Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
This is a really tough one – there are so many great heroines to choose from, it’s going to be really hard to narrow this one down, but I’ll see what I can do.
Top Ten Favorite Heroines
Whispers in the Dark by Laurel Hightower
Rose juggles motherhood with her work as a Memphis S.W.A.T sniper, while also dealing with the trauma of a house fire that killed her father and brother and scarred her for life. On top of all that, she sees ghosts (Whispers). This was Hightower’s debut, and it’s a brilliant book by an excellent author. Since then she really has gone from strength to strength, but when I think of favourite heroines, I think of Rose, a woman who pushed against everything set against her and came out the other side.
The Festering Ones by S.H. Cooper
Faith doesn’t have the same sort of training as Rose, but the pair can definitely match each other in bravery. As a young girl, Faith sees her father dragged into the ground by a sider-armed woman. Twenty years later she returns home after her estranged mother’s death, and Faith is set on a path for answers. I adore Faith – S.H. Cooper is a writer who crafts these wonderfully strong women who can also ask for help when they need it. The Festering Ones is hell of a ride, and I’m so glad it’s being picked up by Cemetery Gates, to be published in a two novella volume with the sequel. I can’t wait to read more of what happens to Faith.
Becoming Crone by Lydia M. Hawke
I loved Claire, and I loved reading an older protagonist. Claire is a divorced, menopausal grandmother who becomes deeply involved in something beyond her understanding when she turns 60. She’s brave, though held back a little but uncertainty and a desire to return to what’s comfortable. She makes for a wonderfully different protagonist, one really stands out right from the first page.
A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
A sweeping historical romance with a trans woman heroine, who leaves everything behind to live as herself. Viola is an incredibly engaging woman, who like the others on this list has some trauma in her past, but works past it and helps her old friend do the same. She’s written so, so well, it’s hard not to connect with her.
Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater
Genre: Fantasy x Regency Romance
I absolutely loved Theodora. After being cursed by a faerie, she has no sense of fear or embarrassment, which can be a little risky in Regency England. Dora doesn’t really care about these things, however she cares about how they might impact her cousin. She comes into contact with the Lord Sorcier, and throughout the novel she remains interdependent, determined, and sure in her choices. I loved reading this, and absolutely loved Dora.
How to Survive Camping by Bonnie Quinn
Kate tackles various lifeforms across her camp, and she’s determined to find someway to keep her campers safe. She devises a list of rules, and not following these rules leads to some serious consequences. But she does what she can, battling against folkloric figures as well as the townsfolk who want her gone. Kate works so well as the heroine of this series, with a really solid voice and tone.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
I really couldn’t help but love Jack, a vampire who makes up part of the Oxford Seeker’s, and gets drawn into a web of conspiracy. She’s really fun, a little impulsive, and relatable in many ways. I will be reading the next book at some point, as I want to spend more time with this character.
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Marra starts this book as a shy, convent-raised third-born daughter, but when she realises her sister is in danger, she seeks out the help of a witch and is told to complete three impossible tasks. This is how the book starts, and Marra’s journey spreads out from there. Like the other heroines on this list, she is determined and resourceful, even when she doesn’t fully understand what’s happening around her.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
I think I would die for Zetian. Honestly, she’s an amazingly strong character, completely and utterly out for revenge, and her conviction only grows the more she learns about the world she’s in. She keeps going, despite everything thrown her way in an attempt to make her stop.
The Blood of Stars by Elizabeth Lim
Every book Lim writes is great, and she creates these wonderful characters who really stand out. Maia is no exception, as she disguises herself as a boy to take her father’s place and become the greatest tailor in the land. She draws the attention of the court magician, before setting out on, yep, more impossible tasks. I adore heroines who face challenges like this and have to learn to overcome them.
Spin the Dawn Review / Unravel the Dusk Review
So there we are, ten great heroines who I loved reading about and have stuck in my head ever since I put the book down. Let me know who your favourite heroine is.