REVIEW: Unquiet Women, Max Adams

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Wynflæd was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who owned male slaves and badger-skin gowns; Egeria a Gaulish nun who toured the Holy Land as the Roman Empire was collapsing; Gudfrid an Icelandic explorer and the first woman to give birth to a European child on American soil; Mary Astell a philosopher who out-thought John Locke. In this exploration of some remarkable – but little-known – women living between between the last days of Rome and the Enlightenment, Max Adams overturns the idea that women of this period were either queens, nuns or invisible. In a sequence of chronological chapters, a centrepiece biographical sketch is complemented by thematically linked stories of other women of the time. A multi-faceted and beautifully illustrated study of women's intellect, influence and creativity, Unquiet Women brings to life the experiences of women whose voices are barely heard and whose stories are rarely told.

2018 marks one-hundred years since some women were allowed the ability to vote in the United Kingdom. That means that, this year the market has been inundated with books that celebrate kick-arse women throughout the ages. Which is great.
Girl power? I am all for it.
But, unfortunately, it is November now (I mean, in some ways, November is also my birthday month so yay me). Which means I have read eleven months worth of books that commemorate the same one-hundred-or-so historical women and I beginning to experience some sort of genre-fatigue.
This means that Unquiet Women has more than likely been allocated a lower rating than it would have been if the book had been released earlier in the year… Although, to be honest, I do not know to what length that is the truth. I have read a whole range of absolutely gorgeous, love-filled books on the subject of historic women and, to stand out in the market this late in the year, the book has to be pretty special and Unquiet Women just… wasn’t. It was dry, dense and to be honest, it turned bloody amazing biographies into writings that bored me to tears.
Turning the stories of the women who walked before us and made the road a little easier to travel into mindless monotony? It takes a bloody lot of work.
Which means that, even though I have had to pass on this particular collection of biographies, I still have some slim hope for something to come and shock me in the latter-half of this month through into December.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Head on over to for this book, as well as all of the others featured in my reviews, complete with the added bonuses of free worldwide shipping and bringing a little joy to my life.

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