Three History Book Reviews

17

First of all I would like to thank Rosie at Pen and Sword for being so kind and sending me copies of these books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Edward II’s Nieces: The Clare Sisters: Powerful Pawns of the Crown centres on (official blurb):The de Clare sisters Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth were born in the 1290s as the eldest granddaughters of King Edward I of England and his Spanish queen Eleanor of Castile, and were the daughters of the greatest nobleman in England, Gilbert the Red’ de Clare, earl of Gloucester. They grew to adulthood during the turbulent reign of their uncle Edward II, and all three of them were married to men involved in intense, probably romantic or sexual, relationships with their uncle. When their elder brother Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, was killed during their uncle’s catastrophic defeat at the battle of Bannockburn in June 1314, the three sisters inherited and shared his vast wealth and lands in three countries, but their inheritance proved a poisoned chalice. Eleanor and Elizabeth, and Margaret’s daughter and heir, were all abducted and forcibly married by men desperate for a share of their riches, and all three sisters were imprisoned at some point either by their uncle Edward II or his queen Isabella of France during the tumultuous decade of the 1320s. Elizabeth was widowed for the third time at twenty-six, lived as a widow for just under forty years, and founded Clare College at the University of Cambridge.”

Edward II’s Nieces: The Clare Sisters: Powerful Pawns of the Crown was another enjoyable read on women in history that don’t always get the limelight that they deserve.

Kathryn Warner has done it once again by providing a well-written, well-researched, informative and engaging read.

I love this period of history and love learning about women’s roles, power, influences during this time. I would definitely recommend.

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The Imprisoned Princess: The Scandalous Life of Sophia Dorothea of Celle centres on (official blurb): When Sophia Dorothea of Celle married her first cousin, the future King George I, she was an unhappy bride. Filled with dreams of romance and privilege, she hated the groom she called “pig snout” and wept at news of her engagement. In the austere court of Hanover, the vibrant young princess found herself ignored and unwanted. Bewildered by dusty protocol and regarded as a necessary evil by her husband, Sophia Dorothea grew lonely as he gallivanted with his mistress under her nose. When Sophia Dorothea plunged headlong into a passionate and dangerous affair with Count Phillip Christoph von Knigsmarck, the stage was set for disaster. This dashing soldier was as celebrated for his looks as his bravery, and when he and Sophia Dorothea fell in love, they were dicing with death. Watched by a scheming and manipulative countess who had ambitions of her own, it was only a matter of time before scandal gripped the House of Hanover and tore the marriage of the heir to the British throne and his unhappy wife apart. Divorced and disgraced, Sophia Dorothea was locked away in a gilded cage for 30 years, whilst her lover faced an even darker fate.

The Imprisoned Princess: The Scandalous Life of Sophia Dorothea of Celle was a well-written, well-researched and an overall interesting read. Throughout the whole of this book you are presented with information that is both relevant and engaging to read.

Ultimately this biography was probably a difficult one to write due to the fact that Sophia spent the best part of her life imprisoned. However, Catherine Curzon wrote a brilliant and entertaining book on such an important woman in history.

Overall, it was such a fascinating read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in this period of history.

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Sophia: Mother of Kings: The Finest Queen Britain Never Had centres on (official blurb): Sophia, Electress of Hanover, was born to greatness. Granddaughter of James I and mother to George I, she was perhaps the finest queen that Britain never had. As daughter of Frederick V of the Palatinate and Elizabeth Stuart, Sophia emerged from an impoverished, exiled childhood as the Winter Princess, a young woman of sparky intelligence, cutting wit and admirable determination. Once courted by Charles II, Sophia eventually gave her heart to Ernest Augustus, at whose side she became the first Electress of Hanover and the mother of the first Georgian king of Great Britain. Sophia: Mother of Kings, brings this remarkable woman and her tumultuous era vividly to life. In a world where battles raged across the continent and courtiers fought behind closed doors, Sophia kept the home fires burning. Through personal tragedy and public triumph, Sophia raised a family, survived illness, miscarriage, and accusations of conspiracy, and missed out on the British throne by a matter of weeks. Sophia of Hanover became the mother of one of the most glittering dynasties the world has ever known. From the House of Stuart to the House of Hanover, this is the story of her remarkable life.”

Sophia: Mother of Kings: The Finest Queen Britain Never Had was a well-written, well-researched and an overall fascinating read.

Sophia was the woman who ‘enabled’ the transition of the British crown from the royal family of the Stuarts to the Hanoverians. This non-fiction gave us a glimpse into the life of another fascinating woman in British history. Catherine did a fascinating job with this biography  and I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I have read by her to date.

Once again this was an utterly fascinating read and I would definitely recommend it.

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(Photos is my own please do not take/copy without permission first.)

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