Wicked Wednesday: Strong Fictional Women

For our Strong Women month of Wednesdays, so far we’ve discussed real women. Let’s turn to made-up ones!

Wickeds: Let’s chat about one favorite fictional strong woman, from your writing or someone else’s. How is she strong, and how does she express it?

Julie: Since there’s a new Veronica Speedwell book (8!) out this month, let me sing her praises. Veronica is her own woman, making her way in 1880’s England. She’s a lepidopterist, fiercely independent with a mysterious background she uncovers as the books progress. I love this series, and how Veronica takes the life she’s expected to live as a woman, and upends it to make it work for her. I’ll be forever grateful to Sandra Wong for introducing me to this series.

Jessie: I’m going to go with a classic. For me, Jane Austen’s Eliza Bennet is a long-time favorite. The stakes she, and her entire family faces if she does not marry well are harrowing and yet she continues to follow her own instincts despite incredible pressure from society and her own family to ignore them.

Sherry: Julie and Barb Goffman both encouraged me to read the Veronica Speedwell books so I finally read the first one and loved her. Jessie, you picked another favorite of mine! I recently read Hide by Tracy Clark and loved Detective Harriet Foster. She’s strong and damaged, compelling and complex — everything I want to read in a female protagonist.

Edith/Maddie: I cast my vote for Maisie Dobbs in the long-running historical series by Jaqueline Winspear. Maisie, who survived trauma, has a quiet but fierce determination to see justice served. She runs her own investigative business, she serves her country, and she finds and honors love in unusual places.

Liz: I have to go with Elizabeth Best from the Thursday Murder Club books. She is HILARIOUS – an ex-spy who lives in a retirement community who created the Thursday Murder Club with three friends. She is super smart, resourceful and excellent at managing those around her to get what she wants or needs.

Barb: Liz, I love Elizabeth Best. I’m going to go with Karen Pirie, the wonderful protagonist in six books by Scottish author Val McDermid. I gobbled them up, one after another, when we were in Scotland last year. Coincidentally that was just in time for the first season of the TV show Karen Pirie, in the US on Prime, also absolutely excellent. Karen begins her life as a detective awkward and underestimated, but certain of what’s right and wrong. She grows throughout the series into a strong, confident woman, boss, and investigator.

Readers: Who is your favorite strong fictional woman?

21 Thoughts

  1. I have to go with one of my favorites – Mrs. Pollifax. When she’s bored with her life as a widow and grandmother, she joins the CIA. And she resourcefully gets out of some pretty tight spots.

  2. I have so many and yes, it would be Eve Dallas from the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb.

    1. Dru, I was going to add Eve Dallas to the list, but you beat me to it! I always listen to the audible version because I love the narrator. Same with the Maisie Dobbs books, love the narrator on the audible version.

  3. So many! I’m going with a secondary character. Barbara Havers in the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. She has had to fight for everything she has accomplished and watching her grow into her own person without compromising her core values has been a delight.

  4. Vera Stanhope is another good strong female detective. Played beautifully by Brenda Blethyn in Vera – availability on BritBox ( highly recommend for anyone who loves British mystery shows!)

      1. Just began “The White Lady”. Jacqueline Winspear may have a second strong woman headed our way.

  5. I’ll go with a classic – Miss Jane Marple. Anybody who took her for nothing more than a fluffy old woman did so at their peril.

  6. Mary Russell in Laurie King’s Russell/Holmes series is a favorite. Also Kate Shugak, the primary character in a series by Dana Stabenow.

  7. I agree with all of the above, and would like to add Bernadette Manuelito from the Tony and Anne Hillerman Navajo books, and Irene Adler who outbested Sherlock Holmes. Oh, and so many more!

  8. Another vote for Maisie Dobby. I would also add Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan and Wdith Maxwell’s Rose Carroll.

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