Try an Audible book on us

The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women

A Social History
Narrated by: Jennifer Dixon
Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
4 out of 5 stars (227 ratings)
$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2017 Elizabeth Norton (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    108
  • 4 Stars
    70
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    114
  • 4 Stars
    51
  • 3 Stars
    29
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    5

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    106
  • 4 Stars
    61
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    4
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I love this book!

Elizabeth Norton has compiled a fascinating account of what life as a woman must have been like during the Tudor period in England. I listened to this book over several days, often rewinding just to hear parts again because it was so interesting. She speaks with astonishing detail about everything in women's lives, from birth to death, making a distant time seem very real to me. I have always found British history fun to learn about, but discovering this well-narrated account of what daily life for women was like during this time was very satisfying . I really recommend this book as a wonderful addition to information about this time.

37 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Rather dry at times.

some parts were just lists of what happened to different women and the dates. the best parts related the life of Queen Elizabeth. then it actually became more of a story rather than a history lesson.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Appreciate the 'Now' Ladies. Tudor times SUCKED!

This is the first Elizabeth Norton Book that I have read and I am oh so glad that I have found her. So much research embraced in every page. I am grateful that I am a woman of this age and not born in Tudor times. I can love my God the way I chose and I can express my views freely.

Yes, of course I realize how people were repressed especially the poor but the class structure is mapped out in great detail in this book. I studied history within the walls of one of England's greatest Schools of learning. Perhaps it was because I was so very young that I took my freedom for granted but having listened to 'The Hidden Lives Of Tudor Women" and some of the examples therein such as the heart rendering story of poor Anne Askew I am more cognizant of what our predecessors went through.

This book also gives us a really good idea of how woman lived their daily lives. Frankly it amazes me that women actually allowed a man to touch them as their chances of dying in childbirth were greater than surviving the whole horrendous ordeal.

These Tudor women were total amazing and we wonder why Queen Elizabeth I decided not to have children! Go figure!

I was not total impressed with Jenifer Dixon's performance. It was not dreadful but did not do this book credit. It was 'vanilla' at best. Would love to hear it rerecorded with another performer who is a little more animated and who could get her pronunciation of places correct such as Hever Castle which was incorrectly pronounced throughout. That is like nails on a chalkboard!

All things being said an enjoyable listen and this girl learn a lot.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not what was expected....

The title of the book led me to believe it was like the others telling of daily life in various places. Wrong!! This was a narrative of the lives and intrigues of specifically Tudor women.
There was a little about routine lives, but mostly about the highborn women, starting with Elizabeth 1’s aunt, also called Elizabeth, who died at age four.
It proceeded to Catherine of Aragon and, of course Henry VIII, although his many wives were minor characters, if mentioned at all. There was more about Queen Mary and her reign, and a lot about Elizabeth I, “Gloriana” to her subjects.
I have read extensively about this time and it’s events, and found no errors, but a significant number of events were skipped. I just wish the title was more appropriate.
The narrator was excellent... her accent, voice, and inflection were superior; enough to make me interested in seeing what other stories she might narrate. I am like other readers; I read specific types of books, and I hope she narrates some I will be interested in.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyed this historical work

The Tudor period is one of my favorites and I appreciated learning about the real history of women during this time.

The narrator was pleasant to the extreme. Even toned and relaxing to listen to.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good interesting

well researched. I would have liked more on the rumors of Elizabeths illegitimate child (ren).

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book that falls short in the third act

I very much enjoyed this work as a glimpse into the lived experience of women during this time, as told through the various stages of Shakesperian "male living" that provides the framework. The performance and tone was spot-on for what I expected, and I could find little fault with the narrator. However, as the book went on, I found that the third act was somewhat disappointing: it focused more on the historical celebrities of a given life stage rather than the anonymous "every-woman" who I was most interested in hearing about at various stages of life and places in Tudor society. As such, while it was useful for tapping into a more conventional "names and dates" version of history, it was not as grounded in the untold stories as I expected going into a book promising a glimpse into "hidden lives." The earlier parts of the book did a better job on this front, and kept my attention better as a result.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great for Tudor history fans!

Interwoven tales of women from the Tudor age. Extremely interesting for any fan of this age, or even the popular Tudor historical fiction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well worth the listen

An engaging account of the lives of Tudor women. A great listen for anyone interested in the history of the period.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

I appreciate the depth and breadth of the scholarship. This book tells the stories of the famous, infamous, and unknown. Most importantly it gives voices to women, whose stories rarely make the mainstream.