Sunday, December 31, 2017

Review: Queens of the Conquest by Alison Weir.

"Saga of England's medieval Queens is vivid and stirring, packed with tragedy, high drama, and even comedy. It is a chronicle of love, passion, high intrigue, murder, war, treason, betrayal and sorrow, peopled by a cast of heroines, villains, amazons, stateswomen, adulteresses and lovers."

Weir claims her aim in writing this tome was to strip away the "romantic mythology and legends" - and yet each chapter has its own flowery title. She also claims that it is "not an academic history but a narrative of the times" - and yes it is.

What I actually found was an attempt at updating Agnes Strickland's "Lives of the Queens of England" (pub 1840s) - and there is nothing wrong in that (I have also read Strickland's works), and as more information comes to hand, research quite naturally is updated. Having said that, sometimes when one reads a new work, one has a sense of deja vu.

This tome encompasses the women of the early Norman period: Matilda of Flanders, Matilda of Scotland, Adeliza of Louvain, Matilda of Boulogne and Empress Maud - all fascinating women in their own right. Some chapters are longer than others - sometimes, with information is just not there for the author to really delve into the character of these women. There follows the usual sources, letters, bibliography at the end.

Look - an entry level book for the beginner, but nothing new for the purist looking for something with a bit more guts to it.

more about Agnes Strickland here @ wikipedia
more about Alison Weir here @ her website

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