Five for Friday | Inspirational Female Characters in Historical Fiction

I’ve been wanting to do some more recommendation posts for a while now – and I especially like the idea of recommendations based around a particular theme. So today marks the start of Five for Friday, where I will be recommending 5 historical fiction books which have something in common.

Since today is International Women’s Day, I’m kicking off this series with a list of five inspirational female characters in historical fiction books written by women.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do1. Nell from Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

This YA novel is brimming with strong female characters, but Nell especially stands out as a passionate suffragette who knows her own mind in a time where women often didn’t have many options available. She may be fierce, but she also has a big heart, and her relationship with May is just adorable.



The Nightingale2. Isabelle from The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Oh, Isabelle. At times she infuriated me with her recklessness, but you can’t help being in awe of her courage as she risks her life for the French Resistance in WWII. Her story moved me to tears, and I loved the fact that Kristin Hannah told this important story about the role of women in the Second World War.



Dear Mrs Bird 3. Emmy from Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce

Am I ever going to stop shouting about this book? Nope, probably not! It’s been months since I read it, but Emmy’s warm heart, quick wit and make-do-and-mend attitude still make me smile whenever I think of her story. She’s a real woman with real flaws, and you can’t help but root for her every step of the way.



Pachinko 4. Sunja from Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

This multi-generational novel covers most of Sunja’s life, focusing on her incredible personal journey as she leaves her Korean homeland for Japan. Sunja is the glue that holds her family together under the most difficult of circumstances, and only her determination and resourcefulness ensure that her children don’t go without.



Here be Dragons (Welsh Princes, #1) 5. Joanna from Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman

This series may be titled Welsh Princes – but Llywelyn the Great would not have achieved half his greatness without the love and support of his bold Norman wife. Forced to live in a foreign land where she is regarded as the enemy, Joanna carves out a place for herself both amongst the Welsh court and in Llywelyn’s heart.



So there we have my first Five for Friday! I hope you enjoyed this celebration of some inspirational female characters in historical fiction – look out for another post in this series sometime soon 🙂