In just 6 weeks’ time Heroines of the Medieval World will be released. Writing the book has been a remarkable experience. It has also been a steep learning curve – there’s a big difference between writing blog posts and writing an entire book! And there have been moments of ‘What am I doing?!’ aplenty. However, I would not have been able to do it without the help and encouragement of everyone who reads my blog posts, who gives feedback and critique. Thank you!
Writing Heroines of the Medieval World has been a wonderful adventure. From organising chapters, decided who to include and who should be left out, proof reading and choosing what pictures to include; every step of the journey has brought new challenges and experiences. From the moment I came up with the title, I knew exactly what kind of book I wanted to write. And, thanks to the fabulous people at Amberley publishing, I will soon be holding it in my hands. Heroines of the Medieval World will tell the stories of about 50 of the most incredible women of the Middle Ages, looking at how they made their mark on the world, whether it was from being a king, such as Jadwiga of Poland, a fighter like Joan of Arc, or a survivor, as with Eleanor of Aquitaine. The book looks at the women who fought, suffered, lived and loved; women who made a difference through religion, writing, ruling – be it a country or their family estates – or through their royal blood and family ties.
And every single one of them made a difference to the world around them.
Coming up with the right book cover was not easy, and I owe a huge ‘thank you’ to the cover designer at Amberley who came up with this beautiful jacket. I was so happy with it that it brought tears to my eyes. It is stunning!
And here it is:
The front cover is an Anonymous painting from c.1465, Geertruy Haeck Kneeling in Adoration Before St Agnes from the Rijksmuseum’s collection. On the back is a photograph of Roche Abbey, South Yorkshire, the final resting place of Maud Clifford, Countess of Cambridge. The photo was taken by me during a visit this Spring.
About Heroines of the Medieval World
The lives and actions of medieval women were carefully controlled and restricted by the men who ruled the homes, countries and world they lived in. It was men who fought wars, made laws and dictated religious doctrine. It was men who were taught to read, trained to rule and who were expected to fight to defend their people and country. Today, it is easy to think that all women from this era were down-beaten, retiring and obedient housewives, whose sole purpose was to give birth to children (preferably boys) and serve their husbands. Heroines of the Medieval World looks at the lives of the women – some well-known and some almost forgotten to history – who broke the mould; those who defied social norms and made their own future, consequently changing lives, society and even the course of history.
Some of the women featured you will have heard of, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was not only a duchess in her own right but also Queen Consort of France through her first marriage and Queen Consort of England through her second, in addition to being a crusader, a rebel and regent of England. Then there are those who have been all but forgotten, including Nicholaa de la Haye, the remarkable woman who defended Lincoln Castle in the name of King John, and Maud de Braose, who spoke out against the same king’s excesses and whose death (or murder) was the inspiration for a clause in the Magna Carta.
Women had to walk a fine line in the Middle Ages, but many learned to survive – even flourish – in this male-dominated world. Some led armies, while others made their influence felt in more subtle ways, but all made a contribution to the medieval era and should be remembered for daring to defy and lead in a world that demanded they obey and follow.
Heroines of the Medieval World will be published by Amberley on 15th September, 2017. It is now available for pre-order in the UK from both Amberley Publishing and Amazon and worldwide from Book Depository.
©2017 Sharon Bennett Connolly