Female Characters You Won't Soon Forget

My name is Mary Sutter

Robin Oliveira.

Historical Fiction

Mary Sutter is a brilliant, headstrong midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon in 19th-century America. Determined to overcome the prejudices against women in medicine, Mary leaves home and travels to Washington, D.C., to pursue her medical career.


The Philosopher's Kiss: A Novel

Peter Prange ; [translated from the German by Steven T. Murray].

Historical Fiction

Truth - Betrayal - Intrigue - Revolution - and Love

Paris 1747. Betrayed by God and humanity, Sophie moves to the seething capital of the kingdom. To survive, she works at Cafe Procope, the meeting place for freethinkers and revolutionaries. Against her will she falls deeply in love with one of the regular customers: Denis Diderot, the famed philosopher and a married man. He and his colleagues are planning the most dangerous book in the world si...


The birth of Venus : a novel

Sarah Dunant.

Historical Fiction

Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family’s Florentine palazzo. A child of the Renaissance, with a precocious mind and a talent for drawing, Alessandra is intoxicated by the painter’s abilities.

But their burgeoning relationship is interrupted when Alessandra’s parents arrange her marriage to a we...




The Mistress of Nothing.

Kate Pullinger.

Historical Fiction

Winner of Canada's prestigious Governor General's Award, this richly rendered American debut captures the life of a lady's maid on her journey from the confines of Victorian England to the uncharted reaches of Egypt's Nile Valley.


The four seasons : a novel of Vivaldi's Venice

Laurel Corona.

Historical Fiction

In glittering 18th-century Venice, music and love are prized above all else--and for two sisters coming of age, the city's passions blend in intoxicating ways.


Dreamers of the day : a novel

Mary Doria Russell.

Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

"I suppose I ought to warn you at the outset that my present circumstances are puzzling, even to me. Nevertheless, I am sure of this much: My little story has become your history. You won't really understand your times until you understand mine." So begins the account of Agnes Shanklin, the charmingly diffident narrator of Mary Doria Russell's compelling new novel,Dreamers of the Day.And what is Miss Shanklin's "little story?" Nothing less than t...


Lydia Cassatt reading the morning paper : a novel

by Harriet Scott Chessman.

Historical Fiction

Harriet Scott Chessman takes us into the world of Mary Cassatt's early Impressionist paintings through Mary's sister Lydia, whom the author sees as Cassatt's most inspiring muse. Chessman hauntingly brings to life Paris in 1880, with its thriving art world. The novel's subtle power rises out of a sustained inquiry into art's relation to the ragged world of desire and mortality. Ill with Bright's disease and conscious of her approaching death, Lyd...


The secret wife of King George IV

Diane Haeger.

Historical Fiction

Although it was illegal, secret, and against the express commands of his famously mad father, King George IV of England married twice -- once for duty and once for love. While Caroline of Brunswick eventually became his lawful queen, it was the beautiful Maria Fitzherbert, recognized as his wife by the Catholic Church but not by the laws of England, who claimed his heart. In the hands of author Diane Haeger, their relationship becomes a mesmerizi...


Sarah's key

Tatiana de Rosnay.

Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigatio...


The passion of Artemisia

Susan Vreeland.

Historical Fiction

In her luminous debut novel, Susan Vreeland told the story of a Vermeer painting that transformed the lives of its many owners with its beauty. Now, in her stunning new novel, she tells the story of a painter who transformed Renaissance Italy with the beauty of her work. The Passion of Artemisia chronicles the extraordinary life of Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman to make a significant contribution to art history. At age eighteen, Artemisia...


Lady's maid

Margaret Forster.

Historical Fiction

FICTION-HISTORICAL