Normal Women: Nine Hundred Years of Making History (Hardcover)

Normal Women: Nine Hundred Years of Making History By Philippa Gregory Cover Image
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“Lively, timely and gloriously energetic. Each page bursts with life, and every chapter swirls with personalities left out of traditional narratives of Britain’s past. Philippa Gregory has produced something rare and wonderful: a genuinely new history of [Britain], with women at its beating heart.” —Dan Jones, New York Times bestselling author of The Plantagenets

“You’ve devoured her novels, but now Gregory shows off chops as a historian. . . . An amazing read.” —The Los Angeles Times

The #1 New York Times bestselling historical novelist delivers her magnum opus—a landmark work of feminist nonfiction that radically redefines our understanding of the extraordinary roles ordinary women played throughout British history.


Did you know that there are more penises than women in the Bayeux Tapestry? That the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 was started and propelled by women who were protesting a tax on women? Or that celebrated naturalist Charles Darwin believed not just that women were naturally inferior to men, but that they’d evolve to become ever more inferior?

These are just a few of the startling findings you will learn from reading Philippa Gregory’s Normal Women. In this ambitious and groundbreaking book, she tells the story of England over 900 years, for the very first time placing women—some fifty per cent of the population—center stage.

Using research skills honed in her work as one of our foremost historical novelists, Gregory trawled through court records, newspapers, and journals to find highwaywomen and beggars, murderers and brides, housewives and pirates, female husbands and hermits. The “normal women” you will meet in these pages went to war, ploughed the fields, campaigned, wrote, and loved. They rode in jousts, flew Spitfires, issued their own currency, and built ships, corn mills and houses. They committed crimes or treason, worshipped many gods, cooked and nursed, invented things, and rioted. A lot.

A landmark work of scholarship and storytelling, Normal Women chronicles centuries of social and cultural change—from 1066 to modern times—powered by the determination, persistence, and effectiveness of women.


“An expansive, inclusive and elegantly woven nonfiction account of the lives of women in England from the Norman Conquest to the modern day. To describe it as merely a retelling is to undermine a core principle: This is a history of women in England, yes, but it is also a history of England, full stop. . . . At more than 500 pages, with extensive endnotes and a 30-page index, Normal Women is a behemoth you may be inclined to skim, until you realize you’re actually luxuriating in every word.” —The New York Times

About the Author

Philippa Gregory, CBE, is one of the world’s foremost historical novelists. Her books include The Other Boleyn Girl, The White Queen, and most recently Dawnlands. A recognized authority on women’s history, she graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. She is a fellow of the University of Sussex and Cardiff University and an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. In 2020 she was made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to literature and charity. Philippa is a member of the Society of Authors and in 2016 was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction Award by the Historical Writers’ Association. She is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and in 2018 was awarded an Honorary Platinum Award by Nielsen for achieving significant lifetime sales across her entire book output. 

Praise For…

“Gregory has the novelist’s eye for the quirky and the vivid; the wryness of a confident narrator. [Normal Women] is a lasting work of social history.”
The Times (UK)

“A triumph of popular history.” — The Spectator

“This ambitious book is a rich contribution to women’s public history—and a powerful reminder that normal women have long made history.” — BBC History Magazine

“Magisterial, exhaustively researched . . . A colourful panorama of social history. Gregory is a gifted storyteller and this well-illustrated read zips along at an enjoyable pace. . . . Her insights are fascinating.” — Daily Mirror (UK)

“Gregory brings her extensive knowledge of women in society over the centuries to . . . [this] tour de force of research.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Richly researched . . . Reveals a number of surprising truths.” — New York Post

Stunning. . . . Full of surprises. . . . A brilliant, essential read.” — The Independent

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063304321
ISBN-10: 0063304325
Publisher: HarperOne
Publication Date: February 27th, 2024
Pages: 688
Language: English