Categories
Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview WHAT REGENCY WOMEN DID FOR US by Rachel Knowles (@RegencyHistory) (@penswordbooks) #history #Regency A gripping book about twelve extraordinary women

Hi, all:

I bring you a review of a non-fiction book from the Pen & Sword history collection. A great read.

What Regency Women Did for Us by Rachel Knowles
What Regency Women Did for Us by Rachel Knowles

What Regency Women Did For Us by Rachel Knowles A gripping book about twelve extraordinary women

Regency women inhabited a very different world from the one in which we live today. Considered intellectually inferior to men, they received little education and had very few rights. This book tells the inspirational stories of twelve women, from very different backgrounds, who overcame often huge obstacles to achieve success. These women were pioneers, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs, authors, scientists and actresses women who made an impact on their world and ours. In her debut nonfiction work, popular history blogger Rachel Knowles tells how each of these remarkable ladies helped change the world they lived in and whose legacy is still evident today. Two hundred years later, their stories are still inspirational.

https://www.amazon.com/What-Regency-Women-Did-Us-ebook/dp/B06ZXZ3NHS/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Regency-Women-Did-Us-ebook/dp/B06ZXZ3NHS/

Author Rachel Knowles
Author Rachel Knowles

About the author

Rachel Knowles is the author of the popular Regency History blog. She lives in Weymouth, Dorset, on the south coast of England, with her husband, Andrew, and has four grown-up daughters.
Please visit Rachel’s website: www.regencyhistory.net

https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Knowles/e/B00XYK33RA/

My review:

I received a copy of this paperback from Pen & Sword History and I freely chose to review the book.

This is another great book by Pen & Sword that are quickly becoming one of my favourite publishing companies for non-fiction books.

This small volume is packed with information. After a brief introduction that sets the Regency period, particularly how life was for women at the time, the book discusses the lives of twelve women who played an important role in the UK during that period. As the author comments, they were not the only women of note at the time, but they did make a significant difference to Britain, and a difference that survives to this day. They come from all walks of life, their professions or interests are diverse, some were married and had children but half of them never married, and I must confess that although I knew some of them, I had never heard of the others. And I learned a great deal by reading this book even about the ones I was somewhat familiar with.

By now, you must be wondering who these twelve women are.

Chapter 1 is dedicated to Eleanor Coade, whom the author calls ‘the king’s stone maker’, a business woman who took charge of the artificial stone manufactory that bore her name and was very good at creating a high-quality product and also at marketing. I had never realised that many of the statues, garden sculptures, and facades of buildings I have visited were made using her stone.

Chapter 2 introduces us to Caroline Herschel, who always keen to assist her brother, became an astronomer of note in her own right (and she discovered many comets).

Sarah Siddons, the actress that lifted the reputation of actresses and well known for her tragic roles, is discussed in chapter 3.

Marie Tussaud, of Madame Tussaud’s fame, is the subject of chapter 4. And although I was familiar with the wax museum, I discovered I didn’t know much about this fascinating woman.

Chapter 5 is dedicated to Mary Parminter, mountaineer, traveller, and benefactress to other women.

Writer and mother of historical fiction Maria Edgeworth is discussed in chapter 6.

In chapter 7 we learn about Jane Marcet, a woman so eager to learn and to help others learn, that she wrote the chemistry for dummies of the period, so that women and people who had not had access to much formal education could understand the subject. She used the format of a dialogue between female students and teacher and also provided examples of experiments that could easily be done at home. Faraday gave her credit for his early steps in science and she was very well regarded and a best-seller of the time.

Chapter 8 is taken up by Sarah Guppy, who was an amateur engineer and although did not always get credit for her inventions she truly deserves to be in this book.

Jane Austen is the subject of chapter 9. Although she died during the period, the author chose to include her. She is probably the most famous woman in the book, and the one I knew more about, but I learned some new things and her chapter is a good introduction to readers who are not familiar with her life, works, and period.

Harriot Mellon had an awful childhood but she went on to become an actress and eventually a banker, and her private bank exists to this day. And her legacy, that found its way into many charitable causes, has also endured.

Elizabeth Fry is perhaps best known for having been on the back of the £5 note for a while. I read about her when I studied Criminology, as she was a big prison reformer, but I did not know about her role in creating a training school for nurses well before Florence Nightingale, and her life is fascinating. She was a truly passionate and generous woman, always devoted to improving the lives of others.

The last woman the author chooses to include is Mary Anning. She was from humble origins but became a great fossilist and her fossils are still on display in many museums today.

Knowles has chosen a fantastic group of women to write about. Her writing style is fluid, easy to follow, and includes both information about the personal lives of these women and about their contributions to the period. These brief biographical chapters are a good introduction to anybody who wants to get some idea about what women’s lives were like at the time, whilst at the same time providing a glimpse into what made these twelve women extraordinary. Their intelligence, their determination, and their passion shine through in those few pages. I must confess I would be happy to read a whole book on any and all of these women.

I recommend this book to anybody interested in women’s history or looking for an introduction into the Regency Period that looks more closely at the role women played. It is a gripping read and I hope it will go some way to help these women get the attention they deserve.

Thanks so much to Pen & Sword (Alex in particular), to the author, and thanks to all of you for reading, and don’t forget to like, share, comment, click and REVIEW!

[amazon_link asins=’158297280X,B00KSERAQA,0141395206,1624860648,0892365579,B073RLV6B1,0199537550,0230103421′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’wwwauthortran-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’27cd3667-aa82-11e7-8054-61c661fb7a00′]

By OlgaNunez

I was born in Barcelona and after living in the UK for many years have now returned home. I teach English, volunteer at Sants 3 Ràdio, a local radio station, I'm a writer, translator (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and I'm a medical doctor and worked in Forensic Psychiatry many years. I also have a BA and a PhD in American Literature and Film, and a Masters in Criminology. I've always loved books and apart from writing them I review them often.
I write a bit of everything, check my books for more information and my about page for links.
My blog is bilingual, English and Spanish.

13 replies on “#Bookreview WHAT REGENCY WOMEN DID FOR US by Rachel Knowles (@RegencyHistory) (@penswordbooks) #history #Regency A gripping book about twelve extraordinary women”

Ah, yes, Pippa knows her stuff when it comes to the Regency Period and actresses. Even when we were children she was fascinated by the era. Rachel Knowles’ book is an absolute must for me. I’d like to recommend Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures which is a fabulous fictionalised version of Mary Anning’s fossil forays and which I never stop recommending.

Thanks, Sarah. I thought you would be interested. I note your recommendation. I love Tracy Chevalier and reading more about Mary Anning will be a treat. Have a great week and I hope you’re feeling better.

Thanks, Pete. I’ll check it out. I know I’ve visited her blog before but I don’t think I’ve read the whole series. Have a great week.

A fascinating bunch of women. I think you would enjoy the book I have just finished – Faith, Duty and the Power of Mind (don’t worry about the title, it is a fascinating story) by Gillian Sutherland. It is horribly expensive but there are secondhand copies (https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Gillian+Sutherland&rh=n%3A266239%2Ck%3AGillian+Sutherland). Her other book In Search of the New Woman is good too.

Thanks, Hilary. It does sound great, although as I’m in the process of moving back to Spain I’m trying not to accumulate any more books (other than e-books), but if I suspect if I can I’ll try and get hold of it. I’m reading another book about children’s deaths in Victorian England. Sad subject but incredible to read about the conditions at the time (I knew some of it, but had never realised how terrible it was).
I wonder what I’m going to do with all the books! (I wish I could take them all, or at least most, with me, but it’s not possible).
Take care and thanks for the recommendation!

Comments are closed.

GET MY FREE BOOKS
%d bloggers like this:
x Logo: Shield Security
This Site Is Protected By
Shield Security