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  • Published: 18 July 2023
  • ISBN: 9780753558263
  • Imprint: WH Allen
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $29.99


A New History of the Middle Ages, Through the Women Written Out of It

A bestselling, groundbreaking reappraisal of medieval femininity, revealing why women have been written out of history, and why it matters, by Oxford historian Janina Ramirez.


'Revelatory' GUARDIAN

'A firecracker somehow captured between two covers' LUCY WORSLEY

An instant bestseller and one of the most celebrated history books of the year, Femina reveals the power and influence of medieval women who have been written out of our history. From royalty and religion to fame and fury, see the medieval world - and the women erased from it - with fresh eyes.

'Absolutely brilliant and highly recommended' CAITLIN MORAN

'Femina is a ground-breaking history of the Middle Ages' SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE

The instant Sunday Times bestseller, May 2023

  • Published: 18 July 2023
  • ISBN: 9780753558263
  • Imprint: WH Allen
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $29.99

About the author

Janina Ramirez

Dr Janina Ramirez is an Oxford lecturer, BBC broadcaster, researcher and author. Janina is the course director for the Undergraduate Certificate and Diploma in History of Art at the University of Oxford. She presents her ideas widely at conferences, public speaking and outreach events, and publishes her research in journals and magazines. She has presented and written over six BBC history documentaries and series, is a regular guest on the new BBC Four series ‘Quizeum’ and is currently working on a number of projects including a three-part series for Radio 4. She lives in Oxfordshire with her young family.

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Praise for Femina

Janina Ramirez is a born storyteller, and in Femina she is at the peak of her powers. This is bravura narrative history underpinned by passionate advocacy for the women whom medieval history has too often ignored or overlooked. Femina is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the Middle Ages and its place in the modern mind

Dan Jones, bestselling author of The Plantagenets and Powers and Thrones

As both writer and broadcaster, Dr Janina Ramirez radiates tremendous passion for her subject. To spend time in her company is to soon find yourself intoxicated by the vast drama of human history, with all its far-off wonders, frustrating mysteries, and tantalising echoes that still resonate in our modern world

Greg Jenner, author of Ask a Historian and Dead Famous: An Unexpected History of Celebrity

Inventive, informative, surprising - this book is a revelation! Seeing so many remarkable women creating so much powerful history rewrites our entire sense of the medieval past

Waldemar Januszczak, Chief Art Critic, Sunday Times

Passionate, provocative and brilliant, this book is a firecracker somehow captured between two covers

Lucy Worsley, bestselling author of Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman

Gripping, incisive, brilliant, Janina Ramirez opens a door into hidden worlds, the secrets of women's lives. She is a detective and guide on this, an eye-opening, wonderful journey into the power, beauty and reality of early women's experiences

Kate Williams, author of England's Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton

Janina Ramirez is a passionate voice for women in history. With this bold and masterful book, she salvages women's stories from the dark corners into which they have been pushed, and brilliantly restores them to the centre of the historical narrative where they have always belonged

Hallie Rubenhold, bestselling author of The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

This is a passionate, energetic, hugely enjoyable and brilliantly observed book. Both a plea for a new way of thinking about history and a commitment to putting women's lives back at the heart of things, I read it in one sitting. Magnificent.

Kate Mosse, bestselling author of Labyrinth

Challenging, inclusive and riveting, Janina Ramirez's book is breaking new grounds. This is a history as you've never read before. A unique page turner

Olivette Otele, author of African Europeans: An Untold History

Beautifully written, wonderfully free-ranging and gloriously original, Femina makes us look into the mists of history in new, exciting and provocative ways. A joyous read

Peter Frankopan, bestselling author of The Silk Roads

The women of the Middle Ages, so often silent and inconspicuous in our histories, find voice, agency and justice in this brilliant book

Alice Roberts, bestselling author of Ancestors:A prehistory of Britain in seven burials

Women have been consistently written out of our English history, transformed into ciphers, handmaidens, shadows. Janina Ramirez brings them back out into the light - and they glow with agency, power and passion

Alice Roberts, author of Ancestors: A prehistory of Britain in seven burials

Femina is an important addition to our understanding of a period still - mistakenly - thought to have excluded women from positions of power and significance. Femina skillfully brings out from the shadows the lives of women who ruled, fought, traded, created, and inspired

Cat Jarman, bestselling author of River Kings: A New History of Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads

A compelling and breathtaking account of the women whose stories have been lost, ignored, or silenced in history. As important as it is remarkable

Susie Dent, bestselling author of Word Perfect

Spellbinding, passionate, gripping and magnificently fresh in tone, boldly wide in range, elegantly written, deeply researched, Femina is a ground-breaking history of the Middle Ages. It brings the world to life with women at its very heart, centre stage where they belong. What a delight.

Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem: The Biography

It's about time these stories had a wider audience. They've been waiting long enough.


One of Femina's greatest strengths is that it is not just a collection of medieval heroines, although there are inspirational stories aplenty in its pages, but also a readable and wide-ranging account of the Middle Ages - with the women put back in - that forces us to look at familiar stories in new ways

The Sunday Times

Revelatory... Ramirez shows again and again that dark age Europe was a far more various place than we like to believe

Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian

Absolutely brilliant and highly recommended

Caitlin Moran, bestselling author of How To Be a Woman