Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Review: The Women of the Cousins' War by Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin and Michael Jones

Pages: 288
Genre: Non-fiction
Pub. Date: September 13, 2011
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*Read my review of Philippa Gregory's The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Lady of the Rivers

If you are like me and you've truly enjoyed Gregory's The White Queen, The Red Queen, and upcoming The Lady of the Rivers, or you simply want to learn more about three remarkable women from the War of the Roses who are often overlooked, then this non-fiction books is a must read.  The first portion focuses on Jacquetta of Luxembourg, who is the mother of Elizabeth Woodville (The White Queen) and the main character in Gregory's The Lady of the Rivers.  The second section focuses on Elizabeth Woodville, who ends up as Queen and is daughter to Jacquetta.  History buffs may remember her as the mother to the princes in the tower.  The last segment of the book focuses on Margaret Beaufort, The Red Queen, and founder of the Tudor dynasty. The Women of the Cousins' War is  an excellent resource and the perfect companion to Gregory's Cousins' War series.

Gregory wrote the first portion on Jacquetta herself, so immediately I was pulled in by her writing style. Even though it is non-fiction, Gregory has a knack of hooking readers in and captivating us with her knowledge; plus, Jacquetta's life is so fascinating. It's no wonder I was easily hooked.  Jacquetta's second marriage to Richard Woodville always enthralls me as it defied convention since he wasn't of royal blood; essentially, she married for love.  Her stints with magic and accusations of witchcraft also add to my amusement. I absolutely loved learning more about Jacquetta's incredible life.

The second segment is by historian David Baldwin and it concentrates on Elizabeth Woodville, whose rise from a struggling single mother to a Queen is downright fascinating.  Although I felt Baldwin's portion wasn't as easy to read as Gregory's, it still filled in the many gaps in my knowledge and answered my many questions concerning Elizabeth's life.  After reading The White Queen, I had so many questions about the princes in the tower and Baldwin touched on many of the possible theories.

The last section is about Margaret Beaufort and is written by historian Michael Jones.  I found Margaret to be a snooze-fest in Gregory's The Red Queen, so I was hesitant to read this portion.  However, Jones really brought her to life. I was blown away by her childhood. I knew it was pretty horrible, but Jones explains it a bit more. I found this to be very helpful and ultimately, it explained why she acted the way she did in The Red Queen.  After reading this write-up on Margaret, I've come to respect her more; you can't deny how devoted she was to her cause.

The Women of the Cousins' War is displayed proudly on my bookshelf right next to the Gregory's other books from the Cousins' War series. Like I said before, not only does this non-fiction text bridge any gaps in my learning about the War of the Roes, it also helps me to enjoy Gregory's series that much more.  

*Thank you to Jessica from S&S for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Thanks for the great review! I received a surprise review copy of this one recently and I was wondering what it was like. Sounds like a great companion to the series. :)

  2. I didn't like the red queen either, I'd like to read more about elizabeth though!

  3. I need to get those three books and then if I love them I'm going to get this one too. :) Great review.

  4. i'll be reading this one soon. :)

  5. Leanna- It is definitely a good companion to the series. I hope you get to read it soon.

    Carrie, Nina, and LeeAnn- Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it.


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