March of Women: Books that Feature Strong Female Characters

You may have missed some of the wonderful books that I talked about in March this year, so I wanted to remind you of the March of Women–a concentration on books featuring women characters.

Every book I reviewed was about one or more strong, unique, and sometimes iconoclastic woman character. First, a list of historical novels.


Joan of Arc statue in Notre Dame
Joan of Arc statue in Notre Dame

The Maid and The Queen: A Secret History of Joan of Arc  tells the story 15th century French Queen Yolande who was a master politician. The author says, “For those who wonder after reading these pages how it is possible that the evidence of Yolande’s involvement in the story of Joan of Arc has never before been adequately explored, I can only respond that there is no more effective camouflage in history than to have been born a woman.”

A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar follows two missionary ladies along the Silk Road in China in the early 20th century.  I said, “Not only is this a rousing good story, it turns out that the author has done a very good deed in painting a picture of a territory little changed in the past hundred years until recently when the Chinese decided to obliterate most of the old town of Kashgar as part of their effort to dominate the recalcitrant Uighurs.”

Turkish flagThe Dervish covers an era of Turkish history that was new to me, and a real-life heroine of the Turkish fight for Independence in the 1920s, woven into a fictionalized memoir of an American woman living in Turkey. I said, ” Kazan has skillfully built a plot full of suspense and romance, as well as one that every traveler will love for the detailed descriptions of place and customs.”

Through Irish Eyes: Visual Companion to Angela McCourt’s Ireland. This compilation of historic photos brings to life in pictures what Frank McCourt described in words in Angela’s Ashes, his tribute to his mother.

Moving into the present:

Mumbai New York Scranton is a memoir by a graphic artist, daughter of a famous restaurant owner in New York City. I said, “…the book is funny, moving and thought-provoking.  You’ll read it in a few hours and think about it for much longer.

Fast Times in Palestine:  A Love Affair with a Homeless Homeland provides an inside view of daily life in today’s Palestine. I said, “Preconceptions turn out to be more dangerous than bombs and bullets. If you are ready to question some of yours, this book is for you. Olson writes with passion, but she constantly questions her own reasoning. As you read, you enter into the dialogue.


Lights in Montparnasse, Paris
Lights in Montparnasse, Paris, Photo by Steve Hanna

Murder Below Montparnasse, a Cara Black murder mystery, features her idiosyncratic heroine, Aimèe Leduc and Black’s own knowledge of all the nooks and crannies of Paris. I said, “You stick with the book, not just because of the puzzles you are helping the detective unravel, but because Aimèe Leduc is such good company. And she has an apartment on Ile St. Louis, which I deeply covet, but that’s MY problem.”

March was a particularly rewarding month to be reviewing new books. I hope that you will take a look at any you may have missed the first time around. Do you have a favorite/inspiring woman character in a book you’ve recently read?

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

2 thoughts on “March of Women: Books that Feature Strong Female Characters

  1. Thank you, vera. I can always count on you for strong and savvy recommendations. I also love your new site and can’t wait to read more!

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