ISBN: 9781849948159

Publication date: 29 Feb 2024

Author: Gristwood, Sarah

'Totally addictive.'
– Alice Loxton, The Daily Telegraph

'An intriguing, highly snackable guide to women’s experiences.'

'A modern classic.'
– Alison Weir, author and historian

'The sort of book you return to again and again.'
– Tracy Borman, author and historian

A captivating collection of daily extracts from women's diaries, looking back over four centuries to discover how women's experience – of men and children, sex and shopping, work and the natural world – has changed down the years. And, of course, how it hasn't.

Organised around the calendar year, in this engaging anthology you’ll find Lady Anne Clifford in the seventeenth century and Loran Hurnscot in the twentieth both stoically recording the demands of an unreasonable husband; Joan Wyndham and Anne Frank, at much the same time, but in wildly different settings, describing their first experiences with sex; and Anne Lister (TV’s Gentleman Jack) in eighteenth-century Yorkshire exploring her love affairs with women alongside Alice Walker in twentieth-century California.

With several selections for each day, from the 1st January to the 31st December, this book is a fascinating record of how women were thinking, feeling and reacting to historical events. From Virginia Woolf relishing her new haircut and Oprah Winfrey meditating on her career to Emilie Davis chronicling the death of Abraham Lincoln and teenage Ma Yan yearning for education in poverty-stricken China, Secret Voices contains a rich mix of well-known diarists and less familiar ones, and often the voices echoing down the centuries sound eerily familiar today.