Ahead of International Women’s Day, on 8th March, I put together a list of my favourite books written by women. Although I believe that unintentionally I still read more books by men than by women, it wasn’t difficult at all to come up with these five magnificent books by female authors. In fact, I could have mentioned many more books than the ones below, but I wanted to keep the list short.
In no special order, these are some of the books written by women which were a delight to read:
One of the most captivating books I’ve ever read, Rebecca was my first foray into Daphne du Maurier’s work. It is narrated by an unnamed woman who recalls meeting Maxim de Winter in Monte Carlo. She accepted to marry him, and they went to live at Manderley, his family home. There, the shadow of his deceased first wife, Rebecca, was even more present. Apparently, she had exceled at everything, so the narrator’s doubts and insecurities became overwhelming. The characters are complex, and the prose is utterly atmospheric.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice is my favourite novel by Jane Austen. The protagonist, Elizabeth, is the second eldest daughter of the Bennet family. She is intelligent, playful and witty, but she is sometimes hasty in coming to conclusions about others’ characters, which leads to a misunderstanding between her and Mr. Darcy. He, on the other hand, struggles to get rid of his pride and to give less importance to social status. I loved the development of their relationship and the satire present throughout the novel.
In The Muse, Jessie Burton used a painting shrouded in mystery as a plot device to connect two different time periods and two female characters. In 1967, Odelle Bastien is offered a job as a typist at the Skelton Gallery. In 1936, Olive Schloss arrives at a house in rural Spain and gathers courage to tell her parents she has been accepted to do a Fine Arts degree. Besides being a book about artists, it focuses on important issues such as the unequal treatment of women and racism.
Jessie Burton only has two books published, but I loved both of them. The Miniaturist is set in 1686 and its main character is Petronella Oortman. Her husband, Johannes Brandt, offers her a cabinet-sized replica of their home as a wedding gift. She ends up commissioning a miniaturist to furnish it, while trying to uncover the secrets of the family she has just joined. This is both an engrossing and heart-breaking story.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The third book in the Harry Potter series is my favourite among the seven. Together with Hermione and Ron, Harry investigates Sirius Black, whom they believe is one of Lord Voldemort’s allies. It sheds some light on Harry’s family history, while also setting the scene for the subsequent books.
What are your favourite books written by women? Tell me in the comments!