Ladies of Magna Carta: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century England

By Sharon Bennett Connolly

I admit I did not know a great deal about the Magna Carta. I have read a little about the Baron’s revolt and the rule of King John, but everything I had read was through the eyes and doings of the men at the time. Sharon Bennett Connolly’s book strips this away and views the creation of the Magna Carter through the eyes of the women that lived during this momentous time in English history. This was a fascinating angle to explore and I was genuinely surprised to learn how the women of this age were far more than the meek, helpless women often portrayed in history.

Bennet Connolly explores the lives of a number of women during this age in English history. Some of these women were able to fight against the expectations of the time and rise to power and hold a great deal of influence. Bennett Connolly explores how these women were able to use the Magna Carter to their own benefit and the benefit of their families. Yet on the other hand there were women who were horrifically affected by the Magna Carter and the rule of King John and who was helpless to the decisions of others. Bennett Connolly details their tragic lives and how thee women suffered greatly because of the Magna Carter.

This was a fantastic book. It is clear from the very start that Bennett Connolly has done a great deal of research for this book. It is difficult to gain an understanding of the thoughts, feelings and personal actions of women during this time when the world, both political and personal was dominated by men. Yet Bennet Connolly has used primary sources such as court records and letters to bring these fascinating women to life once more.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sharon Bennett Connolly’s book focusing on the ladies who were affected by and lived through the creation of the Magna Carta. I highly recommend!

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