10 Must-Read Books by Women Authors

10 Must-Read Books by Women Authors

Bookness is a sweet, independent bookstore in Mudgeeraba on the Gold Coast, run by besties and bibliophiles Nadine May and Anita Munro. 

We asked Nadine and Anita for their top ten pick for books written by women, and these are their choices. In no particular order:

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

This is a poignant and engrossing family story that asks, “Can love make a broken person whole?’. Each character has virtues and major flaws resonating with real life.  You cannot read it without opening up, forgiving, seeing yourself and the relationships we weave in a new way.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry

This book showcases the importance of stories that can bring us together and create unbreakable bonds. Great read for those who love a dual period mystery.

Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Some books, you grow into them, identify with the protagonist, side with her, love her ‘team’ and cheer them on to the finish line.  Elisabeth Knott, a brave, strong and beautiful protagonist, is struggling to succeed in her battle against the ugly patriarchy in 1950s and 1960s, the history we were never told. The frenetic, wonderful writing verges on the comical at times, but this is only an illusion. The book is funny yet dark and sinister too. This is biting satire at it best.

Reasons Not to Worry by Brigid Delaney

This book helps the reader deal with modern life issues with ancient Grego-Roman philosophy. Easy to read and understand, introduction to stoicism that you can keep going back to.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Thought provoking and deeply moving novel that showcases how childhood can shape us. This story has all the traits of a great read - a likeable main character, murder mystery, atmosphere, drama, coming of age, and romance. Twists right up to the very end.

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

A homespun gentle yet powerful book set in 2020, New Hampshire on a cherry farm. It is the story of a happy marriage, contentment, family, and secrets of a mother’s past revealed.  Lara has three daughters who are intrigued and want all the details of her mysterious past as an actress dating a famous actor. The story takes us back to her first love, embarking on a bittersweet story of love, loss, betrayals, and endings. An exquisite read.

The Art of Breaking Ice by Rachel Mead

A compelling and complete novel of drama and history, based on a real-life story.  It relates to the journey to Antarctica of Artist Nel Law, aboard the Magga Dan, to become the first woman to set foot there, a domain allocated to men. Written with actual experience of such a journey, it deals cleverly with more than one ‘Art of Breaking Ice’ – not only in the southern polar waters but also between people and their mind sets, personalities, relationships, current beliefs, and individual fears, hence opening other views to those accepted for many centuries.

Wifedom – Mrs Orwell’s Invisible Life by Anna Funder

An intriguing account of the early 20th century married life of Eric and Eileen Blair, “they call him Eric, but to her he’s George, the name he’s chosen to write under” – aka George Orwell and his wife, Eileen O’Shaughnessy. Letters and information, direct from close friends and colleagues, provide the background to the writings and books in George’s name, in particular the well-known and acknowledged ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’. Appearances can be deceptive, but now exposed. With Eileen relegated to the role of ‘Wifedom’, it’s not until she has gone that he recognizes the brilliance of this gentle and intelligent lady. The writings and lives are truly examples of Orwell’s ‘double-thinking’.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This is a heartfelt and touching narrative of one woman’s emergence from adversity. The protagonist, Eleanor, is cast adrift in the real world with no glimpse of a safe harbour. Eleanor has shut her eyes and mind to her horrific past and seems inextricably bound to her mother, seemingly a pathological liar and a human monster. Eleanor survives the complexities of life through strict ritual, being alone and vodka. She is living on the most superficial level; until she accidentally ‘rescues’ an old man and then despite her fearful reluctance, life, love, laughter and liberation follow. A bittersweet story that resonates on so many levels. We recognise ourselves in Eleanor, we recognise the people who go on and do live despite the pain, we recognise that there is a way out. This is a hopeful and compelling story for our times.

Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

If you haven’t already read this national bestseller (ABIA Book of the Year 2021) it is definitely one to buy and keep in your home library.  It is a beautiful, inspiring, and intimate look at what really are the essential qualities of internal happiness that help sustain us through the dark times in our lives. 


Want more book suggestions, reviews or stories of authors? Grab a copy of Nevertheless Journal One, Two or Three to read more...