Erasing Misbehaving Women from History
All of the women I’ve written novels about have been victims of serious historical revisionism, simply because they were bold, courageous, and willing to defy every societal rule about what women should or should not do.
Hatshepsut dared to become pharaoh and thus, her monuments and images were almost chiseled into oblivion.
Theodora was a prostitute who captured the emperor’s heart and saved his throne, but later historians decried her as a demon-whore.
In my latest novel, The Tiger Queens, I made the crazy decision to try to shed light on not just one, but four of Genghis Khan’s women. Why was this crazy? Because the Mongols only wrote one source about the Golden Family, The Secret History of the Mongols. And guess what? The names and deeds of Genghis’ wives and daughters have literally been cut out of the manuscript.
Recent scholarship has succeeded in piecing together fragments of what these women did, but there’s still controversy over what each woman accomplished. Which daughter actually ordered the slaughter at Nishapur and left behind pyramids of rotting skulls? What happened to Genghis’ daughters after he died? Did they really save his empire?
We do know that Genghis charged his daughters with governing vast swaths of his kingdom during his lifetime, mostly while he was away campaigning and his sons were drinking themselves into oblivion. (Who knew that fermented mare’s milk was so addicting or so tasty that you’d want to drink vats of it every night?) And we know that at least one of Genghis’ daughters-in-law was responsible for holding the empire together and ensuring the transfer of power to her sons, ushering in China’s Yuan Dynasty. Sadly, because these weren’t men doing the conquering and maneuvering for power, they were victims of a concerted effort to wipe them from the pages of history.
But you know what the great thing is about strong women in history? Somehow, enough fragments of their stories survive that we can fill in the gaps and show that even in the darkest of times, these ill-behaved women changed the course of history.
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Saturday, November 1
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Sunday, November 2
Review at Let Them Read Books
Monday, November 3
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Tuesday, November 4
Review at Flashlight Commentary
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Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
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Review at The Mad Reviewer
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Friday, November 7
Review at Scandalous Women
Monday, November 10
Review at Reading the Past
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Review at A Bookish Affair
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Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
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Review at Turning the Pages
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Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
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Review & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch
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Thursday, November 20
Review at Layered Pages
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Review at Just One More Chapter
Monday, November 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark
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Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, November 26
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Friday, November 28
Review at Book Babe