14 January 2019

The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women: A Social History, by Elizabeth Norton


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

The Tudor period conjures up images of queens and noblewomen in elaborate court dress; of palace intrigue and dramatic politics. But if you were a woman, it was also a time when death during childbirth was rife; when marriage was usually a legal contract, not a matter for love, and the education you could hope to receive was minimal at best.

Yet the Tudor century was also dominated by powerful and dynamic women in a way that no era had been before. Historian Elizabeth Norton explores the life cycle of the Tudor woman, from childhood to old age, through the diverging examples of women such as Elizabeth Tudor, Henry VIII's sister; Cecily Burbage, Elizabeth's wet nurse; Mary Howard, widowed but influential at court; Elizabeth Boleyn, mother of a controversial queen; and Elizabeth Barton, a peasant girl who would be lauded as a prophetess. 

Their stories are interwoven with studies of topics ranging from Tudor toys to contraception to witchcraft, painting a portrait of the lives of queens and serving maids, nuns and harlots, widows and chaperones. Norton brings this vibrant period to colorful life in an evocative and insightful social history.

An absorbing look not only at the powerful women of that era, but everyday life for women throughout Tudor society.”
- Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Without romanticizing the era, Norton’s biography of the Tudor Everywoman weaves together the lives of well-known figures to lesser-known women. A captivating, inspiring and informative summer read not only for fans of Tudor England, but also those who are facing insurmountable obstacles themselves―and are looking to craft fulfilling lives for themselves.”
- Ms. Magazine

“Queens, servants, widows, nuns, harlots, and more are depicted in a rich tapestry of meticulous scholarship, historical detail, and insightful observations. Anyone interested in expanding and enriching her of his view of the Tudor era will enjoy Norton’s skillfully written study.”
- Booklist

“Engrossing and charming. By uncovering all the tiny, painstaking day-to-day details of these varied existences, Norton has constructed something inspiring.”
- British Heritage Travel

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About the Author
Elizabeth Norton lives in Kingston upon Thames, near Hampton Court Palace, with her husband and two sons. As well as her books she is carrying out academic research at King's College, London into the Blount family of Shropshire, contributing journal articles and giving papers at academic conferences and has appeared as an expert on television, including programmes for Sky Arts and the National Geographic channel.  Find out more as her website http://elizabethnorton.co.uk/ and find her on Twitter @ENortonHistory

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