Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses

Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses

by Sarah Gristwood


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"[A] gem of a book... enlivened by incisive analysis, exquisite detail and an elegant and witty style." —Alison Weir

The Wars of the Roses, which tore apart the ruling Plantagenet family in fifteenth-century England, was truly a domestic drama, as fraught and intimate as any family feud before or since. But as acclaimed historian Sarah Gristwood reveals, while the events of this turbulent time are usually described in terms of the men who fought and died seeking the throne, a handful of powerful women would prove just as decisive as their kinfolks' clashing armies. A richly drawn, absorbing epic, Blood Sisters reveals how women helped to end the Wars of the Roses, paving the way for the Tudor age—and the creation of modern England.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465060986
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 440,904
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 3.10(d)

About the Author

Biographer and journalist Sarah Gristwood attended Oxford University and is the author of seven books, including the best-selling Arbella and Elizabeth and Leicester. She lives in London and Kent.

Table of Contents

Glossary of Select Names ix

Simplified Family Tree xiv

Map of England xvi

Prologue: February 1503 xvii

A Note on Names xxvi

Part I 1445-1460, Lancaster

1 Fatal Marriage 3

2 "The Red Rose and the White" 17

3 "A Woman's Fear" 23

4 "No Women's Matters" 35

5 "Captain Margaret" 47

6 "Mightiness Meets Misery" 57

Part II 1460-1471

7 "To Love a King" 69

8 "Fortune's Pageant" 85

9 "Domestic Broils" 97

10 "That Was a Queen" 105

Part III 1471-1483

11 "My Lovely Queen" 117

12 "Fortune's Womb" 131

13 Mother of Griefs 141

14 "A Golden Sorrow" 153

Part IV 1483-1485

15 "Weeping Queens" 171

16 "Innocent Blood" 187

17 "Look to Your Wife" 203

18 "Anne My Wife" 213

19 "In Bosworth Field" 223

Part V 1485-1509

20 "True Succeeders" 235

21 "Golden Sovereignty" 251

22 "The Edge of Traitors" 265

23 "Civil Wounds" 275

24 Like a Queen Inter Me 287

25 "Our Noble Mother" 303

Epilogue 321

Acknowledgments 327

A Note on Sources 329

Notes 333

Selected Bibliography 365

Illustration Credits 371

Index 373

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Alison Weir, BBC History Magazine
“Once again, Sarah Gristwood proves that she is at the top of her field with Blood Sisters…. In this gem of a book, she effortlessly interweaves the dramatic, often tragic, lives of seven royal women…. In telling their stories in this original way, and focusing on their diverse roles in the conflict between Lancaster and York, Gristwood reveals how they influenced a male-dominated world. Her text is further enlivened by incisive analysis, exquisite detail and an elegant and witty style…. It’s the book that I wish I had written.”

The Spectator (London)
“Sarah Gristwood’s sensitive approach marks out Blood Sisters as much more than the narrative of an age…. It is an exploration of what it meant to be a medieval queen…. In describing what these noble women had in common, Gristwood is able to paint a compelling portrait of this bloody age, complete with the heartbreak and triumphs that went with it….. Medieval queens were far from being mere pawns in the game of thrones.”

Sunday Times (London)
“Most of the leading players in the Wars of the Roses have traditionally been thought to be the men. Historian Sarah Gristwood… stands this on its head. She examines seven women, whose lives were bound together across the best part of a century, and tries to see the wars from their points of view…. 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.”

Literary Review
“Entertaining and vividly drawn…. This is the true story of the most important women of the period, their travails and suffering; but also of the links between them, their friendships and ambitions, their cooperation, their courage and pragmatism. It is a different way of looking at this complex period, and Gristwood weaves the story with considerable skill. The battles and bloodshed that led to the loss of so many of the old nobility of England form a backdrop to the narrative, but the real emphasis is on half-a-dozen women whose extraordinary experiences of triumph and disaster, often in a bewilderingly short period of time, brought them to the edge of despair but did not, in the end, lessen their commitment to their families. They provided continuity as the world fell apart around them…. Gristwood is to be congratulated for her highly readable account of their lives”

Publishers Weekly
“Gristwood has written a compelling narrative of what went on behind the scenes and away from the battlefields…. [Blood Sisters] is an engaging, well written, and thoroughly-researched page turner that should delight academics as much as fans of Philippa Gregory’s historical novels about several of the same notable women.”

"As Gristwood amply proves in this shrewd, rewarding study, alliances and ambitions involved women as much as men…. [Gristwood] nimbly makes sense and relevance out of the confoundingly entangled dynasties of the Yorks and Tudors."

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Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
LaylaCD More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! The author did a wonderful job of explaining a difficult situation and brought these women to life. A satisfying portrait of what women of the medieval aristocracy had to look forward to and face. Also, a book to enjoy and read for pleasure...not dry at all.
GusCA More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. This book will take you through the stories about the women during the war of roses. This book gives excellent detail how Henry the 7 came into power.  
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not waste your time. Read Alison Weir's books about the same subject instead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago