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Scandalous Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

Posted By Claire on March 1, 2011

Scandalous Women by Elizabeth Kerri MahonI had the great pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Kerri Mahon on The Anne Boleyn Experience Tour last year and I was very excited when she told me that she was in the middle of writing a book on ‘scandalous’ women in history, with a chapter dedicated to Anne Boleyn. I made her promise that she would send me a review copy as I was interested in her thoughts on Anne and also other women who have been maligned by history or who have created some kind of scandal. Elizabeth kept her promise and sent me a review copy of Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History’s Most Notorious Women

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Elizabeth’s book. What’s great about it is that it is the kind of book that you can pick up and read a few chapters and then go back to at a later date because each chapter is a stand-alone account of one woman. It’s also great to leave on your coffee table as visitors can pick it up and educate themselves on these amazing women – my husband kept walking off with my copy!

What I also loved about the book is that it covered women I had never even heard of, women who I really should have heard of when they accomplished so much in their lives, women who have been forgotten by history and who have not been given the recognition they truly deserve. It also did not just concentrate on a particular historical period or country.

Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History’s Most Notorious Women is divided into 7 main parts:-

  • Warrior Queens – e.g. Boudica and Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Wayward Wives – e.g. Violet Trefusis and Émilie du Chatelet
  • Scintillating Seductresses – e.g. Anne Boleyn and Mata Hari
  • Crusading Ladies – e.g. Carry Nation and Ida B. Wells-Barnett
  • Wild Women of the West – e.g. Calamity Jane and Mary Ellen Pleasant
  • Amorous Artists – e.g. Josephine Baker and Camile Claudel
  • Amazing Adventuresses – e.g. Amelia Earhart and Lady Hester Stanhope

A staggering 35 women are covered in the book (I think I counted right!) and Elizabeth’s talent is in writing a succinct account of these women which does them justice and gives the reader a complete lowdown on their lives and achievements – tricky to do when you could easily write a book on each of these women! After each chapter, I found that although I wanted to go and research the woman a bit more, I felt that I could give a good account of her life without further research.

I know that Anne Boleyn fans are desperate to know how Elizabeth represented Anne Boleyn and as someone who spends my life researching Anne I am happy to say that Elizabeth obviously spent a great deal of time researching Anne’s life. Elizabeth writes of the myths surrounding Anne Boleyn, the questions people have about her and the impact she had on English history, and then gives an account of Anne’s life, her relationship with Henry and her subsequent rise, her downfall and her death. Elizabeth concludes her chapter on Anne Boleyn by saying:-

“Anne’s reign of a thousand days had more of an impact on English history than Henry’s other five wives combined. The crown broke with the Church of Rome, putting the power into the hands of the king… The transition from mistress to Queen of England turned out to be a rocky one, strewn with pitfalls that Anne couldn’t have imagined. She gambled and lost but her legacy lived on in her daughter, Elizabeth I, one of the greatest monarchs England has ever known.”

Does Elizabeth Kerri Mahon do Anne Boleyn justice? Yes, she does!

One final thing I’d like to say about this book is that the writing style is very engaging. For example, in the Anne Boleyn section, Elizabeth writes “Anne was a rules girl. No ring for Anne, no ring-a-ding-ding for Henry” – she injects humour into her accounts of these women whilst also showing them respect. This makes it a great book for introducing teenagers to women’s history and makes it easy to read.

So, the burning question, “would I recommend this book?” Yes, I would highly recommend this book. Buy it, read it, enjoy it and then place it on your coffee table and watch people pick it up and get hooked. A great way to educate your friends and family!


Publication Date – 1st March 2011
Format – Paperback
Page count – 320 pages
Publisher – Perigee Trade
ISBN-10: 0399536450
ISBN-13: 978-0399536458

Now available to order on – click here and also Amazon UK – click here.


4 Responses to “Scandalous Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Haha!! I love that…”No ring for Anne…no ring a ding ding for Henry!” This looks like a fun book to read…definitely putting it on my list. Thanks for sharing!!! 🙂

  2. Thanks Claire for such a wonderful review!

  3. Meghan says:

    Claire have you read “Sex with Kings” or “Sex with the Queen” by Eleanor Herman? They go through 900 years of royal mistresses and lovers.

  4. Claire says:

    No, I haven’t. Thanks for the recommendation.

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