Women in History

Posted: January 9, 2023

The following compiled list of historical fiction represents thirty-one titles to read, discover, learn, and celebrate women who’ve made history, individually or collectively. Their achievements languish in the shadows, awaiting authors to write their stories and readers to embrace them.


Developing the list was no easy task and I know there are many more books out there worthy of inclusion. I had read many of the books and several more avid readers recommended to me, which I then read. For my final selections, I used the following criteria:

  • Historical fiction genre – no biographies or memoirs
  • Women authors only
  • Diversity in authors – cultural, as well as type of publishing and name recognition
  • Diversity in the subject – cultural, setting, field of recognition
  • Goodreads ratings

Help me further build my list for 2024. Add your recommendations to my survey. How about a list of 365 Women in History?


Why historical fiction? Trust authors have conducted exhaustive research to write based on facts, yet fictionalized versions of women’s stories, imagining their emotional responses as they strode forward with dreams in their minds and hopes in their hearts.

Which ones have you read? Share using #31titleswomeninhistory

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  1. Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig – Smith College graduates (France, WWI)
  2. The Black Rose by Tananarive Due – First Black female self-made millionaire in America, Madam CH Walker
  3. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson – Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians
  4. By Her Own Design by Piper Huguley – Fashion designer, Ann Low
  5. Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland – Artist and designer of nearly all of Tiffany’s lamps, Clara Driscoll
  6. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird – Former slave who served with the Buffalo Soldiers by disguising herself as a man, Cathy Williams
  7. The Engineer’s Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood – Architect & Engineer, Emily Roebling
  8. Fast Girls by Elise Hooper – U.S. Women’s 1936 Olympic track team
  9. Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd – Plantation Owner/Grower, Eliza Lucas
  10. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir – Lady Jane Grey
  11. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – Abolitionists, Sarah and Angelinka Grimke
  12. Island Queen by Vanessa Riley – Landowner and Entrepreneur, Dorothy Kirwan Thomas
  13. Island of Sea Women by Lisa See – Women Divers of Jeju Island
  14. The Last Empress by Anchee Min – Tzu Hsi, Lady Yehonala
  15. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – Philanthropist, Caroline Ferriday
  16. Love and Ruin by Paula McLain – Journalist, Martha Gellhorn
  17. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan – Mamah Borthwick Cheney
  18. Luminous: The Story of a Radium Girl by Samantha Wilcoxson – Factory worker, Catherine Donohoe
  19. Madame Presidentess by Nicole Evelina – Presidential candidate, Victoria Woodhull
  20. The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki – Heiress and philanthropist, Marjorie Post
  21. The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B by Sandra Gulland – Empress, Josephine Bonaparte
  22. Monticello by Sally Cabot Gunning – First Daughter, Martha Jefferson
  23. My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie – Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
  24. The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray – Librarian Belle da Costa Greene
  25. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier – Paleontologist, Mary Anning
  26. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn – Code breakers of Bletchley Park (England WWII)
  27. The Unlocked Path by Janis Robinson Daly – Graduates of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania
  28. A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler – Socialite, Suffragist Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont
  29. When We Had Wings by Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris & Susan Meissner – Angels of Bataan, WWII nurses
  30. The Woman with the Cure by Lynn Cullen – Scientist and infectious disease researcher, Dr. Dorothy Hortsmann
  31. The Women’s March: A Novel of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession by Jennifer Chiaverini – Suffragists Alice Paul, Maud Malone, Ida B. Wells

More Recommended Reading…

Telling Her Story: 40 Books for Adult Readers About Women Heroes of WWII – from A Mighty Girl blog site


All In by Billie Jean King

Ain’t I a Woman by Bell Hooks

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright

West with the Night by Beryl Markham


The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and the Harrimans by Catherine Grace Katz

Doctors Blackwell by Janice P.  Nimura – Medical History, Elizabeth & Emily Blackwell

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly – Science/Space History, NASA’s Female Mathematicians

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – Medical History, Henrietta Lacks (HeLa)

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore – Workplace Safety Advocates, Radium Dial Workers


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