Normal Women: Nine Hundred Years of Making History

HarperOne. Feb. 2024. 512p. ISBN 9780063304321. $32.99. HIST
Historical fiction writer Gregory (It’s a Prince Thing) chronicles the role British women played in society by era, starting in the year 1086. Her book shows that after the Norman conquest of Britain, convents and abbeys retained power and wealth; they also functioned as learning centers for girls and women, who made and published books, and engaged in the arts. Gregory emphasizes the indispensability of women in a wide variety of professions, including raising livestock, apprenticing in various trades, and working as domestic servants. Women also did healing work, such as herbalism, midwifery, and nursing, despite the restrictions placed on those fields in the 20th century. For instance, though the greatest physical danger for women was childbirth, midwives were forbidden from offering advice on contraception, even in the 1920s. Gregory notes too that sex work was not a permanent occupation for many women but was instead an option to exercise as necessity demanded. Women were also not excluded from military service and stepped into roles of leadership during the Thirty Years’ War.
VERDICT A comprehensive saga about British women and their obstacles throughout hundreds of years. Suitable for all readers.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing