Since it’s International Women’s Day, here are some recommended books written by women!
First, lemme natter on a bit about a couple of the authors.
Patricia C. Wrede writes primarily young adult fantasy, however, don’t let the modifier “young adult” put you off. That simply means it’s fantasy without any boinking. She has an amazing series set in a magical United States, where the founding fathers created a barrier along our Mississippi to keep out the dangerous magical creatures. Eff is the thirteen child in her family, and her twin brother is a seventh son of a seventh son. The first book is Eff’s young childhood, but the other two books are her teenage and adulthood. It’s an absolutely lovey series with amazing world building.
Megan Whalen Turner also writes YA fantasy where the YA means to me there just isn’t any boinking. The first and fourth books are my favorite–the first being almost perfect. A young thief is pulled from prison to see if he can help with the recovery of a magical item. Even after multiple readings, the surprises in this book and series take my breath away.
Kate Ross was a lawyer who wrote four books in her Julian Kestrel historical mystery before she lost her life to cancer. Julian is a dandy who gets inadvertently involved in murders. But it is so much more than that. Grandmom also loved this series.
C.S. Harris writes another historical mystery series that I adore. Sebastian St Cry has returned from the Napoleanic wars with what would today be considered PTSD. Two unfortunate accidents made him the heir, but it’s only when he is accused of murder that he awakens to some degree fro his dissolution. This series has had some incredible twists and turns.
I’ve got only one female author who writes a modern police mystery that I adore, and that’s Donna Leon. Her series is set in Venice, and I love these glimpses of a place that is disappearing.
I categorize books as historical fantasy if they are set in a past and/or place that didn’t exist, or feels much like our own past would (if our past had magic). Ellen Kushner‘s Swordspoint has only the magic of her writing, and is one of my all-time favorite books.
I read a lot of urban and supernatural fantasy and there are some very good series out there (many of which I’ve noted below) but I’m going to point out the women who are doing something different from the vampire/werewolves bits that make up much of supernatural fantasy.
First is Jane Lindskold. Her characters are not warriors who fight monsters, but instead have to figure out who they are and how they came to be where they are. I adore her writing.
The other urban fantasist author I want to make note of is Nina Kiriki Hoffman. Her Fistful of Sky is another of my all-time favorite books. It has magic hiding under the surface of our world, which means that humans with magic have to learn how to fit into that world without giving away secrets. Her stories are often based around family, which adds to their complexity.
For straight up historicals, I really love Diana Gabaldon‘s Lord John series. I can’t read her Outlander, because I can’t stand time-travel stories, but Lord John is a soldiers whose only anomaly is being a homosexual in a time and place where it would mean his death if he were caught. She’s tried very hard to get the historical bits as accurate as possible, which makes the series all the more fascinating to me.
Tracy Grant also writes as Teresa Grant, and has two main series, one of which is primarily romance with bits of mystery, and the other is mostly historical mystery, with a married couple who are keeping secrets from each other. Many of the latter stories were written out of the story chronology order, so you can in many cases read them books in any order you wish.
But all of these authors are very good, and you can almost certainly find something you’ll like in the list below:
Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Sorcery & Cecelia -OR- The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (1988), The Grand Tour (2004), The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After (2006)
Patricia C. Wrede
A Matter of Magic (2010): Mairelon the Magician (1991) and The Magician’s Ward (1997)
Frontier Magic: Thirteenth Child (2009), Across the Great Barrier (2011), The Far West (2012)
Megan Whalen Turner
The Thief (1996), The Queen of Attolia (2000), The King of Attolia (2006), A Conspiracy of Kings (2010)
Urban / Supernatural
Talent Chronicles: Hush Money (2010), Impulse Control (2011), Heroes ‘Til Curfew (2011)
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (2010), Necromancer: A Novella (2011), Necromancing the Stone (2012)
Miss Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage (1930), The Body in the Library (1942), The Moving Finger (1943), The Thirteen Problems (1928, 1929, 1930, 1933), A Murder Is Announced (1950), Murder with Mirrors (1952), A Pocketful of Rye (1953), 4:50 from Paddington (1957), The Mirror Crack’d (1962), A Caribbean Mystery (1964), At Bertram’s Hotel (1965), Nemesis (1971), Sleeping Murder (1976), Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories (2013)
Kate Ross (British 1820s)
Julian Kestrel: Cut to the Quick (1993), A Broken Vessel (1994), Whom the Gods Love (1995), The Devil in Music (1997)
C.S. Harris (England 1810s)
Sebastian St. Cyr: What Angels Fear (2005), When Gods Die (2006), Why Mermaids Sing (2007), Where Serpents Sleep (2008), What Remains of Heaven (2009), Where Shadows Dance (2011), When Maidens Mourn (2012), What Darkness Brings (2013), Why Kings Confess (2014), Who Buries the Dead (2015), When Falcons Fall (2016)
Deanna Raybourn (England 1887)
Veronica Speedwell: A Curious Beginning (2015), A Perilous Undertaking (2017)
Candace Robb (England 1360s)
Owen Archer Mysteries: The Apothecary Rose (1993), The Lady Chapel (1994), The Nun’s Tale (1995), The King’s Bishop (1996), The Riddle of St. Leonard’s (1997), A Gift of Sanctuary (1998), A Spy for the Redeemer (2002), The Cross-Legged Knight (2006), The Guilt of Innocents (2006), A Vigil of Spies (2008)
Anna Lee Huber (Britain 1830s)
Lady Darby: The Anatomist’s Wife (2012), Mortal Arts (2013), A Grave Matter (2014), A Study in Death (2015), A Pressing Engagement (2016), As Death Draws Near (2016)
Madeline E. Robins (London 1810)
Sarah Tolerance: Point of Honour (2003), Petty Treason (2004), The Sleeping Partner (2012)
Donna Leon (Venice)
Commissario Guido Brunetti: Death at La Fenice (1992), Death in a Strange Country (1993), Dressed for Death (1994), Death and Judgment (1995), Acqua Alta (1996), Quietly in Their Sleep (1997), A Noble Radiance (1998), Fatal Remedies (1999), Friends in High Places (2000), A Sea of Troubles (2001), Willful Behavior (2002), Uniform Justice (2003), Doctored Evidence (2004), Blood from a Stone (2005), Through a Glass, Darkly (2006), Suffer the Little Children (2007), The Girl of His Dreams (2008), About Face (2009), A Question of Belief (2010), Drawing Conclusions (2011), Beastly Things (2012), The Golden Egg (2013), By its Cover (2014), Falling in Love (2015), The Waters of Eternal Youth (2016)
Swordspoint (1987), The Fall of the Kings (2002), The Privilege of the Sword (2006)
Thomas the Rhymer (1990)
Susanna Clarke (Napoleanic era, magic, fey)
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
Sarah Zettel (Camelot)
Paths to Camelot: In Camelot’s Shadow (2004), For Camelot’s Honor (2005), Under Camelot’s Banner (2006), By Camelot’s Blood (2008)
C.E. Murphy (Regency England, magic)
Magic and Manners (2016)
Faith Hunter (Vampires, werewolves, witches, shifters)
Jane Yellowrock: Skinwalker (2009), Blood Cross (2010), Mercy Blade (2011), Cat Tales: Four Stories from the World of Jane Yellowrock (2011), Raven Cursed (2012), Have Stakes Will Travel (2012), Death’s Rival (2012), Blood Trade (2013), Jane Yellowrock World Companion (2013), Black Arts (2014), Broken Soul (2014), Dark Heir (2015), Blood in Her Veins (2016), Shadow Rites (2016)
Soulwood: Blood of the Earth (2016), Curse on the Land (2016)
Jeaniene Frost (vampires)
Night Huntress: Halfway to the Grave (2007), One Foot in the Grave (2008), At Grave’s End (2009), Destined for an Early Grave (2009), This Side of the Grave (2011), One Grave at a Time (2011)
Night Huntress World: First Drop of Crimson (2010), Eternal Kiss of Darkness (2010)
Night Prince: Once Burned (2012), Twice Tempted (2013), Bound by Flames (2015)
Patricia Briggs (werewolves, shifters, fey, witches, vampires)
Mercy Thompson: Moon Called (2006), Blood Bound (2007), Iron Kissed (2008), Bone Crossed (2009), Silver Bourne (2010), River Marked (2011), Frost Burned (2013), Night Broken (2014), Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson (2014), Fire Touched (2016)
Alpha and Omega: On the Prowl (2007), Cry Wolf (2008), Hunting Ground (2009), Fair Game (2012), Dead Heat (2015)
Jane Lindskold (magic)
Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls (1994), The Buried Pyramid (2004), Child of a Rainless Year (2005)
Carrie Vaughn (werewolves, vampires)
Kitty Norville: Kitty and the Midnight Hour (2005), Kitty Goes to Washington (2006), Kitty Takes a Holiday (2007), Kitty and the Silver Bullet (2007), Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand (2009), Kitty Raises Hell (2009), Kitty’s House of Horrors (2010), Kitty Goes to War (2010), Kitty’s Big Trouble (2011), Kitty’s Greatest Hits (2011), Kitty Steals the Show (2012), Kitty Rocks the House (2013), Kitty in the Underworld (2013), Low Midnight (2014)
Lisa Shearin (fey, magic, magical creatures, law enforcement)
SPI Files: The Grendel Affair (2013), The Dragon Conspiracy (2015), The Brimstone Deception (2016), The Ghoul Vendetta (2017)
Rob Thurman (monsters, fey, immortals)
Cal Leandros: Nightlife (2006), Moonshine (2007), Madhouse (2008), Deathwish (2009), Road Kill (2010), Blackout (2011), Doubletake (2012), Slashback (2013), Downfall (2014)
Trixa: Trick of the Light (2009), The Grimrose Path (2010)
Korsak Brothers (science fiction): Chimera (2010), Basilisk (2011)
Liz Williams (gods, demons, law enforcement)
Detective Inspector Chen: Snake Agent (2005), The Demon and the City (2006), Precious Dragon (2007), The Shadow Pavilion (2009), The Iron Khan (2010)
War for the Oaks (1987), Territory (2007)
Nina Kiriki Hoffman (magic)
A Fistful of Sky (2002)
Courtney Milan (boinking)
(1840s) Unclaimed (2011), Unraveled (2011)
The Brothers Sinister (1860s): The Duchess War (2012), The Heiress Effect (2013), A Kiss for Midwinter (2012), The Suffragette Scandal (2014)
Carla Kelly (England, early 1800s, boink-free)
Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career (2012), Summer Campaign (2012), Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand (2012)
Zorro (2005) translated by Margaret Sayers Peden
Lucia St. Clair Robson (Japan 1702)
The Tokaido Road (1991)
Georgette Heyer (boink-free)
These Old Shades (1926), The Masqueraders (1928)
Laura Kinsale (boinking)
Midsummer Moon (1987)
Diana Gabaldon (England, late 1750s, boinking)
Lord John: Lord John and the Private Matter (2003), Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (2007), Lord John and the Hand of Devils (2007), The Custom of the Army (2012), A Plague of Zombies (2012)
Michelle Diener (boinking, mystery)
Regency London: The Emperor’s Conspiracy (2012), Banquet of Lies (2013), A Dangerous Madness (2014)
Susanna Horenbout and John Parker (England 1525): In a Treacherous Court (2011), Dangerous Sanctuary (2012), Keeper of the King’s Secrets (2012)
Alissa Johnson (England, 1872, boinking, mystery)
A Talent for Trickery (2015), A Gift for Guile (2016)
Tracy Grant (mystery, boinking)
The Lescaut Quartet (Europe 1810s): Dark Angel (1994), Shores of Desire (1997), Shadows of the Heart (1996), Rightfully His (1998)
Charles & Melanie Fraser / Malcom & Suzanne Rannoch (Napoleonic Europe): Beneath a Silent Moon (2003), The Mask of Night (2011), The Paris Affair (2013), The Paris Plot (2014), The Berkeley Square Affair (2014), London Interlude (2015), The Mayfair Affair (2015), Incident in Berkeley Square (2015), London Gambit (2016)
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003), Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (2005), Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (2013), My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places (2013)
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) (2012)
Tender at the Bone (1998)