Queens of the Conquest: England's Medieval Queens

16 CDs. 17:27 hrs. Recorded Bks. Sept. 2017. ISBN 9781470376390. $123.75. digital download. HIST
Beginning with Mathilda of Flanders, the wife of William the Conqueror, and proceeding through Matilda of Scotland, Adeliza of Louvain, Matilda of Boulogne, and Empress Maude, Weir (Katherine of Aragón; The True Queen) recounts the triumphs, defeats, and sometimes contentious, often mundane lives of the queens of England, piecing together decisions and possible motivations of these strong, determined, and at times intransigent women. Gleaning a wealth of views from official documents, signed charters, journals, historical accounts, and other well-documented resources, Weir delivers a story of intrigue, fierce purpose, and intertwined histories. While this title deals primarily with the daily lives, travels, and significant events concerning these women, the book rightly includes much-needed background regarding the ruling kings, social constructs, and political atmosphere that affected the queens. Narrator Julia Franklin lends a traditional, cultured reading with a deliberately paced performance. Though this tempo provides most listeners with much needed space in which to organize details mentally, some listeners will find the pace lethargic. The audience will also find it difficult to distinguish between opinions presented by the author and quotes from other sources.
VERDICT This title, though admirable in many respects, will be of little appeal. Libraries with larger collections or a need for European history and women's studies nonfiction will find this a solid addition. ["A fascinating story supported by excellent historical research": LJ 9/15/17 starred review of the Ballantine hc.]
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