In The Woodvilles: The Wars of the Roses and England's Most Infamous Family, Susan Higginbotham takes on the slander against that remarkable family with a proper legal approach and a great deal of digging into the legal papers of the time.
Blood and Roses: One Family's Struggle and Triumph During the Wars of the Roses.
Helen Castor gives us so much more than Paston letters! She has delved deep into other clues and provides amazing insights into the thinking and the legal system of 14th and 15th century England.
For example, I have not found in other histories particular mention that there was neither a standing army nor a police force at that time. Citizens were expected to capture and deal with their own criminals. Yikes! In the heat of the moment, folks can so easily be dead wrong.
I am enjoying Matthew Lewis's The Wars of the Roses: The Key Players in the Struggle for Supremacy. His other non-fiction is also about this era so I know he has invested his time in that instead of dancing off to the Norman Conquest or WWII. He manages to include a great deal about motivations without claiming to read anybody's mind.
Then there's his prose: "..strong enemy's watched from just across the border, their menacing presence like the bright eyes of hungry wolves glinting in the dark forest of an uncertain future."
Paul Murray Kendall is beloved by the Richard III Society. His Richard the Third is well researched, but he proves himself a master with adjectives. When I flipped the book open the other day, my eyes landed on a sentence about, "The vain queen." Elizabeth nee Wydeville was beautiful, but I have not in thirty-six years found another source that described her as vain. As for being greedy—. In her will, she leaves her dear relatives little more than blessings. Her son-in-law Henry VII must have cut her out of his budget! A greedy woman would have had thousands of valuable things squirreled away.
Arlene Okerlund's Elizabeth Wydeville: The Slandered Queen is an excellent and interesting source. Any speculation is clearly noted.
In Queenship and Power: Elizabeth of York, Dr. Arlene Okerlund gives us a view of the England Edward IV's oldest princess grew up it. For example, she contrasts the elegant order of royal palaces with the chaos of the Westminster Abbey compound where Princess Elizabeth lived in sanctuary with her mother and two sisters. (Where was this four-year-old while her brother was being born?)
As the queen of Henry VII, Elizabeth reigned over an elegant court and great feasts. Okerlund shares with us lists she has found of decoration, entertainment, and even the menu.
George Goodwin Fatal Colours: Towton 1461 England's Most Brutal Battle. George Goodwin does not rely too much on what he learned majoring in history, but avails himself of the latest research and digs into the archeology. From these he gives us an interesting tale of the background of the battle and a peek into the logistics behind such huge armies.
The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter. Allan and Elizabeth Kronzcks book is actually an encyclopedia of magic from various countries. It even includes what centuries certain things were believed. 'Tis very useful to someone trying to understand the thinking of 15th century people. (They had no problem with black cats or the number thirteen.)
The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer. This is my answer book, even though I am writing about the next century. It not only has highways, clothing, and prices; it has a chapters on medicine and law. Now I know that Anthony's work as a justice of the peace would be right around his manor and King's Lynn.
To get a feel for life on a great sailing ship, Two Years Before the Mast, is the real thing. Richard Henry Dana wrote it from the journal he kept on his adventure. Although it was published in 1840, it is available on Amazon in paper, Kindle, and audio formats.
Peter Tremayne celebrates the highly civilized land of 7th century Ireland with his series of mysteries. They are solved by Fidelma. Besides a detective, she is an Irish princess, a 'nun', and a lawyer.
In Behold a Pale Horse, Peter Tremayne has Fidelma in Italy where murder stalks a monastery. Is it due to the lure of a legendary Roman treasure?