The best damsel in distress books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about damsels in distress and why they recommend each book.

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His Prairie Princess (Prairie Brides, Book One)

By Kit Morgan,

Book cover of His Prairie Princess (Prairie Brides, Book One)

Kit Morgan describes the town of Clear Creek, the setting for her Prairie Brides series, as the wackiest town in the West. But it’s her inspired pairing of hunky, honorable British cowboys (yes, you read that right) and the independent, clever women who humble them that makes this book and its sequels so worth the read.


Who am I?

As the author of more than 50 works of warm, witty historical romance, I love seeking out stories that will make me smile. I’m a firm believer in happy endings, in the books I write, and the books I read. I’m also a bit obsessed with history, having driven a carriage four-in-hand, learned to fence, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research.


I wrote...

Never Doubt a Duke

By Regina Scott,

Book cover of Never Doubt a Duke

What is my book about?

When the mysterious owner of the Fortune Employment Agency and her cat arrange for the irrepressible Jane Kimball to take the governess’ position with the Duke of Wey, everyone has doubts. Alaric, Duke of Wey, may command his staff, his tenants, and the halls of Parliament, but he can’t manage his own daughters. As an old danger rears its head, he comes to rely on Jane’s practical nature to navigate the waters of fatherhood. And when necessity dictates he take a wife, thoughts turn to an unlikely governess who might make the perfect bride.

Struggling With the Current

By A.R.K. Horton,

Book cover of Struggling With the Current

This book is straight-up Fantasy, so it’s notable in my list because I read so little trad fantasy these days. But don’t be fooled, this book is not what you expect. Every trope of fantasy gets turned on its head, kicked over, rearranged, and then the characters just straight up do something other than what you expected. There are no hunky but boring heroes. There are no damsels in distress. Even the Gods in this world are… well that would be spoilers. Super well told gripping fantasy trilogy that you won’t regret picking up. Except you won’t be able to put it down.

Who am I?

I’ve always read Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It’s my comfort place and haven’t we all needed that in the roaring '20s? It took a long while to clock that the books that stuck with me longest were all in that odd space where fantasy and sci-fi collide, (like Helliconia or Fire Upon the Deep or Dune) When I started writing, the ideas just poured out of me but after I realised I’d written a book like those I loved to read.


I wrote...

Dark

By Paul L. Arvidson,

Book cover of Dark

What is my book about?

He never wanted to be a hero. But the deep tunnels are a deathtrap for the unwary…

Dun is haunted by savage dreams. Suffocating under the weight of caring for his family, he fears his visions mean he’s a shaman like his missing father. But when the rivers mysteriously empty of fish, he embarks on a dangerous quest to uncover the truth. Dun sets off into unknown territory with two friends, an unfinished map, and a dubious guide. But his search for answers could send him and his companions straight into the jaws of death…This is the intense first tale in the Dark series. If you like unexpected heroes, spectacular settings, and intriguing mysteries, you'll love this.

Shielding Sierra

By Susan Stoker,

Book cover of Shielding Sierra

Stoker is the queen of military/former-military “families.” You pick up a book and instantly fall in love with that team of men. Shielding Sierra is her latest (as of January 2022) and it happens to be at the end of a series. Stoker writes in a single universe, so while we know this team, we also see previous teams she’s written, and the family unit that they all build with one another really shines in Sierra, when one of their own purposely becomes a POW in order to save the heroine.


Who am I?

I hate saying goodbye. Picking up a book and being introduced to an entire group of people—family, friends, teammates—and knowing you get to continue to watch these relationships bloom over a course of books is part of the reason I pick up a book in the first place. I want to see these characters pop in twenty books down the road. I absolutely love cameos of old characters! Because of this, I write in a singular world as well. My Prescotts may be the base of the world at the moment, but it’s also their friends at O’Gallaghers and their teammates with the Enforcers hockey team that keep the world growing—and it’s not ending anytime soon.


I wrote...

Butterfly Save (Prescott Brothers)

By Mignon Mykel,

Book cover of Butterfly Save (Prescott Brothers)

What is my book about?

The first to get married, the only to get divorced… Jonny Prescott is the “broken” brother. 

After his surprise retirement announcement, hockey goaltender Jonny Prescott decides to hide away in the Northern Wisconsin woods—away from everything and everyone. No limelight. Little recognition. The last thing he expects is to be drawn to his equally isolated neighbor. Summer is far too young to be so jaded, but Jonny can’t help but want to break this butterfly free.

Llana of Gathol

By Edgar Rice Burroughs,

Book cover of Llana of Gathol

Llana of Gathol is book 10 of the John Cater series and in my opinion, the best. Published in 1948, the story is about an earthling named, John Carter. The reason why I liked this book is because John Carter can transform his mind into another body on Mars. That in itself is a pretty cool concept and the reason why I was drawn to it in the first place. The action is fast-paced as Carter gets captured by the inhabitants of Horz, one of the supposedly “dead” cities of Mars. He is sentenced to death along with his captor Pan Dan Chee for bringing Carter into Horz. They are sent down to the pits under the city where they discover the remnants of a maritime race which had existed hundreds of thousands of years ago, suspended in animation unaware of the changes that happened to the world. 


Who am I?

I am an international award-winning fantasy author, who’s been writing since 2003. My love of Dungeon and Dragons and Martial Arts have influenced my writing and created a world full of wonder. I have an extensive background in both Western (Sword fighting) and Eastern Martial Arts, and I use that knowledge to create so many memorable fight scenes throughout the series.


I wrote...

A Demon's Quest: The Beginning of the End

By Charles Carfagno Jr.,

Book cover of A Demon's Quest: The Beginning of the End

What is my book about?

Across the land, peace has reigned for generations. But now, demons have found a way to breach the world and cloaked themselves as humans. They are deceitful, clever, and often manipulative as they position themselves within the Martial Orders of mankind to lie in wait like a ticking time bomb and conquer the world of humanity. But another crucial journey is being undertaken. Wronged by a close friend, Gilex is on a road of revenge as he leads his devoted band of followers on a treacherous journey to find the fabled Circle of Demise. However, finding the circle will prove harder than expected and the rewards might not be what he was seeking.

Thus begins the enthralling Demon’s Quest epic, a spellbinding tale of adventure, magic, and myth . . .

Woman of Ill Fame

By Erika Mailman,

Book cover of Woman of Ill Fame

The forthright honesty and the audacity of Nora Simms, narrator of Erika Mailman’s Woman of Ill Fame, is stunning and nearly as compelling as the murder mystery at the center of the novel. Set in San Francisco during the Gold Rush, the novel takes us into the city’s bordellos, which, like the rest of the state, have been infected by a get rich quick at any cost ethos. The cost for many of Nora’s colleagues is high. Women of ill-fame are being killed, one by one, and only Nora is capable and willing to wade through layers of deception to discover the identity of the killer and to save her own life. 

Nora is not your typical damsel in distress and that might be why I love this book so much. She’s not a “good” woman, by society's standards, but she is one of the most surprising…


Who am I?

I don’t write about well-behaved women. I prefer rebels and outcasts, women who, by choice or circumstance, live outside of social norms. 19th-century American history is full of such women—if you know where to look. Hint: not in most public-school textbooks. They’re found, instead, in archives and libraries, in old newspapers and journals, in family letters and autobiographies. The characters in my most recent novel, Reliance, Illinois, were inspired by badass 19th-century women, such as Victoria Woodhull, Mary Livermore, and Olympia Brown. Each of the novels in the list below were inspired by or based on audacious women. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!  


I wrote...

Reliance, Illinois

By Mary Volmer,

Book cover of Reliance, Illinois

What is my book about?

Illinois, 1874: With a birthmark covering half her face, thirteen-year-old Madelyn Branch is accustomed to cold and awkward greetings and expects no less in the struggling town of Reliance. Her mother, Rebecca, was careful not to mention a daughter in the Matrimonial Times ad that brought them there.

When Rebecca weds, Madelyn poses as her mother’s younger sister and earns a grudging berth in her new house. Madelyn soon leaves to enter the service of Miss Rose Werner, prodigal daughter of the town’s founder. Miss Rose is a suffragist and purveyor of black market birth control who sees in Madelyn a project and potential acolyte. At first, Madelyn simply wants to feel beautiful and loved. But, when a series of troubling events threaten the small town, Madelyn must make a life-changing choice. 

Kairos

By Ulysse Malassagne,

Book cover of Kairos

Another book of beautiful drawings (noticing a theme?), the dynamic lifework pulls you into a parallel dimension along with the characters. The protagonist crosses dangerous lines to find his partner and you are along for the ride in a new world. Also, check out Malassange’s work with Studio La Cachette, the animation studio he co-founded – it’s great!


Who am I?

I am an illustrator and author and fantasy stories are some of my favorites. I love getting lost in a book. It might be a cliche, but the ability of a book to take you to a place you’ve never been, or might not even exist, is an amazing power. These are the types of stories I love to create and these books have been a great influence on my own work. 


I wrote...

Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian

By Tim Probert,

Book cover of Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian

What is my book about?

Lightfall is the first in a series of graphic novels set in the world of Irpa, a world without a sun. Deep in the northern forest, the young girl Bea lives with her adoptive grandfather the Pig Wizard. While walking through the woods one day, Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, an ancient race thought to be long-extinct. When the Pig Wizard goes missing, Bea and Cad set out across Irpa to find him, while danger fights its way out of the shadows and into the light.

Ransom

By Julie Garwood,

Book cover of Ransom

I have never read a Julie Garwood book I didn’t adore, but I think this is my favorite. Ransom is a quintessential historical romance with a muscular hero and a damsel in distress, which is why you definitely need to read it. It will convert you to the romance genre. Ransom contains themes that might be considered old-fashioned in today’s throwaway world, but they still hold profound meaning for me: honor, brotherhood, loyalty, faithfulness, and sacrifice. Who doesn’t love a hero who is willing to give his life for the woman he loves? 


Who am I?

I love happy endings and happily-ever-afters. I love reading and writing books that make people happy, give them hope, and bring romance into their lives. Shakespeare’s plays inspired me to explore the ways a writer can convey strong emotions with the written word. One of the first romances I ever read was Pride and Prejudice, and it changed my life. It made me laugh, but it also taught me to believe in the power of love and the power of storytelling. I have written thirty-two romance novels. I like to spread the love!


I wrote...

His Amish Sweetheart

By Jennifer Beckstrand,

Book cover of His Amish Sweetheart

What is my book about?

Between work and keeping his mischievous little brothers out of trouble, Austin Petersheim barely has time to think, much less court the most popular maidel in town. But if he can establish a local market to direct-sell his family’s goods, he’ll stand out as a potential husband. He’s grateful for the help of his longtime friend, Hannah Yutzy, who is so easy to talk to...

While Austin embarks on his plan, his siblings have a plan of their own: to give Austin and Hannah a little nudge to show them they’re made for each other. When their antics wreak havoc with a rival family emporium, Hannah must help Austin set things right. And as she does just that, Austin is stunned to realize his best friend could be his perfect wife. 

Edgeplay

By Annabel Allan,

Book cover of Edgeplay

I personally recommend Edgeplay by Annabel Allan to readers who enjoy high-quality erotic and BDSM romance readers. The chemistry between Ava Goode and her hunky lover, Gabriel Burton, is a passionate one that sizzles, not fizzles. Gabriel is a high-powered CEO who dares to try new kinky things in the bedroom with Ava. He knows when to be bad, and he knows when to be good. Ava personifies empowerment – she’s a real hero with a strong voice, and she's no damsel in distress. This is great, as I’m not a fan of weak voices. Edgeplay accurately portrays BDSM—the author has done her research into the lifestyle and knows what she's writing about.


Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by bad-boy heroes since I started reading romance books in my teenage years. Throw me a story about a rebel, player, a guy who likes living on the edge with a wild streak, and you’ve got me sold. There are a few rules when it comes to what I don’t want in a bad boy – abuse, pedophiles, violent men, and lack of consent. I love happy endings and believe that every bad boy and his lover (or lovers if it’s a consensual polyamorous relationship) deserve their happily ever after endings. I’m an ex-journalist who has published romance stories from erotic to sweet.


I wrote...

Lessons on Seduction

By Estelle Pettersen,

Book cover of Lessons on Seduction

What is my book about?

When college student Sapphire Blake finds herself fresh out of a breakup, she is ready to embark on a new journey in her life. A dark, sensual journey. 

Professor Julian Richland is ridiculously handsome, smart, and intimidating. When he and Sapphire are introduced, sparks are ignited as he sees past the conservative stigma Sapphire believes the world has placed on her. Instead, he sees a sexy vixen—and he can’t help but admit he wants her. As the couple begins a dangerous, passionate liaison, secrets become exposed and lives are threatened. Will Julian save his relationship with Sapphire and rekindle the fiery flame they share? Or, will fate have another ending in store? Find out in this thrilling and erotic romance novel.

You Had Me at Hello

By Mhairi McFarlane,

Book cover of You Had Me at Hello

We are total suckers for British humor. Give us a smashing bloke or a cheeky heroine, and we are all in. Mhairi McFarlane weaves together a friends-to-lovers trope with a second-chance love story. In this novel, readers explore the fantasy of the one who got away along with the complex problems that happen in real life, such as failing marriages and self-doubt. You’ll fall in love with the main character, Rachel, but it is through her friend relationships and inner monologues that you see her development. She isn’t a damsel in distress. No, she is a strong female character with a tight group of friends who you quickly fancy. It doesn’t hurt that there is a leading man sure to make you swoon. 


Who are we?

A sidekick is someone who knows you better than you know yourself. Someone who will travel 750 miles on your wedding day, and then help you escape out of a window before you make a huge mistake. A sidekick is someone who will have your back, even when you’re making some of the most ridiculous decisions of your life. We're best friends, writing partners, and each other’s sidekicks. We write books that reward every struggle with a happy ending because life is not always kind. We create characters who inspire us to keep laughing and encourage readers to laugh with us. Here’s hoping everyone has a humorous sidekick in his or her life.


We wrote...

Dear Pink: A Romantic Comedy

By Michelle Angelle,

Book cover of Dear Pink: A Romantic Comedy

What is our book about?

After a heart-shattering breakup, Hannah buries herself in the basement copy-editing room. Resigned to a life without risks or adventures, Hannah’s world is rocked on its side when she receives an unexpected bucket list from her deceased best friend. The crazy list propels Hannah out of her comfort zone and into new experiences. When she meets Gabe, a down-to-earth bike enthusiast, a spark ignites. With the help of Gabe and his amazing family, they turn Hannah’s expectations positively upside down and inside out. Will she put aside her fears and let love change her life forever? 

The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore and Bar

By Seana Kelly,

Book cover of The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore and Bar

Fair warning, this one may require a trigger warning for some readers. Sam has a traumatic past that happens ‘off the page,’ but she re-lives it in current nightmares. She also has a great journey of learning about herself and taking ownership of her life. Don’t let the damsel in distress start discourage youSam confronts her past, embraces her present, and kicks ass! She is also the owner of the supernatural bookstore and bar (which makes me so jealous)! There is a setup for romance further along the series, but it’s not a huge part of book 1.


Who am I?

I’m a bit of an introverted extrovert who has a love/ hate relationship with people. I’m lucky to have wonderful family and friends, but social media baffles me and makes me question the future of mankind. I still can’t look away though. A degree in history, a love of psychology, and being a writer definitely foster my people-watching obsession. This fascination extends to fictional characters. Plot twists and world building are fantastic, but it is cheering for a character that pulls me in and keeps me hooked. As I’m also a moody reader, I love to pick the right character story to suit my mood! 


I wrote...

Azimuth

By Rennie St. James,

Book cover of Azimuth

What is my book about?

Mia Rayner’s world is normal, even boring, with her 9-5 administrative job and slightly anti-social disposition. The Seer offers her a chance to change everything and become a warrior guardian. She tempts Mia with magic, dreams of future adventures, and even a family. It seems too good to be true…and then the Seer is murdered and Mia’s new world crumbles in a pool of blood. Can she still become a warrior guardian and protect a gifted child or will Mia become the next victim?

If gas prices are too high for you, join Mia on a contemporary fantasy road trip! You’ll get to visit multiple cities and have a mountain lion as a companion. Five books are available now for binge reading.

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