Samantha's Reviews > The House of Beaufort: The Bastard Line that Captured the Crown

The House of Beaufort by Nathen Amin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: british-history, nonfiction, plantagenets

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the late Plantagenet era. The Beauforts are a family that hovers around the edges of royalty for a century before they seemingly disappear . . . . except that the last Beaufort, by blood if not by name, is on the throne.

Amin unravels the complicated family ties of the Beauforts, creating clarity for anyone who has wondered how this 'bastard line' managed to hold such incredible power. By the time of the Wars of the Roses, the Beaufort family had spread and married into enough noble lines that there were truly those with Beaufort blood on both sides, including Edward IV himself through his mother, Cecily Neville. Somehow, the author manages to explain all these interwoven relationships without making the reader's head spin. For that alone, this book deserves every one of those 5 stars.

I appreciated that this was a balanced look at each person included. Yes, the focus is the Beauforts, but their weaknesses and mistakes are covered just as thoroughly as their strengths and triumphs. Unlike some modern non-fiction, I do not feel a need to label this as a narrative leaning in any particular direction or favoring a certain point-of-view. It is simply a comprehensive and understandable record of the Beaufort family from its birth, through a tumultuous and stunning rise, until its tragic end. (Unless you count Henry Tudor as a Beaufort, then they claim the ultimate victory.)

This book is the brilliant result of tireless research and a passion to reveal the truth about a family that is always mentioned on the periphery of historical events without often managing to be the focus. The Beauforts deserved this book, and it will help clarify the family's role to anyone who has only encountered them through historical fiction.

I received an electronic copy of this book from the author for review purposes, but I will be purchasing it in hardcover because I see it being a source that I will wish to reference again and again.
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Reading Progress

February 16, 2017 – Shelved
February 16, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
February 16, 2017 – Shelved as: british-history
February 16, 2017 – Shelved as: nonfiction
February 16, 2017 – Shelved as: plantagenets
September 28, 2017 – Started Reading
September 28, 2017 –
page 37
10.76%
October 2, 2017 –
page 41
11.92% "Once settled into her role as a wealthy baron’s wife, Joan focused on producing several more children to strengthen the burgeoning Beaufort-Neville alliance. Ironically, it would be the descendants of this union that would ultimately destroy the Beauforts as a force some seventy years later."
October 2, 2017 –
page 54
15.7% "It is unclear whether this Mortimer-Yorkist claim was ever truly more senior than that of Lancaster, as is often supposed. There are valid arguments for both sides, but ultimately it was the ability to physically seize, and keep, the throne that determined who became king."
October 6, 2017 –
page 82
23.84% "excepta dignitate regali"
October 12, 2017 –
page 110
31.98%
October 13, 2017 –
page 117
34.01% "put out alle the Frensch people, both man, woman and chylde, and stuffe the toun with Englischmen"
October 18, 2017 –
page 132
38.37% "It was only a matter of time until Henry V of England also became Henri II of France...."
October 25, 2017 –
page 147
42.73%
November 18, 2017 –
page 219
63.66% "The commons claimed Suffolk intended to capitalise on the royal lineage of his six-year-old ward Margaret Beaufort...it is notable as the first known instance of when a potential Beaufort claim to the English throne is mentioned, some three decades before Margaret’s own son Henry Tudor emerged as a Beaufort-descended candidate for the crown."
November 18, 2017 –
page 250
72.67% "Like Henry of Bolingbroke in 1399, York was faced with a decision to either accept his attainder and exile for life, or to come out fighting."
November 29, 2017 –
page 260
75.58% " Edward could galvanise his troops in a way King Henry, cowering behind the walls of York fifteen miles away, was unable to do..."
December 1, 2017 –
page 282
81.98% "A Yorkist like Warwick was in charge of the Lancastrian government, while a Lancastrian inclined duke in Burgundy was financing a Yorkist conspiracy."
December 1, 2017 – Finished Reading

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