Did you know that there are more penises than women in the Bayeux Tapestry? That the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 was started and propelled by women who were protesting a tax on women? Or that celebrated naturalist Charles Darwin believed not just that women were naturally inferior to men, but that they’d evolve to become ever more inferior?
These are just a few of the startling findings you will learn from reading Philippa Gregory’s Normal Women. In this ambitious and groundbreaking book, she tells the story of England over 900 years, for the very first time placing women—some fifty per cent of the population—center stage.
Using research skills honed in her work as one of our foremost historical novelists, Gregory trawled through court records, newspapers, and journals to find highwaywomen and beggars, murderers and brides, housewives and pirates, female husbands and hermits. The “normal women” you will meet in these pages went to war, ploughed the fields, campaigned, wrote, and loved. They rode in jousts, flew Spitfires, issued their own currency, and built ships, corn mills and houses. They committed crimes or treason, worshipped many gods, cooked and nursed, invented things, and rioted. A lot.
A landmark work of scholarship and storytelling, Normal Women chronicles centuries of social and cultural change—from 1066 to modern times—powered by the determination, persistence, and effectiveness of women.