henry VI when her father turned his coat. One or the other was destined to become queen. Even so, the Countess of Warwick, heiress to one of the richest titles in England, could not avoid being declared legally dead so that her sons-in-law could take control of her titles and estates.

Tragic Isabel, beloved by her husband, would experience the dangers of childbirth and on her death, her midwife was accused of witchcraft and murder. Her children both faced a traitor’s death because of their Plantagenet blood. Anne Neville became the wife of Richard, Duke of Gloucester having survived a forced march, widowhood and the ambitions of Isabel’s husband. When Gloucester took the throne as Richard III, she would become Shakespeare’s tragic queen. The women behind the myth suffered misfortune and loss but fulfilled their domestic duties in the brutal world they inhabited and fought by the means available to them for what they believed to be rightfully their own.

The lives of Countess Anne and her daughters have much to say about marriage, childbirth and survival of aristocratic women in the fifteenth century.

Hickey paints a colourful and comprehensive portrait of life and politics in fifteenth-century England and the impact it had on women of the nobility. Anne Beauchamp and her daughters have been marginalised by history, but Hickey successfully argues that the reality is more complex.
With the addition of 19 black and white illustrations and useful bibliography, The Kingmaker's Women is a very readable book, well researched and a thoroughly good read to boot.

The Ricardian Bulletin

This is an interesting book on three influential women in one family. It is an even-handed telling of the stories from which many myths and legends have emerged.. Four purrs and two paws up.

NetGalley, Susan Johnston

It's refreshing to see how women were affected by the battles for succession that changed England's history forever.

NetGalley, Andrea Romance

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Interesting read, I had never really heard about these women are their role in European History so it was a new topic for me. I very much enjoyed the read and would recommend it to all history buffs.

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I had never heard of these women in history so I enjoyed how good everything brought these women to life. Julia A Hickey has a great writing style and did everything that I was looking for.

NetGalley, Kathryn McLeer

I am very interested in the history of this period and have read various historical fiction novels which feature Anne and Isabelle Neville, daughters of Richard Neville, "The Kingmaker". This allowed me to find out more about these women and their mother, and added extra layers to my knowledge. So often women's voices are lost in history, and this was a welcome read.

NetGalley, Sarah Anderson

About Julia A Hickey

Julia has been passionate about history since she visited Buckland Abbey as a child more than forty years ago. She has an MA as well as a BA in History and English Literature. She has taught in a range of educational settings but is currently an independent lecturer and speaker based in the Midlands and Yorkshire. In addition to a text for Literacy Specialists she has written about border reivers, the grisly tale of Carlisle’s gallows and is the author of many short stories set in the past. She writes a regular blog at thehistoryjar.com about all things historical and can often be found exploring castles and stately stacks.

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