Joy's Reviews > Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster

Mistress of the Monarchy by Alison Weir
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Sep 21, 2010

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Read in September, 2010 , read count: 1

Alison Weir was thorough in her search for material on Katherine Swynford. Most of her facts come from financial rolls, since she dismisses contemporary accounts of Katherine, as written by John of Gaunt's many enemies. As Weir shows, this is a reasonable attitude, because of the many demonstrations of love towards Katherine from the royal children for whom she was governess. Clearly she was a woman who attracted good feelings from the people who genuinely knew her.

As Weir recounted the histories of Katherine's descendants, I remembered where I had encountered her before. I read her THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER. At the time, I wrote to my sister a long refutation of Weir's reasoning, and even though that was 15 years ago and I can't remember the details, it makes me less inclined to trust her speculations here.
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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Roberta (new)

Roberta I've made a note of this one. I really want to read it, but I just got proof to read from Belgrave House (a very light, silly romantic suspense A DELICATE BALANCE). I'll reserve MISTRESS OF THE MONARCH .... although now I think of it, I didn't care for the last biography I read by Alison Weir.

message 2: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy I remember A DELICATE BALANCE, Roberta. I reviewed it 8 years ago.

I'm going to look for Jeannette Lucraft's book about Katherine, KATHERINE SWYNFORD: THE HISTORY OF A MEDIAEVAL MISTRESS. I thought about rereading Seton's KATHERINE, but I have it so nearly memorized that even after so many years I don't think I need to.

message 3: by Roberta (new)

Roberta BALANCE is a silly little story, but I'm rather fond of it. Even if I say so myself, the love scene in the car is funny. I don't have a publication date on it, but Belgrave House is bringing it out in eformat pretty soon. I'm going to have quite a number of my books available in eformat over the next year or two. Sourcebooks is also reprinting TAPESTRY OF DREAMS, FIRES OF WINTER, MASQUES OF GOLD, and ROPE DANCER in 2011 and 2012. If you want any of them, let me know.

message 4: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy I've had ROPE DANCER for a long time. I'm especially fond of Deri. And of course I'll want the other three.

message 5: by Marita (new)

Marita HI Joy,
If you have trouble trusting Alison Weir's books, who do you prefer as a good historical female biographer? Marita

message 6: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy I don't really have a female historical biographer that I look for. It's been a while since I dipped into historical biography, so I haven't read the recent ones. I enjoyed Amy Kelly's ELEANOR OF ACQUITAINE AND THE FOUR KINGS, and Elizabeth Jenkins' ELIZABETH THE GREAT. I like Conyers Read, Garrett Mattingly, Michael Grant, and Paul Murray Kendall.

message 7: by Marita (new)

Marita Thanks for the tips.

message 8: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy Of the four men I listed, only Michael Grant doesn't write about England. Grant specializes in ancient Rome.

Turns out my library doesn't have the Lucraft bio of Katherine Swynford, so I had to order it.

message 9: by Roberta (new)

Roberta I didn't know that Kendall had done a biography of a woman? Which? Title? I loved his work on Richard III.

message 10: by Marita (new)

Marita Oh, now looks like I better dig up something by Kendall since I have 2 females recommending him. :)

message 11: by Roberta (new)

Roberta Joy---I'll make a note to send you TAPESTRY OF DREAMS, FIRES OF WINTER, and MASQUES OF GOLD. But I wish I had some way of being reminded. I'm afraid I'll forget by 2012. Sigh. If you could remember and remind me, I'd be grateful.

message 12: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy '12? I'll probably be reminded when you mention the books you have coming out. Otherwise, well, it's iffy.

I didn't know that Kendall had done a biography of a woman? Which? Title? I loved his work on Richard III.

I was noting authors by sex, not subjects by sex. I think Kendall didn't write enough books. :-)

message 13: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy I found his bio of Louis XI very interesting, but didn't like the one of Warwick because I didn't want to spend time with Warwick.

message 14: by Roberta (new)

Roberta That's another one I want to read. I have an ancient (and I mean ancient---1954) novel by Schoonover about Louis XI called THE SPIDER KING. I kept it partially because it interested me enough to want to read a biography, and I just never got around to it because I don't write in that period. But now I'll ask for it at the library because I like Kendall.

message 15: by Joy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy Oh, I read Schoonover's THE SPIDER KING several times. I thought it was very interesting too!

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