The best women’s fiction with an unlikely heroine

Amy Q. Barker Author Of Rue
By Amy Q. Barker

Who am I?

I'm a women's fiction novelist with a love for drama without trauma. As an avid reader myself, I write what I know—moving stories written for women and about women. In my books, I sweep you off your feet, lead your heart to a place it's never been before, make you think, make you fall in love, make you yearn for justice, make you aspire and hope and dream. And I promise a happy ending every time, or at least a realistic, thought-provoking tote of warm feelings you can take with you. I hope you enjoy my reading recommendations below! 

I wrote...


By Amy Q. Barker,

Book cover of Rue

What is my book about?

When Rue Cavendish meets a handsome stranger in the San Francisco bar where she works as a lounge singer, she must choose between her perfectly ordered life and a chance at love. Josh Quinn is everything Rue is not – tall, outgoing, popular, talkative. Oh, and he can see. Rue, blind since birth, decides to let her walls down with Josh, diving into the relationship with her whole heart. Will her fierce independence and steadfast resilience survive? 

Rue investigates four intersecting lives and how connections can be forged and broken in an instant. The story charts the emotional and romantic development of risk-takers and how they swiftly discover the inevitable consequences of their actions.

The books I picked & why

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Reminders of Him

By Colleen Hoover,

Book cover of Reminders of Him

Why this book?

I literally could not stop crying through this entire book. When this novel first begins, we find Kenna Rowan has just been released from jail. She is alone, penniless, and scared with all the cards stacked against her, and she is on a mission to find her daughter. Despite the mystery surrounding the incident that causes Kenna’s incarceration, you are instantly drawn into this character’s vulnerability and sheer force of will and determination. She is at once utterly alone on an island while also strong and brave like a warrior, ready to face the demons in her past in order to find a path back to the daughter that was taken from her. I love all of Colleen Hoover’s novels, but this one shredded me. I couldn’t put it down, had to find out what happened, had to know that Kenna was safe, understood, and vindicated.   

The Woman and the Witch

By Amanda Larkman,

Book cover of The Woman and the Witch

Why this book?

I came across this novel after I started following the author on Instagram. It was my first time dabbling in magical realism, and I found myself instantly hooked. Angie is an overweight, fifty-year-old housecleaner with a special skill—she can see the dead. Despite her best efforts to ignore her intuition, the spirits follow her, seek her out, and try to absorb and siphon her human powers. I love the arc of this novel, following the most unlikely of heroines into a death-defying struggle, where she learns that she is stronger than she ever thought possible and more importantly, she doesn’t need anyone else to save her. I rooted for her the entire way through, and now I’m excited to hear the author is making this into a trilogy.

Frenchman's Creek

By Daphne du Maurier,

Book cover of Frenchman's Creek

Why this book?

Just like everyone else, my gateway into Daphne du Maurier was the novel Rebecca, but right after devouring that, I began consuming the rest of her work and decided I liked Frenchman’s Creek even better. In Frenchman’s Creek, we are presented with a heroine, Lady Dona, who, in a day and age when women were taught to sit still and be pretty, is strong, restless, and independent. She shakes off the bonds of society and begins an affair with a handsome pirate. Okay, so of course this story is not at all realistic—I’m fully cognizant of that—but it is pure fun, suspense, sexual intrigue, and daring lust. I loved it and felt every single word that this masterful storyteller imbued in the tale.  

The Minute I Saw You

By Paige Toon,

Book cover of The Minute I Saw You

Why this book?

All hail Paige Toon! She is the best of women’s fiction—not too raunchy or over the top or gut-wrenching. Simple, sweet stories with a bit of heat. I recommend her to everyone I know. This particular novel, The Minute I Saw You, touched my heart from the very first page. When we meet Hannah and Sonny, they are both at a crossroads in their lives, not sure which way to turn or how to move on from respective tragedies in their past. I love that Hannah’s history involves something so unexpected that isn’t revealed until halfway through the book and becomes ever more the reason to root for her. And I love that she and Sonny spend so much time working through their demons independently before coming together. It’s a feel-good novel that leaves you with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.  

The Ladies of Missalonghi

By Colleen McCullough,

Book cover of The Ladies of Missalonghi

Why this book?

The premise of this short novel sucked me in right away. Missy Wright is shy, unhappy, poor, and a spinster. She is stifled and demeaned by her overbearing sisters and the local small-town gossips where she lives. Despite the fact that Ms. McCullough paints the portrait of a fairly unsavory heroine in the form of Missy, I still found myself rooting for her, wishing with all my might that she would (under the most improbable circumstances) find love. When I write about a heroine in my own novels, I want my readers to see past appearances and the superficial trappings of our society’s ideals. That is what this novel does—it draws you in and makes you believe the impossible is possible if only we can see beyond what is right in front of our faces—that dreams really can come true, for all shapes, sizes, styles, and substance.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in heroes, Pirates, and romantic love?

5,716 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about heroes, Pirates, and romantic love.

Heroes Explore 45 books about heroes
Pirates Explore 57 books about Pirates
Romantic Love Explore 409 books about romantic love

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Never Let Me Go, Cold Comfort Farm, and Avalon if you like this list.