I loved this trip through history focussing on women who have been written out of important events and this book shows that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction Here is my review of Femina by Janina Ramirez.
Oxford and BBC historian Janina Ramirez has uncovered countless influential women’s names struck out of historical records, with the word FEMINA annotated beside them. As gatekeepers of the past ordered books to be burnt, artworks to be destroyed, and new versions of myths, legends and historical documents to be produced, our view of history has been manipulated.
Only now, through a careful examination of the artefacts, writings and possessions they left behind, are the influential and multifaceted lives of women emerging. Femina goes beyond the official records to uncover the true impact of women like Jadwiga, the only female King in Europe, Margery Kempe, who exploited her image and story to ensure her notoriety, and the Loftus Princess, whose existence gives us clues about the beginnings of Christianity in England. See the medieval world with fresh eyes and discover why these remarkable women were removed from our collective memories.
I couldn’t resist this book, particularly when it feels like the gains made by feminism are being eroded and this book highlights the amazing women of the middle-ages who have been wiped clean from the history books.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
This book is a passionate discussion of the role women played in the middle-ages and made me reassess my own assumption that women played no role except to marry and have children and had no voice. But as the author describes this is perhaps a Victorian concept.
The author focuses on a few women – some known and some unknown- carefully presenting her evidence and explanation as to why these women were amazing.
She starts with the unknown warrior woman found buried in Loftus, North Yorkshire buried with her weapons and the world’s continued disbelief that women could fight to Jadwiga, a powerful Monarch whose husband seemed to be remembered by history more than her.
The author presents her facts in a highly enjoyable way, I never felt I was reading a boring old history book and at times it was like I was reading my favourite historical fiction. The book is never preachy and the author’s passion for the subject shines through.
My only minor criticism ( and more than I wanted to read more) is that it focuses on European history and would have loved to read about more amazing women around the world.
Perfect for anyone
Who loves books on less described aspects of history and those who love a feminist twist in their history.
Genre: Non- Fiction
Source: Ebury book and NetGalley with thanks
Publication date: 21st of July 2022