I was a guest when Valentina launched “Women” and look forward to a new one, from New Zealand. I had my eye on the diversity theme because I support it whole-heartedly and own qualifying literature. The first must is that groups I join mesh with what I have and intend to read. With that in mind, I did not join the group I saw last year, because it targeted the ‘Young Adult’ genre. That isn’t subject matter that captivates interest at forty.
When I was eight, I was into Laura Ingalls, not colouring books. When my thirteen year-old peers devoured “Sweet Valley High”, I was enthralled by the mild horror of V.C. Andrews. Even ‘cozy mysteries’ annoy me. I have little patience for it except old mysteries and paranormal of any era.
Conversation with this retired New Zealand teacher, who answered an age old question about how to pronounce “Edith Ngaio Marsh”, set me straight. I will pay attention to noticeable growth in a female character. A taste of diversity or uniqueness would make an extra touch. These are sharing a post because many books will suit all three themes.
Motivated 01 – 05 ~ Savvy 06 – 10 ~ Classy 11 – 20 ~
Go-Getter 20 – 30 ~ Fearless 30+
I was able to topple the “Fearless” scale, as easily as I hoped! After a year’s journey aspiring to 150 books, I successfully reached 151! Here are 40 that match Kathryn’s inspiring criteria! Their characters are women and a few young ladies pressing past difficult circumstances in some cases: such as widowhood, poverty, disability. Or they are fish out of water. All of the ones I have chosen show resilience and measurable growth, which Kathryn requested in particular. I enjoyed this very much, despite tardiness, because I bemoan this time of year for closing challenges. Thank you for hosting it and for offering an Amazon.ca gift certificate equivalent to Canadian friends! Yours sincerely, Carolyn.
“The Palace Guard” Charlotte MacLeod 1981
In her Boston, U.S.A. family, nearly everyone marries a cousin. She was like a little princess to her elder husband, whom she adored since she was little. After his murder in the originating volume, we cheer on her development from book to book. For instance, instead of losing their house to what she discovered was botched financial-handling; she turns it into a boarding house. Those residents make the mystery, only second to the private investigator she is slowly daring to love!
“The Cat, The Quilt, And The Corpse” Leann Sweeney 2009
“The Cat, The Professor, & The Poison” Leann Sweeney 2010
Widowed by an older husband in her early fifties, this character is dealing with the grief. They had just begun his retirement in their dream house, in a new town and living alone is hard to accept. The realistic love of family living with cats is portrayed very well by this author. She incorporates animal rights into the mysteries.
“The Christie Curse” Victoria Abbott 2013
“The Sayers Swindle” Victoria Abbott 2014
Hilarious but extremely well-written and hilarious. “Victoria Abbott” is Canada’s Mary Jane Maffini writing with her daughter, Victoria. The special background whence comes most of the humour is that the protagonist was raised by lightly criminal brothers of her Mom. She walks a straight path to employment as a rare book procurer but knows all of the… let’s call it… “tricks”! She loves and respects those who adore her, while avoiding the checkered past that her huge group of uncles took.
“A Novena For Murder” Sister Carol Anne O’Marie 1984
“Advent Of Dying” Sister Carol Anne O’Marie 1986
A retired school-teaching nun in her seventies solves mysteries that are wonderfully darker and suspenseful, for their “cozy” categorization. Real mysteries are what I prefer. She loves reading them and hides them in her prayer books; very amusing! She balances her clergy environment and retirement with what she believes is the right thing to do, as she decides how to reinvent herself.
“Aunt Dimity Beats The Devil” Nancy T. Atherton 2000
A favourite of mine, this is a strong character written with a lot of whimsy. Once poor and lonely, she is now wealthy with a husband, close-knit village, and twin sons. She helps a young lady in a strained marriage, in a weird mansion. The past they discover about a young lady who used to live there is very emotional stuff.
“The Riddle Of The Lonely House” Augusta Huiell Seaman 1935
(10) “The Girl Next Door” Augusta Huiell Seaman 1917
I can’t believe these were written one-hundred years ago! In both of these novels, Augusta created memorable characters in strenuous situations. One is widowhood with a low income, the other hiding herself from society in bizarre circumstances that can only be explained by reading them. We might call her agoraphobic, except her anxiety was situational rather than a medical condition. The lives of all of Augusta’s struggling characters change exponentially.
“Shattered Silk” Barbara Michaels 1986
Cheated on, overweight, refusing to be bullied in a tough divorce; this character looks to her Aunt for a much-needed respite, care, and guidance. She takes over a shop, where the previous owner attempted to dominate and be greedy as well. Readers really do root for this character’s triumph!
“Tom’s Midnight Garden” Philippa Pearce 1958
This can only be read to be described! It’s like time travel or teleportation. A young man meets a young lady in the past and can return to his time nightly. She was orphaned and lived with a harsh aunt. In each visit, she is older and at last full-grown. Thus his weeks of friendship with her, in her case, carry over her lifetime! Meeting her again in old age, in their shared time frame, is life-changing for them both.
“The Mystery Book Mystery” Wylly Folk St. John 1976
A young lady pushes for success at a university writer’s conference. Murder strikes around her and she attempts to solve the case. The growth in this novel is surprising for a plain-looking book.
“Charmed” Barbara Bretton 2011
Orphaned as a child, living in a town that is an old safe Haven for the outcasts of Salem, the heroine is half human and just learning magic. She is about to have a partially-magic baby with the human love of her life.
“A Vision In Velvet” Juliet Blackwell 2014
“A Haunting Is Brewing” Juliet Blackwell 2014
A witch with natural abilities was cast out of her strict-tradition Christian town as a teenager. Unused to friends or relatives to count on, she opens a successful vintage clothing shop in San Francisco, U.S.A. She fights ghouls for the pseudo-family she has built in present day. A second character in another series that adjoins this one, is forty year-old divorcée, attached to her stepson, who recently became able to see ghosts. She runs her Dad’s construction business!
“Greystones” Antonia Lamb 1966
Called from England to the U.S.A. at the unexplained death of her sister, she determines to find the truth, while protecting her young niece in a bizarre, dour house. She, the child, and her Father all change for the better.
“Lament For A Lounge Lizard” Mary Jane Maffini 2003
“Too Hot To Handle” Mary Jane Maffini 2007
An author’s career isn’t going well, there’s hardly any money left, and her ex-husband is taking too long to settle their estate. These mystery adventures would test anyone’s endurance but Mary Jane Maffini’s humour will delight those who understand a little French in particular! These are set in idyllic Québec.
(20) “Through The Door” Jodi McIsaac 2012
The love of her life left without explanation, before knowing she was pregnant. When her daughter displays crazy magical ability and her Mother appears to know things she isn’t telling; she seeks the family of the man towards whom she had felt such anger.
“The Summer Tree” Guy Gavriel Kay 1984
“The Wandering Fire” Guy Gavriel Kay 1986
Canadian university students accept a journey to a parallel world. All of them, women and men, struggle with the most immense issues possible. They learn what their roles are, to help win the war in the host’s world.
“This Side Jordan” Margaret Laurence 1960
A dual-thread story about English couples working in Africa and a local couple. They scrape together a living in the city but are torn by their village teachings and jungle relatives who think they must be wealthy. It takes bravery to succeed in the modern way. The African wife takes a big leap of faith and bravery, when her husband convinces her to have her child in a white-run hospital.
“Aurore Of The Yukon” Keith Halliday 2006
This girl and her Mother from Québec are brave enough to start a new life alone, in Yukon Territory during Canada’s gold rush in the early 1900s.
“Gold Digger” Vicki Delany 2009
A single Mother in Canada’s early 1900s, dares to partner with a man in Yukon Territory, to open a dance hall during our gold rush!
“The African Quest” Lyn Hamilton 2000
A brave forty year-old gradually manages to befriend her ex-husband and a partner in a subsequent relationship that broke-up. She is very fiesty in the face of crime on her overseas business travels.
“Deadly Appearances” Gail Bowen 1990
“Murder At The Mendel” Gail Bowen 1991
An extraordinarily resilient Canadian in her forties, overcomes the murder of a husband. She raises her sons and solves mysteries.
“Step To The Music” Phyllis A. Whitney 1953
An eighteen year-old comes of age during the American civil war, as her southern Mother deals with her beloved husband fighting for the north.
(30) “Artifacts” Mary Anna Evans 2003
Conquering poverty and slight descrimination, this lady fights to eat and keep her family’s manor house.
“The Chardonnay Charade” Ellen Crosby 2006
This young woman is renewing life after a physical disability and fought her siblings, to inherit and rebuild their parents’ vineyard.
“The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax” Dorothy Gilman 1970
The seventy year-old who dared to seek employment with the C.I.A. and whose intelligence, charm, and pure stamina get her out of desperate situations around the world.
A sixty year-old master gardener, recovering very bravely from a stroke and rallying against an alcoholic son, unexpectedly finds romance with a landscape architect.
“Night Gardening” E.L. Swann 1999
A fifty year-old widow is a doctor of biology, who is coming to terms with romance, as well as the drive to open her own plant shop.
“Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree” Joyce Lavene 2006
“Poisoned Petals” Joyce Lavene 2007
“Girl Sleuth, Nancy Drew & The Women Who Created Her” Melanie Rehak 2005
A thorough essay about how Harriet Stratameyer Adams and Mildred A. Wirt both overcame their era as well as strenuous personal lives, to both create the two versions of a book character who stands today.
“A Killer Plot” Ellery Adams 2010
A strange orphaned past. It will take a good portion of this series to discover it. In just this first book, the strong and hermit-like forty year-old seems closed-off. As soon as she develops more friendships, her compassion is very noticeable.
“The House On Tradd Street” Karen White 2008
A forty year-old southerner is determined to avoid her long-absent Mother. She shakily re-establishes a bond with her Father, who has kicked alcoholism. She has inherited from an elderly friend his mansion, with the promise to find out what happened to his own Mother when he was a child. At last, ghost literature and a treasure hunt for adults!
“The Haunting Of Maddy Clare” Simone St. James 2012
An award-winning Canadian I praised, for helping to end the drought of ghost fiction for grownups! Alone in London, England of 1929; this heroine makes ends meet as a temp. Life isn’t the same after she is sent on a trip to assist a ghost-hunter! This sounds trite but this is exceptionally well-written historical fiction to tangible detail. The young ghost too overcomes the horrible limbo she was in.
(40) “The Tale Of Halcyon Crane” Wendy Webb 2010
Another author to praise for creating grownup ghost fiction for us! I truly searched thirty years for literature exactly like these three! The heroine discovers, before her beloved elderly Dad dies, that she was parentally kidnapped at five. Receiving a note from her Mother, who discovered her just before her own death; Halcyon returns to the oddly horse-populated Minnesota, U.S.A. island she was from. She wants to defend who her Dad was and also embrace who her Mom was; a legendary photographer who could represent the emotions of her subjects in their photos.
Pleased to find a grown-up group in diversity, I needed to clarify what it comprised. The website they refer us to, is verbatim what they copied! I got no comment reply and their e-mail address doesn’t work. Come on, ladies! I searched, to respect their vision. I will choose scenarios in with non-traditional careers, faith, or societal roles. There are no ranks except to recommend 12 books a year. I have surpassed that this spring. :)
When I find protagonists of at least 40, I am pleased! Short stature, curves above size 8 are also herein. If hostesses disagree with any of this and let me know, it would mean they visited my blog page ~ which I would appreciate! Here is what I finished so far. Reviews are linked after I write each one.
1) “The Palace Guard” Charlotte MacLeod 1981 * A widow establishes her own boarding house in the early 1980s.
2) “Tempest In The Tea Leaves” Kari Lee Townsend 2011 * A young lady forgoes her parents’ wealth, to live and work as a psychic.
3) “The Cat, The Quilt, And The Corpse” Leann Sweeney 2009 * A fifty year-old widow solves mysteries.
4) “Larceny And Old Lace” Tamar Myers 1996 * A short, forty year-old, divorcée makes her own way in antiques. Her 70 year-old Mom dates more than she does.
5) “The Christie Curse” Victoria Abbott 2013 * A graduate in rare books, avoids the criminality of uncles who raised her.
6) “A Novena For Murder” Sister Carol Anne O’Marrie 1984 * A retired nun solves mysteries.
7) “Death Of A Literary Widow” Robert Barnard 1979 * A secret is unearthed between two elderly ex-wives who have lived together.
8) “Astrology For Cats” Traudl & Walter Reiner 1991 * In the category of new age, although most belief systems are old!
9) “The Riddle Of The Lonely House” Augusta Huiell Seaman 1935 * Featuring a single Mother.
10) “Shattered Silk” Barbara Michaels 1986 * Starring a plus-size beauty, free and happy after divorce.
11) “Body Of Intution” Claire Daniels 2002 * Earning a living as a psychic.
12) “Fool’s Gold” Juliet Blackwell 2013 * A witch who solves mysteries.
13) “The Ghost Of Thomas Kempe” Penelope Lively 1973 * The ghost of an occult practitioner.
14) “Charmed” Barbara Bretton 2011 * A village of witches and supernatural creatures.
15) “A Vision InVelvet” Juliet Blackwell 2014 * A witch who solves mysteries.
16) “Greystones” Antonia Lamb 1966 * This story features a widower and his daughter.
17) “Murder On Location” Howard Engel 1982 * Featuring a detective Canadian Jew.
18) “The Unmasking Of ‘Ksan” Eric Wilson 1986 * A British Columbia Aboriginal race.
19) “Wish Upon A Unicorn” Vicki Blum 1999 * A world of fairies and other otherwordly beings.
20) “The Setting Lake Sun” J.R. Léveillé 2001 * The sexual relationship of a 21 year-old Métisse and an elderly Japanese.
21) “The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float” Farley Mowat 1969 * About the little-known Basque and Newfoundland people of the 1960s, in Canada’s eastern corner.
22) “The Street” Mordecai Richler 1969 * About Montréal, Québec Jews in the 1940s.
23) “Lament For A Lounge Lizard” Mary Jane Maffini 2003 * Featuring French Canadian village characters and silly sign rules!
I decided to compete in challenges with prizes. I’ve teased our Italian hostess about her maximum being too low. However I’ve made exceptions, such as groups hosted by ladies with whom I am friendly. Thus I am re-joining Valentina thrice: dropping off all books by women. I omit male authors posing as women: E.J. Copperman and “Miranda” James! I read 102 women authors last year, so this will be a walk in the park!
(01) “The Palace Guard” Charlotte MacLeod 1981
(02) “The Corpse In Oozak’s Pond” Charlotte MacLeod 1987
(03) “Tempest In The Tea Leaves” Kari Lee Townsend 2011
(04) “The Cat, The Quilt, And The Corpse” Leann Sweeney 2009
(05) “Larceny And Old Lace” Tamar Myers 1996
(06) “The Christie Curse” Victoria Abbott 2013
(07) “The Cat Who Played Brahms” Lilian Jackson Braun 1987
(08) “A Novena For Murder” Sister Carol Anne O’Marrie 1984
(09) “Dyeing Wishes” Molly MacRae 2013
(10) “Aunt Dimity Beats The Devil” Nancy T. Atherton 2000
(11) “Mystery Of The Piper’s Ghost” Zillah K. MacDonald 1954
(12) “Cats Know Best” Lesley Anne Ivory 1988
(13) “The Wishing Tree” Ruth Chew 1980
(14) “The Riddle Of The Lonely House” Augusta Huiell Seaman 1935
(15) “Shattered Silk” Barbara Michaels 1986
(16) “Body Of Intution” Claire Daniels 2002
(17) “Fool’s Gold” Juliet Blackwell 2013
(18) “Selected Poems: The Vision Tree” Phyllis Webb 1982
(19) “Tom’s Midnight Garden” Philippa Pearce 1958
(20) “The Ghost Of Thomas Kempe” Penelope Lively 1973
(21) “When Midnight Comes” Carol Beach York 2002
(22) “The Mystery Of The Other Girl” Wylly Folk St. John 1978
(23) “Stars Near & Far” Robin Dexter 1996
(24) “Shadows At The Fair” Lea Wait 2002
(25) “Whose Body?” Dorothy L. Sayers 1923
(26) “The Mystery Book Mystery” Wylly Folk St. John 1976
(27) “Charmed” Barbara Bretton 2011
(28) “A Vision InVelvet” Juliet Blackwell 2014
(29) “Greystones” Antonia Lamb 1966
(30) “Unsung Heroes Of The Royal Canadian Air Force” Cynthia J. Faryon 2003
(31) “You Can’t Do That In Canada!” Bev Spencer 2000
(32) “Crazy Canadian Trivia” Pat Hancock 2000
(33) “Dinosaur Hunters: Uncovering The Hidden Remains Of Canada’s Ancient Giants”
Lisa Murphy-Lamb 2003
(34) “Wish Upon A Unicorn” Vicki Blum 1999
(35) “A Hill For Looking” Martha Brooks 1982
(36) “Sonnets From The Portuguese” Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1850