Welcome to 11/11/11. I hope you are reading this at 11:11, too. ;-)
In my look this week at strong women in fiction, I've referenced a number of other people's lists of good books and I've mentioned some of the strong real women in my personal past. Today I want to share three of the strong fictional women who have also influenced my writing and my life.
One of the first non-picture books I can remember reading cover to cover was A LANTERN IN HER HAND. This book, by Bess Streeter Aldrich, told the story of a powerful pioneer woman on the American plains, doing much with little. I've admired her my whole life and she is influencing the character Eliza in my current work-in-progress.
As a young mother I laughed and wept with Anjuli, the heroine of THE FAR PAVILIONS. M.M. Kaye's masterpiece is set in Colonial India where any woman's life is severely restricted and Juli's is even moreso, and yet she makes courageous decisions, choosing love and loyalty over the easy way out and simply surviving when many would not.
Despite some of the really stupid decisions she makes in her personal life, I can't help admiring Scarlett O'Hara, the flawed but strong central figure in Margaret Mitchell's class, GONE WITH THE WIND. She also makes some tough right choices and helps others to survive during the grueling years of the American Civil War.
I commend these books and these women to you. May they ever influence my work in healthy, positive ways.