Kristen Gehrman Language Services


Ironhead, Or Once a Young Lady 

Ironhead, Or Once a Young Lady  | Kristen Gehrman Language Services

Ironhead, Or Once a Young Lady 

by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem, translated by Kristen Gehrman

Levine Querido, 368 p., February 2022

Original title: IJzerkop, Querido


Four months into the marriage, she can slip out of their bed in the middle of the night, and she can put on his clothes. She can look in the mirror and like what she sees. She can sneak out of the house before dawn and visit the baker’s scrawny son, who has just been drafted into the army, and offer to take his place. Vive l’Empereur!

Hot on Stance’s tail all the while is her younger brother Pieter, determined to bring Stance back home to Ghent where she belongs. (The battlefield is no place for a young lady, after all.)

Ironhead, or, Once A Young Lady is the riotous and powerful story of a fierce renegade, and the silly men who try to bring her down.


“Rowdy and contemplative in turn, this celebration of historical gender nonconformity is as compelling as it is fun.” -Publisher’s Weekly

“A perfect choice for fans of adventure tales with a prominent feminist streak.”—Booklist Online

“Vivid and brutal—but not without a sliver of hope.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Thrilling, often hilarious, and sometimes tear-jerking, this romp of a story is reminiscent of classic adventure tales such as The Three Musketeers.” – BCCB