Book News May 2021

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Chronos Crime Chronicles – Jane Parker: The Downfall Of Two Tudor Queens? 

Paperback – 1 May 2021 (US) & 30 April 2021 (UK)

Jane Parker, later Viscountess Rochford, was the sister-in-law of Anne Boleyn and was executed alongside Katherine Howard, yet she has remained in the shadows throughout the years, surrounded by more myths than facts. She is often portrayed as a malicious woman who was jealous of her husband’s relationship with his sister, but the evidence does not support that. So why is she portrayed as such? It may be the ambiguous nature of her dealings with Henry VIII’s fifth queen, Katherine Howard, that have influenced our view of her, but her real story deserves to be told in full. Jane Parker: The Downfall of Two Tudor Queens? is the next instalment in an exciting new historical true crime series from Chronos Books.

Pirate Queen: The Life of Grace O’Malley 

Paperback – 6 July 2021 (US) & 6 May 2021 (UK)

In a life stranger than any fiction, Grace O’Malley, daughter of a clan chief in the far west of Ireland, went from marriage at fifteen to piracy on the high seas. She soon had a fleet of galleys under her command, but her three decades of plundering, kidnapping, murder and mayhem came to a close in 1586, when she was captured and sentenced to hang.

Saved from the scaffold by none other than Queen Elizabeth herself – another powerful woman in a man’s world – Grace’s life took another extraordinary turn when it was rumored she had become intelligence for the queen’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham. Was this the price of her freedom?

Judith Cook explores this and other questions about the life and times of this remarkable woman in a fascinating, thrilling and impeccably researched book.

The Palace Letters: The Queen, the governor-general, and the plot to dismiss Gough Whitlam

Paperback – 12 November 2020 (UK) & 4 May 2021 (US)

What role did the queen play in the governor-general Sir John Kerr’s plans to dismiss prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1975, which unleashed one of the most divisive episodes in Australia’s political history? And why weren’t we told?

Queens of Outremer: The Christian Princesses of Medieval Palestine 

Hardcover – 13 May 2021 (US) & 18 February 2021 (UK)

The lives of this trailblazing dynasty of royal women, and the crusading Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, are the focus of Katherine Pangonis’s debut book. In QUEENS OF JERUSALEM she explores the role women played in the governing of the Middle East during periods of intense instability, and how they persevered to rule and seize greater power for themselves when the opportunity presented itself.

Representing the Life and Legacy of Renée de France: From Fille de France to Dowager Duchess (Queenship and Power)

Hardcover – 18 May 2021 (US) & 12 May 2021 (UK)

This book considers the life and legacy of Renée de France (1510–75), the youngest daughter of King Louis XII and Anne de Bretagne, exploring her cultural, spiritual, and political influence and her evolving roles and actions as fille de France, Duchess of Ferrara, and Dowager Duchess at Montargis. Drawing on a variety of often overlooked sources – poetry, theater, fine arts, landscape architecture, letters, and ambassadorial reports – contributions highlight Renée’s wide-ranging influence in sixteenth-century Europe, from the Italian Wars to the French Wars of Religion. These essays consider her cultural patronage and politico-religious advocacy, demonstrating that she expanded upon intellectual and moral values shared with her sister, Claude de France; her cousins, Marguerite de Navarre and Jeanne d’Albret; and her godmother and mother, Anne de France and Anne de Bretagne, thereby solidifying her place in a long line of powerful French royal women.

Woman between Two Kingdoms: Dara Rasami and the Making of Modern Thailand 

Paperback – 15 May 2021 (US & UK)

Woman Between Two Kingdoms explores the story of Dara Rasami, one of 153 wives of King Chulalongkorn of Siam in Thailand during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Born in a kingdom near Siam called Lan Na, Dara served as both hostage and diplomat for her family and nation.

Thought of as a harem by the West, Siam’s Inner Palace actually formed a nexus between the domestic and the political. Dara’s role as an ethnic Other among the royal concubines assisted the Siamese in both consolidating the kingdom’s territory and building a local version of Europe’s hierarchy of civilizations. Dara Rasami’s story provides a fresh perspective on both the sociopolitical roles played by Siamese palace women, and Siam’s response to the intense imperialist pressures it faced in the late nineteenth century.

The Tsar’s Happy Occasion: Ritual and Dynasty in the Weddings of Russia’s Rulers, 1495–1745 (NIU Series in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) 

Hardcover – 15 May 2021 (US & UK)

Using an array of archival sources, Russell E. Martin demonstrates how royal weddings reflected and shaped court politics during a time of dramatic cultural and dynastic change. As Martin shows, the rites of passage in these ceremonies were dazzling displays of monarchical power unlike any other ritual at the Muscovite court. And as dynasties came and went and the political culture evolved, so too did wedding rituals. Martin relates how Peter the Great first mocked, then remade wedding rituals to symbolize and empower his efforts to westernize Russia. After Peter, the two branches of the Romanov dynasty used weddings to solidify their claims to the throne.

The York Princesses: The Daughters of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville 

Paperback – 1 May 2021 (US) & 30 April 2021 (UK)

As a collective, the lives of the Princesses of York span across seven decades and the rule of five different Kings. The daughters of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, they were born into an England that had been ruled over by the great Plantagenet Kings for almost three hundred years. Their young years were blighted by tragedy: the death of their beloved father, followed by the disappearance and possible murder of their two brothers, Edward and Richard of York, forever now known to history as the infamous Princes in the Tower. With their own futures uncertain during the reign of their uncle, Richard III, and their mother held under house arrest, the Princesses had to navigate their way through the tumultuous years of the 1480s before having to adjust to a new King and a new dynasty in the shape of Henry VII, who would bring about the age of the Tudors. Through her marriage to Henry, Elizabeth of York rebuilt her life, establishing herself as a popular, if not hugely influential Queen. But she did not forget her younger siblings, and even before her own mother’s death, she acted as a surrogate mother to the younger York princesses, supporting them both financially and emotionally. The stories of the York Princesses are entwined into the fabric of the history of England, as they grew up, survived and even thrived in the new Tudor age. Their lives are played out against a backdrop of coronations and jousts, births and deaths, marriages and divorces and loyalties and broken allegiances. From the usurpation of Richard III, to the Battle of Bosworth, the brilliance of the court of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII, to the rise of Anne Boleyn, the York Princesses were there to witness events unfold. They were the daughters, sisters and aunts of Kings, and this is their story. The York Princesses is a natural follow-up to Sarah J. Hodder’s first book, The Queen’s Sisters, which told the stories of the lives of the sisters of Elizabeth Woodville.

The Windsor Diaries: My Childhood with the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret 

Hardcover – 4 May 2021 (UK & US)

The never-before-published diaries of Alathea Fitzalan Howard–who spent her teenaged years living out World War II in Windsor Great Park with her close friends Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth, the future queen of the United Kingdom–provide an extraordinary and intimate look at the British Royal Family.

Queens, Eunuchs and Concubines in Islamic History, 661–1257 (Edinburgh Studies in Classical Islamic History and Culture)

Paperback – 30 June 2021 (US) & 31 May 2021 (UK)

Based on original and previously unexamined sources, this book provides a critical and systematic analysis of the role of women, mothers, wives, eunuchs, concubines, qahramans and atabegs in the dynamics and manipulation of medieval Islamic politics. Spanning over 600 years, Taef El-Azhari explores gender and sexual politics and power: from the time of the Prophet Muhammad through the Umayyad and Abbasid periods to the Mamluks in the 15th century, and from Iran and Central Asia to North Africa and Spain.

The Empress in the Pepper Chamber: Zhao Feiyan in History and Fiction 

Paperback – 13 May 2021 (US & UK)

Zhao Feiyan (45–1 BCE), the second empress appointed by Emperor Cheng of the Han dynasty (207 BCE–220 CE), was born in slavery and trained in the performing arts, a background that made her appointment as empress highly controversial. Subsequent persecution by her political enemies eventually led to her being forced to commit suicide. After her death, her reputation was marred by accusations of vicious scheming, murder of other consorts and their offspring, and relentless promiscuity, punctuated by bouts of extravagant shopping.

Palaces of Stone: Uncovering ancient southern African kingdoms 

Paperback – 26 May 2021 (US) & 19 June 2021 (UK)

Palaces of Stone brings to life the story of these early African societies, from AD 900 to approximately 1850. Some, such as Great Zimbabwe and Khami in Zimbabwe and Mapungubwe in South Africa, are famous world heritage sites, but the majority are unknown to the general public, unsung and unappreciated. Yet, the stone ruins that have survived tell a common story of innovative architecture and intricate stonework; flourishing local economies; long-distance travel; global trade; and emerging forms of political organisation.

About Moniek Bloks 2592 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.

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