The best books on girls who don’t need to be saved

Kirsten Fullmer Author Of Love on the Line
By Kirsten Fullmer

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated with stories about women who step outside the norm and accomplish their goals. Books that tell of girls who are shy or insecure, but find inner strength in the face of adversity, inspire me. My mother wasn’t afraid to guide me toward these stories when I was young, and I gave books with this theme to my daughters as well. It doesn’t matter where you start from, it only matters where you think you can go, and I love books that share this idea; especially stories of women who do amazing and unexpected things.  

I wrote...

Love on the Line

By Kirsten Fullmer,

Book cover of Love on the Line

What is my book about?

Andrea leaves the stress and tedium of grad school behind and sets off with her estranged grandpa, Buck, to build a pipeline through the mountains of West Virginia. She hopes to prove herself to Buck and the all-male crew, as well as learn what drove Buck away from the family. 

Most of the guys on the crew aren’t willing to accept Andrea, and Rooster, the handsome and cocky, tie-in foreman, thinks she’s nothing but a distraction. Yet, he is impressed by her work ethic and is drawn to her on many levels. He’s also determined to prove himself to Buck, a pipeline legend, and he knows that messing with Buck’s granddaughter is a bad idea. Will Rooster and Andy take a chance on ruining their credibility in order to be together? 

The books I picked & why

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Tisha: The Wonderful True Love Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness

By Robert Specht,

Book cover of Tisha: The Wonderful True Love Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness

Why this book?

This book is about Anne Hobbs, a nineteen-year-old girl, who in 1927 travels to Alaska to run a ramshackle, one-room schoolhouse. Along the way, she is exposed to more than just the elements. Against the local’s advice, she allows Native American children into her class and falls in love with a half-Inuit man. In this fascinating and charming story, Anne learns the meaning of prejudice and perseverance, irrational hatred, and unconditional love. 

This story taught me that we, as girls, can do important things and change the world around us. Anne was sweet and shy, but through showing compassion and concern, she made a change in her community. It wasn’t easy and she faced hardship, but she was successful and content within herself. Why do I love this book? First of all, the book is an adventure about survival in the wilderness. Anne had people watching out for her and helping her, but it took stamina and bravery to get to the little community where her school would be, let alone teach when she was not confident of her abilities. I loved learning about Alaska and what it was like in the past.

The love story was sweet and an added bonus. I first read this book when I was 14 and I’ve never forgotten it. I think it broadened my mind and taught me that even as a young woman, I could accomplish the things I set out to do.

Mrs. Mike

By Benedict Freedman, Nancy Freedman,

Book cover of Mrs. Mike

Why this book?

This book is about sixteen-year-old Katherine Mary O’Fallon, who early in the twentieth century, moves to Canada to recover from an extended illness. She falls in love with a six-foot-tall sergeant in the Canadian Mounted Police, Mike Flanigana man of courage, kindness, and humor. They marry, and overnight the couple travels for days by dog sled, as Mike is to become a combination of police, doctor, and mayor of a small community in the harsh, unforgiving Canadian Northern Territory.  

This story shows life in the untamed Northern Territory through the eyes of Kathy. Even though she is afraid and completely oblivious to the adventures before her, she faces her new life head-on. Through the kindness and calm positivity of her husband, Kathy heals from her illness, learns self-reliance, and finds an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed. The love story is sweet and the descriptions of life in the wild north are detailed and wonderful. This was the first book that made me cry, and I still cry every time I reread it.

Anne of Green Gables

By L.M. Montgomery,

Book cover of Anne of Green Gables

Why this book?

This series features Anne, a rag-tag orphan with a tendency to be overly dramatic. No matter her situation or the inopportune moment, Anne finds a way to imagine herself as the leading lady in a traumatic story. As she grows through the series, her confidence grows as well, allowing her to find multiple opportunities to get herself into a mess. I love that in an era where women are expected to stay home and stay quiet, Anne goes to college, travels, and sees the world through her own rose-colored glasses. 

I first read this series when I was twelve, and even though at the time I didn’t fully understand the lifestyle of rural Canada at the turn of the 20th century, I understood a young girl who had dreams and hopes and a sense of humor. I understood wanting more than you could see around you. I came to understand that you are the maker of your future.

To Sir Phillip, with Love: Bridgerton

By Julia Quinn,

Book cover of To Sir Phillip, with Love: Bridgerton

Why this book?

I have enjoyed all the books in the Bridgerton Series, even though, or maybe because, they are much different than the Netflix series by the same name. Julia Quinn is the master of writing about women with an attitude, and this book is no exception. Eloise, thought to be a hopeless spinster, finds herself with a pen-pal. She never expected the widower in the letters to propose, but willing to create a new life for herself, she runs off in the middle of the night to accept his offer. The story that follows is charming, realistic, and thoroughly enjoyable. 

I love Eloise in this story. She is smart and funny and brave. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks, or maybe she simply isn’t afraid to step outside her comfort zone and go against the norm. Whatever the case, the romance in this book is smart and funny. I adore a leading man who is withdrawn, intellectual, and completely thrown by a strong-willed woman.

Never Seduce a Scot

By Maya Banks,

Book cover of Never Seduce a Scot

Why this book?

Eveline has a secret. Her family thinks her daft, but even though she cannot hear, she has taught herself to read lips. She is content to keep her abilities to herself, as it enables her to “hear” all the things people say when they think no one is listening. Unexpectedly, she finds herself betrothed to a rival clan leader, who accepts her begrudgingly, only because she is beautiful. But Eveline is shocked to discover that her new husband’s voice is so deep she can hear him.  

This book is more of a steamy romance than my usual choice, but I love the Scottish setting and the heroine’s bravery and confidence. Even though she is tossed into situations that were not of her choosing, she is strong and smart, and deeply in love, which gives her the strength to make a new life for herself. After finishing this book, I wrote to the author, expressing my particular interest in the story and to tell her how much I enjoyed the book. I was surprised when she wrote back and told me that she was inspired to write the book, based on a deaf person she knew and loved.

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