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Tudor Feminists (Hardback)

10 Renaissance Women Ahead of their Time

Colour Books P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > By Century > 15th Century P&S History > By Century > 16th Century P&S History > By Century > 17th Century P&S History > Social History Women of History World History > Europe

By Rebecca Wilson
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 20 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781399043618
Published: 11th January 2024

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The term ‘feminist’ would have been anachronistic in the Tudor period, but surely we would not hesitate to call the lady, who would be queen, Anne Boleyn, a feminist? All ten women, from Catherine Par to Margaret Beaufort, lived their lives in a way that challenged the patriarchal world they lived in. Each chapter is dedicated to one remarkable woman, ahead of her time. It explores her achievements and examines the impacts she had on a male-dominated world, while placing her in the context of her particular circumstance and background. These Renaissance women, from the high born to the merchant class, were rule breakers, they railed against the rigid social norms of their time and stand out vividly against a backdrop of domestic servitude.

An interesting perspective which is often dominated by a king that had six wives and really that seems to be all that we know sometimes, names in a rhyme, this book has great depth and brilliant research and I'd be intrigued to read more, especially in a more broad sense about women in the period.

NetGalley, Victoria Caswell

I really enjoyed this book! These were fascinating women forging forward in a time where they had little power to shape their own lives. I appreciated the authors writing style. It made these women come to life. I only wish it had lasted longer! I've read a fair amount of books about some of these women but there were a few whos background was new to me and I was able to pick up a few unknown tidbits. A very fun read!

NetGalley, Wendy Moore

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Definitely enjoyed this book. Good for the reader who maybe doesn't know much about the Tudor period. It covers many of the most important or well known women of the time and tells how they figured into the big picture which is Tudor England.

NetGalley, Kristy HOFFMAN

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book profiles Tudor women who defied patriarchal expectations and challenged rigid gender norms. From queens to commoners, it delves into the accomplishments of remarkable Renaissance women across all levels of society.

I enjoyed reading these biographies. The women were familiar to me, but in many cases I only knew parts of their stories. This book was a compassionate, informative, and enjoyable read.

NetGalley, Andrea Romance

The notes and index are an excellent source of further information, as are the illustrations at the end of the book. Rebecca Wilson has made a worthwhile and engaging contribution to the way in which feminist endeavour is understood as well as providing the stories of ten even more engaging women.

NetGalley, Robin Joyce

I honestly loved it. Great perspective, I always loved learning new things and new points of view about history and this was surprisingly good.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in history, the Tudors and feminism (kind of obvious)

NetGalley, Valeria Herrera

Interesting collection of descriptions about some powerful Tudor women.

NetGalley, Lindsay Goodman

This was an interesting, easy introduction to women in the Tudor period. It touched on the more popular/well known stories and some lesser known stories too, as an Irish woman I loved the inclusion of Grace O' Malley!

NetGalley, Melanie Allman

I absolutely loved this book and I would recommend this to any history lover or someone wanting to learn about Tudor women who made a difference, even if they didn't know it.

NetGalley, Emma Holbrook

I’m an avid reader of anything Tudor and find the period in history to be fascinating. What one would think would be a boring or dry subject, turns out to be very interesting – full of intrigue, drama, and deceit.

This book is well written and researched. The author does a great job of detailing the lives of ten strong women ahead of their time. While I was familiar with a few of them such as Margaret Beaufort, Margaret Pole, and, of course, Anne Boleyn, I did not know about other lesser known women such as Anne Askew, Grainne (Grace) O’Malley, and Arbella Stuart. These women all went against the grain of society, fighting for their beliefs, which is never easy, let alone during this time period when something as small as a rumor started by an adversary can lead to someone being thrown in the Tower, subject to unspeakable punishments and forms of torture or drawn and quartered or even beheaded.

I found Tudor Feminists to be a fascinating read to be enjoyed by any Tudor enthusiast.

NetGalley, Susan Sintros

A look at how women asserted themselves in a Tudor world. The lives of protestants, princesses, a poet and a pirate, show how remarkable these women were, despite being hampered by men's laws. A well researched book full of detail and excellent
references. An engrossing read.

NetGalley, LOIS ELIYAHU

As a woman I am always interested to learn about how women from other parts of the world, from other times of history LIVED. This book takes a look at the Tudor women and delves into their challenges which are not apparent if you just read a history book. Having said that, you will need to be familiar with the history of the times to relate to all the events, dates and names that are referenced in the telling of their stories. Women have always been resourceful and despite the odds have made a difference - This book captures their stories.

NetGalley, Ishieta Chopra

Although the term feminism is fairly modern, there have been women existing for countless eras who have rebelled against patriarchy, dared to break from convention, had bigger dreams and desired — and whilst some of their actions may not be what we think of feminism today, these amazing women were yesteryears feminist icons.

This book takes a look at ten women from the Tudor period, when women were firmly held down by a sexism regime and shows us how each remarkable women decided to make a stand and shift the social current in their own way.

Each chapter focuses on one historical figure, from Anne Boleyn and Katherine of Aragon to Gràinne O’Malley and Aemila Lanier - each one clearly well researched, full of context and laid out in an easily readable way in a chronological and informative style that was quite simple to follow and not too formal.

I also appreciate the authors acknowledgement that feminism wasn’t a choice for many women due to their positions, and most poor women went largely undocumented and unremembered. Due to this, it is largely the royal and rich women who had even a chance to take a stand, like the ones we see here.

NetGalley, Bethany Casey

Tudor Feminists looks at the lives of ten different women from the general Tudor Period and examines their prolific lives and how they were able to cement their place in history whilst living in an incredibly patriarchal society.

I was incredibly happy to see that introduction examines that ‘feminist’ is an anarchistic label and that these women would never have labelled themselves or each other as such as the title of the book made me a little worried that there would be some rewriting of history and placing modern conceptions of feminism into these historical figures stories. Additionally, this was a great introduction to these women, some of whom I knew a lot about (Anne Boleyn is one of my favourite historical figures and I will never pass up an opportunity to read a history book that features her), and others whom I knew incredibly little about, and is a great gateway to further research and study. It was evidently well researched, with lengthy end notes and appropriate referencing to historical sources throughout the text.

Each chapter was a great length, providing an appropriate amount of detail without droning on and getting the audience ready for the next progression in history. I found it was written in an engaging manner, that wasn’t dry, but also didn’t patronise the audience and hold their hand throughout. While the images at the end were relevant and mostly glossy and bright, additional timelines and family trees to show the continuity of the time period and the way some of these women were interconnected would have been beneficial.

Tudor Feminists is perfect for anyone who enjoys the experiences of women in history or anyone looking for a more accurate and historical approach to many of the women who are the basis of characters in many period dramas.

NetGalley, Emily Walker

It’s informative without being overwhelming, and covers the entire Tudor period rather than just the ‘popular’ parts.
Something I particularly enjoyed was how the author evaluated the reliability of sources and why we may not be able to trust what certain people say. The author doesn’t pretend to know exactly what happened, which I greatly appreciated.

NetGalley, Seren Rogers

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love learning more about these amazing women. I loved this book so much and found it so fascinating.

NetGalley, Ashley Paige

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Rebecca Wilson's "Tudor Feminists" offers an enlightening and meticulously researched exploration of ten extraordinary women from the Tudor period who defied societal norms and challenged the male-dominated landscape of their time. While the term 'feminist' might be anachronistic for their era, Wilson compellingly argues for viewing these women through a feminist lens, particularly highlighting figures like Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr.

Each chapter of this book is a captivating journey into the life of a remarkable Tudor woman, ranging from high-born individuals to those from the merchant class. Wilson delves into their achievements, showcasing their defiance against patriarchal norms and their impactful contributions to a world that often constrained women to domestic roles.

Through vivid narratives, Wilson intricately weaves together the circumstances and backgrounds of these women, providing a contextual understanding of their lives. She skillfully examines their legacies, emphasizing how they challenged societal constraints, shattered expectations, and made significant strides in a time when women's agency was severely limited.

Wilson's meticulous attention to historical detail and her ability to paint a vivid picture of these trailblazing women make "Tudor Feminists" a compelling and illuminating read. By placing these Renaissance women in their historical context, the book not only celebrates their achievements but also underscores their enduring impact on challenging gender norms.

For history enthusiasts, feminists, and anyone intrigued by the lives of extraordinary women, "Tudor Feminists" serves as an engaging and insightful exploration, shedding light on the indomitable spirit of these remarkable individuals who stood against the constraints of their time. Rebecca Wilson's narrative is both informative and inspiring, providing a valuable addition to the understanding of women's roles and contributions in Tudor society.

NetGalley, Chelsea Littleton-Harper

I absolutely love history and what strikes me the most was the history if England. Men are often mentioned in history books and rarely women. Which is why I certainly loved reading this book. It gives a profound and detailed background on each women in history that were too ahead of their time. Not only that but also the past of England that may have affected the thoughts and actions of these women.

NetGalley, Yves von Hagen

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Despite the fact that, since Wilson is covering ten women's lives, there isn't time for a full biography on any of them, she still manages to give a detailed and deep description of each woman's life and how each of these amazing women of the Tudor era responded to her own specific circumstances and how each made an impact on the dynasty. From Margaret Beaufort single-handedly starting the Tudor dynasty to Grace O’Malley refusal to back down even to queens, and more, we get a fascinating look at women who made the era.

NetGalley, Kara Race-Moore

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

‘Women were controlled from cradle to grave.’

What can I say about this fabulous book? It was a delight! Very inspiring and every Tudor feminist mentioned in this book was interesting and likeable.

Rebecca has done an excellent job, lots of research and written a damn good book!

We learn about:

* Margaret Beaufort
* Anne Boleyn
* Katherine Of Aragon
* Catherine Parr
* Grainne O’Malley
* Margaret Pole
* Anne Askew
* Ameilia Lanier
* Arbella Stuart
* Bess Of Hardwick

Learning about each of these women was just (chefs kiss)

‘The women in this book have been remembered because they were rule breakers and fought consciously, or noted against the rigid social norms of their day.’

I hope Rebecca writes more books in the future :)

The PERFECT read for any Tudor, History and Feminist lover.

NetGalley, Georgi Lvs Books

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Tudor Feminists by Rebecca Wilson examines some of the more famous and lesser known women during the Tudor dynasty, drawing connections between them and detailing their lives and how they became significant to the era. It examines Margaret Beaufrot, Margaret Pole, Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Parr, Anne Askew, Bess of Hardwick, Grainne O’Malley, Aemilia Lanier, and Arbella Stuart.

This was the first time I had heard of Arbella Stuart, the almost queen after Elizabeth I’s death and the first time I saw the Dark Lady of Shakespeare’s sonnets (Aemilia Lanier) named. Many of these women are connected in several ways to Elizabeth I, whether it be family ties or political ones, stitching the featured women firmly together to the beginning and the end of the Tudor line.

Aemilia’s section was my personal favorite because I’m a long-time fan of Shakespeare and her own accomplishments as the first woman poet published under her own name in English. Anne Askew was a close second for her devotion to faith and her strong will.

I would recommend this to fans of women’s or Tudor era history.

NetGalley, Chelsea Rothe

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic book on powerful women who made a significant impact on their society. Despite its excellent writing and thorough research, this book is meant for those who are not very familiar with these well-known historical women. Reading it was nevertheless enjoyable. This book tells the story of women who rose to prominence during the time when women were assigned to Bing property or, if they were lucky, spinsters. I really enjoyed the author's statement that the women who work the hardest—the mothers who set up by candlelight, put on socks, fix clothes, do laundry, and so on—will never have names in a book like this. When I first started reading this book, it was mostly about men's opinions of women and what they called women—basically everything we've already heard about how horrible men are and how these women became part of our history despite their opinions. The book discusses the mainstays of women who succeeded in a world dominated by men, such as Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary Ann Boleyn ET see, but it is evident that the author conducted her own research because the narrative reads more like a captivating story than a dry academic text—which is the mark of a good non-fiction book. Since it is, I will have to be honest and say that this ended up being a pretty good book. Even the things I already knew were presented in a more palatable way, so even though it wasn't something I didn't know, I still think it was worth reading. If you have a strong interest in women's history or history in general, you will enjoy this book a great deal.

NetGalley, Louise Maud

Great research done here by Wilson. Meticulous and thorough but conveyed in a way where the reader becomes instantly intrigued and completely enlightened afterwards. If you're a fan of women's history - take notes with this one!

NetGalley, Tristan Davis

A great book about great women who held a strong place in their world.

NetGalley, Christine Boos

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It was great to learn more information about the women of the Tudor period, very informative overall.

NetGalley, A D

About Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson has a bachelors’ degree in history and English literature; after gaining her PGCE she taught English and history for several years. She now writes for The Historians Magazine on a range of historical periods and gets involved in archaeological digs when the opportunity arises. Rebecca is part of a group of volunteers who raise funds and awareness for the Egremont Castle, a beautiful medieval ruin. She has been a guest speaker on Talking Tudors and speaks passionately on the dissolution of the monasteries and the life and work of William Skaespeare. This is her first book.

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