2011 NF Release: She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor

by Helen Castor

Release Date:  February 22, 2011

SYNOPSIS:  WhenEdward VI—Henry VIII’s longed-for son—in 1553 the extraordinary fact was that there was no one left to claim the title of king of England; all the contenders for the crown were female. Upon Henry’s demise, England would experience the “monstrous regiment”—the unnatural rule—of a woman.

Yet female rule in England had a past. Four hundred years earlier, Matilda, daughter of Henry I and granddaughter of William the Conqueror, came tantalizingly close to securing the throne for herself. Between the 12th and 15th centuries, three more exceptional women—Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, and Margaret of Anjou—discovered, as queen, consort, and dowager, how much was possible if presumptions of male rule were not confronted explicitly—and just how quickly they might be vilified as “she-wolves” for their ambitions.

The stories of these women—brought to life here in all their vivid humanity—reveal the paradox which the female heirs to the Tudor throne had no choice but to negotiate. Man was the head of woman; and the king was the head of all. How, then, could royal power lie in female hands?

The subject of women and power—a compelling combination of the personal and political, of private and public lives—is extraordinarily relevant to our time. By exploring the lives of these women, Helen Castor’s shows us just how far women and men have come—and how little has changed.

What think you dear readers? 



  1. I'm very eager to read this one. Helen Castor knows her stuff. Just wish the cover lady wasn't in Tudor garb!

  2. It sounds like an interesting book - is it history or a novel though?

  3. Oh that makes me even more excited for it Susan, thank you!

    Hannah - this is a non-fiction release.

  4. I'm really looking forward to reading this one.....not crazy about the title, but I can understand why she chose it.

  5. This sounds like it would be an interesting read, I'm going to put it on a wish list. I found the term "monstrous regiment' interesting because I read a book by that name by Terry Pratchett. Until this moment I had never considered it as anything but a book title. Thanks!

  6. This should be a most interesting book. the power behind the throne seems to be the position women could and often did wield. Men have thought for years, and still do, that they are running the show. Little do they know or realize. I'll have to keep my eyes open for this one.

  7. Wow, this is definitely going to be in my wishlist!

  8. After reading that summary, I don't need any more convincing that that book needs to be on my wish list. Thanks for the spotlight!!

  9. This sounds like a fantastic book. I'll definitely have to add it to my TBR list!


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