These are ten of my favorite female characters in fiction. Truth be told, some may change from time to time as I discover new works or remember old ones I have read. But right now, when I gazed over my bookshelves and wondered “What females’ stories would I share and why?” these female leads stood out to me. Maybe one or two will stand out to you, too.
1) Cathy from Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews.
While this book had some really taboo topics and the choices made by the MC female lead could be, at times, cringe-worthy, I adored Cathy. I still do today and that was well over a decade ago that I first read her and her brother’s story. I try to re-read her stories (the family series) at least once a year.
2) Mary Boleyn from The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory.
Mary was often overshadowed by her sister, Anne, but in the end, Mary lived her life as she wanted. And fact tells the truth right along with the fictionalized version of this tale—Mary lived, Anne got her head cut off.
3) Francesca Giordano from The Borgia Mistress by Sara Poole.
Oh, my God …. Francesca. Lover to a Borgia son, court poisoner for the man who was to become Pope, ridiculously strong willed and minded in a time when women were considered only good for birthing babies. I loved this woman. I devoured the book in hours because of her.
4) Ana from Letting Ana Go by Anonymous.
Ana could have been my friend, she could have been my mother, she could have been me. Her story, despite the way it ended, and her character, stayed with me because of that.
5) Dora Rare from The Birth House.
Dora is the first of two midwives on this list of mine. She’s from a favorite place of mine, Nova Scotia Canada. She endured through so much—she was amazing. I loved her strength most of all and how she finally settled into happiness with who she was and what she wanted regardless of what others wanted. It’s a good life lesson.
6) Savannah Lynn Curtis from Dear John by Nicholas Sparks.
I actually didn’t think I would put a NS novel on this list, but when I looked through my bookshelves (over 300 books in my physical—not digital—collection), Savannah pulled me in again. She made tough choices. Ones that hurt other people, but she did it because of who she was and who she was, was a good person. She sacrificed what could be her happiness for someone else. Maybe she was rewarded in the very end for it, we never knew.
7) Alice Piper from So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman.
Good God, if there is any book on this list you pick up and try, PLEASE PICK THIS ONE. PLEASE. Alice Piper is a young teenaged girl—the story is told from many perspectives and it makes you question everything you thought you knew about life and people and “what would you do if this was your child?” Alice did what so many people THINK of doing but never do. This book gave me the chills for weeks and even when I think of Alice today, I still go, “WOW”.
8) Mia from If I Stay by Gayle Forman.
This story was just … poignant as is. Being told from Mia’s perspective added to that. I don’t think it would have worked as well with someone else’s perspective. Mia made this story. There’s more books though I haven’t read them.
9) Anna & Kate from My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.
Read the book, don’t just watch the movie. I know there should only be one female here, but they intertwined so much by the end, it only made sense for them to be both. Anna is the kind of person people should be, and Kate is … heartbreaking. Both strong but in completely different ways. If I had daughters (I don’t, I have all boys), I would hope they could be as emotionally, and mentally strong as these girls.
10) Hannah Levi from The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich.
Hannah is a Jewish Midwife who risks her career and life to save the life of a Christian mother and her baby, despite knowing her actions could have grave consequences. She was an amazing character to read about.
I hope my list gives you some new characters to go and try!