Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses

Author(s): Sarah Gristwood


We know how the Wars of the Roses ended - with Richard III's body under a Leicester car park - but this is a thrilling history of the extraordinary noblewomen who lived through the battles and bloodshed. The events of the Wars of the Roses are usually described in terms of the men involved: Richard Duke of York, Henry VI, Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII. But these years were also packed with women's drama and - in the tales of conflicted maternity and monstrous births - alive with female energy. In this completely original book, Sarah Gristwood sheds light on a neglected dimension of English history: the impact of Tudor women on the Wars of the Roses. She examines, among others, Cecily Neville, who was deprived of being queen when her husband died at the Battle of Wakefield; Elizabeth Woodville, the commoner who married Edward IV in secret; Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, whose love and ambition for her son knew no bounds. Until now, the lives of these women have remained little known to the general public. Sarah Gristwood tells their stories in detail for the first time. Captivating and original, this is historical writing of the most important kind.


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'In this gem of a book, she effortlessly weaves the dramatic, often tragic, lives of seven royal women...If you treat yourself to one history book this Christmas, make it this one. It's the book that I wish I had written' Alison Weir, Books of the Year, BBC History Magazine 'Entertaining and vividly drawn ... A different way of looking at this complex period and Gristwood weaves the story with considerable skill ... highly readable' Literary Review 'Gristwood successfully evokes the lives of all these women, and in doing so brings a new and welcome perspective on the Wars of the Roses... [a] very agreeable narrative' Dan Jones, Sunday Times 'Gristwood's sensitive approach marks out Blood Sisters as much more than the narrative of an age. It is an exploration of what it was to be a medieval queen... A compelling portrait of this bloody age, complete with the heartbreak and triumphs that went with it... Like a delicately woven tapestry, threads of evidence have to be gathered and pulled together with care. Gristwood does an excellent job of examining in sensory detail the impact of ermines, cloths of gold, Spanish leather and purple velvet' Spectator Praise for Sarah Gristwood: 'Historical biography at its best, written in a lively and witty style with such beautiful turns of phrase that one must read them again for the sheer pleasure of it. Gristwood marvellously evokes the spirit of the period, and brings her subject vividly to life' Alison Weir 'A vivid accessible and entertaining study... fascinating' Simon Sebag Montefiore 'Vivacious and absorbing... full of intriguing suggestions, stimulating analogies and shrewd connections. Gristwood is a mistress of the trivial detail that enthrals' Sunday Times 'Fresh, vivid and beautifully detailed...conveyed with exactly the right mixture of suspense and sympathy' Independent

Sarah Gristwood was born in Kent and read English at St Anne's College, Oxford University. She has written for the 'Guardian', the 'Telegraph', the 'Independent' and the 'Mail' and for magazines including the 'New Statesman' and 'Empire'. The author of Sunday Times bestseller, 'Arbella: England's Lost Queen', she is married to film critic Derek Malcolm and lives in London and Kent.

General Fields

  • : 9780007309306
  • : HarperCollins Publishers Limited
  • : Harper Element
  • : January 2013
  • : United Kingdom
  • : May 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Sarah Gristwood
  • : Paperback
  • : 513
  • : English
  • : 942.0409252
  • : 416