"Severe source constraints confront all historians of ninth-century women. The Carolingian world is relatively rich in sources but not in material overtly concerned with women. Yet Garver has read widely. For Garver, the Carolingian reforming revaluation of the aristocratic female household role was a turning point in Western views of women. That is one of many challenges to historians of earlier and later periods left by this brave book, which opens new and interesting perspectives."American Historical Review
"English-speaking scholars have contributed considerably to research on Carolingian women since Suzanne Fonay Wemple's pioneering Women in Frankish Society: Marriage and the Cloister 500–900, but they have produced few monographs. Valerie Garver's new book is a welcome exception, aiming to show women as 'active participants in shaping and perpetuating the behaviors, beliefs, and practices’ of Carolingian culture."Early Medieval Europe
"Garver provides an excellent synthesis of current scholarship about aristocratic Carolingian women. Although she acknowledges the paucity of sources directly addressing women's roles, she does a commendable job of examining the existing literature and delineating the place of women in Carolingian society. This creates a useful contribution to both women’s history and social history in the Carolingian period."
Margaret J. McCarthy, Medium Aevum (Mar 2011)
"Garver's mastery of a variety of early medieval sources allows her to draw novel conclusions about the roles of aristocratic women as active participants in and shapers of Carolingian elite culture. . . . Women and Aristocratic Culture reveals a great deal."Courtney L. Luckhardt, H-France Review (2014)
"Women and Aristocratic Culture makes a major contribution to our understanding of early medieval and aristocratic experience. Garver is consistently able to take even unsurprising findings and well-known points and parlay them into strong planks of support for her overall thesis."Felica Lifshitz, Medieval Prosopography (April 2014)
"This fascinating book should appeal to medievalists in all fields, particularly those interested in gender history and art history. Valerie L. Garver successfully argues that women played fundamental roles in defining and transmitting aristocratic culture in the period from c. 700 to 925. She looks at the importance of female beauty, appearance, and adornment; the family and the construction of identities and collective memory; education and moral exemplarity; wealth, hospitality, and domestic management; and textile work. While Garver is especially interested in the female aristocracy, she also knows and pays attention to the sources regarding male aristocrats, drawing useful comparative material from them. This is a remarkable work. It provides sensitive analysis and a fresh new look at the rich material of the Carolingian world."Jane Schulenburg, University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of Forgetful of Their Sex
"Valerie L. Garver has exhaustively combed a huge number of primary sources and frequently presents her findings in novel or unexpected conjunctions, to excellent effect, especially on such important questions as women's contribution to the domestic economy or the details of their prayer texts."Julia Smith, Edwards Professor of Medieval History, University of Glasgow, author of Europe after Rome