I’ve had a number of requests to recommend female fiction, as well as something light but preferably with a strong female protagonist. Strong female protagonists are hard to find, especially ones that don’t relinquish their femininity in the heat of battle. And strong female protagonists in lighter reading is tougher to find. I don’t go looking for these attributes in books mainly because you can’t really sort for them. All the more reason why I’ll continue to post when I find some.
Here’s a list of what I’ve managed to accumulate so far. They are primarily written by female authors and are for summer (aka fluffy) reading 🙂
rating: very fluffy, genre: supernatural, chicklit
Jane Madison is a young librarian and struggling with singledom. A hidden room in her new rental house reveals a stash of magic books and a cat that turns into a very gay familiar. I recommend the first book, “A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft,” and maybe the second. Stop after that. It gets too fluffy. The first, however, is witty and fun to read.
rating: very fluffy, genre: mystery
Clare Cosi runs a higher-end coffee house in Greenwich Village with her ex-husband and womanizer (see? very fluffy). Clare constantly finds herself tangled up in some murder mystery involving the customers, the owners, or the neighbourhood of the coffee house. But Clare manages to hold her own while managing a business, a mother-in-law, and a teenage daughter. Lots of books in the coffee-themed series. Also writes as Alice Kimberly in “The Ghost and….” series (also very fluffy).
rating: surprisingly unfluffy, genre: mystery
There are currently only two books in this series. I read the second, “The Cocoa Conspiracy” and was pleasantly surprised that the protagonist not only narrated intelligently, but also acted and was treated intelligently. Set in post-Napoleonic England, Arianna Hadley has recently married a rich Earl (wait for it…..). Of course, in Dickensian fashion, she was raised on the streets. However, her new husband doesn’t wish to make her into a lady. In fact, he (and the English government) uses her and her hard-won street skills to investigate National conspiracies. I’m going to track down the first novel and hopefully more by this author.
rating: fluffy, genre: steampunk, mystery
This was recommended by a friend. The first book, “Soulless,” is a riot with lots of wit. The second, however, gets a wee bit too fluffy for my tastes — too much “Fibber MacGee & Molly” type of miscommunication and the protagonist’s struggle against a woman’s place in society. Alexia Tarabotti was born without a soul. Consequently, she is a rarity. Not only is she immune to the vampires in the neighbourhood, but she’s also able to freely speak her mind in Victorian society. These two attributes lead the authorities, and other vampires, to think that she’s responsible for the disappearance of many vampires of late. Hilarity and chaos ensues.
rating: non-fluffy, genre: young adult
I’ve reviewed McMann’s “Wake” series previously. Suffice to say, go read it.
Non-female authors who do strong female protagonists well:
Alan Bradley (mystery) – also reviewed previously. Three books in, Flavia de Luce continues to be one of my new favs.
Charles de Lint (urban fantasy) – one of my all-time favourite authors. Writes strong characters, particularly females, with depth and sincerity.
Philip Pullman (young adult, although I don’t really know why….) – once you’re passed “The Golden Compass” trilogy, pick up the next series that follows Sally Lockhart. She’s not as audacious as Lyra, but she can hold her own in Victorian society.
If you’ve spent too much time in the fluff and don’t know what a strong female character is any more, go sniff some coffee beans by watching “The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec” by Luc Besson. Lovely.