She Wolves – The Notorious Queens of England
by Elizabeth Norton
The History Press (2009)
Paperback 288 pp £12.99
I always feel it’s wrong to be too critical in a book review as I have never had a book published. In this case, when the author has degrees from both Cambridge and Oxford and I don’t have one from anywhere, I feel even worse about it.
However, the back cover indicated that this was going to be a story of “bad girls” and “witchcraft, murder, adultery and incest”. That indicated a tabloid approach to the subject and I was looking forward to an interesting read.
It wasn’t. The writing style was dry and the material was from being as interesting as advertised. I was left with the distinct feeling that the writing improved as the book moved on to better known Queens, and was distinctly more interesting as it moved on to the Tudors. Not only that, but though the book made frequent references to the way women were seen and treated at various times in history, the theme was not developed.
When I read some of the comments in the reviews on Amazon, I find I’m not alone in this. I also found I had missed most of the poor editing and only spotted one of the factual errors (the “thousands” of Marian martyrs).
If I’d have paid £12.99 for this I’d have felt cheated. As it is, having paid just £4.99, I don’t feel so bad.
I do, though, feel like I’ve wasted my time reading it. To make things worse, after missing the various faults outlined in other reviews, I’m feeling insufficient as a reviewer.
There’s another book called She Wolves. I may try that one later.