Elizabeth of York would have ruled England, but for the fact that she was a woman. One of the key figures of the Wars of the Roses, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, she married Henry Tudor to bring peace to a war-torn England.
In Elizabeth of York: The First Tudor Queen, Alison Weir builds a portrait of this beloved queen, placing her in the context of the magnificent, ceremonious, often brutal world she inhabited.
©2013 Alison Weir (P)2013 W F Howes Ltd
Praise for the author:
"Weir provides immense satisfaction. She writes in a pacy, vivid style, engaging the heart as well as the mind." (Independent)
"Staggeringly useful...combines solid information with tantalising appetisers." (Mail on Sunday on Britain's Royal Families)
Voracious reader since age 2. I give unbiased reviews in all genres: history, mystery, bios, crime, sci-fi - from front to BLACK!
Fans of Alison Weir knows that her historical nonfiction works are better than Cliff Notes. She checks, double-checks, and triple-checks her facts. This work is probably a winner in hard copy. However, the narrator totally ruined this for me. For some reason she uses all of these mostly male voices to emphasize at least one word or phrase in every single sentence. Sometimes there's 4 to 5 of these "dramatic flairs" in just one sentence. On top of not sounding very good in a male voice, she uses all sorts of accents , from British to Italian to Spanish - but, with the archaic prose of that era, she sounds like Hitler - punching each word out like people who send text messages in capital letters. This book should have been narrated by a man since most of the source material quoted is from male chroniclers. Narrators Charleton Griffin or Simon Vance or John Lee could have pulled this off successfully. All Maggie Mash did was "MAKE A MASH" from an otherwise great book. Her narration made it hard to follow the story line because her delivery is so discordant. Mash should have just read the book in her own voice which is pleasant and comprehensible. The book is a factual historical account, not a Shakespearian play! I had to stop listening after Part 1 of 3.
I have enjoyed several of Alison Weir's books in the past, and will read more in the future. This book, however, was spoiled by bad narration. It took me hours to not cringe every time Maggie Mash spoke in male voices with different accents. I agree with a previous reviewer in saying that a man should have been chosen to narrate this book.
With that said, I am glad I sloughed through it. Alison Weir did a wonderful job using the resources that are left to us to give us an intimate view of this Queen. It also offer me an new insight into the mind of Henry VIII.
author of Lowcountry Legend's series
During long periods of this book, I actually forgot who it was about. I know that there is little documented about this woman, but still, even supposition would have helped. It didn't help that no matter how you slice it, Henry the Seventh, nor Margaret Beaufort were nice people. I do wish Weir would just come out and say that is the way she feels, historian or not. Also, I agree with the others, I really don't like the woman who narrates her books
I'm not sure I can get through this. The narrator does weird things (such as imitation French accent quoting an Englishman) with her voice when she is reading quotations and is not always understandable. Her regular reading voice is ok, but Really Irritating when she reads quotations. I know print books have proof readers, don't audiobooks have proof listeners? I was warned, but I am usually able to enjoy the book despite the narrator.
I'm about 2 hours in and periodically have to stop listening because it gets so annoying.
It helped me get to sleep! Too dragged down with detailed information, especially continually converting currency into today's dollars.
Really bad narration with bad accents. Way too much irrelevant detail such as currency conversions.
Avid reader of history, biography, and true crime.
This is another very good Alison Weir book. If it does nothing else, it provides a look at the familiar world of the English court from Edward IV to Henry VII through the eyes of Ellizabeth of York who lived and suffered through it all. There is not a great deal here which is new, and there is a lot of 'probably' and 'possibly' and 'it is likely' and so on, where there is scant or no evidence. Still, it is worth reading for the female perspective and it will be a must-read for Alison Weir fans and anyone interested in this period of English history. Maggie Mash did a fine job with the foreign words and Spanish accent, and her ordinary English voice is easy-on-the-ear. I did find her 'male' voice not so easy to listen to, even though it was appropriate and well done. Perhaps Weir should have relied less on direct quotes and paraphrased more. My only real gripe is Mash's phonetic pronunciation of 'ye' when it means 'the'. The use of 'y' instead of 'th' was simply a printer's convention - 'ye' as the definite article is pronounced 'the'. Did nobody on the production team know this?
Apparently I have an irrational prejudice against plummy English accents. I found it particularly irritating when the narrator put on a difference voice for the quotations. I'm going to have to actually read this one!
"Interesting but a bit short on detail"
I like Ailson Weir's writing and the idea of examining the beginnings of the Tudor dynasty from Elizabeth's perspective is an interesting one which allows Weir to explore the role of the powerful and influential women who help to shape the transition from the middle ages to the Tudor period. All of that warrants three stars and it's also well produced but it never really brought Elizabeth to life for me; either because as Weir says her life wasn't as consistently documented as male members of the nobility or maybe because she wasn't that interesting as a personality. Either way I'm giving this a three; worth a punt if you like history and have a credit burning a hole in your account; A bit bland if you want something to get your teeth into; in which case "A Distant Mirror" would be well worth a look.
"Annoying narrator and could have been edited a lot"
This book was enjoyable in parts but was agonisingly detailed, to the point I nearly gave up half way through! More like an academic and thorough text with huge amounts of referencing rather than a lighthearted listen.
First by AW
No - I utterly hated her accents and voices. She pronounced 'diverse' as 'divers' so many times I could have screamed!
Would have been better if it was half as long and got to the main themes and points a lot quicker!
"A majestic stroll through time"
I would enjoy another book by Alison Weir as i enjoy her books and Maggie mash is a pleasant reader
Yes, Alison Weir writes interesting books, both fiction and non-fiction
The Spanish ambassadors
Yes, we probably need a biography of the forgotten Tudor heiress Margaret Tudor, she is ignored in favor of her brother and his children.
"Irritating mock accents"
I would not be in a hurry to listen to another book read by Maggie Mash unless her producer stopped the most awful renditions of foreign accents; there is an overdose of mock German/Dutch type accents in a mock male voice. I found them extremely irritating and totally unnecessary. I also got very tired of hearing terms like £3 which in today's money is ... I know this is how Alison Weir wrote it but it did get very irritating after about the 50th hearing!
"A great book."
Just like Alison Weir makes history interesting . Once I started this book I had to finish it.
There is very clearly little to write about Elizabeth of York - with the exceptions of maybes and perhaps(es). I'm guessing that Elizabeth Weir needed to write a book of more than 5 pages, which is probably all you would get from factual knowledge of her and so the book is made up of irritating guesses, maybes, would have, perhapses and merely conjectures. Even more irritating was the monetary valuation being recalculated into "being worth £(an obscene amount) today" at every mention of what was paid out to ladies, jesters, dress makers, and for fabrics, food, soap and just about anything to make up page numbers (it drove me potty!!!). The book was tediously long for very little information on Elizabeth of York, making it a pretty pointless book for me. A real shame, as I so thoroughly enjoyed The Wives of Henry the Eighth. I also got the impression that Maggie Marsh was probably just as fed up reading it by the dull set tones of her voice - but she did her best with the subject. Well, wouldn't recommend this book for the subject - but might be OK if you were looking for general information around that time and can suffer the tedium!!!
"Very Entertaining and Interesting"
The subject matter is really interesting and the production tells it well. Very intertaining and educational.
"Insight into domestic life of the period"
In spite of the author's claims I did not really share her assumption about the extent of Elizabeth of York's influence. she was the daughter of two very powerful and forceful parents Edward IV and Elizabeth. Elizabeth came of age at a very dangerous time as Henry Tudor was about to make his assault on the realm then led by Richard III. It seems Richard was thinking of marrying his niece Elizabeth - a plan which Henry Tudor also had in mind. Although Elizabeth seems to have participated actively in obtaining a marriage which would make her queen; her life henceforth would be very much one of a devout and devoted spouse. Not only did she have a husband who knew his own mind and had a clear vision of where he wanted to take England but she also had a powerful mother-in-law who had managed to survive the turbulence of Edward's reign and fulfill her ambition of seeing her son Henry in power. Elizabeth's main role of course was to produce an heir, a task she managed to perform to the satisfaction of all. The interest of her life was in the abundance of detail the author could provide regarding domestic life - clothes, expenditure on jewels and furnishings and other items related to the household. These careful accounts provide us too with a vivid picture of how wide the gap was between the ordinary citizen and the court. The queen was not overly materialistic and she was always very generous and gave considerable amounts to charity. Henry VII who has gone down in history as a miser surprised me with some of his lavish spending on his wife with whom he seems to have maintained a monogomous way of life which, in those times was really quite exceptional.
I enjoyed the book immensely in spite of having to grit my teeth every time the narrator did those awful foreign accents trying to imitate Italian and French ambassadors and I did not really appreciate her trying to do male voices either. The narrator reads perfectly well in her normal voice so I was able to continue listening right to the end.
I cannot say I took away a picture of a particularly memorable character but I did gain a great deal of insight into the mores and social customs of the period which made the read most worthwhile.
"Getting the Tudors off to a flying start..."
This is a great book and if you're like me you'll want to listen to it again and again and again (and I have!).
The only downsides of the audio (and doing let these put you off!) are that Audible's chapters don't tally with the book's chapters; and the highly infuriating conversion to what something would cost today every other breath - this could have been easily eliminated if they'd included a PDF footnote, asides from only being valid information at the time the book was written.
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