Summer has arrived, and we all know what that means. Books! Are you looking for a new read to cozy up with in a café, pack for a picnic, or dive into at the beach? If so, one of these historical, lady-centred picks will surely please. Read on for my list of 5 new books to read this summer!
5 Books to Read This Summer With Historical Leading Ladies
THE GLASS UNIVERSE: HOW THE LADIES OF THE HARVARD OBSERVATORY TOOK THE MEASURE OF THE STARS BY DAVA SOBEL (THORNDIKE PRESS)
In this new book, Dava Sobel uncovers the true tale of a group of starry-eyed, young female astronomers in the nineteenth century. Employed as mere assistants to the male professional astronomers, they spent their evenings interpreting the observations made during the day by their superiors. What the Harvard College Observatory didn’t except was that these women would wow them with new discoveries and theories that revolutionized the field.
THE MISTRESS OF PARIS: THE 19TH-CENTURY COURTESAN WHO BUILT AN EMPIRE ON A SECRET BY CATHERINE HEWITT (THOMAS DUNNE BOOKS)
This lucky lady’s life might just be the nineteenth-century epitome of the ‘Drakean’ started-from-the-bottom success story. Born and bred in Parisian poverty-stricken back alleys, Èmilie-Louise Delabigne (aka Comptesse Valtresse de la Bigne) rose from a penniless prostitute to an influential courtesan with the power and wealth of a countess. Catherine Hewitt’s forthcoming biography brings to light the story of an ambitious woman forgotten in history who became the obsession of contemporary gossip rags for her rumoured affairs with high-flying fellows like Napoleon II and King Edward VII.
Queen Njinga of Angola, one of the world’s fiercest-but-forgotten female monarchs, is someone you should know about. In Linda M Heywood’s new biography, the seventeenth-century ruler of central Africa is given a much-deserved full length study for the first time for English-speaking readers.
Buy it now: Njinga of Angola: Africa’s Warrior Queen
THE REPORTER WHO KNEW TOO MUCH: THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF WHATS MY LINE TV STAR AND MEDIA ICON DOROTHY KILGALLEN BY MARK SHAW (POST HILL PRESS)
In this new non-fiction must-read, Mark Shaw takes a look back at the mysterious death of investigative journalist Dorothy Kilgallen in 1965. While the official story maintains that she died from overdose of barbiturates and alcohol, many suspect that her authorship of a controversial book about the JFK assassination might have had more to do with it.
Looking back at the years of yore, we often think of the middle ages and early modern era as periods dominated by overweight, turkey drumstick-wielding kings in tights. Yet sixteenth century Europe was bursting with female leaders. This new book celebrates the usual suspects—like Elizabeth I and her sister ‘Bloody Mary’—but also some lesser-known ladies like Margaret of Austria and Louise of Savoy, all women who managed to make their mark in history.
What’s on your summer reading list? Let me know in the comments below!
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