winner of the Beatrice White prize 2006
Sharply written, impeccably documented, structured with the trip and pace of a good thriller
- Hilary Spurling, DAILY TELEGRAPH
BLOOD AND ROSES is nothing less than a ripping yarn
The historical and political impact of the Wars of the Roses has been well chronicled in all its grim and bloody detail. But we know almost nothing about the thoughts and feelings of the people who lived through the conflict.
Almost nothing, but not quite, for while all of this was going on, a Norfolk gentry family called the Pastons were writing letters – letters about politics, about business, about love, about shopping, and about each other. And, extraordinarily, these letters have survived the centuries; and form the earliest, great collection of private correspondence in the English language.
BLOOD AND ROSES follows the Paston family across three generations, tracing the turbulent politics of the family’s affairs, relating them at every step to the unfolding drama of the Wars of the Roses. And it explores their experiences of birth, marriage, death and the realities of daily life to produce a vivid evocation of the medieval world.
BLOOD AND ROSES draws on a wealth of original historical research to tell the dramatic, moving, often funny and always human story of one family’s journey through the most tempestuous periods of English history.
Helen Castor is a Fellow in History at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, who also writes reviews and features for the Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Guardian. She spent ten years working on the Paston letters, the subject of her first book, BLOOD AND ROSES, which won the Beatrice White Prize in 2006 for outstanding scholarly work in the field of English Literature. More recently, she published SHE WOLVES, a popular history book on the women who ruled England before Elizabeth I, which has received widespread critical acclaim.
She also recently wrote and presented several episodes for BBC Radio 4’s Making History series. She lives in London with her husband and son.