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Classic Books by Female Authors

Throughout history, novels by male writers have tended to dominate literary scenes. Female writers, like the Bronte sisters, chose to write using male pseudonyms, knowing this was necessary for their work to be taken more seriously. That being said, the influence of books by female writers is undeniable, with works by Austen, the Brontes and other brilliant authors on this list becoming some of the most well-known works in literary history.

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Little Women, L. M. Alcott

This classic story follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—as they transition from childhood into womanhood. The bond shared between these sisters is a powerful one and it is this which carries them through the joys and challenges of their young lives. Filled with family, sisterhood, friendship, love and laughter, Little Women is a wonderfully heartwarming read that has been loved by children and adults alike for decades.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

First published in 1813, Austen’s Regency novel is considered a classic. The story follows the lives of the Bennett sisters, centering on the witty Elizabeth Bennett and the unsociable Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. A feisty and vivacious heroine, Elizabeth challenges the gender norms of her time, desiring to retain her own independence. Though the novel places marriage and romance at its heart, Austen’s satirical critique of her own society sheds a different light on her greatest fictional work.

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Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte’s psychologically driven novel is another timeless classic. The story follows

Jane Eyre, a tormented orphan who later becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall, a grand house owned by the mysterious Mr Rochester. Though plain and poor, Jane is fiercely intelligent and desires to take control of her destiny. Bronte’s use of first-person narrative in this novel is considered revolutionary as readers dive into the mind of one of literature’s greatest female protagonists.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte is known for her one and only novel, Wuthering Heights. Set on the wild Yorkshire moors, it is a dark tale of passion and obsession, jealousy and revenge. Though the novel’s amoral themes shocked Victorian audiences, today it is considered a masterpiece of gothic literary fiction. Bronte’s portrayal of jealousy and revenge and the heated relationship between Catherine Linton and the brooding Heathcliff is captivating and readers cannot help but become immersed in this dark and thrilling tale.

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Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca begins with the meeting of the unnamed protagonist and recently widowed Maxim de Winter in Monaco during the 1930s. Romance blossoms and following a swift marriage, the couple return to Mr de Winter's home in England. Manderley is utterly beautiful in its grandeur, but a darkness lingers there. The late Mrs de Winter’s presence is everywhere, following the narrator wherever she goes. Filled with darkness, deceit and death, this novel entraps readers in the de Winter’s complicated world.

Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era, this epic novel follows the fiery Scarlett O’Hara as she attempts to escape a life of poverty and hardship. It is a tale of struggle, touching upon hard-hitting issues such as slavery, starvation, rape and death. Despite being a powerful anti-war novel, it is often remembered as one of the greatest love stories of all time. Scarlett’s unrequited love for the married Ashley Wilkes and her passionate connection with the dashing Rhett Butler have captured the hearts and minds of thousands of readers.

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Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The first book in Montgomery’s ‘Anne’ series tells of the young orphan, Anne Shirley, and her adventures at Green Gables farm in the fictional town of Avonlea. Charming and spirited, wilful and intelligent, Anne is one of literature’s best-loved characters. Though she often gets herself into scrapes and possesses a quick and fiery temper, her good intentions win out in the end. Anne lives in a world of imagination, spurred on by her free spirit. She is a timeless character loved by adults and children alike for decades.



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