The Wars of the Roses tore England asunder. Over the course of thirty years, four kings lost their thrones, countless men lost their lives on the battlefield or their heads on the block, and others found themselves suddenly flush with gold. Yet until now, little has been written about the ordinary people who lived through this extraordinary time.
Blood and Roses is a gripping, intimate story of one determined family conducting everyday business against the backdrop of a disintegrating society and savage civil war. Drawing on a rare trove of letters discovered in a tumbledown stately home, historian Helen Castor reconstructs the turbulent affairs of the Pastons through three generations of births, marriages, and deaths as they single-mindedly worked their way up from farmers to landed gentry. It is a remarkable chronicle of devotion, ambition, and survival that brings a remote and hazy era to vibrant new life.
Helen Castor is a historian of medieval England and a Bye-Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Her first book, Blood and Roses, was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the English Association’s Beatrice White Prize. Her second book, She-Wolves, was selected as one of the books of the year by The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, Financial Times, and BBC History Magazine. She lives in London.