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Books by the author
Sarah J. Hodder

 

*NEW BOOK - Due November 2022

THE WOODVILLE WOMEN: 100 YEARS OF PLANTAGENET AND TUDOR HISTORY

This is the tale of three generations of women, linked by their name, Elizabeth, and their family connections. Individually they each have their own fascinating story to tell; together their combined stories take us on a journey through a century of English life. Beginning in the reign of the great Plantagenet Kings and ending in the reign of perhaps England’s most famous dynasty, that of the Tudor Kings and Queens, these three women experienced some of the most exciting and troubled times in English history. From the birth of our first Elizabeth, to the death of our last, they lived through wars and coronations, births and deaths, celebration and tragedy. Mother, daughter and granddaughter - this is the story of Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Elizabeth Grey.

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books


'I would call this book history from the women’s point of view. The standard history books are full of politics, battles and male roles. Here we can read how the women felt when their men fought'.
Empress of History & Books: NetGalley review 


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About my writing

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. This led to my first book. ‘The Queen’s Sisters’ being accepted by John Hunt Publishing and subsequently published in March 2020. Since then I have written on other women related in some way to The White Queen and whose lives are not explored as often as other more famous women.
I am currently working on my 5th book for Pen and Sword.

 
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Published February 2022

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, her uncle the Earl of Warwick and her great grandaughter Lady Jane Grey. 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.

Publisher: John Hunt Publishing

 
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PUBLISHED 2020

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. This book takes a fresh look at the lives of Elizabeth’s sisters.

Publisher: John Hunt Publishing

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PUBLISHED 2021

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, 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.

Publisher: John Hunt Publishing

 

Praise for Cecily Bonville-Grey, Marchioness of Dorset

Cecily Bonville-Grey

CAMILLE BROWN, GOODREADS REVIEWER

The book itself is interesting, it's a good point of view of the Tudor era that is a bit different from what we usually get. Sarah J. Hodder gives as much information about Cecily as she can, but the problem is that there is very little available. This is a common issue for all the lesser known people in history. The author does her best to go around this by providing a lot of background information. 
More than a book about Cecily, it is about all the people close to her and how they fit in history. It is very well researched and written. I learned a lot from it. A family tree would have been useful. 
Definitely recommended if you are interested in the time period. It's a short and accessible read.

Cecily Bonville-Grey

AMY MCELROY, ENDO THE ROAD

Although there are some direct records relating to Cecily, most of the evidence has to be interpreted from the men who were part of her life. Hodder has pieced this evidence together to give us insight into Cecily’s life, where she lived, how she used her fortune and of course her Will when she passed away.  Cecily certainly had some very influential family members including the Kingmaker and William Hastings but also left a legacy through her children including Lady Jane Grey. 

For someone lesser known Hodder has managed to bring Cecily out of the shadows and I found her to be a fascinating lady. I’ve certainly enjoyed this book and learnt alot not just about Cecily but also her family as Hodder also includes a brief overview of what happened to her children. For anyone wishing to know about Cecily or the era from a female point of view this is ideal.

Cecily Bonville-Grey

HEIDI MALAGISI, ADVENTURES OF A TUDOR NERD

The story of Cecily Bonville- Grey is a delightful read. Sarah J. Hodder shone a light on a woman whose family tends to outshine her. I found Cecily’s story fascinating and gives readers a better understanding of how the transition from the Plantagenets to the Tudors affected those families closest to the throne. Suppose you want another fabulous book about a forgotten woman who lived in the 15th and 16th centuries. In that case, you should check out “Cecily Bonville-Grey- Marchioness of Dorset: From Riches to Royalty” by Sarah J. Hodder.

Cecily Bonville-Grey

BOOK ADDICTION

There is an old Chinese proverb: 'May you live in interesting times'. Cecily Bonville-Grey certainly lived in interesting times. She lived through several different reigns, including the contentious one of Richard III, and she moved in court circles, because her uncle was the Kingmaker, the Earl of Warwick, and her stepfather was Lord Hastings. She married the son of Queen Elizabeth Woodville from her first marriage, Thomas Grey. Cecily was also lucky enough to have her own inheritance, which was quite large.

It is hard to tell what Cecily was like because there are few details about her personality, but we can tell that she was pious, kind to her tenants and loving towards her family. She was incredibly artistic, as well, designing a magnificent north aisle for the Church of Ottery St Mary in Devon. Sarah Hodder makes the period come to life with vivid and colourful details about ceremonies, pageants and the medieval way of life. I enjoyed learning about Cecily, and reading more about her relatives.

Cecily Bonville-Grey

SERENA STONE - BOOK REVIEWER

I have read another book by this author and really enjoyed it. This author is very much interested in women during the time of the War of the Roses and the early Tudor period. I really like that she picks women who may not have otherwise gotten to have their voices heard. Here will follow Cecily Bonville, who I had never heard of until I picked up this book. We follow her as she witnesses some of the most important and interesting events in Britain. While the book itself isn’t a detailed biography of Cecily’s life, we do get to learn a lot about the events that took place during the course of her life. When you finish this book, you will walk away with seeing just how much can happen during the course of one person’s lifetime. It’s just amazing how much and will happen during a lifetime. I just walked away and started thinking about that.

What I really liked about this book was the fact that the author was willing to write about a woman who we really don’t know that much about. We know about her family, but the woman herself, there just isn’t a lot out there. By writing her story and giving her own book, it’s almost like Cecily finally gets to be heard. When you read the book, you will see that she is often overshadowed by family members and almost cast to the side by the men in her life. Here, it’s almost like she finally gets to be heard and gets to be the star of her own story. It’s like she is finally getting to have her voice spoken aloud for the first time. Now, granted, this book does go a lot into the events during her life and those around. Again, I think this has to due with the fact that so much of her life is just unknown to us. Still, by having this book, we do get to see just how much she witnessed and went through during the course of her life-instead of just being someone hovering in the background.

The writing is very easy to get into. Many times we will pick up a nonfiction and expect it to have this almost textbook feeling. This isn’t the case here. This book uses simple, everyday words that everyone should be able to follow along with without worry. If you are worried about not knowing anything about Cecily and this time period, I think you will be okay. The author does a great job at giving you enough background information that you should be able to understand the book and the information without any issue. 

 

Praise for The York Princesses

The York Princesses

MID-WEST BOOK REVIEWS

‘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.

The York Princesses

AMY MCELROY, ENDO THE ROAD

‘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.

The York Princesses

HEIDI MALAGISI, ADVENTURES OF A TUDOR NERD

‘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’.

 

Praise for the Queen's Sisters

The Queen's Sisters

TAMISE HILLS, LADY JANE GREY REFERENCE GUIDE

‘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.

The Queen's Sisters

ADRIENNE DILLARD, AUTHOR OF CATHERINE CAREY IN A NUTSHELL

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.

The Queen's Sisters

KATE WALLACE, THE TUDOR AGE

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.

The Queen's Sisters

SARAH BETH-WATKINS, AUTHOR

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.

 

Coming soon....

DETAILS OF MY 5TH BOOK FOR PEN AND SWORD PUBLISHERS

Due 2024
The Sisters of Richard III: The Plantagenet Daughters of York.
A new look at the Wars of The Roses and the start of the Tudor era through the eyes of the York sisters, Anne, Elizabeth and Margaret.