Read between: 28th March- 1st April
Published: March 31st, 2018
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books
Synopsis: Trailblazing Women of the Georgian Era offers a fascinating insight into the world of female inequality in the Eighteenth Century. It looks at the reasons for that inequality – the legal barriers, the lack of education, the prejudices and misconceptions held by men – and also examines the reluctance of women to compete on an equal footing. Why did so many women accept that ‘a woman’s place was in the home?’ Using seventeen case studies of women who succeeded despite all the barriers and opposition, the author asks why, in the light of their success, so little progress was made in the Victorian era. Representing women from all walks of life; artists, business women, philanthropists, inventors and industrialists, the book examines the way that the Quaker movement, with its doctrine of equality between men and women, spawned so many successful businesses and helped propel women to the forefront. In the 225 years since the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, questions remain as to why those noble ideas about equality were left to founder during the Victorian era? And why are there still so many areas where, for historical reasons, equality is still a mirage?
Review: I don’t read a lot of non-fiction but I saw this book on Netgalley and was immediately interested because I love history, so thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.
It focuses on the achievements of a number of women at a time where they had next to no rights, for example, if a woman owned a business and assets, when she married, everything would become her husband’s. She would only regain them once she was widowed. It wasn’t exactly the best time to be a woman.
The women featured are:
-Fanny Burney- and author. She was the inspiration for Jane Austen to start publishing her writing.
– Anne Damer- a sculptor
– Sarah Siddons- an actress. Before, most female characters were played by men.
Fanny Burney- author
Anne Damer- sculptor
Sarah Siddons- actress
-Lady Mary Wortley Montagu- an advocate for the prevention of small pox
-Jane Marcet- she wrote science textbooks for young girls in order to help educate them
-Sarah Guppy- an inventor
Lady Mary Montagu
-Hester Pinney- a lacemaker and stockbroker
-Hester Bateman- a silversmith
-Eleanor Coade- she created an artificial stone business
-Mary Darly- a printworker and caricature artist
– Teresia Phillips- a bigamist, and brothel house runner
– Elizabeth Raffald- she wrote the first cookery book
An example of Mary Darly’s work
Teresia ‘Con’ Phillips
-Anne Fry- a choclatier
-Hannah More- an educator
-Elizabeth Fry- a prison reformer
-Lady Margaret Middleton- an abolitionist
A poster advertising Fry’s chocolate
Margaret, Lady Middleton
And finally, the most famous woman in this novel, Mary Wollenstonecraft, author of ‘The Vindication of the Rights of Women’ and mother to Mary Shelley! She was probably the very first feminist!
It was a very interesting book to read, to find out about their achievements and to discover more about some fascinating ladies! Especially some I hadn’t heard of. The author has clearly done a lot of research when compiling the women for this book.
Even though the sections were short, there was a lot of information included. It was good to see that some of the women were based in Bristol which is a city I tend to visit often.
I really enjoyed this book, and it was a nice break between fiction novels. It definitely interested me, and appealed to me as a history buff! I’d definitely recommend it! It just goes to show us women can do anything!
Thanks for reading!