Book News May 2023




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

Paperback – 19 January 2023 (UK) & 30 May 2023 (US)

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.

Rasputin and his Russian Queen: The True Story of Grigory and Alexandra 

Hardcover – 30 March 2023 (UK) & 30 May 2023 (US)

Rasputin’s relationship with Russia’s last Tsarina, Alexandra, notorious from the famous Boney M song, has never been adequately addressed; biographies are always for one or the other, or simply Alexandra and her husband Nicholas. In this new work, Mickey Mayhew reimagines Alexandra for the #MeToo generation: ‘neurotic’; ‘hysterical’; ‘credulous’ and ‘fanatical’ are shunted aside in favour of a sympathetic reimagining of a reserved and pious woman tossed into the heart of Russian aristocracy, with the sole purpose of providing their patriarchal monarchy with an heir. When the son she prayed for turns out to be a haemophiliac, she forms a friendship with the one man capable of curing the child’s agonising attacks. Some say that between them, Grigori and Alexandra brought down 300 years of Romanov rule and ushered in the Russian Revolution, but theirs was simply the story of a mother fighting for the health of her son against a backdrop of bigotry, sexism and increasing secularism. Bubbling with his trademark bon mots, Mickey Mayhew’s new book breathes fresh life into two of history’s most fascinating – and polarising – figures. She liked to pray and he liked to party, but when they found themselves steering Russia into the First World War, her gender and his class meant that society simply had to crush them. This is the real story of Rasputin and his Russian queen, Alexandra.

Cleopatra’s Daughter: From Roman Prisoner to African Queen 

Hardcover –23 May 2023 (US)

The first biography of one of the most fascinating yet long-neglected rulers of the ancient world: Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Antony and Cleopatra.

Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I: The Mother and Daughter Who Changed History 

Kindle Edition – 18 May 2023 (US & UK)

Piecing together evidence from original documents and artefacts, this audiobook tells the fascinating, often surprising story of Anne Boleyn’s relationship with, and influence over her daughter Elizabeth. In so doing, it sheds new light on two of the most famous women in history and how they changed England forever.

Princess Mary: The First Modern Princess 

Paperback – 16 May 2023 (US)

Princess Mary was born in 1897. Despite her Victorian beginnings, she strove to make a princess’s life meaningful, using her position to help those less fortunate and defying gender conventions in the process. As the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, she would live to see not only two of her brothers ascend the throne but also her niece Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth II: An Oral History 

Paperback – 9 May 2023 (US)

Featuring interviews from diverse sources from private staff at Buckingham Palace and family friends, to international figures like Nelson Mandela, it contains a broad spectrum of views on Queen Elizabeth II—her story and her personality and how her life has intersected and impacted others.

The Daughters of George III: Sisters and Princesses 

Paperback – 31 May 2023 (US)

The six daughters of George III were raised to be young ladies and each in her time was one of the most eligible women in the world. Tutored in the arts of royal womanhood, they were trained from infancy in the skills vial to a regal wife but as the king’s illness ravaged him, husbands and opportunities slipped away.

Young Queens: Three Renaissance Women and the Price of Power 

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

Catherine, Mary and Elisabeth lived at the French court together for many years before scattering to different kingdoms. These years bound them to one another through blood and marriage, alliance and friendship, love and filial piety; bonds that were tested when the women were forced to part and take on new roles. To rule, they would learn, was to wage a constant war against the deeply entrenched misogyny of their time. A crown could exalt a young woman. Equally, it could destroy her.

Drawing on new archival research, Young Queens masterfully weaves the personal stories of these three queens into one, revealing their hopes, dreams, desires and regrets in a time when even the most powerful women lived at the mercy of the state.

Henry VIII’s Children: Legitimate and Illegitimate Sons and Daughters of the Tudor King 

Hardcover – 30 May 2023 (UK) & 6 August 2023 (US)

Behind the narrative of Henry VIII’s wives, wars, reformation and ruthlessness, there were children, living lives of education among people who cared for them, surrounded by items in generous locations which symbolised their place in their father’s heart. They faced excitement, struggles, and isolation which would shape their own reigns. From the heights of a surviving princess destined and decreed to influence Europe, to illegitimate children scattered to the winds of fortune, the childhoods of Henry VIII’s heirs is one of ambition, destiny, heartache, and triumph.

Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine: Founding an Empire 

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

 This book charts the early lives of Henry and Eleanor before they became a European power couple and examines the impact of their union on contemporaries and European politics. It explores the birth of the Angevin Empire that spread from Northumberland to the Mediterranean, and the causes of the disintegration of that vast territory, as well as the troublesome relationships between Henry and his sons, who dragged their father to the battlefield to defend his lands from their ambitious intriguing.

Messalina: A Story of Empire, Slander and Adultery 

Hardcover – 11 May 2023 (UK)

In her new life of Messalina, the classicist Honor Cargill-Martin reappraises one of the most slandered and underestimated female figures of ancient history. Looking beyond the salacious anecdotes, she finds a woman battling to assert her position in the overwhelmingly male world of imperial Roman politics – and succeeding. Intelligent, passionate, and ruthless when she needed to be, Messalina’s story encapsulates the cut-throat political manoeuvring and unimaginable luxury of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in its heyday.

Cargill-Martin sets out not to ‘salvage’ Messalina’s reputation, but to look at her life in the context of her time. Above all, she seeks to reclaim the humanity of a life story previously circumscribed by currents of high politics and patriarchy.






About Moniek Bloks 2743 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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