March is Women’s History Month and a great time to discover historical fiction, biographies and books written in the past, by women about women, from Australia and around the world. There are many great titles to explore and it’s hard to narrow down to just a few titles. Here are just some of our favourites.
This novel set in mid-1800s in Kentucky delves into the world of slavery, told from the perspective of Sethe, a former slave with a traumatic past. The tragedy unfolds as Sethe struggles to be truly free of her past when the daughter she thought was lost comes back to haunt her. A Book Group classic and an unforgettable read that still resonates with readers today.
How does a Melbourne girl growing up in 19th century Melbourne find fame? This biography tells the life of Nellie Mitchell and how her musical promise lead her to become Dame Nellie Melba. Exquisitely told, this book captures an extraordinary life and is still a Book Groups favourite after ten years.
The true story of Waris Dirie is astonishing. Her carefree childhood in Somalia is interrupted by her culture’s customary circumcision, and eventually flees an arranged marriage when she is just twelve years old. She creates a new life for herself in London, working as a maid for years before become an UN ambassador and famous model. We found this heartrending and inspirational story of Dirie’s incredible spirit to be an enthralling read.
St Johns’ story about women in 1950s Sydney is still relevant today. The women in black at Goode’s department store sell ladies cocktail dresses but have hopes and dreams of their own. A beautiful uplifting portrayal of friendship and women achieving their dreams in a changing society and an ongoing favourite with our book groups.
Set in the wilds of Scandinavia, sixteen-year-old Ritva has been banished to an asylum for troubled women in southern Finland. Longing to escape, she joins forces with Martta, a headstrong indigenous Sami woman. Together they head to the mystical land of reindeers in the North where freedom just might be possible. We loved this beautiful and lyrical story of love, family and betrayal that sings in the snow.
Published in 1929 but still relevant today, this book arose from lectures Woolf delivered at two women’s colleges in Cambridge on women and fiction. We love this deftly written work on the importance of privacy and independence to women’s creativity is an inspiration, and a reminder that these issues still persist in modern society.
Do you have a favourite read for women’s history month? Get in touch on email@example.com