Mistress of the Monarchy by Alison Weir

Having read, and enjoyed, Anya Seton’s great romantic classic, Katherine, and being an avid student of British royal history, I was eager to read this book.  However, I’m not at all sure that there is enough historical evidence to merit a such a biography. 

Most of the references to Katherine Swynford in medieval sources have to do with grants of land and money, along with a few rather vitriolic allusions in monastic chronicles.  Hence, a great portion of this book is taken up with rather dry descriptions of medieval buildings about which I couldn’t be less interested.  Ms. Weir also seems to be extrapolating a great portion of her story from the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer.  Although Chaucer was Katherine’s brother-in-law, he still wrote fictitious, and, sometimes, plagiaristic, poetry.

Mistress of the Monarchy is no where near as enlightening, or entertaining, as Ms. Weir’s previous biographies, such as those of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabelle of France, and Mary, Queen of Scots.

Rating:  3 out of 5 stars


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