Books : Strong Heroines

Growing up in a religious Middle Eastern family where women’s options are limited to traditional roles: a mother, housewife, teacher or seamstress, I was always fascinated by stories of women from different times, countries and cultures, that did something different, even if they lived the ordinary life.  I believe these kinds of stories inspired me to want more in life.

In this post I share books with heroines that fascinated me. I will update the list as I discover more good books to share. 
For readers convenience:
1. Each book title is linked to its Amazon page. 
2. For my local readers, if the book is in WA King County Library, I've added links to it.

Please share with me more books with fascinating heroines.   
East Wind: West Wind by Pearl Buck (1892-1973)

Published in 1929, this is the first book by the winner of the 1938 Noble Prize in Literature. It portrays the social changes in China, as its people are exposed to western influences. A young Chinese woman tells her personal story during these changes. I love Buck’s language; it’s very gentle, yet very powerful.

Catherine the Great by Henri Troyat (1911-2007) 

Russian born French Historian and Novelist tells the story of the famous Russian Empress Catherin II. In this novel the reader gets a glimpse into the personal aspect of this greater than life woman.

 Hanna’s Daughter by Marianne Fredriksson (1927-2007)

One of Sweden’s internationally known writers. In this novel she describes the historical changes in her home country through the life of three women; a mother, a daughter, and a grand daughter.

 Seal Woman by  Solveig Eggerz

Icelandic born author brings the story of a German woman who starts a new life in Iceland after World War II. Starting a new family she has to deal with the memories of her German husband and daughter.

This is another WWII story. A young Jewish woman in Poland takes a new identity and becomes the secretary of a Nazi officer. An affair develops between them while she is helping the resistance. The story is so captivating; I got several copies to give to friends.

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

This is a fascinating story of an alleged female pope in the 13th century. A smart young girl takes the identity of her dead brother and joins the monastery in his place. Perceived to be a man she becomes the pope. A Christian version of Yentl

The Time In Between by Maria Duenas

The story of a Spanish seamstress who immigrates to Tangier, during the civil war, where she is drafted by the English secret service to go back to Spain and spy on Nazi officers.  I learned a lot  about the history of Spain during Franco’s time.

 A Vintage Affair by  Isabel Wolff

I’m reading this book now, and I love every minute of it.  Phoebe opens a Vintage store in London. The old clothes bring new people and stories into her life.  Fun read, for fashion lovers, with touches of  British humor.