The best novels about women at the edge of change

Why am I passionate about this?

I was raised in middle-class America by a strong woman and an alcoholic. I survived an abuser when I realized that I was the answer to my problems. I write about tough subjects but am an eternal optimist who believes a strong spirit will always ensure a happy ending.

I wrote...

Amazing Gracie

By Laura Drake,

Book cover of Amazing Gracie

What is my book about?

CJ has returned from war. But she has not left the war behind. The one bright spot in her life is her nine-year-old sister, Amazing Gracie, or Mazey. Mazey is brilliant, curious, and innocent, but she's carrying burdens of her own, including a deep desire to meet the father she's never known.

When CJ heads off on a cross-country motorcycle trip to visit the homes of her fallen friends, Mazey somehow convinces CJ to let her tag along. It isn't the journey CJ expected, but it's the journey she needs. Contending with her demons, CJ comes to terms with choices she couldn't have anticipated. And when Mazey's quest takes a surprising turn, both CJ and Mazey discover that this road trip has been headed to an undisclosed destination all along.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Wildland

Laura Drake Why did I love this book?

About a woman who rents a remote cabin in the mountains to decide; her cancer is back, and she must either fight again, or let nature take its course. There is a forest fire, and she is pivotal in saving not only her life, but the lives of others.

I loved it because it’s about a woman who doesn’t know how strong she is until faced with a situation she can’t let herself walk away from. 

This resonates in mine, and I expect many other women’s lives.

By Rebecca Hodge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For fans of Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve comes an exhilarating debut novel of one woman's courage in the face of catastrophe.

She'll do anything to save them.
But what will she do to save herself?

When Kat Jamison retreats to the Blue Ridge Mountains, she's counting on peace and solitude to help her make a difficult decision. Her breast cancer has returned, but after the death of her husband, her will to fight is dampened. Now she has a choice to make: face yet another round of chemotherapy or surrender gracefully.

Self-reflection quickly proves impossible as her getaway is…

Book cover of The Flicker of Old Dreams

Laura Drake Why did I love this book?

About an odd woman, raised in a Mortuary/Funeral Home on the brutal western plains.

She likes her lonely life, living with her alcoholic father. Until she has her first spark of connection when another misfit from her past returns home, and she must decide. Stay in stilted safety or take a chance for happiness in an unknown future.

Brilliantly written with setting as a character, I relived the emotions of being faced with life-changing chance.

By Susan Henderson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Flicker of Old Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

High Plains Book Award Winner for Fiction * Western Writers of America Spur Award Winner for Best Contemporary Western Novel * WILLA Literary Award Winner in Contemporary Fiction * Montana Book Award Honor Book

With the quiet precision of Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres and the technical clarity of Mary Roach's Stiff, this is a novel about a young woman who comes most alive while working in her father's mortuary in a small, forgotten Western town.

"The dead come to me vulnerable, sharing their stories and secrets . . . "

Mary Crampton has spent all of her thirty years…

Book cover of The Girl with the Louding Voice

Laura Drake Why did I love this book?

A young woman from Nigeria in awful circumstances with the help of an American woman, finds the fortitude to stand up for herself, and realize her dream of an education,

It highlights the choices we all have as women, to go against the tide to fight for what we want or live a life of quiet obscurity. A triumph of the female spirit.

By Abi Daré,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Girl with the Louding Voice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most uplifting debut of 2020

'Unforgettable' New York Times 'Impressive' Observer 'Remarkable' Independent 'Important' Guardian 'Captivating' Mirror 'Luminous' Daily Mail 'Sparkling' Harper's Bazaar 'Beautiful' Herald


I don't just want to be having any kind voice . . .
I want a louding voice.

At fourteen, Adunni dreams of getting an education and giving her family a more comfortable home in her small Nigerian village. Instead, Adunni's father sells her off to become the third wife of an old man. When tragedy…

Book cover of Surviving Savannah

Laura Drake Why did I love this book?

A dual-timeline novel, about a family on the ‘Titanic of the South’, the Pulaski a paddlewheel steamer that sunk in 1838, and a historian today, who is creating a museum showing of the disaster.

She also has a huge decision to make—live in the past, in survivor’s guilt, or to grab an uncertain future she’s not sure she deserves.

By Patti Callahan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"An atmospheric, compelling story of survival, tragedy, the enduring power of myth and memory, and the moments that change one's life." 
--Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Four Winds
"[An] enthralling and emotional tale...A story about strength and fate."--Woman's World
“An epic novel that explores the metal of human spirit in crisis. It is an expertly told, fascinating story that runs fathoms deep on multiple levels.”—New York Journal of Books 

It was called "The Titanic of the South." The luxury steamship sank in 1838 with Savannah's elite on board; through time, their fates were forgotten--until the…

Book cover of Where We Belong

Laura Drake Why did I love this book?

A coming of age story – for a fourteen-year-old who’s discovered she’s gay, her inadequate mother, her severely autistic younger sister, and a reclusive, distant older man and his dog.

The protagonist is the doer of the family who refuses to give in to poverty and give up to allow her sister to be institutionalized. What one determined soul can do when she refuses to give up.

I love stories that resolve in a happy ending, despite facing seemingly hopeless odds.

By Catherine Ryan Hyde,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fans of Mark Haddon, Mitch Albom and Alice Sebold will love this remarkable, moving story about family and the many forms this can take by Richard & Judy bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde.

'A smashing read and left me feeling so positive about human nature' -- ***** Reader review
'An absolute joy to read' -- ***** Reader review
'Beautifully written' -- ***** Reader review
'Fantastic' -- ***** Reader review
'Catherine, you've done it again. Another awesome read that will stay with me' -- ***** Reader review
'A page-turner' -- ***** Reader review

You might also like...

Return to Hope Creek

By Alyssa J. Montgomery,

Book cover of Return to Hope Creek

Alyssa J. Montgomery Author Of A Spanish Seduction

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian USA Today bestselling romance author who writes contemporary romance and uses the pen name Alyssa James to write medieval romance. I think the makeover trope resonates with me because although I’m no beauty queen now, I was definitely an ugly duckling in my teens. For reasons best known to him, my father insisted on close-cropped hair, and financial circumstances dictated out-of-style hand-me-down clothing. After university, I found my own style, but it wasn’t until I was accepted as an international flight attendant that I believed that I couldn’t be all that ugly if Qantas employed me!

Alyssa's book list on makeover romances

What is my book about?

Return to Hope Creek is a second-chance rural romance set in Australia.

Stella Simpson's career and engagement are over. She returns to the rural community of Hope Creek to heal, unaware her high school and college sweetheart, Mitchell Scott, has also moved back to town to do some healing of his own.

Mitchell, a former NFL quarterback, doesn't need the complication of encountering Stella again so long after the messy end to their relationship, but as each tries to build a new life, they are drawn together and find their chemistry is just as strong as ever.

Will their love be stronger the second time around?

Return to Hope Creek

By Alyssa J. Montgomery,

What is this book about?

When two old flames come back to their home town, sparks are bound to ignite. A rural romance from USA Today bestselling author Alyssa J. Montgomery.

A horrific car accident ended former world number-one Stella Simpson’s tennis career, and a betrayal ended her relationship with her fiancé/coach. When a family friend offers to sell her half of a property in the rural community where she grew up, it seems like the perfect place to escape, heal and begin the next phase of her life. Until she discovers that the man who broke her heart ten years ago has bought the…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Nigeria, romantic love, and Georgia (USA)?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Nigeria, romantic love, and Georgia (USA).

Nigeria Explore 65 books about Nigeria
Romantic Love Explore 845 books about romantic love
Georgia (USA) Explore 85 books about Georgia (USA)