I really enjoy reading historical fiction… I love learning about a time, place, and culture event through the lens of a good storyteller who weaves some action, drama, and maybe even a little romance into the plotline. A great read for me means the author must have done the homework to research the time period and convey what it must have been like to live during those days.
I’ve actually come across some great historical fiction books lately that coincidentally feature powerful women as the central figure…. Women who endured many hardships, overcame adversity, and were just all around really strong, amazing women. Here are a few of my favorites:
- The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi …. This is an amazing story about a family of girls growing up in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2007 who are not even able to attend school due to the cultural norms of Afghanistan. The family’s story is intermixed with a “fairy tale” history of the lead character’s great, great grandmother who also struggled to take her place in Afghan society. Both women exhibit remarkable strength of character, resiliency and determination. This is a very moving story and will make you appreciate the freedoms that we can often take for granted.
- America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. A look back at post-revolutionary America and Thomas Jefferson, through the eyes of his eldest daughter, Pasty. Well researched using actual letters written amongst the family, the book does an amazing job of making the time period and trials and tribulations of early American life come alive for the reader. Patsy is extremely likeable and amazingly intuitive and insightful. I certainly learned a few things about our founding fathers I probably didn’t remember from school!
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Wow… I could not put this book down. Kristin writes about two sisters living in Paris during World War 2. One houses a German soldier along with her children while her husband is away at war and the other braves the underground movement to do whatever she can to help the Allies win the war – incredibly brave and supposedly based on a real life female character. Incredible plot, detail and suspense!
- The Winter Garden – also by Kristin Hannah. This starts in modern-day America where two sisters are dealing with the loss of their father and a mother they don’t understand. The story weaves us through World War 2 again but this time in Russia, against some grueling hardships. This was a sad but powerful story about the incredible strength and perseverance of women… especially when they need to take care of their family. The surprise, happy ending made it all the more enjoyable.
- I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Okay this is not fiction – this is a true story of a Malala – a girl raised in Pakistan who fought for her right to attend school. She fought with her life as she was shot by the Taliban. My girls had to read this in school so I followed suit- an amazing tale, again about the very few freedoms that other womenfolk are able to enjoy, and about remarkable bravery and fight.
Please share some of your favorite “power women” reads to our site as well!