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Cranky Ladies of History

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Warriors, pirates, murderers and queens...

Throughout history, women from all walks of life have had good reason to be cranky. Some of our most memorable historical figures were outspoken, dramatic, brave, feisty, rebellious and downright ornery.

Cranky Ladies of History is a celebration of 22 women who challenged conventional wisdom about appropriate female behaviour, from
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 2015 by FableCroft Publishing
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is another book that I've given my mum recently. She started reading it and rather smugly emailed to say that now she doesn't feel so bad about being one sometimes. She said:
"I particularly loved "A Song for Sacagawea" because it is the story of all those unsung women who were forced to help conquerors take their lands. They were looked on as trade goods, but much of the exploration/exploitation wouldn't have occurred without them. There is a similar story of a woman who translated for the
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
This anthology is full of our brilliant cranky ladies of history - a book of short historical fiction pieces that snapshot excellent ladies of the past, so we learn a bit of history while reading an excellent piece of writing at the same time.

I have to admit, my knowledge of history in general it pretty woeful, so mostly I had little to know clue about many of these women - because after all, if you hear about anyone at all from history they're usually men, so chances I'd come across anything mo
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: x2017-read, auth-f
Except for three stories, I really enjoyed this collection of stories about women throughout history choosing to not follow convention or expectations. Most of the authors have a background writing speculative fiction, but most of the stories in this anthology are historical fiction. I found myself taking time over each story, enjoying each writer's style and choice of protagonist. I don't tend to read much short fiction, as I often prefer to settle in with a novel where an author can really get ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Cranky Ladies of History is an anthology conceived and developed by Tehani Wessley of Fablecroft Publishing and author, Tansy Rayner Roberts. Crowdfunded through Pozible during Womens History Month in 2014, the concept attracted many supporters eager to be a part of project.

Twenty two authors have contributed to Cranky Ladies of History, including award winner's Thoraiya Dyer, Juliet Marillier, Jane Yolen and Garth Nix.

Each short story in Cranky Ladies of History features a real female historic
Catherine Heloise
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's not often one finds an anthology that one can't put down, but this was the case with Cranky Ladies of History. I kept on having to read just one more story (and then pop online to look at Wikipedia and find out a bit more about the protagonists I was less familiar with).

This anthology is 'a celebration of 22 women who challenged conventional wisdom about appropriate female behaviour', and the protagonists of the stories range from Neferure, daughter of Egypt's only female Pharaoh via pirate
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Cranky Ladies of History is an anthology edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessley, published by Fablecroft Publishing. Publication of the anthology was supported by a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible and by a Tasmanian Arts Crowbar Grant.

When I first heard about the crowdfunding campaign for Cranky Ladies of History, I rushed to fund it. Not only was I going to be on board with any anthology edited by Roberts and Wessley, but the theme had me at "cranky ladies". I opted to fund at the l
S.B. Wright
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was a backer of the Pozible project that made this book a reality. Now whether that predisposes me to like Cranky Ladies of History, I’m not sure. I am both fan and friends of the editors and some of the contributors. Still I shelled out $50 upfront and no amount of friendship or fanboishness would assuage the pain if the book turned out to be a stinker.

Thankfully, perhaps even a little surprisingly, Cranky Ladies of History, turned out to be a great collection. I was expecting the collection
Anna Livingston
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I helped crowdfund this book, and I'm very glad I did. I don't read much historical fiction, but I really enjoyed this; it's full of stories of fascinating, powerful, determined, and yes, occasionally cranky women. My only disappointment with the book is as much due to my own ignorance of history as anything else: I occasionally had trouble following some stories simply because I didn't always know the biographies of the women involved. (Even a one- or two-paragraph bio or link to a good online ...more
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Some of these were WEIRD. Some of these were amazing. Some of these did nothing for me. Great concept, more angry ladies is always a good time!
Tsana Dolichva
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Cranky Ladies of History edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely is an anthology of stories about historical women who were not content to leave the status quo be. The stories cover pirates, queens, nuns and warriors and come from a variety of authors, many of whom I've reviewed here before.

This was a fascinating collection of women, many of whom I hadn't heard of before, or didn't know much about before reading. The collection is framed by two stories of the women and children of Henr
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

I think this book is titled Cranky Ladies of History because “Angry Women of History” doesn’t put the same smile on your face, the one that would open wallets for a successful Pozible crowdfunding campaign. (I would have helped fund the thing if I had heard about it sooner. But I didn’t. So I bought the book instead.)

March is Women’s History Month, which makes this a perfect time to review a book that covers the gamut of women’s history, from the point of v
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: women
In the interests of transparency, I have a story in this book. Nonetheless, it's a wonderful collection. ...more
actual rating: 2.5

I think this more of just a series of unfortunate events on my part rather than this being a 'bad book' so that is why I rounded it up to 3 stars even though I did not really enjoy it all that much. First of all, I somehow got it into my head before reading that this was going to be one of those non fiction books that gives you a summary of these women's lives, and not a bunch of random historical fiction stories. From the title and the summary I can definitely see how I though
Ju Transcendancing
This anthology is *glorious*! Everything you ever wanted in a fictional account giving insight into women from history who have been overlooked. There's so much to love about this anthology and it just delivers story after story that pack huge punches! The collection is diverse in many ways and is highly recommended.

See my full detailed review on my blog The Conversationalist.
Kate Laidley
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Bright Moon by Foz Meadows far and away my favourite story in this collection
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Very interesting indeed...

- Queenside by Liz Barr (Mary I) ★★★★
- The Company Of Women by Garth Nix (Lady Godiva) ★★★★ - I'm a racing car, passing by like Lady Godiva
- Mary, Mary by Kirstyn McDermott (Mary Wollstonecraft) ★★★★★
- A Song For Sacagawea by Jane Yolen (Sacagawea) ★★★★
- Look How Cold My Hands Are by Deborah Biancotti (Erzabet Bathory) ★★★★
- Bright Moon by Foz Meadows (Khutulun) ★★★★★
- Charmed Life by Joyce Chng (Leizu) ★★★★
- A Beautiful Stream by Nisi Shawl (Colette) ★★★
- Neter Nefer by Amanda Pillar (Nef
Cranky Ladies of History is an anthology containing 22 fictional snapshots of the lives and deeds of exactly what it says on the cover – ladies who refused, whether for good or ill, to conform and live within the confines of the roles set for them by society and found their names echoing through the ages for it.

Inside we have women from around the world: royalty, criminals, nuns, spies, warriors and more – some I’d heard of but many of whom were entirely new to me, while most of the writers were
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-fiction
I liked the whole idea of this collection of short stories from the instant I saw the title and I will say that it was mostly quite enjoyable. Being a collection of stories, I (unsurprisingly) didn't like everything in it, but I am disposed to be generous towards the whole. There are some accomplished authors contributing. Some of my favourites were Bright Moon by Foz Meadows, Due Care and Attention by Sylvia Kelso, Theodora by Barbara Robson (though this one may be somewhat due to me being favo ...more
A bit of a mixed bag, and I'm sure my own personal knowledge (or lack of) is impacting my enjoyment of each story. I certainly like the stories about the women I already know about more because I know the context. I would be enjoying this more if there was a little bit about each cranky lady prior to the story. The stuff I'm finding on google is interesting, but I'm only googling the women whose short stories I find interesting -- and not all of them are. If I didn't already know about Cheng Shi ...more
Matthew Davis
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book covers a wide variety of periods, genres and voices, but one thing that remains consistent is the level of quality. Every author demonstrates their love of and feel for the subject matter, resulting in a high standard of detail that really brings the stories to life. And as a lifelong fan of difficult women, I found plenty of moments that brought on a laugh or a silent cheer! But rest assured, this isn't some feel-good tome about sassy birds who win anachronistic battles against the pa ...more
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable, if slightly uneven, collection of stories about women both familiar and unfamiliar to me. The most common flaw of the collection, trying to do too much, is easy enough to forgive when recalling how neglected (intentionally and accidentally) some of these stories have been. On the whole, though, this anthology was as entertaining as it was eye-opening.
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
Thoroughly enjoyed it! Many of the stories had me looking for more information on these fascinating women. A great introduction to women in history.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Doesn't that title just draw you in?! And that cover is also adds fire to the interest. But what about Cranky Ladies of History?

The introduction to this anthology notes that "throughout history, women have struggled to express their anger at mistreatment and injustice-..." and this anthology, with its numerous supporters, are about "lost and misquoted and reclaimed women from history who were fierce, uncompromising and yes, angry."

This anthology ranged far and wide throughout history, over all t
Anna Hepworth
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Decidedly pretty book, with an interesting premise. I was reading this with the assumption that it was speculative fiction, but I would probably have engaged with it better if I had been reading it purely as 'historical'. Comments on the stories (hopefully in anthology order), with some 'in the moment' reactions:

Queenside (Liz Barr) -- It's a nice little piece, a reasonable opener for the collection, about the realities of politics as a woman in Henry VIII's England, but. (3/5)
The Company of W
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, 2018
Fictional stories about real people. I didn't get far. There may have been good ones but I didn't want to waste my time. ...more
Stefanie W
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful collection is comprised of 22 short stories written by different authors about real women from history. Some were physicists, philosophers, murderers, pirates, business-women, nuns!

The anthology's intro, written by Tansy Rayner Roberts, is perfect to describe what this project was about. Here are few tid-bits of it:

"There's something about that phrase: cranky lady. There was a time when it would have been seen entirely as a put-down, a dismissal of female strength and power. Yet
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is one of the best edited anthologies I've ever read. There are 2 clunkers but more than enough good short stories to make up for those missteps. One minor quibble I had with the book is that it's not always clear who the subject of the short story is; for instance, I didn't know the story about Colette was about Colette until I googled because I didn't know Colette's real name. I know I can't be the only reader who didn't know her real name. Other times, the person's full name isn't used i ...more
Jenni V.
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
I don't know if this is true non-fiction or historical fiction based on true women but either way I don't care. They're all stories of powerful women so I love it. Of course, as with any collection of short stories, I love some more than others so I have mini reviews of each story individually.

Queenside by Liz Barr
There wasn't much to this story. It had just enough information that I want to research further on my own to find out more.

The Company of Women by Garth Nix
This was a riveting story an
Feb 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed most of the stories, I just wish I had more - the drawbacks of the short story format! I liked learning about all these various ladies, many of whom I had never heard of previously (I can't tell you how many times I would do some serious Googling at the beginning of each story, haha). ...more
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Tansy Rayner Roberts is a fantasy and science fiction author who lives in southern Tasmania, somewhere between the tall mountain with snow on it, and the beach that points towards Antarctica.

Tansy has a PhD in Classics (with a special interest in poisonous Roman ladies), and an obsession with Musketeers.

You can hear Tansy talking about Doctor Who on the Verity! podcast. She also reads her own stor

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