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“Helen Castor has an exhilarating narrative gift. . . . Readers will love this book, finding it wholly absorbing and rewarding.” —Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize-winning author of Wolf Hall 

In the tradition of Antonia Fraser, David Starkey, and Alison Weir, prize-winning historian Helen Castor delivers a compelling, eye-opening examination of women and power in England, witnessed through the lives of six women who exercised power against all odds—and one who never got the chance. Exploring the narratives of the Empress Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, Margaret of Anjou, and other “she-wolves,” as well as that of the Nine Days' Queen, Lady Jane Grey, Castor invokes a magisterial discussion of how much—and how little—has changed through the centuries. 

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    This is a wonderful overview of the lives of seven compelling women. It was the first non-fiction history book I ever read, and I found it incredibly engaging and easy to understand. The author spends just enough time in each section that anyone can follow along, but not so much time as to get caught up on insignificant details. Also, because of the time frame - from Matilda to Elizabeth I - you get a good idea of the general political climate from the late Middle Ages to the beginning of the Tudor period as well as each woman's personal stories. Overall, an excellent book for anyone interested in English history, even if they haven't made that leap into reading non-fiction yet.


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