Under the Medieval Oak Tree
Books by Sarah J. Hodder
As a lover of medieval history, in particular the Wars of the Roses and the Tudor era, my interest in this period of history led me to begin a project in 2018 researching the lives of the sisters of Queen Elizabeth Woodville, wife and queen of Edward IV. My interest has always been social history, particularly the lives of women and even more intricately, those women who perhaps our history books don’t tell us much about. Elizabeth herself has always held a fascination for me, but I wanted to explore what it would have been like to be one of her female siblings, out of the spotlight but still affected by the choices Elizabeth made and witness to many of the events that Elizabeth lived through. This led to my first book. ‘The Queen’s Sisters’ being accepted by John Hunt Publishing and subsequently published in March 2020. I then moved my attention to Elizabeth’s daughters. Other than Elizabeth of York, who became Queen as the wife of Henry Tudor, the other York Princesses have not been covered in detail. This led to my book ‘The York Princesses’ which, like it’s predecessor, is a collection of mini biographies on each of the York Princesses. This was published in April 2021.
My third book has focused on Cecily Bonville-Grey, the Marchioness of Dorset. Cecily was the wife of Thomas Grey and the daughter-in-law of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV. She was also the great-grandmother of Lady Jane Grey. This book is due for publication in February 2022.
I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoyed writing them!
The Queen’s Sisters
Whether Queen or commoner, the lives of women throughout history is a fascinating study. Elizabeth Woodville, ‘The White Queen’, managed to make the transition from commoner to Queen and became the epitome of medieval heroines – the commoner who married a King.
When she became the wife of Edward IV her actions changed the life of her entire family. Vilified both by their contemporaries and by many historians since, the Woodville family were centre stage during the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III. Elizabeth Woodville became the ancestress of future Kings and Queens. This book takes a fresh look at the lives of Elizabeth’s sisters.
Published March 2020
The York Princesses
As a collective, the lives of the Princesses of York span across seven decades and the rule of five different Kings. The daughters of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, they were born into an England that had been ruled over by the great Plantagenet Kings for almost three hundred years. Their young years were blighted by tragedy: the death of their beloved father, followed by the disappearance and possible murder of their two brothers, Edward and Richard of York, forever now known to history as the infamous Princes in the Tower. With their own futures uncertain during the reign of their uncle, Richard III, and their mother held under house arrest, the Princesses had to navigate their way through the tumultuous years of the 1480s before having to adjust to a new King and a new dynasty in the shape of Henry VII, who would bring about the age of the Tudors.
The stories of the York Princesses are entwined into the fabric of the history of England, as they grew up, survived and even thrived in the new Tudor age. Their lives are played out against a backdrop of coronations and jousts, births and deaths, marriages and divorces and loyalties and broken allegiances. They were the daughters, sisters and aunts of Kings, and this is their story.
Published: April 2021
Cecily Bonville-Grey was the Marchioness of Dorset, married to Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset. During her lifetime she was connected to or knew many of the figures we read about today – her stepfather was William, Lord Hastings, her mother-in-law Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen, and her uncle the Earl of Warwick. One of the richest women in England, she is relatively unknown yet her story is intertwined with the time period she inhabited – the Wars of the Roses and the emergence of the new Tudor dynasty – and she was witness to many of the events that unfolded.
Publishing date February 2022
The York Princesses:
‘A simply riveting history, “The York Princesses: The Daughters of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville” is a natural follow-up to Sarah J. Hodder’s first book, “The Queen’s Sisters”, which told the stories of the lives of the sisters of Elizabeth Woodville. Once again with laudable attention to detail and with a natural talent for bringing history to life, “The York Princesses: The Daughters of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville” will prove to be a welcome, informative, and entertaining addition to community, college and university library British & European Royal Biography collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that “The York Princesses: The Daughters of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville” is also readily available in a digital book format.Midwest Book Reviews
The York Princesses:
‘Sarah provides a great introduction into the background of the York Princesses…. she has done a wonderful job of bringing each princess to life rather than being in the background of their more famous relatives.Amy McElroy, Endo the Road
The York Princesses:
‘Hodder tells the story of strong family bonds that connected these sisters through the good times and the bad. You can tell that Hodder was passionate about the subject she was writing about as this book was very well researched. It is often difficult to tell the stories of siblings of monarchs as their sibling who sits on the throne tends to overshadow them, but Hodder brought the stories of the York princesses into the light’.Heidi Malagisi, Adventures of a Tudor Nerd
‘The Queen’s Sisters’ is a strong debut by Sarah J Hodder. Her passion for the subject of the Woodville sisters is clear to behold, as she rescues them from the shadow of their sister, the Queen consort of Edward IV.Tamise Hills, Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide
A thoroughly engaging read. Hodder places the Woodville sisters in the context of their times, giving us a deeper look into the lives of the women at the heart of the conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. So often, historians tend to focus on the “celebrities” of the period and forget the ancillary people who played important roles behind the scenes. Hodder brings these women out of the shadows and gives them voice, contributing to a better understanding of the world they inhabited.Adrienne Dillard, author of Catherine Carey in a Nutshell
From the first page, you can see why the author is passionate about telling their story – to right history’s misconception of the family and to give these women their own identity; as all too often when discussed, they have been labelled together as the ‘Woodville Clan’.
I like the addition of the places to visit that have the Woodville connection – my to visit list has gotten that little bit longer !!!!!
Well written and I only wish that it was longer.Kate Wallace, The Tudor Age
The sisters of Elizabeth Woodville are finally brought to life! This is a fascinating short book that looks at the medieval women that surrounded the infamous wife of Edward IV and are often overlooked. The author has made the most of the sources to delve into what is known of their lives. From Jacquetta to Katherine, we find out in one volume about Elizabeth’s closest kin. A great debut and a must-have for those interested in this period in history.Sarah-Beth Watkins
5 Star Rating: This is a fantastic debut! Beautifully written and referenced throughout. The book dedicates a chapter to each of the Woodville daughters and I really liked the citation used at the beginning of each chapter. There is little information available on these ladies and the author has done a fantastic job of researching what’s available and bringing it together to provide a glimpse of the lives of these females and the impact on their lives following their sisters marriage to Edward IV. It’s a short book but I enjoyed it as I found Hodder has stuck to the topic when it would have been easy to fill more pages with unnecessary information about the era. I am hugely interested in the Plantagenet and Tudor era so this grabbed my attention straight away and I was not disappointed. My only regret it that there isn’t more information available as I like the authors writing style and could easily have read more! I am looking forward to reading more by this author!Amazon review
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