Mother of Kings
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Known to be proud, regal and beautiful, Cecily Neville was born in the year of the great English victory at Agincourt and survived long enough to witness the arrival of the future Henry VIII, her great-grandson. Her life spanned most of the fifteenth century. Cecily s marriage to Richard, Duke of York, was successful, even happy, and she travelled with him wherever his career dictated, bearing his children in England, Ireland and France, including the future Edward IV and Richard III. What was the substance behind her claim to be queen by right ? Would she indeed have made a good queen during these turbulent times? One of a huge family herself, Cecily would see two of her sons become kings of England but the struggles that tore apart the Houses of Lancaster and York also turned brother against brother. Cecily s life cannot have been easy. Images of her dripping in jewels and holding her own alternative court might belie the terrible heartache of seeing her descendants destroy each other. In attempting to be the family peacemaker, she frequently had to make heart-wrenching choices, yet these did not destroy her. She battled on, outliving her husband, friends, rivals and most of her children, to become one of the era s great survivors.
Cecily Neville: Mother of Kings
This is a beautifully written and fascinating book about one of the most important women of the 15th century. The fact that it is the first comprehensive historical account of her is baffling. My only major criticism is that it was badly edited (or not edited at all). There are a few mistakes early on that (almost) shakes the foundation of accuracy, but they are minor (e.g. Arthur was Cecily's great-grandson, not grandson). There are (inevitably) so many names that in some places you lose the thread of who is speaking. But these are the kind of mistakes for which the publisher, not the author, should be held accountable. Ms. Licence deserved better. But still, I highly recommend it.