Silk and the Sword

Out Now!

Thursday 15th November 2018 will see the release of my latest book, Silk and the Sword: the Women of the Norman Conquest.

Everyone knows about the events of 1066; the story of invasion and conquest.

But what of the women?

Harold II of England had been with Edith Swan-neck for twenty years but in 1066, in order to strengthen his hold on the throne, he married Ealdgyth, sister of two earls. William of Normandy’s duchess, Matilda of Flanders had, supposedly, only agreed to marry the Duke after he’d pulled her pigtails and thrown her in the mud. Harald Hardrada had two wives – apparently at the same time.
So, who were these women? What was their real story? And what happened to them after 1066?

From Emma of Normandy, wife of both King Cnut and Aethelred II to Saint Margaret, a descendant of Alfred the Great himself, ‘Silk and the Sword’ traces the fortunes of the women who had a significant role to play in the momentous events of 1066.


What people are saying about Silk and the Sword:

Amberley Publishing: “A new approach to the perenially fascinating moment in British history that will be irresistable.”

Michael Jones, author of The Black Prince: “Very much enjoying my pre-publication copy of Silk and the Sword. Sharon Connolly brings the women of the Norman Conquest alive with knowledge and wonderful enthusiasm.”

Author Louise Wyatt: “First chapter done and the promise of an awesome read has already been fulfilled.”


From Tony Riches: “the central theme of Silk and the Sword, … is how little is known about the women involved in the build-up to the Norman Conquest. It has taken much detective work to sort out the few known facts from the many myths. It hasn’t helped that even the names of these women are debated and records of the time (including the famous tapestry) focus on the men.”

From S.J.A. Turney: “Once more a refreshing and unique look at the women of British history, this book offers a perspective you’ll not find in any other work on the events of 1066….Silk and the Sword is a valuable addition to any reference library on the Medieval world and simply a very good read.”

From Louise Wyatt: “Although this is obviously a work of non-fiction, the intricacy and meticulous attention to detail adds a woven depth that brings the reader into the tumultuous times these people lived in….this is an example of the level Sharon works at – professional microscopic attention to detail – and this shines through in Sharon’s writing….Silk and the Sword: the Women of the Norman Conquest is a most vicarious read, be it for leisure and/or for referencing. Highly recommended.

From Annie Whitehead: “Great care has been taken to skilfully extract these women from the general narrative and talk about them in isolation, whilst keeping the facts of their lives in context….This was an ambitious project, beautifully executed…..This book is a light, easy read, but it’s also full of depth.”

From historian David Santiuste on Goodreads: “As is the case with most of her previous work, Connolly’s main aim is to raise greater awareness of the lives of medieval women, writing in an enthusiastic and accessible style….The book is thoughtfully constructed….Connolly also takes great pains to ensure the reader is never lost amidst the large cast of Ealdgyths, Gundradas, etc. She does well to maintain an effective narrative thread, while also offering more specific insights into the experience of individual women…Overall, this is an engaging book for general readers that offers an unusual and worthwhile perspective on the history of eleventh-century England.

From historian Michael Jones on Amazon: “The book is written with flair and enthusiasm…”

To order the book today:

Silk and the Sword: the Women of the Norman Conquest was released in the UK on 15 November 2018 and is available from Amazon UKAmberley Publishing and Book Depository.

It  will be released in the US on 1st March 2019 and is available for pre-order from Amazon US.

Forthcoming Events:

Saturday 24th November 2018: Book signing celebrating the release of Silk and the Sword: the Women of the Norman Conquest at Gainsborough Old Hall, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, 10am to 4pm.

Saturday 1st December 2018: 11am to 3pm, book signing for the release of Silk and the Sword: the Women of the Norman Conquest at Waterstones, Bradford Wool Exchange.

Wednesday 5th December 2018: 2-4pm, talk with the Retford Authors Group at Retford Library, North Nottinghamshire.

Friday 11th January 2019: 7pm. Talk and signing of Silk and the Sword: the Women of the Norman Conquest for Lindum Books at The Collection, Lincoln. Tickets £5 from Lindum Books or online from The Collection.

Tuesday 15th January 2019Misterton Women’s Group, Misterton Methodist Hall, North Nottinghamshire, 7.30pm. Talk and book signing.

Thursday 21st March 2019: Doncaster Central Library, Doncaster. Book launch: paperback edition of Heroines of the Medieval World. Local Heroines talk and booksigning

Wednesday 2nd October 2019: Gringley-on-the-Hill WI, Gringley Community Centre, North Nottinghamshire, 7.30pm. Talk and book signing.


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©2018 Sharon Bennett Connolly