Marketing consultant Blakemore finds that in moments of struggle and stress she revisits her favorite childhood women authors and their plucky heroines for respite, escape, and perspective. Jane Austen, who broke off an engagement and threw away her last chance at a respectable marriage, poked fun at polite society and its expectations of women in her novels, and she created a self-assured, self-respecting protagonist in Pride and Prejudice's Lizzy Bennet--who also doesn't need a man to complete her even if Lizzy does get a rich, handsome husband in the end. As Blakemore pushes against the boundaries of her own life, she also identifies with selfish Scarlett O'Hara, who, lacking in self-awareness and oblivious to the emotions of others, shoulders life's burdens and moves ahead, "her decisions swift, self-serving, and without compromise." The Little House on the Prairie series reminds Blakemore that when we focus on people and life instead of on material possessions, we learn to acknowledge what really counts. She finds inspiration, too, in Little Women, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Color Purple, and Anne of Green Gables, and offers some nuggets of wisdom, but for the most part, her observations are familiar and pat. (Nov.)
[A] delightful guide to what the heroines of some of the great novels by women writers, and those writers themselves can teach us about life.
If you’re stumped for your next pleasure book and want to submerse yourself in a literary past sprinkled with powerful, independent women like Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott, Blakemore’s book provides the perfect portal.
Blakemore finds comfort and inspiration in revisiting the tales of literature’s leading ladies and exploring the lives of the women who spun them. [She] makes a charming case for rereading.
In this literary love letter to the heroines and authors of 12 works of classic children's and adult literature, freelance writer Blakemore makes the case that women today can find much inspiration in these characters, e.g., Mary of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden and Janie of Zora Neal Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Among the characteristics she highlights are faith, dignity, compassion, and ambition—not just in the characters she surveys but in the legendary writers who created them, whose personal lives she also examines. Tavia Gilbert's (www.taviagilbert.com) narration is generally good, though she falters occasionally with some accents and dialects. An enjoyable bonus to each chapter are suggestions of additional fictional heroines to discover. For women's studies collections and for lovers of literature.—J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA