Feature book: The Golden Widows
This is a story that will take you back to the days of The War of The Roses when there were battles and struggles between the houses of York and Lancaster to see who would control England. This is the story of Elysabeth Woodville (Lady Grey) and Katherine Neville (Lady Harrington)—how they found love in tough times and the things they had to do to survive the hardships.
Katherine Neville married at the age of thirteen, which was not uncommon for those days. Her husband, William Bonville, Lord Harrington, was only eighteen. Although they were friends, they were not sweethearts. When it came time to consummate the marriage, things didn’t go well. Kate believes that marriage is about family alliances and producing children, and she is happy with her lot in life. She gets on well with Will’s grandmother, and she bears a daughter, Cecily, who will become a very rich heiress one day if no sons are born. She knows she is expecting another baby and is hoping this one will be the son Will so desires. Will leaves to fight for the house of York (led by Kate’s brother, Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, also known as the kingmaker), but he does not return. Kate becomes a widow at a very young age and needs to have a guardian for her heiress daughter. This causes a lot of worry in troubled times.
Elysabeth Woodville is married to Lord John Grey, and together they support the Queen and the mad King Henry VI. Elysabeth is in love with her husband. Married for 10 years and with two sons, Tom and Dickon, she does not get on with John’s grandmother as John is usually away fighting battles. Because they are staying with his grandmother at the moment, things are not so happy. When John is killed in battle, Elysabeth is widowed, and John is declared a traitor. They lose their home and all it entails. Elysabeth is determined to fight to get Tom’s inheritance back, but it is a long and hard battle.
Although Kate is on the winning side and Elysabeth is on the losing side, they both have a very hard time trying to protect themselves and their children. They are both very strong women, and they know they will be married off—as was the way in those times. Times in England are changing with a new king, King Edward (Ned), who is Kate’s cousin. There is always the danger that Queen Margaret d’Anjou will get an army together to try and win back the crown.
I did really enjoy this story of how Kate married Lord William Hastings, King Edward’s chamberlain, and that they did love each other. Will is such a great man. He is well loved, but Kate has a hard time trusting that he will not stray. When Elysabeth meets the King and they fall in love and marry, their wedding causes such a stir. But Elysabeth is strong enough to cope. Her children are safe, and she will give her husband many more children.
This is a beautifully written story with so many historical facts in it that I highly recommend this one, especially if you love English history.
Reviewed by Helen S
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All ARRA members who leave a comment by 10 May will go in the draw to win one of two giveaway copies of this book. (The giveaway is now closed. The winners were Lyn and Sharon.)