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WomanMemorable Women in Fiction
A Belvedere-Tiburon Library Subject Guide

 

Bean Trees
by Barbara Kingsolver
Kentucky native Marietta Greer changes her name and her life on a road trip to Arizona. She is given a baby and must find a job when her car dies in Tucson. Refreshingly upbeat.

Bee Season
by Myla Goldberg
Nine year Eliza has always been the average child in her family until she wins her first spelling competition. Her family's reaction to this change in her sparks a change in all their relationships causing the family to spiral into chaos. Eliza's mother is one of the most unusual mothers in fiction.

Bridget Jones's Diary
by Helen Fielding
A year in the life of a singleton determined to improve herself. Hilarious diary entries keep us up to date on her progress with her love life, weight loss and professional life.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
by Rebecca Wells
As a daughter struggles to understand her mother and her own childhood, she comes to accept the imperfect love her mother had to offer and learns that forgiveness brings its own rewards.

Ellen Foster
by Kaye Gibbons
A bright and engaging 11 year old heroine decides to take charge of her life after the death of her abusive father.

Gone With the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
Scarlett O'Hara is one of the most famous characters in American fiction; discover this southern belle in the original.

House of Mirth
by Edith Wharton
Lily Bart doesn't quite fit the mold; raised to be ornamental she isn't quite ready to sell herself to the highest bidder in the marital marketplace. The consequences of her decision drive the action of the novel.

Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte
The author described her heroine "as poor and plain as myself." Jane's troubled life in school and then as a governess has enthralled readers for over 100 years.

Like Water for Chocolate
by Laura Esquivel
Tita is the youngest of three daughters in a turn of the century Mexican family. She falls in love, but cannot marry, because she must take care of her mother according to tradition. When her sister marries her lover instead, magical realism carries the story forward to a funny look at love, life and food.

Maisie Dobbs
by Jacqueline Winspear
A mix of war story, mystery and romance. Maisie works her way up from the servant ranks to private investigator in WW1 era England.

Member of the Wedding
by Carson McCullers
Twelve year old Frankie thinks that as a member of the wedding party she will be big part of her brother's new life. Tall, awkward, and lonely she devises strange plans help herself belong.

Mists of Avalon
by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Arthurian legend told from the point of view of the women behind the throne. Camelot's politics and intrigue take place at a time when Christianity is taking over the island-nation of Britain; Christianity vs. Faery, and God vs. Goddess are dominant themes.

One Thousand White Women
by Jim Fergus
A "what if" novel of the American West. May Dodd keeps a journal of her participation in a secret government "Brides for Indians" program.

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
The classic story of the five Bennet daughters and their mother's attempts to get them all married.

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
by Alexander McCall Smith
Set in Botswana, Precious Ramotswe sets out to help people in her town by using commonsense, intuition and intelligence.

Rebecca
by Daphne DuMaurier
Classic twentieth century gothic novel. The chilling story of the second Mrs. De Winter, the mansion Manderlay and the death of Rebecca.

Red Tent
by Anita Diamant
Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob and his four wives, tells the woman's side of life in biblical times.

Sister Carrie
by Theodore Dreiser
The story of Carrie Meeber, an 18-year-old country girl who moves to Chicago and becomes a kept woman, was strong stuff at the turn of the century. Today it is regarded as the "first masterpiece of the American naturalistic movement."

A Thousand Acres
by Jane Smiley
An Iowa farmer decides to give his property to his three daughters before his death. Just like King Lear, family secrets are revealed and tragedy ensues.

Vanity Fair
by William Thackerey
Becky Sharp's rise from poverty during the Napoleonic wars is chronicled in this satire of upper class English society.

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water
by Michael Dorris
A generational story of three Native American women living in Montana faced with hardships and joined by blood and secrets. Each woman tells her own story to make a complete picture of the family struggle.

Copyright Belvedere-Tiburon Library, 2005