Queen of the Conqueror: The Life of Matilda, Wife of William I

Written by Tracy Borman
Review by Viviane Crystal

This historical biography of Matilda begins with a rather outrageous claim, indicating that at first Matilda rejected the marriage offer of William I. He then supposedly traveled to her home, saw her in the courtyard, threw her to the ground and beat her. Ironically, she decided the next day she would marry no other than him, a scene obviously meant to depict the formidable character of both Matilda and William. The first half of the book is more about the different scholarly accounts written by monks and historians about Matilda’s beauty, intelligence, and royal lineage in comparison to William’s infamous reputation as an illegitimate son. However, what William lacks in heritage he makes up for in ferocity as a military leader. The second half of the story is how Matilda the Queen softened and supported him enough that he left her in charge when he went off to conquer England and afterward. This is a story about supporting God and country no matter what the cost, and what a cost it was! Excellent book for those wanting to know more about this feisty queen and the culture around her.