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Elizabeth Norton
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She Wolves: The Notorious Queens of England

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  383 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
She Wolves is a history of the 'bad girls' of England's medieval royal dynasties - the queens who earned themselves the reputation of being somehow notorious. Some of them are well known and have been the subject of biographies - Eleanor of Aquitaine, Emma of Normandy, Isabella of France and Anne Boleyn, for example - while others have not been written about outside academ ...more
ebook, 465 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by History Press (SC) (first published May 1st 2008)
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Bettie☯
Description: This history deals with the bad girls of England's medieval royal dynasties, the queens who earned themselves a notorious reputation. Some of them are well known and have been the subject of biography—Eleanor of Aquitaine, Emma of Normandy, Isabella of France, and Anne Boleyn, for example—while others have not been written about outside academic journals. The appeal of these notorious queens, apart from their shared taste for witchcraft, murder, adultery, and incest, is that because ...more
Cara
Sep 18, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This "history" of so-called "notorious" queens of England is nothing more than a gossip column in book form--with all the superficiality and factual errors one would expect from a gossip column. There are several problems with the book. First, each entry manages to be both too general for the knowledgeable reader and too vague for the newcomer. For example, in the introductory chapter leading to the Wars of the Roses queens (Margaret of Anjou and Elizabeth Woodville), the author (Elizabeth Norto ...more
Tania
May 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I love Henry VIII books, but have read quite a few now, so wanted to move on to HF of other kings and queens, but did not know which would be most interesting. I thought this book would be helpful in selecting some possibilities. It did, but it also gave me a much better idea of how things changed (and not) for queens with the Norman conquest.

To be a good queen you had to:
1. Have sons (preferbly the kings)
2. Be of noble birth (much safer for the queen to be chosen from Europe than from the Engli
...more
Maja
To begin with I was positive about this book until I caught onto one particularly distturbing thing, that completely ruined it all for me, for once I had this in my sight I couldn't focus on anything else;Norton has the most annoying habbit of always using the phrase 'must have'. And I do believe ALWAYS!!!! Let me demonstrate by turning to a random page and count the number of times she uses it:
1)Anne must have been exhausted
2)Anne must have known
3)Anne adopted as her motto, 'the most happy' and
...more
Faye
Sep 11, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm putting this on-hold for now (11/09/17). Not a bad read, but not exactly engaging either. I'll come back to it another time.
Leslie
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-ebooks
Interesting, especially the earlier parts, which dealt with the queens with whom I was most unfamiliar. Unfortunately, though, while I certainly understand pointing out the biases of the male chroniclers who vilified these women, I felt that Norton took it way too personally and was bending over backwards to justify even the worst behavior as completely understandable in the circumstances. There were also two cases in which Henry V and Henry VI were mixed up (Henry VI lost France - he certainly ...more
Becky
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I just couldn't finish this. Too gossip column like to borrow another reviewers phrase.
Bsainsbury
Apr 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
probably needed a "family tree" somewhere to reference.
an interesting read.
K.
It’s particularly dry reading (as it’s more of a thesis than anything else), but it does give you a lot of useful facts, particularly in infamous queens, or ‘she wolves’ as the title describes. In particular, most infamous queens can be excused by today’s standards, particularly if you realize the queens can fall under at least one of these headings:

(view spoiler)
...more
Claire
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read, and a faster one than I expected. This is down to a few factors, I felt. Firstly, a lack of sources for the early Anglo-Saxon queens, making Part One brief in writing if not in scope. Secondly, Norton doesn't get bogged down in details; she sticks to the topic, brings in only what is necessary to ensure a complete picture of each queen's life, and keeps things brief. Thirdly, Norton's prose is sparse and simple, making it easily readable; a lot of historical non-fiction I've ...more
Fides
ugh. I really, really wanted to like this book. I, like some of the others who have commented, was first turned off by the author repeating unsubstantiated gossip, yet at the same time, summarily dismissing anything written by a male or a Church member. I mean, why is it so hard to believe that some of these women, I don't know, actually had faith? No, she puts everything to cunning and emotion. For example, she notes one contemporary record stating that a former queen repented and then lived ou ...more
Tiffany
I admit it, I have a thing for historical works - fictional or otherwise - about women. This booked popped out at me from a library shelf, so naturally I scooped it up. "She Wolves: The Notorious Queens of Medieval England" is, I imagine, a printing of Norton's Ph. D. thesis. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since the level of analysis is reasonably high (and in this case, the footnotes can be skipped without dire penalty to understanding). Unfortunately, though, Norton makes a few assumptio ...more
Patricia Martin
The author's thesis is that women in England, preConquest, and under the Normans were not expected to have strength or ambition to rule, and if they tried they were considerd 'unnatural' and 'unwomanly'. The wives or mothers of the saxon kings are not ones that are familiar to modern readers, but if they had power or attempted to have power, their society (and the men who wrote histories) usually classifed them as evil. After the Norman Conquest, it was acceptable to have a wife or mother as reg ...more
Xenia0201
This is a comprehensive synopsis of Medieval and Tudor queens who were notorious during their reigns for being accused of crimes ranging from greed to murder. It was well researched, save for a few mis-truths, such as the myth of Lady Jane Grey struggling to find the execution block. I found this book's greatest tragedy was the lack of editing, and Norton's injections of supposed emotion or thought of the said queen consort. "She must have been relieved", or "she must have felt" was included cou ...more
Trish
Mar 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starting out I'm finding it interesting. I've read a lot of historical fiction, not just from the Tudor era but from the Matilda vs. Stephen era as well. It may help that I'm familiar with the geneologies already, but I like this for how factual it is, but one has to be careful. The author makes some assumptions as to the personalities and feelings of the women, but she does at least provide the background information and rationale.

I've read quite a a bit in the form of historical fiction about
...more
Corinne Fitzgerald
Poor spelling, repetitive, and written in an annoyingly condescending tone of voice. Yes, I understand, accounts of the time were written by men who hated/feared women, but do I really need to be told this seventy times per chapter? Eventually I was on the side of the chroniclers just because I found this writer so irritating.
The only redeemable feature are the women chosen for study; several I actually like - based on opinions formed from other sources - and so I give this book two stars.
Ginger Jane
I can't stand speculative popular biographies, i.e. "She must have felt...". Otherwise, things were pretty good. Defo improved when we got to the Tudors, I guess because they left enough of their own primary artefacts to not have to assume the way that they felt about a given situation.
Shani Black
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book really interesting, it's a shame that such interesting women aren't known to anyone unless you search them out.
I agree it wasn't Tolstoy and it could've been written better, but it gets the information across and that's all I care about.
Jennifer Jeffris
if you know much history from this time you won't learn a lot. Anyone who knows me knows I like the queens better than the kings, so I was happy to reaxd it.
Ruby
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, england
i would have given it 5 stars if the part about the tudor queens had been better written.

KeAnne
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
Great book & easily readable
Kyrie
It lacks the spark that makes historical fiction entertaining. It just didn't hold my interest enough to make it worth finishing right now, so it goes back on the to-read shelf.
Michael Hinsley
Wonderful in parts. Also helps with genealogy. Best account of Mathilda and Stephen, and great background on the importance of Anjou. All in all a good read.
Lyn Brown
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this an excellent read.
Jennifer
Four Medieval English queens kill, cheat, steal and manipulate to stay in power. Total fun.
Tricia
rated it really liked it
Oct 24, 2015
Lora Rains
rated it really liked it
Apr 15, 2013
Jhoanne041182
rated it it was amazing
Sep 17, 2013
Violaine
rated it liked it
May 15, 2016
Rachel
rated it liked it
Jan 23, 2017
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Elizabeth Norton is a British historian specialising in the queens of England and the Tudor period. She obtained an Master of Arts in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 2003 and a masters degree in European Archaeology from the University of Oxford in 2004.

Elizabeth Norton is the author of five non-fiction works: She Wolves, The Notorious Queens of England (The Histor
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More about Elizabeth Norton...

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