This overview of Russian women's history follows a broadly chronological sequence. Each section opens by focusing on women who were part of the ruling elite in each era, whether as rulers, consorts, or forces behind the scenes, giving an insight into their power and influence. Among well-known figures are Catherine the Great and Sofia, half-sister of Peter the Great, who was imprisoned in a convent after her failed coup. The book also relates the lives of less familiar women like the wealthy 16th-century Musovite Feodosia Morozova who gave up a life of riches in which her every excursion was accompanied by a suite of 200 servants to become a nun and devote herself to the ppor, and Praskovia Kovaleva, a serf and blacksmith's daughter, who rose to fame as a singer in the 18th century and embarked on a forbidden affair with the theatre manager Sheremetev, who subsequently freed all her family. Alongside these individual women's lives, the author discusses the customs and practices of each era, such as Russian medieval marriage cememonies, which attempted to blend pagan and Christian beliefs and practices, and the way in which the terem, or women's quarters, operated to protect women in the late Middle Ages. Later sections of the book look at the gradual Westernization of women's dress and behaviour, and examine attempts to improve their education.