Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday Scrolls - Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck, Classic & Historical Fiction Edition

Time to continue the ongoing Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck Saga! We've already covered fantasy and urban fantasy, and today we'll be taking a look at both classic and historical fiction. I combined the two genres because there just weren't enough to warrant a list for each. Even combined, there's only 8, not even a full 10. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, and there aren't really a lot of heroines in classic novels. What's really amazing though, is that they're all almsot equal in their awesomeness. Here's a list of the 8 I've encounted in my travels:

#8. Wilhelmina "Mina" Harker from Dracula by Bram Stoker. Classic Horror. Listen, y'all (and I don't use that term lightly), Dracula is not boring, it is not tedious, and it is not filled with obscene pages of violence and dirt. It's a work of genius. and Mina Harker is actually very cool. She's certainly not the best character in the book, but that hardly makes her boring. She's comfortable in her situation as a woman, doesn't run off to kill the vampires behind Van Helsing's back, and yet is still brave. She is dignified. And the book itself? ^^ Work of genius.

#7. Kit Tyler from The Witch Of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. Classic Fiction. "Despite winning the Newberry Award..." Yeah, I did just quote myself. But let's face it, Newberry Award winners are usually dull and boring, but "Blackbird Pond" is an exception to the rule. Kit is pretty awesome, seen as a foreign witch by her new neighbors and relatives. But she ends up making a school (by accident) for the young children, teaching them to read and write. Go Kit! And the book itself? Excellent.

#6. Rosalind Hawkins from The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey. Historical Fiction/Fantasy. As I've said before, best Beauty and the Beast retelling. Ever. Rosalind, like Mina, is perfectly content being a woman and wearing corsets and skirts, and doesn't even think about it. Instead, she just curls up in her chair, forgetting all about her skirts, to read her books in comfort. She's and educated woman, irritated that men don't always accept her knowledge, but she doesn't jump up on a soapbox and start shouting at everyone. Plus, she's just kind of cute. And the book itself? ^^Best B&B retelling. Ever.

#5. Emily Trefusis from Murder At Hazelmoor (AKA The Sittaford Mystery) by Agatha Christie. Classic Mystery. Christie doesn't always do it for me, but Emily is very cool. If you want something done, do it yourself. That's what she decides when her fiancé (a silly little man, but for some reason she can't figure out, she loves him anyway) is charged with murder. So she heads down to solve the mystery herself, weedling her way into the heart of the little village. She's a brilliantly created heroine. And the book itself? Ending a bit disappointing, but overall quite good.

#4. Cat Royal from the Cat Royal series by Julia Golding. Historical Fiction. Cat's actually a very average young adult historical heroine: spunky, adventurous, and witty. She's good at getting into tight situations, and she's good at getting out of them. Perhaps it's Golding's writing that distinguishes Cat from all the others. And the book itself (The Diamond of Drury Lane)? So good.
#3. Marguerite St. Just from The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. Classic Adventure/Superhero. *squees* Best book EVER. While Marguerite isn't the best part of it, she plays her part(s) superbly. You want a double agent? Check her out. And the book itself? OMGZ SO AWESOME.

#2. Mary "Jacky" Faber from the Bloody Jack/Jacky Faber series by L.A. Meyer. Historical Adventure. Girl dresses as boy to get into some sort of all-boy situation. Cliché. But when it's actually done well, it's amazing. Jacky doesn't start dressing as a boy because she particularly wants to, it just kind of happens and she's got nowhere else to go but the sea, and they don't take girls anyway. Jacky is full of adventure and absolute hilarity. And the book itself (Bloody Jack)? Go read ALL THE BOOKS IN THE SERIES!

#1. Mara from Mara, Daughter Of The Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Classic/Historical Espionage. Okay, remember how I said Marguerite St. Just is the best example of a double agent? Mara would actually give her a serious run for her money. I would love to see these two in battle. Mara is roped into double agent-dom, but she does it so well and she's so amazing. And the book itself? Dude, READ IT ALREADY.

And there you have it. This weekend I'll be doing a review, and the following Wednesday we'll have the last installment of the Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck Saga! Unless we have an ultimate showdown, of course...


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