A Woman of Influence: The Spectacular Rise of Alice Spencer in Tudor England.
This book comes highly recommended by our customers. How did Alice Spencer [1559-1637 ] rise from daughter of a sheep farmer to one of the most prominent women of her time? Historian Wilkie meticulously researched her dramatic life as she battled two periods of intense scandal that make detective fiction look bland by comparison. Major life events include the mysterious death of her first husband the Earl of Derby, her marriage to England's most powerful lawyer Thomas Egerton, and her son-in-law's trial for rape and sodomy that was so sordid women were not permitted to attend to protect their honor, which could be ruined just by hearing descriptions. She balanced the shocking public attention with finding husbands for her daughters, increasing her land holdings, and maneuvering to provide future Spencer generations with power and wealth. Her sister Katherine married Thomas Leigh of Stoneleigh Abbey, a name and place familiar to Janeites. Alice was known as a patron of poets and playwrights and knew Milton, Donne, and Edmund Spenser among others. Historian Wilkie brings her to life while showing us how people moved between class structures and how aristrocratic women could navigate the system and make their mark in 16th and 17th century England. Illustrations, famiily trees, bibliography, index. Atria Books. 2023. Hb, Dj. NEW. $25.00