Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth by Laurel A. Rockefeller

Born in 1097 in Aberffraw Castle, Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd ap Cynan was always destined for great things. As the daughter to one of Gwynedd’s greatest warriors she grew up strong and passionate — more than a match for her older brothers.

At sixteen Gwenllian’s life changed forever when she fell in love with Prince Gruffydd ap Rhys, the beleaguered heir to Rhys ap Tewdur of Deheubarth. Together husband and wife fought for and ruled southern Wales, challenging the Norman Conquest of Wales and proving once and for all the nobility and courage of the Welsh people, a courage that endures across the centuries and lives in the heart of every Welsh man, woman, and child.

Includes an extensive timeline covering over 400 years of Welsh and English medieval history.

A little about Laurel first:

Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is an author of over twenty books published and self-published since August 2012 and in languages ranging from Welsh to Spanish to Chinese and everything in between. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide. With her lyrical writing style, Laurel’s books are as beautiful to read as they are informative. In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, travelling to historic places in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and watching classic motion pictures and classic television series. Favourites: Star Trek, Doctor Who, original Battlestar Galactica, and Babylon 5. Winner of the “Godiva Book Award” for 2019, Laurel is a proud supporter of Foster Parrots Ltd., The Arbor Day Foundation, and Health in Harmony.

Karen Meyer’s Review: 5-Stars

I really loved this book. I knew nothing of Princess Gwenllian before reading this and I want to thank Laurel for her dedication in researching the truth. This is perfect for a school library so children can learn of these legendary women of world history. I liked the length of the book. The author got everything necessary to tell of Gwen, how she lived, loved, and died.

I have to give this book 5 stars only because that is as much as I can give. Loved it and will recommend it.

Terence Vickers’ Review: 5-Stars

Possibly the shortest history Laurel has written, it ties in with previous books of hers that mention Gwenllian. I found this history quite interesting as it ties in with Laurel’s previous books about the strife between the English and Welsh in the tenth century. One thing is a bit odd and I am not sure if it is typos or not, is the varied spellings of ‘Tudor’. For the purpose of this review, I will assume the varied spellings are the result of the different dialects of the Welsh, Scottish, and English.

Translations of the Welsh phrases would have been appreciated, although I believe some can be found in previous books of the series.

A good read well presented, it is rather a shorty and may leave some readers with a desire to know more about Gwenllian, the extensive list of sources and further reading in the final pages may satisfy readers who are inclined to research the era of the English wars against the citizens of Wales and the lives of the women who were significant in those times. Interesting to note is the different attitudes men had toward women, the women of Wales apparently having a much greater level of equality and freedom with men as opposed to the English patriarchal views. It appears that the women of Wales were respected for their abilities far more than others of their time, reflecting much more modern values.

As to technical merit, I found nothing I could point out as definite errors in spelling grammar or punctuation, although there are a few questionable incidents they are easily passed over.

Please feel free to share your review in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth by Laurel A. Rockefeller

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  1. The spelling of the name Tudor does get confusing. Tudor (as in the dynasty) is the ENGLISH spelling of the name. In Gwenllian’s time, the name was usually spelled TEWDUR in Wales. In the early 15th century, the name migrated into a sort of compromise between the two and you often see it spelled Tudur which is probably how Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur spelled it. But if you remember from “Catherine de Valois,” Owain was sent to London when he was a boy in the aftermath of the great Welsh uprising against English conquest that was fought against King Henry IV and his son, the future Henry V. During that uprising, Owain and his family lost nearly everything. Anglicizing his name, even if slightly, would have been to his advantage. Welsh in the 15th century were considered little more than dogs to the English. Hope this clarifies this.

  2. Christianity in Cymru (Wales) and Alba (now called Scotland) was under the CELTIC SYSTEM — not Roman — until directly or indirectly forced upon them by the English. The Celtic system was much more local community forced and followed local traditions whereas the Roman system was and still is patriarchal and hierarchical in nature. Until imposed on them by conquest, the Welsh had their own Common Law which you see featured in this book. Welsh law offered women near complete equality, equality that was starkly incompatible with Roman Catholicism. Welsh common law of course factors strongly in Gwenllian’s life and her relationship with her husband Gruffydd ap Rhys.

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