Book News August 2023

queen radegund

*contains affiliate links*

Embroidering Her Truth: Mary, Queen of Scots and the Language of Power 

Paperback – 22 August 2023 (US) & 19 January 2023 (UK)

In sixteenth-century Europe women’s voices were suppressed and silenced. Even for a queen like Mary, her prime duty was to bear sons. In an age when textiles expressed power, Mary exploited them to emphasise her female agency. From her lavishly embroidered gowns as the prospective wife of the French Dauphin to the fashion dolls she used to encourage a Marian style at the Scottish court and the subversive messages she embroidered in captivity for her supporters, Mary used textiles to advance her political agenda, affirm her royal lineage and tell her own story.

In this eloquent cultural biography, Clare Hunter exquisitely blends history, politics and memoir to tell the story of a queen in her own voice.

Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine: Founding an Empire 

Paperback – 22 August 2023 (US) & 15 May 2023 (UK)

Henry II became King of England in 1154 after twenty years of civil war. He was the first Plantagenet king, the founder of England’s most successful and longest-ruling dynasty.

But Henry did not come to the throne alone. He had married Eleanor of Aquitaine, a feisty, formidable and powerful woman ten years his senior. Eleanor had spent fifteen years married to Louis VII of France before he divorced her, only to be angered when she married his young rival. Together, they were a medieval power couple who soon added the ultimate rank of king and queen consort to their list of titles. With them, the Angevin Empire was born.

Young Queens: Three Renaissance Women and the Price of Power 

Hardcover – 15 August 2023 (US) & 11 May 2023 (UK)

Following the intertwined stories of the three women from girlhood through young adulthood, Leah Redmond Chang’s Young Queens paints a picture of a world in which a woman could wield power at the highest level yet remain at the mercy of the state, her body serving as the currency of empire and dynasty, sacrificed to the will of husband, family, kingdom.

Eleanor of Aquitaine, as It Was Said: Truth and Tales about the Medieval Queen 

Hardcover – 4 August 2023 (US & UK)

Much of what we know about Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and then Queen of England, we know from recorded rumor—gossip often qualified by the curious phrase “it was said,” or the love songs, ballads, and romances that gossip inspired. While we can mine these stories for evidence about the historical Eleanor, Karen Sullivan invites us to consider, instead, what even the most fantastical of these tales reveals about this queen and life as a twelfth-century noblewoman. She reads the Middle Ages, not to impose our current conceptual categories on its culture, but to expose the conceptual categories medieval women used to make sense of their lives. Along the way, Sullivan paints a fresh portrait of this singular medieval queen and the women who shared her world.

Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, Princess Isabel and the Ending of Servile Labour in Russia and Brazil (Anthem Impact) 

Paperback – 15 August 2023 (US) & 16 November 2021 (UK)

Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna of Russia and Princess Isabel of Brazil were active participants in the struggle to end servile labor in their respective countries. They acted in defiance of political conventions which excluded women from any political activity. Both women were determined to do all in their power to further the cause of emancipation and to determine the terms under which serfs and slaves were emancipated. This book examines the political activities of the two royal women within the context of their respective societies and adopts a comparative approach.

The Palace: From the Tudors to the Windsors, 500 Years of History at Hampton Court 

Hardcover – 17 August 2023 (UK) & 5 December 2023 (US)

Hampton Court has been an arc of monarchy, revolution, religious fundamentalism, sexual scandals, and military coups. In this rich and vivid history, Gareth Russell moves through the rooms and the decades, each time focusing on a different person who called Hampton Court their home.

Tudor Roses: From Margaret Beaufort to Elizabeth I 

Paperback – 15 August 2023 (UK)

A dynasty is defined by its men: by their personalities, their wars and reigns, their laws and decisions. Their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters are often depicted as mere foils, shadowy figures whose value lies in the inheritance they brought, or the children they produced. Yet the Tudor dynasty is full of women who are fascinating in their own right, like Margaret Beaufort, who finally emerged triumphant after years of turmoil; Elizabeth of York and her steadying influence; Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, whose rivalry was played out against the backdrop of the Reformation; and Mary and Elizabeth, England’s first reigning queens.

[no image yet]

Princess Ruth Ke’elikōlani 

Paperback – 1 August 2023 (UK & US)

This pictorial biography is a colorful account of the life and times of the controversial Princess Ruth (1826-1883), one of the last chiefesses of old Hawai’i. Ruth never left the islands throughout her life-Hawai’i was her world-and stubbornly, she clung to the old Hawaiian ways, ignoring the missionaries and their growing influence. When the lava flow of 1881 threatened the town of Hilo, the High Chiefess was credited with stopping the fiery molten rock in its tracks by interceding with Pele, the goddess of volcanoes.

When Women Ruled the Pacific: Power and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Tahiti and Hawai‘i (Studies in Pacific Worlds) 

Hardcover – 1 August 2023 (UK & US)

In When Women Ruled the Pacific Joy Schulz highlights four Polynesian women rulers who held enormous domestic and foreign power and expertly governed their people amid shifting loyalties, outright betrayals, and the ascendancy of imperial racism. Like their European counterparts, these Polynesian rulers fought arguments of lineage, as well as battles for territorial control, yet the freedom of Polynesian women in general and women rulers in particular was unlike anything Europeans and Americans had ever seen. Consequently, white chroniclers of contact had difficulty explaining their encounters, initially praising yet ultimately condemning Polynesian gender systems, resulting in the loss of women’s autonomy. The queens’ successes have been lost in the archives as imperial histories and missionary accounts chose to tell different stories. In this first book to consider queenship and women’s political sovereignty in the Pacific, Schulz recenters the lives of the women rulers in the history of nineteenth-century international relations.

Radegund: The Trials and Triumphs of a Merovingian

Paperback – 18 August 2023 (US) & 3 September 2023 (UK)

A princess born to the Thuringian royal house. A captive in war, forced to marry the Frankish king who killed her family. A queen, who renounced her position, received consecration as a deaconess, and took monastic vows. A religious leader, who acquired a fragment of the Cross of the Crucifixion for her convent of Holy Cross in Poitiers. And, lastly, a saint, remembered for her healings, exorcisms, and extreme self-mortification. Such was Radegund, a woman who lived through an era defined by headlong change. Honored as a “mother” by subsequent Frankish kings and as a holy woman by her nuns and devotees, Radegund enjoyed a reputation for righteousness that spread throughout the whole of medieval Europe, with later queens emulating her pious achievements. For generations, she defined medieval queenship, female monastic practice, and the expectations associated with holy women. Today, she is often envisioned as a pan-European saint.

About Moniek Bloks 2590 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.