Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor: Book Review

She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth
Helen Castor
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-143076-3
Release Date: February 21, 2011
Purchase from Indigo

Description: When Edward VI - Henry VIII’s longed-for son - died in 1553, extraordinarily, there was no one left to claim the title King of England. For the first time, all the contenders for the crown were female. In 1553, England was about to experience the ‘monstrous regiment’ - the unnatural rule - of a woman. But female rule in England also had a past. Four hundred years before Edward’s death, Matilda, daughter of Henry I and granddaughter of William the Conquerer, came tantalisingly close to securing her hold on the power of the crown. And between the 12th and the 15th centuries three more exceptional women - Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, and Margaret of Anjou - discovered, as queens consort and dowager, how much was possible if the presumptions of male rule were not confronted so explicitly.

The stories of these women - told here in all their vivid humanity - illustrate the paradox which the female heirs to the Tudor throne had no choice but to negotiate. Man was the head of woman; and the king was the head of all. How, then, could a woman be king, how could royal power lie in female hands?

The Good Stuff
  • Wonderfully  well researched
  • Fascinating historical information
  • Learned a lot about Matilda, that I had never known before. Ok most of the stuff I "know" about her came from the novel Pillars of the Earth
  • Powerful women taking charge and flouting male authority
  • Insightful commentary on both modern and historical female figures
  • Extremely thorough in historical detail
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Way too scholarly for day to day reading, but a great text for historical information, written in a fascinating way
  • Very, very dry at times and a little confusing
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I know I have the body of a weak and feeble women, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too - Queen Elizabeth 1, 1588"

What I Learned


  • Fascinating  historical information of lesser known female rulers
  • Way too many interesting tidbits about British history to mention
  • I always thought that Henry VIII's son, Edward VI, was a weakling all his life
Who should/shouldn't read
  • This is definitely more for the educated scholar than to someone like me
  • Wonderful resource for high school and public libraries, as it makes history come alive
3 Dewey's

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review -- sorry guys this one was way over my head

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