Today is International Women’s Day so I’m celebrating that by sharing 6 kick-ass female characters I loved reading about. Strong, unique women who captured my attention and got into my heart with their stories.
This is usually my Top 5 format but, when looking back through my reads to find female characters that I loved, I just couldn’t leave out any of these 6. Enjoy!
6 Kick-Ass Female Characters
/ Aisling – Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling by Sarah Breen & Emer McLysaght
I had to Google to see if Aisling had a surname, as I couldn’t recall one, but as far as I can tell, she doesn’t (correct me if I’m wrong!) She doesn’t need one though – like Madonna and Cher, Aisling is iconic. Based on a certain type of Irish girl (find out more here) she has a heart of gold and a positive outlook on life that infuses us all with a sense of happiness.
She is exactly who you want as a friend (four books into the series, she feels so real to me) – kind, honest, thoughtful, practical and loads of fun. Absolutely kick-ass.
/ Gifty – Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Another surname-less character (the best ones don’t need them!) Gifty has carved a permanent place in my mind. When her brother dies from a drug overdose, she dedicates her career as a neuroscientist to researching the causes of addiction.
She balances her religious upbringing with her scientific mind to find her place in the world. Clever, compassionate and so unique. She uses her own pain as a force for good, while being so vulnerable and human too. That’s why she’s on this list.
/ Bridie Devine – Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
If you want a woman ahead of her time who pops off the page, open Things in Jars and spend time with Bridie Devine. A private detective in Victorian London (1863), when women didn’t tend to find themselves in such a job.
She is a woman who knows her mind and is in pursuit of the truth. She dominates what is considered a male profession. She is bold, inquisitive and has an enigmatic relationship with a ghost (yes, now you’re intrigued… read Things in Jars!)
/ Fleetwood Shuttleworth – The Familiars by Stacey Halls
Let’s start with her name – you know someone called Fleetwood Shuttleworth isn’t going to take crap from anyone. Even better – she’s a 17 year old relatively new bride, who doesn’t act as you’d expect.
The Familiars is historical fiction set in 1612 and based around the Pendle witch trials. Fleetwood has opinions and stands up for her rights in a time when women had none, when women were burnt to death for being ‘witches’, she fights against the witchcraft trope and stands up for her friends. And we all know how important that character trait is.
/ Reese – Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Reese is a transgender woman and, for me, the star of Detransition, Baby. She felt so real; flawed, full of heart, scathing and funny. A mix of questionable decision making and blinding loyalty made her one of the most complex, interesting characters I’ve encountered in a while. My type of girl.
I was particularly taken by Reese’s longing for motherhood and the way she always supported the ones she loves. Her strong, feminine energy was infectious.
/ Susannah Chapman – People of Abandoned Character by Claire Whitfield
What would you do if you suspected your husband was Jack the Ripper? Well, if you’re Susannah Chapman, you try to catch him out. A great, layered and complex character who is vulnerable but has a real feisty edge with a highly enjoyable sarcastic, cutting tone that meant you were never quite sure what she would do next. Always exciting.
There’s a reason Susannah is my 3rd character from a historical novel on this list; it’s so interesting to me to read about eras when women didn’t have a voice or independence. That these stories get to show women who broke out from the norm and give a feminist reading to historical events is just so engrossing to me.
What amazing female character do you love? Let me know below!