Four Faces of Femininity: Heroic Women Throughout History by Barbara McNally

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Can I just talk for a minute about how beautiful this book is?!?!?! Just from the cover, you get a sense of how amazing the artwork is on the inside. It is a feast for the eyes! I loved taking in each lovely page in Four Faces of Femininity.

What I Felt:

Feminism is a weird thing to me. I grew up in a family-owned hardware store, so I learned how to unload a truck, stock shelves, mix paint, and help any plumber or electrician that walked through the door. On the other hand, I learned nothing about being in a kitchen. I have, on multiple occasions, baked a frozen pizza with the cardboard still underneath it. I am also the sole-worker in our household, with my husband being a stay-at-home dad. So, I’ve never really felt stuck in a gender role.

Reading books like this seems to solidify how I have always felt about being female. We can do anything. The boundaries are there, but breaking them and proving them wrong feels wonderful.

This book segments the women discussed into 4 sections: Mother, Lover, Warrior, Sage. Each section features a different group of women. There are some absolutely fabulous ladies in this book. I loved that the women featured span such a range of years and career-types. Everyone from pirates to social workers, princesses to scientists. I enjoyed that there were so many different types of people to read about.

At the beginning of the book, there is an index so you can easily flip around in the book to read about any woman that sparks your interest. I really enjoyed at the end of each section, a discussion guide was provided to continue thoughts and conversation. Each person’s section features quotes said about the woman or ones they said themselves as well as some information on their lives.

Part 1: Mother

This section is focused on women that pioneered something, women that we look to as a mother figure, and women that take on a motherly role in their public life.

Some of my favorites were Clara Barton: Red Cross Founder and Michelle Obama: Modern Mother.

Part 2: Lover

I love this section. It’s filled with women that give love, take love, and make love.

Favorite features for this section were the Greek Goddess of Love, the First Lady of Erotica, and the Queen of Burlesque!

The end section for the Queen of Burlesque had some great love exercises that I thought were a wonderful addition.

Part 3: Warrior

Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Ireland is featured as a warrior. I loved how the history came alive in this section. Her life is discussed as well as the issues that arose for her. My favorite in the book!

Others of note were Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Part 4: Sage

This section is all about wisdom, smart moves, and smart women. You can expect to learn about successful women in a variety of occupations.

Nellie Bly is one of my all-time favorite women in history. I love to read about the crazy, amazing things that she did during her career, so her feature was one of my favorites for this part. Anne Frank is also featured in this section as a Determined Diarist, and I really enjoyed it!

To Read or Not To Read: I would recommend Four Faces of Femininity for anyone that likes the history and information surrounding people. This book makes a great addition to a coffee table as a conversation piece, but it’s also wonderful to just sit and flip through!

Where to Find This Book:

Four Faces of Femininity: Heroic Women Throughout History by Barbara McNally is available at these sites.

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes and Noble


Four Faces of Femininity tells the story of remarkable women who, through their creativity, passion, intelligence, and sheer determination, have left an indelible mark on the history of humankind.

The book is divided into four sections, with figures placed in Mother, Lover, Warrior, or Sage. Accessible, informative, and uplifting, Four Faces of Femininity explores the many ways in which women have changed the course of history—and demonstrates how crucial it is that women from every background be provided with role models that inspire.

The book includes questions for exploration to help modern multifaceted women see these qualities in themselves and balance them to lead a fuller life. 

  • Four Faces of Femininity: Heroic Women Throughout History by Barbara McNally
  • Genre: Non-Fiction / Biography
  • Publisher: She Writes Press
  • Pub Date:  April 7, 2020

I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

All Amazon links are affiliate links.

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