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5 Books with Strong Female Characters in Celebration of Women's Equality Day

5 Books with Strong Female Characters in Celebration of Women's Equality Day

5 Books with Strong Female Characters in Celebration of Women's Equality Day

1 - Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing, and Longing by Elissa Altman

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From the publisher:

After surviving a traumatic childhood in nineteen-seventies New York and young adulthood living in the shadow of her flamboyant mother, Rita, a makeup-addicted former television singer, Elissa Altman has managed to build a very different life, settling in Connecticut with her wife of nearly twenty years. After much time, therapy, and wine, Elissa is at last in a healthy place, still orbiting around her mother but keeping far enough away to preserve the stable, independent world she has built as a writer and editor. Then Elissa is confronted with the unthinkable: Rita, whose days are spent as a flâneur, traversing Manhattan from the Clinique counters at Bergdorf to Bloomingdale’s and back again, suffers an incapacitating fall, leaving her completely dependent upon her daughter.

Now Elissa is forced to finally confront their profound differences, Rita’s yearning for beauty and glamour, her view of the world through her days in the spotlight, and the money that has mysteriously disappeared in the name of preserving youth. To sustain their fragile mother-daughter bond, Elissa must navigate the turbulent waters of their shared lives, the practical challenges of caregiving for someone who refuses to accept it, the tentacles of narcissism, and the mutual, frenetic obsession that has defined their relationship.

Motherland is a story that touches every home and every life, mapping the ferocity of maternal love, moral obligation, the choices women make about motherhood, and the possibility of healing. Filled with tenderness, wry irreverence, and unforgettable characters, it is an exploration of what it means to escape from the shackles of the past only to have to face them all over again.

2 - When I Was White by Sarah Valentine

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From the publisher:

At the age of 27, Sarah Valentine discovered that she was not, in fact, the white girl she had always believed herself to be. She learned the truth of her paternity: that her father was a black man. And she learned the truth about her own identity: mixed race.

And so Sarah began the difficult and absorbing journey of changing her identity from white to black. In this memoir, Sarah details the story of the discovery of her identity, how she overcame depression to come to terms with this identity, and, perhaps most importantly, asks: why? Her entire family and community had conspired to maintain her white identity. The supreme discomfort her white family and community felt about addressing issues of race–her race–is a microcosm of race relationships in America.

A black woman who lived her formative years identifying as white, Sarah's story is a kind of Rachel Dolezal in reverse, though her "passing" was less intentional than conspiracy. This memoir is an examination of the cost of being black in America, and how one woman threw off the racial identity she'd grown up with, in order to embrace a new one.

When I Was White: A Memoir
By Sarah Valentine

3 - Death in the Covenant by D.A. Bartley

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From the publisher:

The Church is facing a demographic crisis like never before. How far will leaders go to grow Mormon families? And how far will they go to keep their plan secret?
Detective Abish “Abbie” Taylor returned to the mountain town of Pleasant View, Utah, hoping for a quiet life. But that hope dissipates when she wakes to an unsettling phone call. Arriving at the scene of a fatal car accident, she discovers that the victim was one of the most beloved leaders of the Church―and an old family friend.

Abbie is skeptical when her father insists the death was not an accident, but in an attempt to patch up their relationship, she takes a few days off from her job as the sole detective in the police department, and heads to Colonia Juárez, a former LDS colony in Mexico. There, she uncovers a plan hearkening back to the Church’s history of polygamy. But Abbie knows too well that bringing secrets to light can be deadly.

Abbie realizes with a jolt that her investigation could cost her father his job and possibly get him excommunicated. Time is running out for Abbie to save her father’s position―and her own life―as dark forces close in, and the outlook for Pleasant View turns decidedly unpleasant.

4 - Hocus Pocus Magic Shop by Abigail Drake

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From the publisher:

When chemist Grace O'Leary finds a book of magic spells hidden in her Aunt Lucy's run-down magic shop, the scientist in her itches to try them out. She mixes up a batch of love potions as a joke, and has to face the consequences when they actually seem to work.

Her dream of becoming a professor is in peril, and time is running out to finish research for her dissertation. She can't handle any more distractions, but the magic shop is on the verge of closing, her aunt has become forgetful and confused, and a handsome reporter named Dario Fontana keeps sniffing around for a story. The last thing she needs is for him to find out about the love potions and expose her as fraud, but she begins to trust him, and the sizzling chemistry between them is soon too powerful to deny.

With her personal and professional life in chaos, and her budding relationship with Dario in jeopardy, Grace is faced with a difficult choice. Fixing what is broken means going against every logical bone in her body. Can Grace learn to silence her scientific brain long enough to accept the truth about magic...and also about herself?

5 - The Trumpet Lesson by Dianne Romain

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From the publisher:

Fascinated by a young woman’s performance of “The Lost Child” in Guanajuato’s central plaza, painfully shy expatriate Callie Quinn asks the woman for a trumpet lesson ― and ends up confronting her longing to know her own lost child.

When Callie became pregnant in 1960s rural Missouri over thirty years ago, her outraged father, with her mother’s acquiescence, insisted that no one know―and Callie complied. She went away, and she gave up her baby. She did it to protect the baby’s father―a black teen―from the era’s racist violence.

When Pamela, the trumpeter whose music flows from her heart, enters Callie’s life, Callie begins to dream of opening her own heart. But instead she remains silent, hiding her longing and risking giving up everyone she dares to love in order to safeguard her secret. Callie tells herself she does so to protect her daughter, but ultimately, in order to speak, she must confront the deepest reasons for her silence―the ones she’s been concealing even from herself.

The Trumpet Lesson: A Novel
By Dianne Romain
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