The best women’s fiction with an unlikely heroine

Why am I passionate about this?

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...

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.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Reminders of Him

Amy Q. Barker Why did I love 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.   

By Colleen Hoover,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A troubled young mother yearns for a shot at redemption in this heartbreaking yet hopeful story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter's life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn't closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar…

Book cover of The Woman and the Witch

Amy Q. Barker Why did I love 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.

By Amanda Larkman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Woman and the Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Angie and Frieda, two unforgettable characters who will live in your memory long after you turn the last page.

Nothing ever changes in the village of Witchford until the day a hundred year old, bad-tempered witch falls and breaks her hip, and a fifty year old cleaner decides her life is over.

Both are haunted by ghosts, but can Frieda help Angie find out what her long dead father is trying to tell her? And can Angie help Frieda fight off the wolf who circles ever closer?

A story of empowerment and friendship, 'The Woman and the Witch' explores…

Book cover of Frenchman's Creek

Amy Q. Barker Why did I love 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.  

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Frenchman's Creek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of Rebecca comes the story of a woman who craves love, freedom, and adventure-but it might cost her everything.
"Highly personalized adventure, ultra-romantic mood, and skillful storytelling." -New York Times
A lost classic from master of gothic romance and author of Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier, Frenchman's Creek is an electrifying tale of love and scandal on the high seas.
Jaded by the numbing politeness of London in the late 1600s, Lady Dona St. Columb revolts against high society. She rides into the countryside, guided only by her restlessness and her longing to escape.
But when chance leads…

Book cover of The Minute I Saw You

Amy Q. Barker Why did I love 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.  

By Paige Toon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Minute I Saw You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Attraction is easy... Falling in love can be hard

When Hannah meets Sonny, she's irresistibly drawn to him: he's sexy and confident, but only in town on holiday. That's fine with Hannah - she doesn't do long-term relationships. And luckily for her, neither does Sonny. But before they can even so much as kiss, Sonny receives some shocking news and commits to making serious life changes - ones that can't and won't include romance.

With even a short fling now off the cards, Hannah and Sonny settle…

Book cover of The Ladies of Missalonghi

Amy Q. Barker Why did I love 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.

By Colleen McCullough,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An endearing tale, full of wit, warmth and romance, from the bestselling author of The Thorn Birds.

The Hurlingford family have ruled the small town of Byron, nestled in the Blue Mountains, for generations. Wealthy, powerful and cruel, they get what they want, every time.

Missy Wright lives with her widowed mother and crippled aunt in genteel poverty. Hurlingfords by birth, all three are victim to the family's rule of inheritance: the men take it all. Plain, thin and unforgivably single, it seems Missy's life is destined to be dreary.

But then a stranger arrives in town. A divorcee from…

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The Midnight Man

By Julie Anderson,

Book cover of The Midnight Man

Julie Anderson Author Of The Midnight Man

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical crime fiction, and my latest novel is set in a hospital, a real place, now closed. The South London Hospital for Women and Children (1912–1985) was set up by pioneering suffragists and women surgeons Maud Chadburn and Eleanor Davies-Colley (the first woman admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons) and I recreate the now almost-forgotten hospital in my book. Events take place in 1946 when wartime trauma still impacts upon a society exhausted by conflict, and my book choices also reflect this.

Julie's book list on evocative stories set in a hospital

What is my book about?

A historical thriller set in south London just after World War II, as Britain returns to civilian life and the men return home from the fight, causing the women to leave their wartime roles. The South London Hospital for Women and Children is a hospital, (based on a real place) run by women for women and must make adjustments of its own. As austerity bites, the coldest Winter then on record makes life grim. Then a young nurse goes missing.

Days later, her body is found behind a locked door, and two women from the hospital, unimpressed by the police response, decide to investigate. Highly atmospheric and evocative of a distinct period and place.

The Midnight Man

By Julie Anderson,

What is this book about?


Winter 1946

One cold dark night, as a devastated London shivers through the transition to post-war life, a young nurse goes missing from the South London Hospital for Women & Children. Her body is discovered hours later behind a locked door.

Two women from the hospital join forces to investigate the case. Determined not to return to the futures laid out for them before the war, the unlikely sleuths must face their own demons and dilemmas as they pursue - The Midnight Man.

‘A mystery that evokes the period – and a recovering London – in…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in heroes, Pirates, and romantic love?

10,000+ 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.

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