The best novels about the ‘herstory’ of women of the 1920s

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been intrigued by the Roaring 20s, and specifically in how the lives of women truly began to change during this time. My grandmother loved to boast about how she had been a flapper as a young woman. Her sister-in-law was one of the first female attorneys in Detroit in the mid-20s. The era brought about opportunities and freedoms previously unknown to women. Many women suddenly had options, both in terms of careers and lifestyles. Goals of first wave feminists were beginning to be reached. The research I did for my book furthered my understanding of society at the time, particularly in America. 

I wrote...

Dancing in the Ring

By Susan Sage,

Book cover of Dancing in the Ring

What is my book about?

From a poor family in the neighborhood of Corktown, Catherine McIntosh learned early on, the necessity of being resilient. She becomes one of the first women in Detroit to obtain a law degree. Robert Sage, the 'battling barrister,' boxes in order to pay for law school. Despite his gruff and tough-boy personality, he's a friend to all. The couple becomes legendary in legal circles for their commitment to social justice causes—as well as notorious in the local speakeasies and dance halls.

At first, their optimism seems boundless, as it had for many following an era of trauma and challenges that included the 1918 flu pandemic. It isn't long before their passionate courtship turns into a tempestuous marriage. Then the Great Depression hits and their lives are forever changed.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Paris Wife

Susan Sage Why did I love this book?

If you’re curious about Paris of the 1920s, check it out through Hadley Richardson’s eyes.

In this fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage, we get to know a woman who is not only supportive, but complex, compassionate, and strong. We see Hemingway in a way never seen before. McLain makes her readers care deeply about Ernest and Hadley—only to witness the deterioration of their marriage.

By Paula McLain,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Paris Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A deeply evocative novel of ambition and betrayal that captures the love affair between two unforgettable people, Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley—from the author of Love and Ruin and When the Stars Go Dark
“A beautiful portrait of being in Paris in the glittering 1920s—as a wife and as one’s own woman.”—Entertainment Weekly

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People • Chicago Tribune • NPR • The Philadelphia Inquirer • Kirkus Reviews • The Toronto Sun • BookPage

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but…

Book cover of The Aviator's Wife

Susan Sage Why did I love this book?

Read this fascinating historical fiction novel to find out how it was possible for Lindbergh’s wife to wind up intact and capable of love, despite the tragedies that beset her.

Few people realize that she was the first female glider pilot! She became not only his co-pilot, but the pilot of her own life as she got older and pursued her own interests. Anne Morrow proved herself to be—in many ways—more heroic than her husband.

By Melanie Benjamin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Aviator's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
“The history [is] exhilarating. . . . The Aviator’s Wife soars.”—USA Today

For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico…

Book cover of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Susan Sage Why did I love this book?

Many readers knowledgeable about the Jazz Age know about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s many novels, as well as his life.

This fictionalized account gives keen insight into his wife, Zelda. Read to discover the difficulties faced by a creative woman married to a celebrated man. In many ways, Zelda was a woman of her times, yet like so many women overshadowed by her husband.

Read about their scandalous lives—hers in some ways even more so than his.

By Therese Anne Fowler,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'If ever a couple ... became an era, it was F Scott Fitzgerald and his glamorous "flapper" wife, Zelda. They were the Jazz Age' Independent

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen and he is a young army lieutenant. Before long, Zelda has fallen for him, even though Scott isn't wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune…

Book cover of Wild Women and the Blues

Susan Sage Why did I love this book?

Curious about what life was like in the Chicago speakeasies of the 1920s—especially for Black chorus women?

Follow ambitious, yet vulnerable, Honoree Palcour, as she envelops you in her past. Like to feel like what it was like to be alive in an earlier era? You won’t be disappointed by this exciting and well-written tale!

By Denny S. Bryce,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Wild Women and the Blues as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Perfect for fans of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo...a dazzling depiction of passion, prohibition, and murder.“ —Shelf Awareness
“Ambitious and stunning.” —Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author

"Vibrant…A highly entertaining read!” —Ellen Marie Wiseman New York Times Bestselling author of THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR
“The music practically pours out of the pages of Denny S. Bryce's historical novel, set among the artists and dreamers of the 1920s.” —
Goodreads Debut Novel to Discover & Biggest Upcoming Historical Fiction Books
Oprah Magazine, Parade, Ms. Magazine, SheReads, Bustle, BookBub, Frolic, & BiblioLifestyle Most Anticipated Books
Marie Claire & Black Business Guide’s…

Book cover of Dollface: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties

Susan Sage Why did I love this book?

Vera Abramowitz, ‘Dollface,’ was a flapper who got caught up with the mob.

Her two mobster lovers cause her life to take a downward spiral. Read how she puts the broken pieces of her life back together. Realistic and gritty, we see the flip side of the frivolous life of flappers seen in the movies.

By Renee Rosen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dollface as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

America in the 1920s was a country alive with the wild fun of jazz, speakeasies, and a new kind of woman—the flapper.

Vera Abramowitz is determined to leave her gritty childhood behind and live a more exciting life, one that her mother never dreamed of. Bobbing her hair and showing her knees, the lipsticked beauty dazzles, doing the Charleston in nightclubs and earning the nickname “Dollface.” 

As the ultimate flapper, Vera captures the attention of two high rollers, a handsome nightclub owner and a sexy gambler. On their arms, she gains entrée into a world filled with bootleg bourbon, wailing…

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A Diary in the Age of Water

By Nina Munteanu,

Book cover of A Diary in the Age of Water

Nina Munteanu Author Of Darwin's Paradox

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Ecologist Mother Teacher Explorer

Nina's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This climate fiction novel follows four generations of women and their battles against a global giant that controls and manipulates Earth’s water. Told mostly through a diary and drawing on scientific observation and personal reflection, Lynna’s story unfolds incrementally, like climate change itself. Her gritty memoir describes a near-future Toronto in the grips of severe water scarcity.

Single mother and limnologist Lynna witnesses disturbing events as she works for the powerful international utility CanadaCorp. Fearing for the welfare of her rebellious teenage daughter, Lynna sets in motion a series of events that tumble out of her control with calamitous consequence. The novel explores identity, relationship, and our concept of what is “normal”—as a nation and an individual—in a world that is rapidly and incomprehensibly changing.

A Diary in the Age of Water

By Nina Munteanu,

What is this book about?

Centuries from now, in a post-climate change dying boreal forest of what used to be northern Canada, Kyo, a young acolyte called to service in the Exodus, discovers a diary that may provide her with the answers to her yearning for Earth’s past—to the Age of Water, when the “Water Twins” destroyed humanity in hatred—events that have plagued her nightly in dreams. Looking for answers to this holocaust—and disturbed by her macabre longing for connection to the Water Twins—Kyo is led to the diary of a limnologist from the time just prior to the destruction. This gritty memoir describes a…

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