Favourite female protagonists
We thought we’d celebrate all the other wonderful women in our lives – fictional or not. Read on for some of our favourite female protagonists of recent releases, all set to inspire, amuse and move you.
The Madonna of the Mountains by Elise Valmorbida
Between the world wars in the stunning yet harsh mountains of Northern Italy, Maria Vittoria struggles against all odds to keep her family safe. Lovers of Elena Ferrante will be drawn to this heartbreaking tale of women surviving in a harsh world weighted against them, with beautifully wrought, poetic prose.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Shy college student Greer meets the woman who will change her life – Freya, dazzingly persuasive and elegant, and pillar of the women’s movement for decades. Hearing Freya speak for the first time, Greer finds herself changed. Meg Wolitzer’s witty and wise novel is about the spark inside us all, just waiting to be fanned by the right person at the right time.
Devil’s Ballast by Meg Caddy
While technically Young Adult, West Australian-based author Meg Caddy’s new historical fiction swashbuckler will appeal to teens and adults alike. Based on the story of a real pirate, Caddy’s cutthroat pirate queen Anne Bonny is ruthless, fearless and one of history’s most fascinating anti-heroines.
The Place on Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta
Looking for Alibrandi author Melina Marchetta moves into contemporary adult fiction with this nuanced and compassionate portrayal of very human emotion. Rosie returns to lay claim to her family home, only to find her grieving, widowed stepmother securely ensconced and very reluctant to give it up. We loved this for its empathetic depictions of women of many ages and the tensions and subtleties of their relationships to one another.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Candice Carty-Williams' darkly comic and subversive satire on modern life, dating and family is certainly generating a lot of buzz. It’s a witty and moving portrayal of a strong woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown – but refusing to give up. Queenie will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way.
The Glad Shout by Alice Robinson
After a catastrophic storm destroys Melbourne, Isobel flees to higher ground with her daughter and husband. As supplies run low, she goes to drastic lengths to protect her family. Starkly visual and compelling, this is a deeply moving homage to motherhood and the struggles faced by women in difficult times.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
They sold out arenas from coast to coast, and every girl idolised Daisy. But then, without warning, on the night of their final concert of the Aurora tour, they split. Daisy Jones and the Six follows the remarkable story of a fascinating fictional pop culture icon of the 1970s musical landscape.
The Shining Wall by Melissa Ferguson
In a ruined world, wealthy humans push health and longevity to extremes and secrete themselves behind a shining wall. Outside, in the shanty towns, every day is a fight for survival. When orphaned Alida and her younger sister Gracie are forced to enter the shining walled city, they risk being separated permanently. A frightening and yet illuminating sci-fi parable about privilege and the haves and have-nots.