Read Cranky Ladies of History by Tehani Croft Wessely Tansy Rayner Roberts Garth Nix Juliet Marillier Jane Yolen Laura Lam Nisi Shawl Deborah Biancotti Online


Warriors, pirates, murderers and queens...Throughout history, women from all walks of life have had good reason to be cranky. Some of our most memorable historical figures were outspoken, dramatic, brave, feisty, rebellious and downright ornery.Cranky Ladies of History is a celebration of 22 women who challenged conventional wisdom about appropriate female behaviour, fromWarriors, pirates, murderers and queens...Throughout history, women from all walks of life have had good reason to be cranky. Some of our most memorable historical figures were outspoken, dramatic, brave, feisty, rebellious and downright ornery.Cranky Ladies of History is a celebration of 22 women who challenged conventional wisdom about appropriate female behaviour, from the ancient world all the way through to the twentieth century. Some of our protagonists are infamous and iconic, while others have been all but forgotten under the heavy weight of history.Sometimes you have to break the rules before the rules break you.CONTENTS:Introduction by Tansy Rayner Roberts Queenside by Liz Barr The Company Of Women by Garth Nix Mary, Mary by Kirstyn McDermottA Song For Sacagawea by Jane Yolen Look How Cold My Hands Are by Deborah BiancottiBright Moon by Foz MeadowsCharmed Life by Joyce ChngA Beautiful Stream by Nisi Shawl Neter Nefer by Amanda Pillar The Dragon, The Terror, The Sea by Stephanie Lai Due Care And Attention by Sylvia Kelso Theodora by Barbara Robson For So Great A Misdeed by Lisa L. Hannett The Pasha, The Girl And The Dagger by Havva Murat Granuaile by Dirk Flinthart Little Battles by L.M. Myles Another Week In The Future, An Excerpt by Kaaron Warren The Lioness by Laura Lam Cora Crane And The Trouble With Me by Sandra McDonald Vintana by Thoraiya Dyer Hallowed Ground by Juliet MarillierGlorious by Faith Mudge...

Title : Cranky Ladies of History
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ISBN : 9780992553456
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Cranky Ladies of History Reviews

  • Rebecca
    2019-05-18 05:33

    So far I've read:- Introduction: Yay feminism! - Queenside by Liz Barr: A wonderful story to start the anthology. I love the Tudors.- The Lioness by Laura Lam: The only author in this anthology that I've read before and everything I hoped it would be. - Hallowed Ground by Juliet Marillier: I liked the writing style but I wasn't as interested in the subject for this one. I appreciate that the anthology is diverse and features different kinds of women, rather than just monarchs and 'badasses'.- Glorious by Faith Mudge: I love how the anthology starts and ends with the Tudors. This story was really great and I especially liked how it went back and forth.I'm reading the stories out of order because I'm weird. I'm loving this anthology so far!

  • Alexandra
    2019-05-27 10:47

    This is another book that I've given my mum recently. She started reading it and rather smugly emailed to say that now she doesn't feel so bad about being one sometimes. She said:"I particularly loved "A Song for Sacagawea" because it is the story of all those unsung women who were forced to help conquerors take their lands. They were looked on as trade goods, but much of the exploration/exploitation wouldn't have occurred without them. There is a similar story of a woman who translated for the conquistadors in Central America [she means Malinche]. Much as I admire those women, their treatment really p....d me off, of course. Don't quote me on that, though."(Heh.)Anyway, I am so totally excited that this book exists. I supported it in its Pozible funding, I did a little bit of supporting in terms of writing a blog post (I had big intentions to do a few but whoosh there went the month), and generally YAY stories about real historical ladies! !!So I finally got around to actually reading it. Firstly let me say I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE WITH THE ORDER OF THE STORIES, TEHANI AND TANSY. Ahem.The first few stories were the sorts of things I expected. Mary I as a child, Lady Godiva, Mary Wollstonecraft... and then Bathory Erzsebet. Who is someone I had never come across and who was very, very not nice. Very not nice. Like, Deborah Biancotti you had already scarred me with your Ishtar and now my brain is even WORSE. Because this story does not redeem Erszebet. It shows that women are quite capable of being cold and cruel and nasty. And, at a chronological and geographical distance, this is almost something to be pleased about... since after all, we are just human.Hmm. Getting to Erszebet has meant skipping over Mary (a story showing how difficult her childhood must have been, thanks Liz Barr), and Godiva (thank you, Garth Nix, for making her more than just That Nude Lady) and Wollstonecraft (Kirstyn McDermott, I have always loved her at a remove - that is, knowing only basics of her life, I knew she was wonderful. This fictional take helps just a bit more). Leaving Europe, Foz Meadows goes to the Asian steppes with "Bright Moon" and a fierce tale of battle and kinship obligation; Joyce Chng to China and silkworms and captivity. Nice Shawl teases with "A Beautiful Stream" by talking about events and people from the 20th century I felt I ought to know and drove me to google find out if I was right (yes); Amanda Pillar pleased me immensely by being all provocative about Hatshepsut, one of my favourite historical women ever.Sylvia Kelso stunned me by talking about two women from Australia's history that I had no knowledge of (a doctor? lesbians?? in the early 20th century?!) and Stephanie Lai puts flesh on the bones of Ching Shih, the female Chinese pirate I've only encountered in passing. I would like to thank Barbara Robson profusely for writing Theodora so magnificently and by incorporating Procopius, to show just how such historical sources can be used. Lisa L Hannett continues (what I think of as) her Viking trend, while Havva Murat takes on Albania's medieval past and the trials of being born female when your father wants a son. I don't mean this as a negative, but I am so not surprised that Dirk Flinthart wrote of Granuaile, the Irish pirate. I was surprised where he took her; pleasantly so, of course. LM Myles brought in one of my other very favourite and bestest, Eleanor of Aquitaine, this time as an old, old woman - still cranky and sprightly and everything that was great about her. I didn't love Kaaron Warren's "Another Week in the Future," but I have no knowledge of Catherine Helen Spence so I had no prior experience to hang the story on. Laura Lam brought in a female pirate I'd never even heard of, the French Jeanne de Clisson, while Sandra McDonald writes a complicated narrative of Cora Crane: there are unreliable narrators and then there are unreliable timelines and sources and they get fascinating. Thoraiya Dyer introduces someone else I've never heard of, by way of 19th century Madagascar and a royal family negotiating the introduction/imposition of European ideas. Juliet Marillier brings a compassionate, loving and beloved Hildegard of Bingen, while Faith Mudge caps the whole anthology with Elizabeth I. Look, it's just great. A wonderful range of stories, of women, of styles, of close-to-history and far (but still with that element of Truthiness). I think we need a follow-up volume. I'd like to order Jeanne d'Arc, Julia Gillard, the Empress Matilda, Pocahontas, Eleanor Roosevelt, Malinche, and the Trung sisters. Kthxbai.

  • Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
    2019-06-13 11:43

    This anthology is full of our brilliant cranky ladies of history - a book of short historical fiction pieces that snapshot excellent ladies of the past, so we learn a bit of history while reading an excellent piece of writing at the same time.I have to admit, my knowledge of history in general it pretty woeful, so mostly I had little to know clue about many of these women - because after all, if you hear about anyone at all from history they're usually men, so chances I'd come across anything more than a brief mention were woefully short. This anthology was an excellent gateway into who they were, and why I should know so much more of them. From here on I'll certainly be looking into them further."Queenside" by Liz BarrIn this nifty little tale to start us off, showing verbal sparring between Anne Boleyn and Lady Mary, as they discuss their King (King Henry VIII) and Jane Seymour, who would become his third wife. Lady Mary has sharp wit, yet a kind heart despite the life she has had, and in this piece we see Anne ask for Lady Mary's kindness to watch over her half sister, the Princess Elizabeth as she knows her time as consort is soon up.This piece was sharply written - simple in parts, and successful at easing you into the anthology."The Company Of Women" by Garth NixGodiva! We all know how she conquers something whilst naked, and this gives narrative to this - what I love is how it's pointed out that she and other women conquer without wearing armour and without violence (though, well, in this it is a tad ferocious and the death in it isn't exactly kind, but spoilers aside...)'This host needed no armour, no weapons, no boasts and shorting. But if she were the enemy, she would be greatly afraid.'Brilliant. But it's Garth Nix, so of course it is! I would say that this is one of the stronger pieces, but in all honesty I'm sure that is to continue. As soon as you start reading it, you can tell that this is a strong anthology, one that only makes me wish I were still in school for the chance to study it with others."Mary, Mary" by Kirstyn McDermottHere we have Mary Wollstonecroft an advocate of women’s rights among other things.It's always heartbreaking to see young children die hours or days old, even if in certain times it's been perfectly normal to have fourteen or more kids and barely half of them make it past their 10th birthday. It's also heartbreaking, but less seen, of the parents and family members this leaves behind.The way this one ends in such hope is so excellent to see. It's a strong ending that can't help but leave you smiling."A Song For Sacagawea" by Jane YolenWhich is about Sacagawea, one of the few in this anthology who I've heard of before, a woman who helped Lewis and Clark on their expedition through part of the United States, acting as guide and interpreter.Told in verse, this is a short piece of two pages that ends simply yet profoundly - it was enough. I'm not one for poetry so I can't speak with any experience of how effective it is compared to others, but all I can say is that it deserves to be read aloud, and is quite deliberate in its pace and proud language."Look How Cold My Hands Are" by Deborah BiancottiAs hoped, things are only getting better and better. In this piece we see the awful crimes of Countess Bathory, who was countess from the renowned Báthory family of nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary. She has been labelled the most prolific female serial killer in history, seemingly insane and probably suffering from a number of mental illnesses as she seems to honestly see nothing wrong with cruel torture and abuse of women of all ages. When she's called to account for her crimes, she seriously believes such things are below a woman of her station, and that she was well within her rights to act as such.So here we see that not all great women of history were good - great is used in the sense of women of great power or ability, and that's showcased here perfectly. Biancotti's writing is strong and perfect at catching such horrific events and making them seem plausible, rather than over embellished or 'pure evil' without reason."Bright Moon" by Foz MeadowsEveryone always loves a tale of a woman fighter in a time or setting where women were only expected to clean and have babies. Here we have Khutulun who from a young age would wrestle and dismiss thoughts from her older sister that she wasn't acting proper. Their father Kaidu became the most powerful ruler of Central Asia, reigning in the realms from western Mongolia to Oxus, and from the Central Siberian Plateau to India, and it was through these regions that they went to war, and Khutulun managed to sway her father's opinion that her great ability shouldn't go to waste. Here she doesn't simply use her strength, either, she uses her intelligence and quick thinking to make proper decisions in warfare, which is even more satisfying. Khutulun sees the chance to act in a way that would certainly bring her more bravo, yet she takes place in where she can instead have the most impact and through this, notices something else that benefits them all so much more.Foz Meadows writing is, as always, engaging and easy to read, the pages flicking by so quickly you're dismayed that there's not a whole novella or even novel dedicated to her piece on Khutulun."Charmed Life" by Joyce ChngLeizu grew up helping in her father's workshop, working with metal to create swords or ornaments. It is here that she catches the eyes of the Emperor, and soon finds herself an Empress, moves into the palace and leaves that life behind her; trading a life of freedom for one of rules and regulations.Here we have a beautifully crafted piece that suits Chinese literature, with descriptions that paint a picture so well its like you're there with Leizu. It's also interesting to see how she goes on the hunt for a nicer rich fabric to wear, and how she goes about it. Soon, she discovers silk and how to dye it, and then her anger as her husband takes all the credit. This is a soft yet strong tale, and one of my favourites in the anthology."A Beautiful Stream" by Nisi ShawlThis piece eases us back into the more historical-fiction sense the rest of the anthology has taken, bringing us to France, and Gabrielle and her lover Missy, and Gabrielle's daughter Gazouette. The author of the well-known Gigi, we see her here trying to do the best for her family - whether it's enticing money from her backers, or balancing her husband's needs and that of her lovers. Beyond this she accomplishes so much more as her world becomes even more difficult, until we're left with her life at 81 as she lays dying, awaiting a visit from her estranged daughter.This piece was one of the more beautiful, taking two reads in order to appreciate it fully. Shawl has a deft hand, and the piece comes to life as it unfolds around the reader, with more and more to notice in it each time you read it again."Neter Nefer" by Amanda PillarNow we have Hatshepsut, an Egyptian ruler - generally regarded by Egyptologists as one of the most successful pharaohs, reigning longer than any other woman of an indigenous Egyptian dynasty. This tale is told by her daughter Neferure who wasn't blinded by friendship and was able to properly see what her father's consort was up to - trying to poison Hetshepsut and Neferure. What I find amazing in this time is how short their lives were, but how much they accomplished in this time regardless.Neferure's tomb was one of those discovered by Howard Carter, and Hatshepsut's was that of some issue and academic feuds as they fought over what the succession truly was. This piece by Pillar is excellent at showing the different ties everyone had - how siblings were to marry and so forth, or, in Neferure's case, to refuse utterly."Due Care And Attention" by Sylvia KelsoWe jump straight from a calm discussion into action, as we read a piece set in Brisbane, Australia when motor cars are just becoming popular. We have two ladies - Lilian Cooper, a British-born Australian doctor and her companion Josephine (and we see this piece through her eyes). These two are utterly frustrated by the speed limits which keep them from their patients. That is, until, they assist a policeman who used to dog their every step with fines, and help him catch a thief.I know this whole anthology is about women so I should be used to it by now, but OH, isn't it good to see women so useful and needed! It just makes you realise how little you see it generally in novels.It's also interesting to see a time when 16 miles an hour is noteworthy. Ah, history.I must admit, this one took me a second attempt at getting into, though I think now that I was simply in the wrong mood for it at the start. The way their dialogue was written and the introduction to the story in general kept striking me odd, but as whole it works dang well and you get such a sense of the characters through it."The Dragon, The Terror, The Sea" by Stephanie LaiCheng Shih is a Chinese pirate who travels with women and children, and is just and fair, utterly fierce, and despairs at getting older. It's interesting to see this happen, see how she gets slower and faces more injuries, and it's also interesting to see how she deals with her closest members of her force of pirates - no matter who they are, if they do wrong, they're swiftly dealt with.This is beautifully written, always showing foremost, her love for the sea."Theodora" by Barbara RobsonTheodora, wife of the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian the first who starts her life as a child on the streets, and rises to be a stage performer. She dreams of high places and is firmly told that she has a place, and that's not it. Though, she manages to almost succeed in one avenue - tied to a lofty Senator-turned-Governor - this soon falls away and she finds herself back on the streets. However, Theodora is made of sterner stuff and soon finds herself in even better shape - wife to Justinian, who then becomes emperor, and it's only thanks to her that they manage to get through the riots and upheaval in general. With her level head and fierce nature, they see through the revolution.Throughout this piece, you get such a feel for the times and what was expected of everyone who had their part to play in this world of politics - mostly how cruel it all is, especially in Rome. Theodora is just excellent!"For So Great A Misdeed" by Lisa L. HannettHallgerðr Höskuldsdóttir is an Icelandic woman who is told from a young age that it's not bad to want. Throughout we get to see how people differ on this advice, saying that no it isn't bad to want, or it is bad because of the things that come with that.Hallgerðr seems to suffer from terrible luck, losing three husbands. We see her from when she's young until the end, when she's somewhat manic and utterly at her wits end from what she's been through and how she's treated for it. She's a malicious, greedy character, firmly trapped in what she sees as unfair - what's so wrong from constantly having feasts, even if you have to take from your neighbours in order to lay the table?Again, we're going from strength to strength here, seeing what Hallgerðr thinks and her actions, understanding why she does what she does even if we don't agree. She's a formidable woman - a Viking, after all."The Pasha, The Girl And The Dagger" by Havva MuratAhh, another female becoming a warrior story, with bonus 'dress as a boy' plot. Here we have Nora of Kelmendi, an Albanian warrior known as Kreshnik when she's a boy. Born to a man with too many daughters already, she's almost cast out into the snow as what he really needs is a son. She's first given to the church, but then rescued by her aunt who raises her as her own, but then dressed as a boy when her father turns up in a surprise visit.He instantly takes her under his wing (as he thinks she's his nephew) and trains her up, but then must fight as champion... she's small, but the match won't be all that easy for the Pasha's champion, as we soon see...This is another fun piece - I don't think I can ever get tired of this type of plot. More, I say!"Granuaile" by Dirk FlinthartAnother pirate, almost! Grace O’Malley - chieftain of the Ó Máille clan and sometimes known as “The Sea Queen of Connacht”, we see her matching wits with Philip Sidney, a knight of Queen Elizabeth as they have a run in with the fey, Poseidon/Neptune himself.This one is interesting for a line from Philip, who doesn't believe he's witnessed a God. Rather, he states: ''Tis true this Mack Leer has much power, but what of it? have we not powers the ancients would have marvelled at? The compass? he telescope? Our clocks? Our cannons and guns?' (...) 'We have wise men and astrologers, alchemists and mathematical philosophers. What this Mack Leer knows, we can learn. In time we will deal with him and his people as quals.'I'm not sure I agree with the ending of this one, but I worry about such things. Reading Juliet Marillier's work makes me a tad worried about doing such a thing (no spoilers here!)"Little Battles" by L.M. MylesAnd now we're back in the realm of older, excellent women. Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages and a member of the Ramnulfid dynasty of rulers in southwestern France. She became Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right while she was still a child, then later Queen consort of France (1137–1152) and of England (1154–1189) and in this tale, we see her escorting one of her granddaughters, Blanche, when they come into trouble.War must be a terrible time for a woman leader, mother and carer but on one side, kept back from the blood and cruelty, and on other other plunged into it. She gives this wisdom to her granddaughter, saying 'Don't be afraid to look at them, the bodies. The men will not want you to, but being a woman will not protect you from violence or death. You will be a queen. You will have castles and armies and you must not flinch from doing what you must to protect your husband, or your children. Look. See what death is.'"Another Week In The Future, An Excerpt" by Kaaron WarrenCatherine Helen Spence was a Scottish-born Australian author who published a science fiction novel in 1888, about what it would be like to live in 1988. The very fantastic Kaaron Warren takes this a step forward by writing in her style, as to what it would be like in 2088. Through her eyes we see just how much the world has changed even from her time to ours (just imagine, women dressed as men!) and from there, we see what Australia (and the world) could someday become.As ever, Warren's writing is a light touch yet with a depth of thought behind it. This piece is certainly one to look out for at the next round of Ditmars for sure."The Lioness" by Laura LamAhh, Lam, one of my favourite writers! If I weren't a fan of FableCroft Publications, she would be one of the main reasons I'd pick this anthology up in the first place! She brings us pirates, showing us why this piece follows Shawl's as it's set in France also, introducing us to fierce female pirate Jeanne de Clisson, also known as the Lioness of Brittany. Daughter of a nobleman and soon married to a nobleman, they are soon barons until her husband dies young, leaving her with their two children.If you haven't before come into contact with Laura Lam's writing, I highly recommend you change this immediately and seek her work out. Lam has a way with words and characters that are a joy to read and lodge firmly in your mind, so even when you do somehow manage to put the book down (for say, eating or sleeping) they stay in your mind regardless. It's no different here; Jeanne is a heartfelt character and Elyas is no different, both demanding a novella or novel to themselves - as long as Lam is writing it!Warren's piece got us into the speculative rounds again, and this piece continues in that stream, and is all the more fun for it."Cora Crane And The Trouble With Me" by Sandra McDonaldCora Crane - American businesswoman, nightclub and bordello owner, writer and journalist. Though this clever piece of work, we see bits and pieces of her life and what could have been, and get a well-worked idea of what her life was like - regrets, hopes and dreams and everything in between. This keeps Cora utterly human throughout - we see her bad decisions and what leads her there, and understand why it all happens.I like that this one comes so close after Warren's slightly more spec-fic take on Catherine Helen Spence. The way this one uses 'what could have been' is almost on the same speculative stream, and that speculative elements were included in this anthology at all. It makes a nice mix!"Vintana" by Thoraiya DyerThe Great Wife, soon to be known as Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar, watches in shame as her husband is cursed by breaking tradition time and time again. Once Queen, she states that fish shall never cross her table.This tale is also of the Royal Cook, who has to go out to get fish for the King (when he should be eating meat) and along the way, falls ill from a mosquito and from there, refuses to enter the kitchen as to leave the slaves quarters would mean they expect her to die and don't wish to have to burn down the huts as they'd otherwise have to. They'd never burn down the palace.This is one of those pieces which is rich in culture and a joy to read because of it and the pieces of verse are a pleasant addition."Hallowed Ground" by Juliet MarillierHildegard was committed as a child to a monastery - later she would become a writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath - but for now she was a child who would have fits, and in these, see God's visions. These she leant to keep to herself as they weren't always well received.Through this piece we see her both as a child and in her eighties, where she is now known as Sister Hildegard and has a life of wisdom she's running out of time to share - she wishes to write an extension of her Natural History however also thinks she may live only a year or two more.This is a gentle and beautiful piece of writing, as Marillier always accomplishes in her work. If Laura Lam wasn't in this anthology, I still would have bought it for Marillier's piece in an instant!"Glorious" by Faith MudgeEnding on a strong note, we are left with Elizabeth I, the Queen of England. Jailed and desperate, this one explores her life as a child throughout. We see the injustice of what it must be like for a girl when a son is born afterwards and the rejoicing show just how much more worthy a male child was to a family in those times.This one includes one of my favourite lines: 'Never have I written with more care and made less sense.' Is there anyone out there who can't identify with such a truthful sentence, when upset or at wits end?It's also incredibly clever to start and end with Anne Boleyn, hats off to the editors for that one!~I can think of no better way to have spent my Australia Day reading this anthology and learning more about Australians from our past, as well as others from all over the world. This is a strong anthology, easily readable and not 'boring' as historical things can sometimes be, or at least are known to be.This anthology is highly recommended, for children still in school as well as adults and everyone in between. I can't wait to see how this is used in schools!

  • Lata
    2019-06-16 13:57

    Except for three stories, I really enjoyed this collection of stories about women throughout history choosing to not follow convention or expectations. Most of the authors have a background writing speculative fiction, but most of the stories in this anthology are historical fiction. I found myself taking time over each story, enjoying each writer's style and choice of protagonist. I don't tend to read much short fiction, as I often prefer to settle in with a novel where an author can really get into a character, but most of the stories offered something interesting and enjoyable about each featured protagonist.

  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    2019-05-21 13:43

    Cranky Ladies of History is an anthology conceived and developed by Tehani Wessley of Fablecroft Publishing and author, Tansy Rayner Roberts. Crowdfunded through Pozible during Womens History Month in 2014, the concept attracted many supporters eager to be a part of project.Twenty two authors have contributed to Cranky Ladies of History, including award winner's Thoraiya Dyer, Juliet Marillier, Jane Yolen and Garth Nix. Each short story in Cranky Ladies of History features a real female historical figure. I'm not familiar enough with history to separate fact from fiction in these pieces but these strong, often fierce women are those who challenged society's rules and ideas about how women should behave, though not always in heroic or noble ways. While Garth Nix honours Lady Godiva in 'The Company of Women', 'Look How Cold My Hands Are' by Deborah Biancotti features Countess Bathory, an insane serial killer.The women featured include an Ancient Egyptian ruler ('Neter Nefer' by Amanda Pillar), a Chinese Empress ('Charmed Life' by Joyce Chng), a British women's rights campaigner ("Mary, Mary" by Kirstyn McDermott) and an Australia doctor ('Due Care And Attention' by Sylvia Kelso. Some of the protagonists represent well known figures such as Queen Elizabeth 1 ('Glorious' by Faith Mudge) while others feature woman whose lives have all but been forgotten, such as the Icelandic Viking warrior, Hallgerðr Höskuldsdóttir ('For So Great A Misdeed' by Lisa L. Hannett)An entertaining and interesting anthology, Cranky Ladies of History is an important collection of fiction that gives voice to an extraordinary selection of women from a broad range of backgrounds, era's and cultures. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

  • Stephanie
    2019-06-05 11:38

    Cranky Ladies of History is an anthology edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessley, published by Fablecroft Publishing. Publication of the anthology was supported by a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible and by a Tasmanian Arts Crowbar Grant.When I first heard about the crowdfunding campaign for Cranky Ladies of History, I rushed to fund it. Not only was I going to be on board with any anthology edited by Roberts and Wessley, but the theme had me at "cranky ladies". I opted to fund at the level which gave me the hardcover edition, which is a truly beautiful book. Kathleen Jennings has created yet another utterly gorgeous cover, not to mention the internal illustrations in the book, which are all amazing.I have to admit upfront that I am not the most thoroughly read in terms of history or historical fiction, and as such, many of the cranky ladies depicted in the stories were unknown to me. As I started to read, I found myself wishing that each story had been prefaced by a small biography of the woman in question, but as I read more, I found myself glad that none had been provided. There was a small thrill of recognition in seeing the women I recognised, and it was quite lovely to come to the ones I wasn't familiar with without any prior assumptions. Every one of the women was fascinating, and I suspect that there is going to be a lot of reading about their histories in my future.I went into this anthology expecting a particular kind of woman to be represented: the woman who fought for good, and perhaps broke social norms in order to do so. I was pleasantly surprised that there was, in fact, a wide range of "cranky ladies" presented (and honestly, I shouldn't have been, given the editors and authors involved). The fighter for good and breaker of social norms was there, as well as the warrior, but there were also darker levels of "crankiness" presented, for example, Countess Bathory, who can in no terms be described as good, but was certainly a cranky lady of her time.I'm not going to talk about all of the stories in depth, but don't take this to mean that they're not all worthy of your time. These are simply the stories that have particular resonance for me in terms of my reading taste.Partway through reading, I tweeted that Kirstyn McDermott's "Mary, Mary" had instantly become one of my favourite short stories of all time. Now, having finished reading the anthology, I stand by this. Mary Woolstonecroft, feminist, writer, and mother of Mary Shelley (she died ten days after giving birth to the second Mary) is the focus of this story. McDermott's prose is gorgeous and lush as always, and there is a clear empathy for both Marys and for the plight of all women of the time. I loved the inclusion of the possibly-supernatural Grey Lady in this, too. I think this is possibly one of McDermott's strongest short stories to date.Deborah Biancotti's "Look How Cold My Hands Are" concerns the aforementioned Countess Bathory. Bathory is said to have been one of the most prolific serial killers in history, who tortured and abused hundreds of young women. Her punishment was being immured in her castle, and she remained walled up for the last four years of her life. Biancotti, as to be expected from her body of work, does not shy away from any of the horror of Bathory's actions, and renders the Countess a very believeable and truly horrible figure. There is no redemption for Bathory, and yet Biancotti manages to convey a sense of the Countess' belief that her actions were just.The third story I'm going to mention is Amanda Pillar's "Neter, Nefer". A brief caveat: I've worked with Pillar as my editor, a role at which she is brilliant. Here, we get to see that she's also a brilliant writer. I've always been fascinated by Ancient Egypt, so it's little surprise that I was drawn to this story on that basis alone, but I utterly loved the way Pillar approached the story of the female pharaoh Hatshephut. The story is told from the perspective of Hatshephut's daughter Neferure, and reveals so much about women in Ancient Egypt, and describes a fascinating mother-daughter relationship at the same time. I would throw great wads of money at Pillar to have this expanded into a full novel.It would have been very easy for editors to fall into the trap of choosing stories and protagonists who came only from a Eurocentric background in developing an anthology like this. Wessley and Roberts--as I would expect from them--do not fall into this trap. The collection is cleverly bookmarked by stories that reference Anne Boleyn, but we travel much of the world in between these two. We have stories about cranky women from Central Asia (Foz Meadows writing about Khutulan, warrior who challenged any man who wished to marry her to defeat her in wrestling; loss meant forfeiting horses to her. She is said to have won 10,000 horses in this fashion), China (Joyce Chng writing about Leizu, the Chinese empress who discovered silk), Australia (Sylvia Kelso, writing about Lilian Cooper, first female doctor registered in Queensland) and Iceland (Lisa L. Hannett, writing about Hallgerðr Höskuldsdóttir, Viking woman who suffers from terrible luck), as well as many more, including a great many awesome female pirates (and I would also pay money for a Cranky Lady Pirates sequel!).It bears repeating that all of the stories in this book are excellent, not just the ones I've singled out above. Reading this anthology, it made me realise just how many of the female stories are left out of traditional history as its taught, women most often relegated to the margins as daughters and wives, their own stories forgotten. I'd like to think that somewhere in the past, these women are looking up and thanking the authors and editors for shining a light on them in all of their glorious crankiness.Highly recommended, even if you don't usually enjoy historical fiction.

  • Catherine Heloise
    2019-06-11 09:45

    It's not often one finds an anthology that one can't put down, but this was the case with Cranky Ladies of History. I kept on having to read just one more story (and then pop online to look at Wikipedia and find out a bit more about the protagonists I was less familiar with).This anthology is 'a celebration of 22 women who challenged conventional wisdom about appropriate female behaviour', and the protagonists of the stories range from Neferure, daughter of Egypt's only female Pharaoh via pirate captains Ching Shih and Grace O'Malley and warrior women Nora of Kelmendi and Khutulun to Dr Lillian Cooper, Queensland's first female doctor.Others have reviewed the individual stories, and done so very well - for me the truly impressive thing about this anthology was that there really were no weak stories. Every story was compelling and fascinating in a different way; some were strict historical fiction, others had a touch of fantasy, fairy tale, myth, or even science fiction to them, and all were ordered with a keen eye to the stories that surrounded them. I'm not sure how best to describe this, but in my experience, at least, it's rare to find an anthology which is put together in such a satisfying way. One little detail that I particularly enjoyed was starting the book with a story of Mary Tudor and the fall of Anne Boleyn, and ending it with a story from Elizabeth Tudor's viewpoint, set during her imprisonment in the tower.I have a reasonable background in history, and I recognised eight of the protagonists, with three more being familiar to me via other writers and librettists who I hadn't realised were working from historical figures and events. The remaining eleven women were entirely new to me. To me, this was a very enjoyable mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar, with the familiar being treated in ways that allowed me to see them in new lights. Perhaps my favourite story was Theodora, if only because I recognised her from Procopius's polemic, and it was fun seeing the polemic side by side with her story and viewpoint - but honestly, just about every story had something that utterly delighted me.Honestly, I want to give a copy of this book to pretty much everyone I know. If you have an interest in history, in biography, in women who did amazing things in the past, for which they may or may not have been recognised, or just in really good writing and historical fiction, I completely recommend this book. It would also be a fun way to introduce children or students to particular historical eras or figures.Oh, and one final note - with the exception of Jane Yolen, all the authors in this book are Australian. So buying this book is also a nice way to support Australian authors and independent publishing.But really, you shouldn't buy it for that reason. You should buy it because it's really, really good.

  • S.B. Wright
    2019-06-04 11:52

    I was a backer of the Pozible project that made this book a reality. Now whether that predisposes me to like Cranky Ladies of History, I’m not sure. I am both fan and friends of the editors and some of the contributors. Still I shelled out $50 upfront and no amount of friendship or fanboishness would assuage the pain if the book turned out to be a stinker.Thankfully, perhaps even a little surprisingly, Cranky Ladies of History, turned out to be a great collection. I was expecting the collection to be good, a belief firmly founded in Tehani Wessely’s and Tansy Rayner Roberts’ eye for good story and good project. I wasn’t expecting to be quite as fulfilled and engaged. Touted as a celebration of 22 historical women, some of whom we might be familiar with but many of whom have been relegated to history or specialist courses of study, Cranky Ladies of History demonstrates that there is ample interesting and underutilised historical material for writers to work with if they want to go with female protagonists. Many of us are used to reworkings of King Arthur, Richard III, and William Wallace. What I found delight in here, was not only original takes on some of the women that I did know about but exciting unearthings of those I hadn’t read about before.The works run the gamut of straight historical to historical fantasy. Deborah Biancotti manages to give us a rather straight historical retelling of Elisabeth Bathory or Erzsébet Báthory. It was a pleasantly free of vampires, the history being sometimes far more gruesome than the fantasy. Dirk Flinthart on the other hand manages to give us Irish myth with a tint of Cthulu mythos, in his piece on Grace O'Malley.While all the stories were self contained, many of them left me hungering for more, for longer tales. Thanks to Foz Meadows and Bright Moon, I want to read more of Khutulun, cousin of Kublai Khan and not the pacified version that informs the western version in Turandot. Likewise, Haava Murat’s, The Pasha, the Girl and the Dagger would easily sate those looking for that historical milieu of European Christianity versus the Ottoman empire without having to resort to endless retellings of the life of Vlad the Impaler.I am sure that it would be possible to fill a book with stories from European history alone, so it’s also encouraging to see the diversity in this collection from Amanda Pillar’s tale of Hatshepsut and her daughter, to Thoraiya Dyer’s story of Queen Ranavalona Manjak of Madagascar.For me Cranky Ladies of History is a unique project in that it delivers entertainment while spotlighting 22 women of history that we should all know more about, even if it’s for the simple reason that their stories are different to those we are used to hearing.The review was conducted on an advanced reading copy.

  • Anna Livingston
    2019-06-07 11:39

    I helped crowdfund this book, and I'm very glad I did. I don't read much historical fiction, but I really enjoyed this; it's full of stories of fascinating, powerful, determined, and yes, occasionally cranky women. My only disappointment with the book is as much due to my own ignorance of history as anything else: I occasionally had trouble following some stories simply because I didn't always know the biographies of the women involved. (Even a one- or two-paragraph bio or link to a good online source about each woman would have helped.) Still, this is a minor issue given the overall high quality of this collection.

  • Tsana Dolichva
    2019-06-08 10:56

    Cranky Ladies of History edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely is an anthology of stories about historical women who were not content to leave the status quo be. The stories cover pirates, queens, nuns and warriors and come from a variety of authors, many of whom I've reviewed here before.This was a fascinating collection of women, many of whom I hadn't heard of before, or didn't know much about before reading. The collection is framed by two stories of the women and children of Henry VIII, about whom I probably knew most before reading, which give a pleasant effect of tying the collection together. My favourite stories were "Bright Moon" by Foz Meadows, "Neter Nefer" by Amanda Pillar and "Due Care And Attention" by Sylvia Kelso, all very different tales — especially the latter — which are a good example of the breadth of the collection.The only thing negative from which the collection suffered was a tendency for some of the stories to fall into a pattern of recounting their subject's life events. Sometimes this was done to fill in gaps, sometimes not, but it resulted in more telling rather than showing and came across as a bit dry at times. On the other hand, this was made up for by the stories which threw us into key events in a more active way. Overall, interesting and fascinating are the two words that best describe this collection. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to dip into the lives of a variety of historical women. Although it's not technically a speculative fiction anthology, I strongly feel it will appeal to readers of spec fic as well as readers of main stream and historical fiction. As always, some notes on individual stories follow.~Queenside by Liz Barr — A scene among Henry VIII's women.The Company Of Women by Garth Nix — Bees and Lady Godiva and unpleasant magic.Mary, Mary by Kirstyn McDermott — A tale about Mary Wollstonecraft's life, especially her darker moments. While interesting, I found it a bit too depressing to really enjoy.A Song For Sacagawea by Jane Yolen — a poem or, I suppose as the title says, a song.Look How Cold My Hands Are by Deborah Biancotti — An account of the end of Countess Erzébet of Báthory, the most prolific known female serial killer. Interesting and dark.Bright Moon by Foz Meadows — My favourite story so far. About the Mongolian princess who refused to marry any man who couldn't beat her in wrestling.Charmed Life by Joyce Chng — About the empress who discovered silk to make women's lives easier.A Beautiful Stream by Nisi Shawl — I think this story could've been tighter. Although I got the drift — a wartime spy fearing those around her might be used as leverage — I found it difficult to follow.Neter Nefer by Amanda Pillar — the story of Hatshepsut taking the throne, told front eh pint of view of her daughter. An enjoyable story and one of my favourites.The Dragon, The Terror, The Sea by Stephanie Lai — Chinese pirate lady who commands a large fleet. She tries to stop opium taking over China but fails obviously. I liked this one.Due Care And Attention by Sylvia Kelso — A lady doctor and much angst about speeding at the turn of the century. A very fun story. (Alarming how recently the benefit of putting cold water on a burn was discovered.)Theodora by Barbara Robson — The story of a Roman empress, framed by a historian's scathing commentary of how she was bringing down the Roman Empire (by, y'know, being nice to women and stuff). An enjoyable read.For So Great A Misdeed by Lisa L. Hannett — a rather long story about an island of woman who had several husbands, all of whom died. Although the length was necessary to cover all the key events in her life, it felt a little drawn out.The Pasha, The Girl And The Dagger by Havva Murat — A girl is abandoned by her father for being born a girl but secretly rescued by her aunt. She grows up to be a kick-arse knight.Granuaile by Dirk Flinthart — Irish pirate queen who has a run in with Poseidon.Little Battles by L.M. Myles — A story about Queen Eleanor at age 70, who was still kicking are. A nice tale about a lady who knew what was what.Another Week In The Future, An Excerpt by Kaaron Warren — Written in the style of Catherine Helen Spence who wrote a book about time travel into the future (1988), this considers the same character going another 100 years forward. The foreword explains that it is written as though the author wrote it in the final years of her life when she was feeling less hopeful about the world. It’s a very engaging and interesting read. I liked it more than I expected to from the description.The Lioness by Laura Lam — story about a French pirate queen and a young man that crosses her path.Cora Crane And The Trouble With Me by Sandra McDonald — told from the point of view of Cora's diary, languishing forgotten in some archive. Quite a clever way of telling. I enjoyed it.Vintana by Thoraiya Dyer — A queen of Madagascar who olives both her husband the king and her lover. Set at a time when French Christians were insinuating their way into the king's graces and the traditional ways were under threat. A good read.Hallowed Ground by Juliet Marillier — A having reached old age reflects upon her life and upon new hardships she and her sisters face. A very enjoyable story.Glorious by Faith Mudge — A story about princess Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn, and her life in the confusing English court (and out of it) of the time. An enjoyable read. 4 / 5 starsRead more reviews on my blog.

  • Marlene
    2019-06-08 12:35

    Originally published at Reading RealityI think this book is titled Cranky Ladies of History because “Angry Women of History” doesn’t put the same smile on your face, the one that would open wallets for a successful Pozible crowdfunding campaign. (I would have helped fund the thing if I had heard about it sooner. But I didn’t. So I bought the book instead.)March is Women’s History Month, which makes this a perfect time to review a book that covers the gamut of women’s history, from the point of view of women who were angry enough to buck the rules that are supposed to keep women high up on a pedestal where they can’t get shit done.The historical women in these stories kicked ass and took names. Sometimes literally, sometimes just figuratively. They are individually and collectively awesome, even if they are not all familiar.Cranky Ladies of History is a short story collection built around this central theme – stories of women who did not just sit back quietly and bear whatever got thrown at them. Usually the throwing was done by men, but not always.Like most short story collections, it isn’t all of uniform quality or interest to any reader, including this one. I loved the theme, and at least liked most of the stories. There were a couple that were far enough outside of my own cultural bailiwick that I would have loved a longer treatment of the person – I just didn’t know enough to feel like I got all of the context, but there were only a couple of stories that really didn’t engage me.The collection is bookended by two stories about the daughters of Henry VIII, both of whom had more than enough reasons to be angry at their father, his court, the machinations of politics and pretty much everything else.Queenside by Liz Barr is about Mary, later Queen Mary I, also sometimes known as Bloody Mary for her religious purges. This little gem takes place much earlier, where she manages to give a right proper comeuppance to the woman who stole her mother’s throne and her life. As Anne Boleyn is on her way down, Mary puts her in her place and rises above her, all at the same time. It was fascinating to see the exchange from Mary’s perspective, because history has seldom been kind to her.The last story is Glorious by Faith Mudge, and it is Elizabeth I’s point of view. Elizabeth, later called Gloriana, was at one of the lowest points in her life, when her sister condemned her to the Tower because of a rebellion that was fomented in her name. The question was always whether or not Elizabeth had been an active participant in the treason. This story takes place in 1554, and we see Elizabeth’s private thoughts as she prays to live long enough to take the throne. She is frightened and resolute, while calculating the best way to save herself and her supporters.Two of my other favorite stories also take place in England, or are at least about English nobility. The Company of Women by Garth Nix is a marvelous and fantastic reinterpretation of the Lady Godiva story. Little Battles by L.M. Myles gives us the indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine late in her incredible life, giving lessons in queenship to her granddaughter on their way to the younger woman’s betrothal to the King of France. Eleanor reflects on her life, her journeys, and most especially, her part in the war between her husband and her sons.The Pasha, the Girl and the Dagger by Havva Murat is a wonderful story of a woman warrior who has to navigate the games within games of her father’s court. It was great to see a story where the female wins everything, including her father’s approval, by defying the stereotypes that define women’s roles in her society.All the women features in this collection defy stereotypes, and often defy their society. They are not all heroines – Elizabeth Bathory is known to history as one of the first serial killers. Even those women in this collection who are mostly fable are totally fascinating.Escape Rating A-: All the stores in this collection were at least interesting, and I can’t always say that about a short story collection. Bathory’s story gave me chills, but then, it was supposed to.I did mostly love the English history stories the best, but that’s a personal thing – I read a lot of English history in high school and college, and still find it interesting. Eleanor of Aquitaine was an incredible woman. I still fondly remember reading A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver eons ago.But the stories overall show the power of women, not just individually but also in concert (The Company of Women does this well). So often, we stand together or we fall together. And we fall separately.It says something about society that the phrase “Cranky Ladies” gets a smile and a laugh, but “Angry Women” is a turn off, and of a considerably larger scale than “Angry Men”. It is still a truth that men are allowed to get angry, where women’s anger is denigrated or dismissed outright.On the other hand, as Laurel Thatcher Ulrich so succintly said in 1976, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” The stories in this collection all feature women who did not behave well according to the rules of their society, but they all got shit done.Reviewer’s Note: if you are interested in how this collection came to be, the creators did a terrific “Big Idea” post on John Scalzi’s blog Whatever earlier this month.

  • Barbara
    2019-06-10 09:47

    In the interests of transparency, I have a story in this book. Nonetheless, it's a wonderful collection.

  • Ju Transcendancing
    2019-05-24 06:47

    This anthology is *glorious*! Everything you ever wanted in a fictional account giving insight into women from history who have been overlooked. There's so much to love about this anthology and it just delivers story after story that pack huge punches! The collection is diverse in many ways and is highly recommended. See my full detailed reviewon my blog The Conversationalist.

  • Kate Laidley
    2019-06-03 13:00

    Bright Moon by Foz Meadows far and away my favourite story in this collection

  • Lily
    2019-06-05 09:44

    Very interesting indeed...

  • Shaz
    2019-06-13 13:47

    I liked the whole idea of this collection of short stories from the instant I saw the title and I will say that it was mostly quite enjoyable. Being a collection of stories, I (unsurprisingly) didn't like everything in it, but I am disposed to be generous towards the whole. There are some accomplished authors contributing. Some of my favourites were Bright Moon by Foz Meadows, Due Care and Attention by Sylvia Kelso, Theodora by Barbara Robson (though this one may be somewhat due to me being favourably biased towards Justinian and Theodora) and and Glorious by Faith Mudge.

  • Debbie
    2019-06-15 11:34

    A bit of a mixed bag, and I'm sure my own personal knowledge (or lack of) is impacting my enjoyment of each story. I certainly like the stories about the women I already know about more because I know the context. I would be enjoying this more if there was a little bit about each cranky lady prior to the story. The stuff I'm finding on google is interesting, but I'm only googling the women whose short stories I find interesting -- and not all of them are. If I didn't already know about Cheng Shih, I wouldn't have bothered looking her up.I didn't find the stories compelling enough to keep reading the anthology. I was about half-way through when my Oyster subscription ended and I don't think I'll be hunting down the book to finish the rest.

  • Matthew Davis
    2019-06-04 11:50

    This book covers a wide variety of periods, genres and voices, but one thing that remains consistent is the level of quality. Every author demonstrates their love of and feel for the subject matter, resulting in a high standard of detail that really brings the stories to life. And as a lifelong fan of difficult women, I found plenty of moments that brought on a laugh or a silent cheer! But rest assured, this isn't some feel-good tome about sassy birds who win anachronistic battles against the patriarchy; the women are a well-rounded bunch, intelligent and strong-willed but often flawed, sometimes callous or even murderous, and they don't always get happy endings.This was my first Fablecroft book, but on the strength of this collection, it sure won't be the last.

  • Rivqa
    2019-05-22 10:47

    This was an enjoyable, if slightly uneven, collection of stories about women both familiar and unfamiliar to me. The most common flaw of the collection, trying to do too much, is easy enough to forgive when recalling how neglected (intentionally and accidentally) some of these stories have been. On the whole, though, this anthology was as entertaining as it was eye-opening.

  • Liz
    2019-06-15 09:39

    Thoroughly enjoyed it! Many of the stories had me looking for more information on these fascinating women. A great introduction to women in history.

  • Stefanie W
    2019-06-08 10:46

    This wonderful collection is comprised of 22 short stories written by different authors about real women from history. Some were physicists, philosophers, murderers, pirates, business-women, nuns! The anthology's intro, written by Tansy Rayner Roberts, is perfect to describe what this project was about. Here are few tid-bits of it:"There's something about that phrase: cranky lady. There was a time when it would have been seen entirely as a put-down, a dismissal of female strength and power. Yet the idea of celebrating women for their crankiness - rather than their beauty, their docility, their compliance - feels empowering and deliciously rebellious. [...] This book may look beautiful, but it has sharp teeth. Cranky Ladies of History started out as a joke title in many ways. It was supposed to be ironic, to remind us all of the many ways that words have been (and often still are) used to patronize and belittle women. But the snarky title should not disguise the fact that this book is serious. Angry. Fierce. Cranky Ladies of History is a book that doesn't smile at the camera (or the portrait artist) unless it wants to."There you have it. Roberts perfectly captures what you should expect from these stories. This book did not disappoint. It was also a perfect read for me in these very busy last couple of months as I could sneak in a short story or two during lunch breaks, between study sessions or before bedtime. Unsurprisingly, I loved reading Marillier's short story Hollowed Ground about Sister Hidegard of Bingen. However, I want to focus on my very favorite 4 short stories from this collection. The first would have to be Bright Moon by Foz Meadows. This story is based on Khutulun, Ghengis Khan's great-great-granddaughter. Basically, she was a princess who insisted to learn the arts of war. She was very skilled on the battlefield. She was an amazing wrestler and it was known all over the land that she would marry the man who could beat her at it. The deal was that if the men lost, they would give her a certain amount of horses. Rumor has it that Khutulun ended up with over 10,000 horses. Yep, she was a total BAD-ASS!My next favorite story was Mary, Mary by Kirstyn McDermott. This story is about Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary wrote about women's rights back in the 1700s. She had a pretty rough life and ended up dying after the birth of her daughter... wait for it.... Mary Shelley! Third up is Granuaile by Dirk Flinthart. His short was about Grace O'Malley, chieftain of the Irish Ó Máille clan and pirate! The story revolves around her encounter with Manannan mac Lir, the irish Poseidon. I can't tell you more without a spoiler but all you have to know is YOU MUST READ THIS ONE! You won't be disappointed. And my last favorite was Theodora by Barbara Robson. Theodora was empress of the Byzantine empire in the 6th century. Here's why she was so amazing - not only did she make some important social changes at the time, but she refused to leave the city and this ended up saving her husband's throne. Hands-down Theodora was a baller! I loved reading this anthology because it gave me new and further insight into these amazing (sometimes dangerous) women from the past. Learning about these women was very refreshing for me as it reiterated that these women were real, they lived! And that makes them even more bad-ass than the female protagonists that I love when reading fiction. It also makes me just a bit proud to know that my stubborn and strong-willed characteristics are ones that have been admired in the past, and still are today! Full review here: https://bibliophiletendencies.blogspo...

  • Amy
    2019-06-16 09:38

    This is one of the best edited anthologies I've ever read. There are 2 clunkers but more than enough good short stories to make up for those missteps. One minor quibble I had with the book is that it's not always clear who the subject of the short story is; for instance, I didn't know the story about Colette was about Colette until I googled because I didn't know Colette's real name. I know I can't be the only reader who didn't know her real name. Other times, the person's full name isn't used in the story or an alternate name is used.(I'm really confused as to why so many people have shelved this book as non-fiction. It's CLEARLY historical fiction about historical figures. I mean, there's green fire magic and wizards and freaking Neptune. Totally baffling.)

  • Jenni V.
    2019-05-21 11:00

    I don't know if this is true non-fiction or historical fiction based on true women but either way I don't care. They're all stories of powerful women so I love it. Of course, as with any collection of short stories, I love some more than others so I have mini reviews of each story individually.Queenside by Liz BarrThere wasn't much to this story. It had just enough information that I want to research further on my own to find out more.The Company of Women by Garth NixThis was a riveting story and I didn't expect the supernatural elements in this type of book.Mary, Mary by Kirstyn McDermottI LOVED this one! It was probably my favorite story in the book.A Song for Sacagawea by Jane YolenThe style, a short prose, was a nice change of pace.Look How Cold My Hands Are by Deborah BiancottiI want to research this one further as well.Bright Moon by Fox MeadowsRiveting and powerful.Charmed Life by Joyce ChngThe character's voice really came through in this story. Unfortunately, the tale of a man taking credit for a woman's work is still a common one.A Beautiful Stream by Nisi ShawlIt was nice to have the inclusion of women loving women in the book but overall this felt long and wasn't my favorite.Neter Nefer by Amanda PillarMeh, this one was okay.Due Care and Attention by Sylvia KelsoI wasn't sure about this one at first but it picked up and ended well.The Dragon, The Terror, The Sea by Stephanie LaiThis one felt long.Theodora by Barbara RobsonThis covered a time period I know the least about, Rome during the 500s.For So Great a Misdeed by Lisa L. HannettThis powerful story pulled me in.The Pasha, the Girl and the Dagger by Havva MuratI really really liked this one a lot.Granuaile by Dirk FlinthartThis one made me laugh. I like how unique all the stories are from each other.Little Battles by L.M. MylesIt kept my interest but no strong feelings one way or another.Another Week in the Future, an excerpt by Kaaron Warren (writing in the style of Catherine Helen Spence)Nope.The Lioness by Laura LamI like this one because I appreciate stories that show the humanity of "villains".Cora Crane and the Trouble With Me by Sandra McDonaldI'd read a whole book about Cora Crane but this particular story wasn't executed well, although it had a good start.Vintana by Thoraiya DyerI'm not sure what was happening in this one.Hallowed Ground by Juliet MarillierMeh.Glorious by Faith MudgeIt was a nice touch to start and end the book with stories about the same family but different perspectives (different sisters were the main character). This one felt pretty long.Find all my reviews at:

  • Steph
    2019-05-20 06:35

    I really enjoyed most of the stories, I just wish I had more - the drawbacks of the short story format! I liked learning about all these various ladies, many of whom I had never heard of previously (I can't tell you how many times I would do some serious Googling at the beginning of each story, haha).

  • Tracy
    2019-06-10 09:35

    A wide collection of mostly interesting stories. Some were more engaging than others which is only to be expected with a collection of short stories. Ultimately I learnt about some women in history I had no previous knowledge of and therefore found the reading worthwhile. I also revisited some 'old friends' and enjoyed the perspective of the authors when reading some of the women such as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Elizabeth 1. As suggested by a friend, each story could have had an authors introduction and a little background as to what prompted the selection of the individual for the story to assist context, learning and enjoyment.

  • Freda Pierce
    2019-05-17 12:49

    I'm sorry to say this as a huge disappointment. Such a great and intriguing idea, but meh I struggled to read it. There were a couple of stories that I did really like, but most felt like fragments. I believe even short stories can have an introduction, a plot and a satisfying denouement but that is not the case with most of these.I think it would have been helped if each story had an introduction from the author explaining who they were writing about, her place in history and perhaps why they chose to write about her. The forward was the best part of the book !

  • Diana
    2019-06-11 12:35

    A collection of short stories featuring women from history.Each story is written by a different author, and I really don't like some of their styles. Many of the stories are written in an overly artsy way, and it took me a while to slog through them. Some I skipped altogether after realizing within a page that I didn't want to bother with it. However, some stories were well written and interesting. One of the downfalls of this is that it's not always clear who the women being featured are, or who is narrating, for a while.

  • Georgia
    2019-06-14 11:46

    Understandably crankyThe book sure went through a variety of female stories from around the world . Having their stories melt together under the heading of crankiness was a good description. I enjoyed most of them and smiled through some of the crankier moments.

  • Laura Lam
    2019-05-22 12:00

    Disclaimer: I have a story ("The Lioness") in this collection. Really enjoyed the other stories as well.

  • M. A.
    2019-05-26 06:50

    One of the finest short story collections I've ever read. A great book for yourself or as a gift to someone who wants to read about incredible, history altering women.