Friday, March 9, 2018

Women's History Month Recommendations: Books Featuring Powerful Women from History

March is Women's History Month, so let's celebrate with a list of books that feature some incredibly powerful women from history, both near and far. I've combined nonfiction biographies and personal accounts along with some fictionalized versions in this list, so hopefully there is something for everyone. When I first made this list, I had at least twenty books, but I weeded it down to ten (which was really hard!) in order to make it a bit more manageable. 

The Favored Daughter: One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the FutureThe Favored Daughter by Fawzia Koofi
I read this book so many years ago, but I still think about Fawzi Koofi and her inspiring story of strength and determination. For those unfamiliar with her, Koofi is a politician and women's rights activist in Afghanistan who is doing some incredibly important things, and I believe that she is still Vice President of the National Assembly in Afghanistan. This book was amazing!
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed HistoryWonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs (Review)
This book is geared more towards younger readers, but I think that any age could learn a lot from its content, which features an incredible list of some pretty amazing women from history. This includes Alice Ball, a chemist who created a treatment for leprosy,  Sarah Emma Edmonds, a Canadian soldier and spy, and many more trailblazing women.
Buy the book: Amazon (on sale!) | Book Depository

AbundanceAbundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund (Review)
The most common thing that people seem to know about Marie Antoinette is that she was beheaded, but there's honestly so much more to her than just that. This book tells one imagining of Antoinette's life as she was thrust into a variety of roles throughout her life, and Naslund writes in an incredibly beautiful and almost lyrical quality that makes this book a wonderful experience to read.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

The Creation of EveThe Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen (Review)
This book tells the story of Sofonisba Anguissola, who is believed to be the first acclaimed female artists during the Renaissance. I knew absolutely nothing about this woman--or that she even existed--before reading this book, and I really enjoyed it. This really made me want to learn more about Anguissola!
Buy the book: Amazon (on sale - $6 paperback!) | Book Depository

AliciaAlicia: My Story by Alicia Appleman-Jurman
I read this book for the first time back in seventh grade for a book report, and I remember thinking, "Why does no one ever talk about her? We talk about Anne Frank all the time, but why is no one talking about Alicia Appleman-Jurman?" Seventh grade me was so shocked and inspired by Alicia Appleman-Jurman story of survival during the Holocaust and World War II that I just wanted everyone to read this book. And I still do!
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille BallBall of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball by Stefan Kanfer
As anyone who knows me is already aware, I am undeniably and completely in love with I Love Lucy and Lucille Ball (and everything else that she's done!). I don't know if I would say this is the best book about her out there, but I do recommend any book about her because she is simply a phenomenal woman who made so many steps forward for women in the entertainment industry.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

The Queen of Subtleties: A Novel of Anne BoleynThe Queen of Subtleties by Suzannah Dunn
It would be impossible to say that Anne Boleyn was not a powerful woman--this woman knew what she wanted, and she accomplished it. There are endless books about Anne Boleyn out there, but I found this one to be a rather interesting portrayal that made for a great read. If you love Anne Boleyn stories, I also recommend Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

The Other EinsteinThe Other Einstein by Marie Benedict (Review)
Everyone knows Albert Einstein, but most people don't know his wife, Mileva Maric. Mileva is unfortunately often overlooked, but she also made many incredible discoveries and was a very intelligent woman. This book tells her side of the story and how she handled her passion for learning, being the only woman in a male class, and many more events throughout her life.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Helen of TroyHelen of Troy by Margaret George (Review)
I had to include some women from Greek myth, so I figured that the owner of "the face that launched a thousand ships" would be a good choice. Margaret George has a really lovely prose style, and her reimagining of Helen's part in the Trojan War was incredibly interesting. Helen of Troy is an unassumingly powerful woman, so I couldn't pass up sharing her story.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

CirceCirce by Madeline Miller (Review to come!)
I also couldn't complete this list without rounding it off with a powerful woman from Greek mythology, now could I? Circe is an incredibly powerful woman that is portrayed so well in this book. It's not out until April, but I recommend putting it on your radar and picking it up. This ended up on my favorites, and I felt so connected and inspired by Circe in this book.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Have you read of these or know anything about these women? Let me know what books you would add!

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to turn off adblock to see it!)


  1. I love the variety of women you chose! Anne Boleyn is one of my favorite historical figures, so I will have to check out The Queen of Subtleties, and I would love to learn more about Marie Antoinette.

  2. This is great! I love all of these. Fun fact, my birthday and national women's day were the same day!

  3. Circe is one I'm definitely interested in, and Lucille Ball is amazing! I would love to read that one!

  4. This is a great list! Along the lines of Wonder Women, I really want to read Bygone Badass Broads. I love Mackenzi's feature on Twitter when she was doing that, so I'm really excited to read the book! I also really want to read Circe!