Tonight I'm linking up with Heather and Katie for Book Club Friday! If my opening paragraph didn't give it away, I'm reviewing two books of historical fiction featuring strong, female protagonists.
This book has been sitting unread on my bookcase for years. I know. I hang my head in shame. Written by Sally Gunning, The Widow's War reminds me of how bleak life used to be for unmarried women.
When Lyddie Berry's husband is lost at sea, she simultaneously loses her husband and all rights to her property. Those rights are transferred to her son-in-law, who stubbornly refuses to compromise with her. Lyddie fights to maintain her home and her independence.
This book was so intriguing. I could not put it down. So many scandals, so many historic references, so much frustration at her spineless daughter, her jerk son-in-law, and the uptight townsfolk.
I love Tracy Chevalier, and her novel Remarkable Creatures does not disappoint. Chevalier tells the story of an unlikely friendship, set against the background of early paleontology and the scientific field's exclusion of women.
Despite her working-class social status, Mary Anning has a knack for finding fossils, including never-before-seen dinosaur fossils. The spinster Elizabeth Philpot prefers the company of her fossils to people. Despite their age difference and the wide schism of their social classes, Mary and Elizabeth become friends.
Basically, I wanted to punch every single man in this novel. But alas, such was 19th-century England. Men didn't believe women were capable of scientific achievement. And everyone was slightly wary of spinsters. But once I accepted the historic norms, I loved this book.
What's your favorite work of historical fiction?