Book Review No. 47 - Queens of Conquest by Alison Weir
Hello autumn! Welcome to the cooler weather and the longer nights. It has been a little rough here this week, as I got my wisdom teeth out. I know, most people have this done in there late teens/early twenties. But I guess I just like doing things the hard way. I did get to enjoy an amazing book this week, so I can't complain too much.
If you enjoy non-fiction books about English history, this is a must. Alison Weir's "Queens of Conquest" is so well done, I really had a hard time putting it down. Now, that is hard to say about non-fiction, especially ones filled with so much detail, but this book is a treasure of information.
This book focuses on four of England's Medieval Queens and how they helped shaped the history of their country. The scope of Weir's research is wonderful, she has buckets of references (which I find great in a non-fiction book). As with all history this old, and especially about women, there sometimes isn't a lot of information to go with, or the information can be biased from a patriarchal society. In this work, Weir presents the facts, but also includes "myths" and "stories" about the women, noting the history of the information and how reliable it may be. This book covers many aspects of the queen's lives from the clothing they wore, to how they ran their household, to how they handled diplomacy and intimate affairs of the heart.
Of course, a novel about queens will undoubtedly include information about their spouses and children. Although the main focus of the information is on the lives these women led, you have to get the grander picture, which includes their royal marriages and the history of the spouses. Because the historical facts of these great women, although today is seen as incredibly important, didn't really concern the scholars of the day, there are a lot of gaps and assumptions that have to be made based on what the royal court was doing at certain times of the year. This is really common with subject matter this old, especially in areas of the world where few could read and write.
A beautiful, well written book. I am going to add it to my collection of medieval history. You don't have to be an expert on English history to enjoy this book, but you may get a little lost with all the names and dates. My suggestion is to take your time, and even do a little internet research to get a bigger picture of the family lineages and to see the notable places Weir mentions. My only advice is to get the hardback copy if you are interested in maps or tables. Weir works out the family trees of these women, but it is a bit hard to follow on a e-book. Of course, you can look everything up online if you do decided to get the e-book.