Giving voice to women of the past

A recent interview by Dame Hilary Mantel, of Wolf Hall fame, has generated a number of discussions in the historical fiction community on how women have been portrayed in the past. Dame Mantel went on to say women writers who write about women in the past “can’t resist retrospectively empowering them.” The discussion got me thinking about Æthelflæd, daughter of King Albert of Wessex, who led an army of Mercians into Wales. I first learned about Æthelflæd by reading the novel To Be a Queen, written by Annie Whitehead. I loved her portrayal of Æthelflæd and found her to possess…