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Elizabeth of York: The First Tudor Queen

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  3,333 ratings  ·  524 reviews
Bestselling historian Alison Weir tells the poignant, suspenseful and sometimes tragic story of Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Yorkist King Edward IV and sister of the Princes in the Tower, a woman whose life was inextricably caught up in the turmoil of the Wars of the Roses and the establishment of the usurping Tudor dynasty. She was the wife of Henry VII and mother of ...more
Hardcover, 556 pages
Published November 7th 2013 by Jonathan Cape
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Misfit
The most overused words to be found in an Alison Weir non-fiction book:

"Possibly, might have been, maybe and could have been."

Bah. The main problem with any non-fiction work on Elizabeth of York is that there is so little known about Elizabeth. Yes, she lived through (and survived!) a very tumultuous period in England's history, but she was first a king's daughter (a lot of those years living in sanctuary), then as wife and queen consort to Henry VII. She was devoted to the church, husband and
...more
Sarah (Presto agitato)
Elizabeth of York (1466-1503) is a woman who gets a little lost in history, overshadowed by her more flamboyant relatives. Her son, Henry VIII, surrounded himself with larger-than-life drama, while her father, Edward IV, was enmeshed in the conflict of the Wars of the Roses. Her uncle was the notorious usurper Richard III, immortalized by Shakespeare as one of historys great villains. He probably had Elizabeths young brothers murdered in the Tower of London, but mystery surrounds those events to ...more
Melisende
What did I think - not much I am sorry to say. Although Weir is not my favourite author, I am prepared to put aside my dislike to read - and objectively - what she has written - and for the record I have read a number of her books - most I have disliked, one however, I did like. This, I think I can add to the "did not like" pile.

Firstly, Elizabeth's younger years are quite shadowy but Weir manages to flesh these out by giving us a history lesson - really the first seven chapters read like a tome
...more
Leah
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
May or may not, that is the question...

At what stage does biography become pointless? I would suggest that the answer to that question is when the historical record doesn't provide enough information to allow for any real insight into or knowledge of the subject. And that, in a nutshell, is why I have abandoned this book at the halfway point.

Elizabeth of York probably had a fascinating life. She may have been in love with her husband, Henry VII. On the other hand, she may have been cruelly
...more
Orsolya
It appears that as of late, there is a boost of interest in the reigns of Edward IV, Richard III, and Henry VII (which is certainly not a bad thing). This brings with it a curiosity in the lesser-discussed female figures of these times. One of these is Elizabeth of York. Alison Weir attempts to reveal some Henry VIIs Queen in, Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World.

The Subtitle to Elizabeth of York is truly fitting as Weirs work is really about Elizabeths world versus about Elizabeth,
...more
Rebecca Huston
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only diehard fans
Shelves: england, 15th-century
There are times when I want to scream at an author Stop! Stop writing! Unfortunately, Alison Weir keeps churning out these Tudor biographies and novels, and this time she went too far even for me -- this was a biography that took its subject and sucked all the life and interest out of it, leaving behind bare trivia about account books, endless repetition of details, and more than six hundred pages of heavily padded material. I actually fell asleep during this one, and given my passion for Tudor ...more
Katie
Jan 13, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you like conjecture, assumptions and unfounded generalizations, this is the book for you! When I heard that Alison Weir was writing a biography of Elizabeth of York, I was excited. At the same time, I wondered, How could anyone write a book about Elizabeth of York? So little is known about her. The answer is: by making shit up.

Alison Weir has a definite perspective on the Wars of the Roses, and she doesn't let the facts or unknowns stand in the way of her opinions! By page 50, I was troubled
...more
Leanda Lisle
Elizabeth of York was the first Tudor Queen and the dullest. But she had been a very different princess. As Alison Weir reminds us, her young life was filled with scandal and violence.

When Elizabeth was born England was being torn apart by a family quarrel that became known as the Wars of the Roses. Weir claims contemporaries called it the Cousins War, which certainly describes what was happening, namely a power struggle between the royal cousins of the red rose House Lancaster and the rival
...more
Faith Justice
I didn't rate this one because it's one of those books that will thrill some and bore others. Tudor junkies or those writing HF in this period, will find lots of great information about expenses, dress, architecture, who was where when, etc. For the casual reader who wants some insight into Elizabeth of York, the woman, it's a long slog to get the occasional nugget/insight hidden by all the detail. I found it tedious and basically skimmed the chapters of accounts and guest lists attending the ...more
Sandy
Mar 03, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This should have been called speculative fiction. Almost everything is based on "this is hypothetical" or "this is speculative" or "maybe this happened" or "one can imagine that." It appears that Weir has a desire to adulate Elizabeth of York, so we keep hearing over and over and over again how wonderful she is - but there's nothing there to support this except Weir's own statements about how wonderful she is (and occasional comments made by lackeys of Henry VII). I have nothing against ...more
Patti
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alison Weir is one of my favorite authors in the historical fiction genre because she is also an historian who finds the right mix of accuracy and intrigue. There's been a trend in historical fiction lately to make interesting figures of the past considerably more controversial than they are, and I love that Alison Weir resists. So I was thrilled to receive an advance review copy of Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This book
...more
Matt
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
In another of her stellar biographies, Weir presents the reader with a detailed account of an essential actor in the Tudor Dynasty, Elizabeth of York. The tome explores the origins of this significant woman, mother to Henry VIII and grandmother to Elizabeth I, but also posits that she was essential to the English line of succession in her own right. While Elizabeth was a supporter of her Tudor family, when the reader explores Weir's research and what is known in history, the one-time Queen of ...more
Naiad Lyne
The Most Boring Tudor Queen

Elizabeth is...overshadowed by her successors, the wives of Henry VIII writes Alison Weir. And you know what? After reading this book you understand that it happened for a reason. While it is tempting to assume that Elizabeth of York was somehow unjustly pushed to the background of history in favour of her sons marriage life or the glorious rule of her granddaughter and namesake, in reality this became possible because of Elizabeth of York herself, not because of some
...more
Brian
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a good, well researched work. Yet, it was not a good read. Regularly the author provides us with the details of her research. These summaries of the trustworthiness of past chroniclers, as well as their supposed biases read as apologies for what is recorded. Given that most of the work is presented as a factual narrative, the presence of each discussion serves instead to disrupt the flow of the story. In other places, the author evidences the depth of the research by long lists of ...more
Karen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine
3 - 3.5

Disclaimer: Copy read via Netgalley.

Note: I cannot stress how much better this book is compared to Nancy Harvey' biogrpahy of Elizabeth of York. I feel the 3-3.5 stars belies the above fact.

Elizabeth of York is a shadowy figure. She is mother of Great Harry. She is the wife of that miser Henry VII. She is the grandmother of the beloved Virgin Queen. She is the sister of those tragic princes. She is the product of a love match.

She is a puzzle and cipher. She simply is, and her seemingly
...more
Jennifer
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is not a biography of Elizabeth of York. It is a brief history of the War of the Roses, followed by the chronological events of Henry VII's kingship. As far as information pertaining to Elizabeth goes we are basically presented with an account of Elizabeth's privy purse expenditure; figures and sums all about her wardrobe, her servants, her gifts and various important events. If you like that sort of thing then great, this book is full of it, but for me I found it totally boring. I wanted ...more
Jeff M
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the seventh non-fiction book I have read from Alison Weir, and the only one I cannot recommend.

Elizabeth of York has a tantalizing resume for a biography: daughter of one king, sister to one king, niece to one king, husband to one king, mother of the most famous king, and grandmother of one king and two queens. As it turns out, though, she is a terrible subject for biography - at least one that is 450 pages long - for two reasons: (1) there is not enough source material about her and
...more
Simon
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Weir keeps writing books about topics I am interested in, and I read them all, even though I know that there is not enough knowledge of Elizabeth to get a bio out of it. Which leaves Her World, and Weir's insights into that are not worth reading either. Nothing makes this more obviously true than her treatment of the Buck letter. According to Weir, the letter 1) existed and 2) was an obviously acceptable missive for a woman Weir describes as "nice", "gentle" and "good" with monotonous regularity ...more
Vanessa
Alright, I know that very little is known about Elizabeth of York, but my goodness I was rather board reading all the lists of her expenses, the lists of the people who served her and how much they were paid, each item that went into her birthing chamber, etc. The sad thing is I usually like the nitpicky research, but this was a bit much. The interesting parts all ended with saying something along the line of "it is not known what Elizabeth's feeling were about..." and then Weir would go Ito ...more
Samantha
Confession time. I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would.

Alright, maybe that's not saying much since it did spend some time on my "never-gonna-happen" shelf. I received this book for Christmas and it popped up as a group read, so happen it did.

The opening chapters of this book were almost as annoying as I thought they would be. Toning down her anti-Richard tone, she retells her Princes in the Tower theory. Yes, she still casts Richard III as the villain, but she sounds slightly more like
...more
Christina
I received this early copy from NetGalley.

I'm having trouble deciding exactly what I thought of this book. Alison Weir was the historian who introduced me to my favorite medieval figure, Eleanor of Aquitaine. I also greatly respect her biography on Isabella of France. When I heard she was writing a biography on Elizabeth of York I was intrigued. Not much is known about this elusive queen, despite her being at the center of the storm during the latter half of the Wars of the Roses. The primary
...more
happy
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-english
With this biography Ms. Weir has written a very engaging, readable look at the end of the War of the Roses and the beginnings of the Tudor Dynasty. Unfortunately, as with some of her recent biographies of medieval women, there does not appear to be enough primary sources to justify her conclusions or a full biography. This results in a look at history of the times, based on where Elizabeth was rather than a good solid look at the person she was and the effect she had on the events surrounding ...more
Pete daPixie
I'm sure 'Elizabeth of York' would not be an easy biography to complete. Therefore not an easy review to write. As Alison Weir writes on p200, "Later writers had little to say about her, though. 'Besides her dutifulness to her husband, and fruitfulness in her children, little can be extracted of her personal character,' observed Thomas Fuller in the 1660's, and his words sum up a problem faced by her biographers today, because much about her has to be inferred from external evidence."

There were
...more
Jo Burl
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a lot swirling in my mind about this book and I fear I will forget things, but if you don't start a review you'll never finish it, so here goes.

I received my copy as an advanced readers copy from NetGalley, a wonderful site, and I am unsure if the published book will be exactly like this ARC, but I hope so, only with pictures. Please put in LOTS of pictures, especially in Appendix I.

The first thing I noticed about this book, and Alison Weir actually comments on after the introduction in
...more
Rinn
I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Also reviewed on my blog, Rinn Reads.

I learnt about the Tudors endlessly at school. It seemed to be our history topic every other year, but we always started with the infamous Henry VIII, and then moved on to his children. Therefore I really know very little about Henry VII, and his wife Elizabeth, in comparison particularly Elizabeth, who barely seems to have gotten a mention in the school textbooks. It
...more
Jaylia3
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly scholarly royal biography thats as vivid and irresistible as gossip

Elizabeth of York wont be released until December 3, 2013, but history lovers may want to put this lavish and detailed biography on their holiday wish lists now. One of my favorite ways to absorb the twists, turns, and ambiance of the past is through the life of an interesting person in a fascinating time, and Elizabeth of York fulfills that compulsion thoroughly.

Her father was Edward IV, who overthrew Henry VI, the
...more
Ionia
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hours upon hours of research is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of what to say about this book. Truly, there is no comparison to this work when it comes to the depth of information and logical and intelligent conclusions the author has put together. Other books on the subject stand down in shame.

This being said, I think whether or not you will enjoy this book is going to depend largely on why you are interested in reading it. If you are simply looking for a lightweight read for
...more
Tanya
Jun 23, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book, well-received in the press, did not live up to the hype. I found it boring and sleep-inducing. There is little known about Elizabeth of York despite her being an incredibly important figure in the War of the Roses. From this book, we learn of her circumstances and of her expenditures, of her formidable female relatives whose personalities are projected across the centuries, but Elizabeth comes off as a passive figure who fills in the blank of, "The marriage of Henry Tudor and ______ ...more
Lori
Sep 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can not even begin to imagine the extensive research that went into this novel... fact is just as exciting as fiction when it comes to England's Medieval Royals!!! Elizabeth of York lived a life that seems unimaginable... I really enjoyed the first half of this but started skimming the second half due to all the meticulous details!!! I did like how Weir would raise questions many people still have today about events surrounding the Plantagenets downfall and the Tudors rise!!! She definitely is ...more
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Tudor History Lovers: January 2014 - Elizabeth of York, by Alison Weir 59 117 Feb 16, 2014 04:19AM  

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Alison Weir is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens, and of historical fiction. Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her formal training in history at teacher training
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