She Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth

Book: She Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth
Author: Helen Castor
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

She Wolves has been on the most highly recommended books to me. I can see why. This book is truly a must read for anyone interested in medieval queens, especially medieval queens who are often forgotten about or there just isn’t a lot of reading on them. This book covers Matilda, Eleanor,  Isabella, and Margaret. Again, some of these women are well known and others not so much.

I mean, whenever I started this book, I was kind of confused and thought that I was reading the wrong book. It starts out with the Tudors…Yeah, I know, it through me for a loop too. However, starting out with the Tudors really did set up the tone of the book nicely. Not to mention that Helen makes the ending come back full circle to the Tudors. I guess it is fitting, considering that Henry VIII could not stand the idea of a female ruler.

Matilda is the first she wolf. Now, Matilda is one of those queens who is hard to find any material on. There are so few books and so few articles about this she wolf. She is the daughter of Henry I and the heir to the throne after the death of her brother. Her throne is taken away from her by her cousin, which in term causes Matilda to take up arms. Now, Matilda’s civil war does fail, but her son does end up on the throne. I did like reading about Matilda and am glad that she was included in this book. I really do feel like Matilda is the forgotten queen.

Next, comes Eleanor. I did like the Eleanor proportion of the book a lot.  It was well written and complete-more so than Matilda’s. I think that this is because we know a lot more about Eleanor than Matilda. Eleanor’s word just comes across the pages and it is very clear about how strong of a woman she is. I would have liked to have more on her and Richard’s relationship, but I did like this little summary of her. I may have to find a good book about her…If anyone has any suggestions, I’m open to them.

Isabella is the queen who I want to look more into….Knighfall….Cough…Cough…She is a very interesting character. She is the queen who is treated as if she is the way of her marriage.  Her husband just kind of put her to the side and forgot about her. So, what does she do? She just stages a little rebellion and kills a few people.

Last is Margaret. Now, I really don’t know that much about her. Her husband was mentally weak and she found herself often times ruling in his name. She tried to keep it together, but sadness was all there was. She tried so hard to hold onto the kingdom for her husband and king, only to be put to the side. She was forced to return to Anjou without any recognition of what she had done.

Again, I really did enjoy this book and getting a snapshot of these women. Anyone interested in medieval queens needs to pick this one up!