Strong Female Leads in Women's Fiction...



I have written over twenty books and I am proud to admit that , as I start each and every novel, my main focus is creating a strong woman who has a strength over adversity story to tell.

My branding tagline is ‘Inspiration, empowerment & romance…one book at a time’ so it’s important that I deliver to readers what I’ve promised.

Throughout history women have strived for change and achieved incredible feats people often deemed impossible. They’ve secured the vote, they’ve flown aeroplanes, they’ve climbed mountains and they’ve discovered medical cures. Women are powerful, resilient, amazing...

As a women’s fiction novelist, it’s incredibly important to me that I reflect the inner strength and tenacity of women. I want my readers to recognise the heroine’s struggles, hopes and dreams. I want their hearts, souls and minds to be at the forefront of their imaginations as I transport my readers to someone else’s world.

Some have a complete misconception about romance or women’s fiction novels and their heroines – yes, there were definitely swooning ladies and non-consensual sex. Not to mention, verbal, mental and physical abuse, but there has always been strong, female leads, too.

I would argue that every one of Jane Austen’s heroines was strong, often opinionated and hell-bent of getting what she wants out of life. Elizabeth Bennett is no shrinking violent, neither is Elinor or her sister, Marianne in Sense & Sensibility. Although, love and the pursuit of eternal emotional happiness and marriage are definitely present in Austen’s novels, so are a woman’s determination, self-worth and personal empowerment.

My Pennington’s department store series is set in the early 20th century and the theme is female empowerment. I purposely set out to highlight an Edwardian women’s issue in each book and have my heroines fight to be heard, fight for change and, in the end, succeed. I truly believe it’s these kinds of heroines readers want in their fiction and, maybe, they always have.

It is often portrayed in period dramas and films how women would devour romance novels, hide away and read them, secretly revelling in…what? Are we really supposed to believe the fascination and enthrallment was all about the grand hero coming along to sweep the heroine off her feet?

Pfft, I think not! Wasn’t it really about the reader watching the heroine’s journey, relishing how she overcame societal and familial objections and obstacles? How the heroine defiantly refused to be held back, caged and controlled? Think of Jane Eyre, Becky Sharp and Scarlet O’Hara.

Women’s fiction has had a pretty derogatory reputation in the past, but I think that has changed. I think women know they are going to get (and expect) more than a love story. Today’s woman is ambitious, empowered and strong and, yes, she might want to fall in love, marry and have a family, but that does not mean those things are everything she wants.

And why shouldn’t she have it all?

There are inspirational women all around us, past and present. From the suffragists and suffragettes who ensured the vote, from the female doctors, surgeons and scientists who broke through male-dominated barriers, to entrepreneurial mothers raising children and running their own businesses.
I, for one, intend to keep strong female leads at the heart of my books and hope to inspire, empower and romance every single one of my readers for many years to come!

Happy reading!

Rachel

Make sure you check out my books page for my latest series and other novels!


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