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Lawbreaking Ladies: 50 Tales of Daring, Defiant, and Dangerous Women from History

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Discover 50 fascinating tales of female pirates, fraudsters, gamblers, bootleggers, serial killers, madams, and outlaws in this illustrated book of lawbreaking and legendary women throughout the ages. Many of us are familiar with the popular slogan “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” But that adage is taken to the next level in this book, which looks at women from th Discover 50 fascinating tales of female pirates, fraudsters, gamblers, bootleggers, serial killers, madams, and outlaws in this illustrated book of lawbreaking and legendary women throughout the ages. Many of us are familiar with the popular slogan “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” But that adage is taken to the next level in this book, which looks at women from the past who weren’t afraid to break the law or challenge gender norms. From pirates to madams, gamblers to bootleggers, and serial killers to outlaws, women throughout the ages haven’t always decided to be sugar, spice, and everything nice. In Lawbreaking Ladies, author Erika Owen tells the stories of 50 remarkable women whose rebellious and often criminal acts ought to solidify their place in history, including: - The swashbuckling pirate Ching Shih - “Queen of the Bootleggers” Gloria de Casares - The Prohibition-era gangster Stephanie Saint-Clair - And a band of prisoners who came to be known as the Goree Girls The perfect gift for true crime fans and lovers of little-known women’s history, Lawbreaking Ladies serves as an engaging and informative guide to gals who were daring, defiant, and sometimes downright dangerous.


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Discover 50 fascinating tales of female pirates, fraudsters, gamblers, bootleggers, serial killers, madams, and outlaws in this illustrated book of lawbreaking and legendary women throughout the ages. Many of us are familiar with the popular slogan “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” But that adage is taken to the next level in this book, which looks at women from th Discover 50 fascinating tales of female pirates, fraudsters, gamblers, bootleggers, serial killers, madams, and outlaws in this illustrated book of lawbreaking and legendary women throughout the ages. Many of us are familiar with the popular slogan “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” But that adage is taken to the next level in this book, which looks at women from the past who weren’t afraid to break the law or challenge gender norms. From pirates to madams, gamblers to bootleggers, and serial killers to outlaws, women throughout the ages haven’t always decided to be sugar, spice, and everything nice. In Lawbreaking Ladies, author Erika Owen tells the stories of 50 remarkable women whose rebellious and often criminal acts ought to solidify their place in history, including: - The swashbuckling pirate Ching Shih - “Queen of the Bootleggers” Gloria de Casares - The Prohibition-era gangster Stephanie Saint-Clair - And a band of prisoners who came to be known as the Goree Girls The perfect gift for true crime fans and lovers of little-known women’s history, Lawbreaking Ladies serves as an engaging and informative guide to gals who were daring, defiant, and sometimes downright dangerous.

30 review for Lawbreaking Ladies: 50 Tales of Daring, Defiant, and Dangerous Women from History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    "It's just as important to know the fact from the fiction, as well as how fiction was inspired by fact." "[Here are] fifty little known and legendary women [daring, defiant and dangerous] who made history for their lawbreaking ways from the fifteenth century all the way to the mid-1900s." "Women [the fairer sex] were usually not the first suspects police considered...juries often found it hard to imagine women committing murders, robberies, and other illegal acts...women involved in criminal act "It's just as important to know the fact from the fiction, as well as how fiction was inspired by fact." "[Here are] fifty little known and legendary women [daring, defiant and dangerous] who made history for their lawbreaking ways from the fifteenth century all the way to the mid-1900s." "Women [the fairer sex] were usually not the first suspects police considered...juries often found it hard to imagine women committing murders, robberies, and other illegal acts...women involved in criminal activities often managed to escape authorities, arrests and convictions based on their perceived charm and looks." Jacquotte "Back from the Dead Red" Delahaye, turning to piracy for a steady income, plundered in the Caribbean. When other pirate crews put a price on her head, she faked her death and continued to pillage disguised as a man. Anne Bonny was a redheaded Irish pirate. She was reckless, cursing all the while, and was ready to execute any feats to achieve her end game. Sentenced to death, her claim of "pregnancy" helped gain her freedom. Was she really pregnant? The gambling world of the Wild West attracted women since brothels could serve as gaming dens. Madams might deal the cards. The game Faro, a game of chance, was wildly popular. In the mid-1800s, Maria Gertrudis Barcelo purchased a hotel and casino. "While a minor fine for running an illegal gambling den may have made her a lawbreaking lady, she had a huge, charitable heart." Her hotel and casino were a "recreational hub" for anyone and everyone-no social class, wealth or race restrictions. In 1849, Eleanor Dumont (Madame Mustache) was a known gambler in San Francisco. "By societal standards, [gambling was] not a career a woman should have pursued. Eleanor was undeterred. When someone ran out of money at her table, she would buy them a glass of milk or treat them to champagne." People were willing to risk jail time or massive fines during the years of Prohibition to keep the liquor flowing. Until the age of 90, Maggie Bailey sold booze out of her kitchen. Maggie was only prosecuted once, in the 1940s. "She would enter a courtroom in her signature dress and apron, topped with a grandmotherly head of gray hair...she stated that bootlegging 'kept her alive...kept her young." She, herself, was a teetotaler! Elizabeth Bathory was "one of history's most prolific serial killers according to the Guinness World Records". "Elizabeth fought to maintain her looks after becoming a mother, and she believed that the best way to do this was by ingesting the blood of young women". Elizabeth was a vampire. "Plenty of ladies fell into the category of 'outlaw' 'gunslinger' or 'bandit'." Mary Fields (Stagecoach Mary), however, was not an outlaw. As an emancipated slave, she would become the second woman, but the first African American woman to be employed by the United States Postal Service. Her route was in Cascade, Montana. "Her stature, gun-toting confidence, and tendency to wear men's clothing helped her protect the stagecoach, a job she held for 8 years." "Lawbreaking Ladies: 50 Remarkable Stories of Criminal Women Throughout History" by Erika Owen is a well researched true crime read. The short vignettes will whet one's appetite to explore additional readings on many of these trailblazing women, some admirable, some not so much. This was a fascinating read I highly recommend. Thank you Tiller Press and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!"

    My thanks to Tiller Press, the author and Netgalley. I do love women who go against the grain. The fairer sex? My arse! I loved these "ladies." Especially the Pirates! Granted, I have too much explorer in me to be a pirate! The booty and all had no appeal. But, I would have tried to fund a ship full of women to explore the Northwest passage through the Arctic! I think that would have gotten us enough press and doners. Also, I do love the tales of "Madam's." Call it a Miss Kitty thing! The rest? My thanks to Tiller Press, the author and Netgalley. I do love women who go against the grain. The fairer sex? My arse! I loved these "ladies." Especially the Pirates! Granted, I have too much explorer in me to be a pirate! The booty and all had no appeal. But, I would have tried to fund a ship full of women to explore the Northwest passage through the Arctic! I think that would have gotten us enough press and doners. Also, I do love the tales of "Madam's." Call it a Miss Kitty thing! The rest? I didn't much care. Bootleggers? Eh..I call them poisoners! Accidental or otherwise. Gamblers? My game is Blackjack. Poker? Fuggedabouddit! I haven't a poker face. It's damn near embarrassing how much my face gives away! I mostly liked this book because it gave slightly more than a character sketch. Not as much as I wanted, but enough that I didn't spend hours searching for more!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    3.5 of 5.0 Stars This is kind of a change of pace, reading about women from history who made it in a man’s world by taking up a life of crime. I’ve read a few of this type of book, but I’m not familiar with this author. She writes this collection of stories about 50 women who made a living through crime, beginning back in about the 1500s, to the mid 1900s. Some are the more popularly known, my favorites are some of the little or unknowns. I read these type of books to learn about new people in c 3.5 of 5.0 Stars This is kind of a change of pace, reading about women from history who made it in a man’s world by taking up a life of crime. I’ve read a few of this type of book, but I’m not familiar with this author. She writes this collection of stories about 50 women who made a living through crime, beginning back in about the 1500s, to the mid 1900s. Some are the more popularly known, my favorites are some of the little or unknowns. I read these type of books to learn about new people in crime from history that I’ve not read about before. Or, at least have forgotten about until I get my memory refreshed, which sometimes happens. These women are split into categories, which are: Pirates; Gamblers; Bootleggers; Serial Killers; Madams; Outlaws, Gunslingers & Bandits; and lastly, Fraudsters, lots to enjoy here. I found a few favorites among the new ones to me, as I’m sure you may too. This was quite an enjoyable read for me, I’d go through a few at a time, depending on the length, in between binge watching true crime on the new Discovery+ channel. I’ve been having a great time with that, especially the no commercials version. I’m still on my free week trial. The 50 women made a perfect breaktime read. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Erika Owen, and the publisher.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I love short stories like this. I’m always surprised by how many women I’ve never heard of who obviously would have made the headlines during their time. There were some repeats from other similar books (Bonnie & Clyde, Princess Caraboo, Elizabeth Báthory) who are hardly “little known,” but there were plenty of women who frankly deserve more attention from history even if the reasons why aren’t celebratory ones. I especially liked the sections on bootleggers and gunslingers. Who knew Annie Oakley I love short stories like this. I’m always surprised by how many women I’ve never heard of who obviously would have made the headlines during their time. There were some repeats from other similar books (Bonnie & Clyde, Princess Caraboo, Elizabeth Báthory) who are hardly “little known,” but there were plenty of women who frankly deserve more attention from history even if the reasons why aren’t celebratory ones. I especially liked the sections on bootleggers and gunslingers. Who knew Annie Oakley had to deal with so much drama! See more of my reviews: Instagram

  5. 5 out of 5

    Saima

    4/5 stars. Lawbreaking Ladies includes stories about 50 lawbreaking women in history who may or may have not been forgotten in history. The stories were easy to read, summarising the backgrounds of the women featured and delivering information about their crimes in a clear and succinct way. For a lot of these stories I wanted to learn more about them, which goes to show how fascinating these women were, though I know that for a lot of them their was bereft information in history about them and on 4/5 stars. Lawbreaking Ladies includes stories about 50 lawbreaking women in history who may or may have not been forgotten in history. The stories were easy to read, summarising the backgrounds of the women featured and delivering information about their crimes in a clear and succinct way. For a lot of these stories I wanted to learn more about them, which goes to show how fascinating these women were, though I know that for a lot of them their was bereft information in history about them and only so much that can be found - and for that I am glad I got to read at least an overview of what they were like. Overall, it was an informative read and I look forward to looking into and learning more about the women featured in this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Devann

    I received an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss Really enjoyed this one! I'm amazed that no matter how many of these books featuring mini biographies of women throughout history I read at least half the women mentioned in any given book are completely new to me. This was an especially fun one since it focused on criminal women and I appreciated that the author just told their stories instead of trying to moralize everything they did [which I have definitely seen done before and always drives m I received an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss Really enjoyed this one! I'm amazed that no matter how many of these books featuring mini biographies of women throughout history I read at least half the women mentioned in any given book are completely new to me. This was an especially fun one since it focused on criminal women and I appreciated that the author just told their stories instead of trying to moralize everything they did [which I have definitely seen done before and always drives me nuts]. Would definitely recommend picking this one up if you are looking for a fun informative book about historical women with a little bit of a different slant to it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Nice collection of 2 - 5 page histories

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle | musingsbymichelle

    As the synopsis from the publisher suggests, this is a great book to read for anyone interested in mini-biographies of women throughout history. The spin on this, of course, is that these are women in crime. A key thing to keep in mind is that 50 women are covered in this book - FIFTY!- so although you get exposed to many stories all over the world and in different eras, you really only get a snippet of each woman's life. So if you are reading this to get more details as you do in a traditional As the synopsis from the publisher suggests, this is a great book to read for anyone interested in mini-biographies of women throughout history. The spin on this, of course, is that these are women in crime. A key thing to keep in mind is that 50 women are covered in this book - FIFTY!- so although you get exposed to many stories all over the world and in different eras, you really only get a snippet of each woman's life. So if you are reading this to get more details as you do in a traditional true crime book, this may not be for you. However, if you're looking to be introduced to many unique badass (or just plain bad) women this is perfect. This book actually is great for giving you a starting point if you want to then do a deeper dive on someone in particular. My favorite thing was how the author categorized each section. I knew so little about female pirates and outlaws and genuinely enjoyed learning about the time period and the women who really were outside the norm and defied expectations for their gender. I do have to add one caveat that although these women are admirable in that aspect, there are some particularly terrifying women who I don't admire. Fans of Tori Telfer will like this but may desire a more in-depth coverage of each woman than what this book gives.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bronwyn Knox

    I might have missed something, but I believe this author is onto a topic that doesn’t get written about much. Women can be criminals too. If you want equality, you have to take the good with the bad. The Erika Owen’s theory is that Women sometimes got of lightly because they were considered a “fairer sex” an incapable of the crimes they are accused of and it would be blamed on a male partner. They were given a lot of breaks based on their looks. Or sometimes because no one wanted to believe moth I might have missed something, but I believe this author is onto a topic that doesn’t get written about much. Women can be criminals too. If you want equality, you have to take the good with the bad. The Erika Owen’s theory is that Women sometimes got of lightly because they were considered a “fairer sex” an incapable of the crimes they are accused of and it would be blamed on a male partner. They were given a lot of breaks based on their looks. Or sometimes because no one wanted to believe mothers and caregivers and makers of apple pie could be killers, bootleggers, madams, and so on. This book hits a sweet spot for me. I have a thing for reading about people doing bad things, doubly interesting to me if they’re women. This is an easy read, set up in short 1-2 page bios of women, divided into different categories of criminal. We’ve got pirates, gamblers, bootleggers, madams, serial killers, bandits, and fraudsters. I suppose the madams and fraudsters are no surprise but stories like 1890's serial killer Jane Toppan, a nurse who experimented on patients with opium, were much scarier. I also especially enjoyed the story of Caribbean pirate Jacquotte Delahay who ran her own crew with a female partner in the early 1600s. Another favorite was Maggie Bailey, an old grandmotherly-type who sold booze out of her home. You’d come to her house for booze and a friendly chat. I guess a life of crime can occasionally be invigorating as she lived to be 101. The Outlaws, Gunslingers, and Bandit section contained the women who had previously received the most press: Belle Starr, Ma Barker, and Bonnie Parker. Owens nails it with this line from the intro to the section on Outlaws. “If there’s one thing I want you to remember from this section, it’s that women can be just as intimidating, terrifying, and feared as men.” A light and easy taste for fans of feminist history and true crime.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    3.5 stars good, quick summaries on women in history that I didn't know about who made significant contributions in their chosen 'professions' for their time. and while the title says "lawless ladies..." many of them weren't violent criminals but for their time periods they were breaking the law. (ie. women gambling when it wasn't something most females did, etc) the writer doesn't condone their actions nor glorify them. (ie. bonnie of bonnie & clyde or the chapter on serial killers) The writer main 3.5 stars good, quick summaries on women in history that I didn't know about who made significant contributions in their chosen 'professions' for their time. and while the title says "lawless ladies..." many of them weren't violent criminals but for their time periods they were breaking the law. (ie. women gambling when it wasn't something most females did, etc) the writer doesn't condone their actions nor glorify them. (ie. bonnie of bonnie & clyde or the chapter on serial killers) The writer mainly gives an overview of ladies that aren't as well known (such as the female bootleggers) or written about as thoroughly. There were a few that I will have to look up and read further about which I think was the writers intention.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deena

    I won this from Goodreads. It was an easy read, nothing too involved. There was room for improvement, though. I found a few typos in the text (repeated words and phrases), and while I understand the use of a more informal style of narration, I wanted it to be more factual and less conjecture. Much of the text read like a hurried book report or term paper where only one source was consulted and not enough critical evaluation was employed. Another small thing I would have preferred was better chro I won this from Goodreads. It was an easy read, nothing too involved. There was room for improvement, though. I found a few typos in the text (repeated words and phrases), and while I understand the use of a more informal style of narration, I wanted it to be more factual and less conjecture. Much of the text read like a hurried book report or term paper where only one source was consulted and not enough critical evaluation was employed. Another small thing I would have preferred was better chronology. In order to visualize these women in their proper time periods, knowing their rough dates would help. Some of the entries didn't indicate any dates until nearly the end of their sections.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hyun

    I can’t really rate this book as I did not read the whole thing. I started it but moved it to my DNF list. I thought I would be reading “stories” about all these lawbreaking women, but it was more like a history textbook from what I read. It felt like a listing of the facts that are known about these women, without any references. I wanted more “story” and I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    I enjoyed learning about many women I'd never heard of before in these short biographical sketches. However, the informal writing style, grammatical and stylistic errors (which really should have been caught before publication), and too many instances of "there's no way to know if this is true, but I'm going to tell you anyway," ultimately brought down the rating. Still, I've discovered a number of women I want to know more about. I enjoyed learning about many women I'd never heard of before in these short biographical sketches. However, the informal writing style, grammatical and stylistic errors (which really should have been caught before publication), and too many instances of "there's no way to know if this is true, but I'm going to tell you anyway," ultimately brought down the rating. Still, I've discovered a number of women I want to know more about.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kokechii

    Simple, yet informative read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    What an interesting book! I learned about so many fascinating women I had never heard of.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    An interesting read. I bought this book when I visited the Alamo.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    As of late, I've been doing my share of rather heavy reading. So, when I got the chance to check out Erika Owen's "Lawbreaking Ladies: 50 Remarkable Stories of Criminal Women Throughout History" and it's rather light, entertaining cover, I couldn't resist the chance to do some lighter, more entertaining reading for a few days. To be sure, "Lawbreaking Ladies" is a light read. Despite the potential heaviness of 50 stories about criminal women, Owen infuses the material with an almost tongue-in-ch As of late, I've been doing my share of rather heavy reading. So, when I got the chance to check out Erika Owen's "Lawbreaking Ladies: 50 Remarkable Stories of Criminal Women Throughout History" and it's rather light, entertaining cover, I couldn't resist the chance to do some lighter, more entertaining reading for a few days. To be sure, "Lawbreaking Ladies" is a light read. Despite the potential heaviness of 50 stories about criminal women, Owen infuses the material with an almost tongue-in-cheek writing quality that keeps the material from ever becoming even remotely heavy. The book is essentially divided into different categories of criminal behavior - from old school pirates to bootleggers to cold-blooded killers to gamblers, bootleggers, and fraudsters and more. As is always true of these kinds of books, some tales are more enchanting than others. Additionally, there are times when Owen seems to be stretching the material for the sake of space rather than having an actual story to tell. However, Owen seems genuinely engaged by these stories and that keeps us, the readers, also engaged. "Lawbreaking Ladies" does have an awful lot of writer's personality within its pages. This isn't simply a presentation of the black-and-white facts. There's no question that Owen inserts her own editorialized comments, observations, and flippant remarks throughout the book. At times, this is entertaining. Other times, you can't help but wish maybe she'd chill just a bit and let the story stand on its own. If you're looking for hardcore tales, "Lawbreaking Ladies" isn't likely to keep you pleased. Even the chapter on rather cold-hearted killers is more entertaining than enraging. While Owen clearly understands the seriousness of these stories, quite often she's selected rather admirable women to be included here whose actions may have conflicted with the laws of the times but were also quite often more than a little admirable in the realm of badass women. Truthfully, there's not much else to be said about "Lawbreaking Ladies." You can pretty much tell from the title alone if this book is going to resonate with you. If you're intrigued, Owen for the most part won't let you down. If you're instantly dismissive, then it's probably not for you and Owen doesn't really do anything unique enough with the material to change your mind. If 1/2 stars were available, "Lawbreaking Ladies" would likely exist in the 3.5 realm for me. Alas, 1/2 stars are not available and I can't help but believe that Owen accomplishes with "Lawbreaking Ladies" exactly what she set out to do. For that reason, I'm inclined to boost the rating a 1/2 star and settle in at a comfy, entertaining 4-star read for this light, engaging, and informative collection from Erika Owen.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    I received a digital copy from Netgalley for an honest review. Lawbreaking Ladies is a fun and easy read about 50 women criminals you might not have heard about, and considering my love for True Crime I honestly only knew about a handful of women in this book. It is a well-researched book that leaves you wanting more, and one I thoroughly enjoyed reading. My favorite thing about Lawbreaking Ladies is how Erika Owen tells each story. It isn't stodgy or dry, instead, you can feel how excited Owen wa I received a digital copy from Netgalley for an honest review. Lawbreaking Ladies is a fun and easy read about 50 women criminals you might not have heard about, and considering my love for True Crime I honestly only knew about a handful of women in this book. It is a well-researched book that leaves you wanting more, and one I thoroughly enjoyed reading. My favorite thing about Lawbreaking Ladies is how Erika Owen tells each story. It isn't stodgy or dry, instead, you can feel how excited Owen was to write about each woman. Own's throws in a bit of humor, some tongue-in-cheek comments, that keep the writing from getting either boring or dry. I also really liked that Owen didn't try to justify what these ladies did to earn them such an infamous past. They simply presented the facts as they were and left us to decided how to feel about it. I also really liked that each chapter on each woman was not only kept short, but each woman was divided into sections by what kind of criminal each woman was. This made it easier to keep track of who was who, and I wasn't at a loss when the subject matter changed. I also really liked that each chapter had its own little glossary of words that were important to know with each new section. I don't mind Googling things as I read, but it was a nice bit of information to have at my fingertips going into each section. Despite each chapter being so small I never felt that any of the mini-biographies were rushed. It's easy to tell that Owen did a ton of research on each of these women, and did her best to piece together their lives as best she could. It was also nice that she didn't shy away from the legends surrounding these women, but was quick to let us know there was no proof of certain things happening. The artwork for this book was also a nice addition, especially the portraits. Those were a nice break from reading as well as an excellent visual of some of the women in each chapter. I really only had a couple of issues with this book, and both might be fixed by the time this book comes out next year. The first was Deadwood is mentioned several times before the reader is given a brief history of the town. Not a big deal for me personally since I know where and what that town was, but if the description is going to be there I felt it should have been done the first time the town was mention. The second was there was a couple of small date typos that jumped a couple of characters a hundred years into the future. I'm sure this will be fixed by the time Lawbreaking Ladies hits selves this coming February. This is a book that I will want a physical copy of once it's released to not only see the final product but because it's definitely one I'd read again.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Tyler

    Lawbreaking Ladies: 50 Tales of Daring, Defiant, and Dangerous Women from History by Erika Owen is a nonfiction book that tackles a wide range of law breaking ladies. Many of us are familiar with the popular slogan “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” But that adage is taken to the next level in this book, which looks at women from the past who weren’t afraid to break the law or challenge gender norms. From pirates to madams, gamblers to bootleggers, and serial killers to outlaws, women thr Lawbreaking Ladies: 50 Tales of Daring, Defiant, and Dangerous Women from History by Erika Owen is a nonfiction book that tackles a wide range of law breaking ladies. Many of us are familiar with the popular slogan “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” But that adage is taken to the next level in this book, which looks at women from the past who weren’t afraid to break the law or challenge gender norms. From pirates to madams, gamblers to bootleggers, and serial killers to outlaws, women throughout the ages haven’t always decided to be sugar, spice, and everything nice. These are the stories of 50 remarkable women whose rebellious and often criminal acts ought to solidify their place in history, including: the swashbuckling pirate Ching Shih, “Queen of the Bootleggers” Gloria de Casares, the Prohibition-era gangster Stephanie Saint-Clair, and a band of prisoners who came to be known as the Goree Girls. Some were breaking laws for good reasons, while others were downright dangerous. Lawbreaking Ladies is an interesting and entertaining read. I like that the author makes the effort to keep everything in the context of the laws and social climate of the time the specific crimes took place. Prohibition, abuse, unjust laws, and more had a role to play in some of the crimes- but in some cases the why's will never really make sense. I also like that the women featured are from a variety of countries and times, and their stories and situations are varied. It was clear that a great deal of research and care went into this book. The book was well organized, and the writing was very accessible and easy to follow. I found each story to be very independent from the rest of the book, even in each subsection, for instance in the section about gambling ladies the city of Deadwood is mentions in mos everyone's story and the familiarity of the name is addresses but in the context of travel rather than how many ladies profiled in a row had spent time there. I enjoyed the read, and appreciated the inclusion of sources and proper citation. It is a shame how often that gets forgotten. I will be reading some of the resources used by the author to delve deeper into some of the stories and times that interested me the most. Lawbreaking Ladies is a well researched, written, and organized resource. I think many readers will appreciate it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Allie Marini

    * I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.* This was a mostly fun, easy read. It reads a little bit like The Secret Lives of Famous Authors, with each story being less than 3 pages, so it's especially good for short attention spans or short reading periods. The chapters are organized mostly well, though I would have liked for there to be a conclusion of some kind that wrapped up the stories and revisited the introduction. It did seem weird that the closin * I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.* This was a mostly fun, easy read. It reads a little bit like The Secret Lives of Famous Authors, with each story being less than 3 pages, so it's especially good for short attention spans or short reading periods. The chapters are organized mostly well, though I would have liked for there to be a conclusion of some kind that wrapped up the stories and revisited the introduction. It did seem weird that the closing chapter is on fraud, instead of murder. The book also ends kind of abruptly and on a story that wasn't particularly memorable. The author is very careful and respectful in how they use language as a modern writer working in a historic context, especially with regards to talking about sex workers in history, cultural appropriation, and enslaved Americans. There is a small glossary of terms introducing each chapter, which is helpful to frame the stories. My main criticisms of the book are that some of the entries are longer than others, which makes the reading a little inconsistent. I wish that there had been maybe 25 really memorable stories and an ending chapter of 25 mini-stories that recapped the book instead of 50 stories that aren't all particularly memorable. There's also a few cringe-y moments where the author breaks the third wall to speak directly to the audience or comment on a modern concern using 2020 slang, which I really disliked, because it was so randomly scattered throughout the book and made it sound kinda "BuzzFeed-y" Overall, a fun, easy read that I breezed through before bed over the course of 2 nights.

  21. 5 out of 5

    thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)

    "…. women can be just as intimidating, terrifying, and feared as men." What It's About: This is a collection of 50 stories about lawbreaking ladies from the 15th century to the mid-1900s, who chosen a different path in life, and went against the societal conventions imposed upon women at that time. My thoughts: This is a quick and light read. I have to honest that although it's a light read, but reading 50 mini biographies can be a lot. It is not a book to be read in one sitting but "…. women can be just as intimidating, terrifying, and feared as men." What It's About: This is a collection of 50 stories about lawbreaking ladies from the 15th century to the mid-1900s, who chosen a different path in life, and went against the societal conventions imposed upon women at that time. My thoughts: This is a quick and light read. I have to honest that although it's a light read, but reading 50 mini biographies can be a lot. It is not a book to be read in one sitting but a book to be savored slowly. These stories are like quick facts/mini biographies and I liked how they are divided into seven parts -pirates, gamblers, bootleggers, madams, serial killers, outlaws, and fraudsters. There are some that I am familiar with and some are new to me. Elizabeth Bathory or the Countess of Blood is definitely the more well known one. When buying cosmetics now, I will always think of Giulia Tofana, the Cosmetics Killer who laced her cosmetics with arsenic, lead and belladonna. Yikes! Ching-Shih the Pirate Princess and Sayidda al-Hurra the Muslim Pirate Queen were such tough ladies! A bad parenting story of Kate "Ma" Barker, the mother who encouraged her four sons to commit crimes. Shocking! …. and many many more stories. Overall, this is an entertaining read with interesting facts. The illustrations are pretty and if you're looking for a light true crime read, this may be the book for you! Pub. Date: Feb 23, 2021 ***Thank you Simon and Schuster, Tiller Press, author Erika Owen and NetGalley for this gifted review copy in exchange for an honest review.***

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan Chasteen

    Thanks to NetGalley and Tiller Press for this free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. This book is available 3/23/21. Pirates! Outlaws! Madams! Serial killers! Gamblers! Lawbreaking Ladies features fifty stories of historical women who fit the above descriptions. This felt a lot like an adultier version of "Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls" in that they stories were quick snapshots of the lives of these ladies and what they were known for. In a world inundated with stories about men Thanks to NetGalley and Tiller Press for this free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. This book is available 3/23/21. Pirates! Outlaws! Madams! Serial killers! Gamblers! Lawbreaking Ladies features fifty stories of historical women who fit the above descriptions. This felt a lot like an adultier version of "Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls" in that they stories were quick snapshots of the lives of these ladies and what they were known for. In a world inundated with stories about men in these categories (except madams haha) it was refreshing and interesting to read about women out doing the things no one wanted or expected them to do. Many of the women featured fell into these various "professions" because they wanted something different for their lives or out of desperation. There is quite a wide variety as well--from women who lived fast and died young to elderly grandmothers selling illegal alcohol out of their homes (that was one of my favorites). Some of these women are clear sources of inspiration for their trailblazing and defiant acts while others...I definitely wouldn't want to emulate. To be clear, while many of these stories are told with fondness and clear respect for some of these women, Owen is still clear that during the times these women were active, they were indeed breaking the law to some extent...even if the laws were dumb. Also, to be clear, there is no romanticization of serial killers in this book. Murdering people is bad. The main thing I struggled with, which is really not against the author, was that with many of the stories, there is obviously not enough information available or left, so we are left with what are most likely tall tales and legends. Still interesting, but I like facts. 😂 If you like juicy tidbits about historical figures (especially women) this is for you! 😊

  23. 4 out of 5

    Donna TalentedReads

    What a lovely book!! This book is about women divided into 7 parts: Pirates, Gamblers, Bootleggers, Serial Killers, Madams, Outlaws/Gunslingers & Bandits, and Fraudsters. I really loved that this book isn't just about women who have committed a violent crime but also about women who are considered criminals because they are challenging society on what's "acceptable" behavior for a woman in their time. My favorite sections were serial killers (surprised?) and outlaws. I was happy to see some name What a lovely book!! This book is about women divided into 7 parts: Pirates, Gamblers, Bootleggers, Serial Killers, Madams, Outlaws/Gunslingers & Bandits, and Fraudsters. I really loved that this book isn't just about women who have committed a violent crime but also about women who are considered criminals because they are challenging society on what's "acceptable" behavior for a woman in their time. My favorite sections were serial killers (surprised?) and outlaws. I was happy to see some names that I'm familiar with and still love to read about: Fox Sisters, Elizabeth Bathory, Lavinia Fisher and Bonnie from Bonnie & Clyde. It was also very cool to read about Pearl the Outlaw, who is one of the famous stagecoach robbers of Phoenix, Arizona where I'm from! It ended up being brief snippets of the 50 women, meant to be more of a quick recap of their lifespan and their criminal nature. Knowing that their stories were meant to be brief, I do still wish there was just more information to consume. Must have more! There were some new names that I'd love to follow up with and find full length nonfiction works about their life. Thank you to NetGalley, Tiller Press and Erika Owen for a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I will definitely be purchasing a copy for my bookshelf!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aline Mello

    ***I would like to thank Tiller Press, Erika Owen and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*** I have mix feelings about this book. I first start reading it the night before a long flight, and at first, I did not liked it. The book tells short (and superficial) stories about 50 lawbreaking ladies from the 15th century to the mid-1900s. I can imagine that the lack of depth in the stories are due to the difficulty in access documents and gather more in ***I would like to thank Tiller Press, Erika Owen and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*** I have mix feelings about this book. I first start reading it the night before a long flight, and at first, I did not liked it. The book tells short (and superficial) stories about 50 lawbreaking ladies from the 15th century to the mid-1900s. I can imagine that the lack of depth in the stories are due to the difficulty in access documents and gather more information on each of these characters. Plus, the book proposes to tell 50 stories, so it is to be expected that none of them will be very detailed. That said, and as I had plenty of time to read the book during my flight... I decided to give it a chance, and I read the entire book in 3 days, actually enjoyed many of the stories, and learned couple new facts. The book is very entertaining, diverse, and humorous. I enjoyed the fact that the author is simply telling these women's stories, without any judgment of their character. It is a book that can be devoured as I did; or savored slowly by reading 1 or 2 stories a day and doing some extra research to complement the information on the most appreciated stories. In general, I would say this is a book that deserves a chance, just like I did it, and did not regret it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Levens

    Lawbreaking Ladies: 50 Tales of Daring, Defiant, and Dangerous Women from History By, Erika Owen Pub date: February 23, 2021 Genre: True crime, Biography Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read this e-ARC. Owens shares with us her incredibly researched collection of fascinating biographies of dangerous, rebellious, and often criminal women who have solidified their places in history. Whether you've heard about them already or if their remarkable stories are new to you, Lawbreaking Ladies: 50 Tales of Daring, Defiant, and Dangerous Women from History By, Erika Owen Pub date: February 23, 2021 Genre: True crime, Biography Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read this e-ARC. Owens shares with us her incredibly researched collection of fascinating biographies of dangerous, rebellious, and often criminal women who have solidified their places in history. Whether you've heard about them already or if their remarkable stories are new to you, here's a sneak peek of a few of the pirates, fraudsters, gamblers, bootleggers, serial killers, madams, and outlaws throughout the ages; *Elizabeth Bigley- The Fraud Who Never Learned Her Lesson *Marie Baker- The Pretty Pants Bandit *Lavinia Fisher- The Legendary Hotel Killer *Willie Carter Sharpe- The Speedster With Diamonds in Her Teeth By telling their stories in this beautifully illustrated collection, we learn about these lawbreaking and legendary women in such a unique way. I Love biography collections like this and found each and every one of these bold and not so nice women's stories incredibly interesting! A great gift for true crime, biography, and women of history fans.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Levens

    Lawbreaking Ladies Pub date: February 23, 2021 Genre: True Crime, Biography Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read this e-ARC. Owens shares with us her incredibly researched collection of fascinating biographies of dangerous, rebellious, and often criminal women who have solidified their place in history. Whether you've heard about them already or if their remarkable stories are new to you, here's a sneak peek of a few of the pirates, fraudsters, gamblers, bootlegge Lawbreaking Ladies Pub date: February 23, 2021 Genre: True Crime, Biography Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read this e-ARC. Owens shares with us her incredibly researched collection of fascinating biographies of dangerous, rebellious, and often criminal women who have solidified their place in history. Whether you've heard about them already or if their remarkable stories are new to you, here's a sneak peek of a few of the pirates, fraudsters, gamblers, bootleggers serial killers, madams, and outlaws throughout the ages: *Elizabeth Bigley- The Fraud Who Never Learned Her Lesson *Marie Baker- The Pretty Pants Bandit *Lavinia Fisher- The Legendary Hotel Killer *Wille Carter Sharpe- The Speedster With Diamonds in Her Teeth By telling their stories in this beautifully illustrated collection, we learn about these lawbreaking and legendary women in such a unique way. I Love biography collections like this and found each and every one of these bold and not so nice women's stories incredibly interesting! A great gift for true crime, biography, and women in history fans.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Boobar

    I was excited to receive this book, and learn about woman who broke all the rules. However, I was a little disappointed when I started this book, I was expecting a more detailed life and history of each of the woman mentioned in this story, but several of the woman barely had any information on them and took up just a page. I found it a bit dull at times and repetitive mostly focusing on the mundane aspects of their lives. As the book progressed the stories did get more detailed about each woman I was excited to receive this book, and learn about woman who broke all the rules. However, I was a little disappointed when I started this book, I was expecting a more detailed life and history of each of the woman mentioned in this story, but several of the woman barely had any information on them and took up just a page. I found it a bit dull at times and repetitive mostly focusing on the mundane aspects of their lives. As the book progressed the stories did get more detailed about each woman’s life of crime. I did enjoy the stories about the woman that changed history for others. By being criminals, their stories effected woman later on and they did not accept the laws that say woman can not do something. This book did included a number of great historical facts that were very interesting and at times a look at what those historical times were like for woman. This book does included robbery, prostitution, murder and kidnapping. I received this ebook via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sara Hill

    Lawbreaking Ladies by Erika Owen was an exciting read. I appreciated that Owen's did not set out to glorify these women, but just to tell small parts of their stories. Each section had its strengths. My favourite was by far the pirate section, Growing up in the Bahamas, I was always fascinated reading and learning about pirates, but especially females. Of all the pirates mentioned I only knew two of them, so this section was great because it gives me more female pirates to look up and research. Lawbreaking Ladies by Erika Owen was an exciting read. I appreciated that Owen's did not set out to glorify these women, but just to tell small parts of their stories. Each section had its strengths. My favourite was by far the pirate section, Growing up in the Bahamas, I was always fascinated reading and learning about pirates, but especially females. Of all the pirates mentioned I only knew two of them, so this section was great because it gives me more female pirates to look up and research. Gambling is a subject I do not often find interesting, and while I enjoyed these stories I was not as swayed by them. I think this is just due to the subject matter and less about the women mentioned, Overall, a really great book. I would love to read more about many of these women. You learn so much about history by reading some of these stories. Some subjects and facts are horrifying and others kind of silly, but still interesting to read about. I received an eARC from Tiller Press through NetGalley. All opinions are 100% my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I received a copy of this book for free to give my honest review. I liked this book. It is fun and easy to read. Each of the women mentioned in the book are given a nice description that's not too long, but still tells an overview of their story and why they earned a place in history. There were some women describe in the book that piqued my interest enough to look up more information about them. Which I think is the point of this book. Introducing these women in history to the reader. Most of th I received a copy of this book for free to give my honest review. I liked this book. It is fun and easy to read. Each of the women mentioned in the book are given a nice description that's not too long, but still tells an overview of their story and why they earned a place in history. There were some women describe in the book that piqued my interest enough to look up more information about them. Which I think is the point of this book. Introducing these women in history to the reader. Most of the women featured I had never heard of. I think the author did a good job in choosing a variety of infamous ladies. I am impressed by the amount of research it had to take to find information on some of the more obscure figures. One of the perks in a book like this is that it is easy to pick up and read a few entries without the need to finish it in one sitting. It's perfect for reading on a work break or whenever time is limited or there is the possibility of interruptions. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a light but interesting read about some lawbreaking ladies.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    I absolutely LOVE this book! These are all true stories about women in history that have broken the law, but in the most amazing way! The author makes it very clear that she isn't trying to say women are bad, but she's actually trying to show how amazing these women are even if they broke a couple laws in the process. I really love that she made it clear she wasn't shaming the women, but focusing on how cool they are. All of these women were acting out of the "normal" way to behave as a women du I absolutely LOVE this book! These are all true stories about women in history that have broken the law, but in the most amazing way! The author makes it very clear that she isn't trying to say women are bad, but she's actually trying to show how amazing these women are even if they broke a couple laws in the process. I really love that she made it clear she wasn't shaming the women, but focusing on how cool they are. All of these women were acting out of the "normal" way to behave as a women during their time period. I had no idea there were women who were pirates hundreds of years ago. I like to think that I would have been a pirate in the 1500s. If you love true crime and reading about amazing women. I would highly recommend this book. I had to much fun reading about the crazy and fun stories these women experienced. I read this through Netgalley, but I have every intention of purchasing this book when it comes out! I honestly can't wait to have the physical copy.

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