Tuesday 28 January 2020

Forgotten Royal Women : The King and I by Erin Lawless @rinylou @penswordbooks #BookReview

Great women are hidden behind great men, or so they say, and no man is greater than the king. For centuries, royal aunts, cousins, sisters and mothers have watched history unfold from the shadows, their battlefields the bedchamber or the birthing room, their often short lives remembered only through the lens of others.

But for those who want to hear them, great stories are still there to be told: the medieval princess who was kidnapped by pirates; the duchess found guilty of procuring love potions; the queen who was imprisoned in a castle for decades.

Bringing thirty of these royal women out of the shadows, along with the footnotes of their families, this collection of bite-sized biographies will tell forgotten tales and shine much needed light into the darkened corners of women's history.

Forgotten Royal Women : The King and I by Erin Lawless was published in February last year by Pen & Sword Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I read quite a lot of non-fiction, often dipping in and out of the book over a few weeks. I do like to discover things that I know little about, and I certainly knew nothing about the majority of these forgotten royal women.

Erin Lawless writes about thirty women, ranging from Scota; a pseudohistorical character in Irish and Scottish mythology, right through to Princess Charlotte; the only child of George, Prince of Wales (later to become King George IV) and Caroline of Brunswick.

Erin Lawless writes in a very accessible way. All too often, non-fiction can be a little like reading a school text book, but she really engages her reader. The short chapters, almost conversational in style are both interesting and easily understood.  I found it interesting to read about how the Royal lineage has changed down the centuries, whether because of death, or marriage.

At the moment, the media is full of stories about our current Royal women, and I found it fascinating to compare and contrast how Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex is being portrayed in today's press. She certainly will never be a 'forgotten royal woman', and I wonder how many of those featured in this book would be better remembered if they'd lived during times of Social Media?

This an ideal way to begin to find out more about these forgotten women. The book has certainly sparked an interest for me. I was particularly interested in the stories of Eleanor Cobham and Princess Charlotte.

The book is illustrated with black and white portraits of the women, and line drawings of scenes from their lives.

Erin Lawless is the bestselling author of several works of contemporary fiction with Harper Collins. 
A Classicist by training, graduating from the University of London, Erin decided to combine her love of a good narrative with her love of history, blogging regularly about any fascinating historical titbit, anecdote or personage that appealed. 
With her trade mark humour and just a smidge of irreverence, Erin gives the bite-size biography a modern and accessible flavour. 

Find out more at www.erinlawless.co.uk
Twitter @rinylou
Author Page on Facebook

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