I am thrilled today to welcome Jessica Spotswood, author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles. She's here to share her favourite heroines from YA historical fiction (and don't worry, she has excellent taste). Welcome, Jess!
Top 10 Historical YA Heroines
I don't just love writing historical fiction - I love reading it, too. And one of my favorite things about it - as with any book, really - is finding clever, strong, independent girls to cheer for. Here are ten (okay, technically 16 - I cheated a little) of my favorites, along with some reasons why I think they're amazing:
1. Rose from ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein. Rose is an incredibly winsome character. An American pilot who's captured and imprisoned in a women's concentration camp during WWII, she writes poetry to keep herself and her fellow prisoners sane.
2. Maddie & Verity from CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein. The friendship between Maddie and Verity is incredible. Both of these girls are such brave and compelling characters! I won't say more for fear of spoilers.
3. Josie Moraine from OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys. Josie's grown up in the sordid French Quarter of the 1950s, full of mobsters and prostitutes, but she dreams of something better for herself. I absolutely identified with her yearning for more than the life that she's grown up with, even as she stumbles about how to achieve it.
4. Sophronia from ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE by Gail Carriger. In the first book of the Finishing School series, Sophronia is sent off to a most unusual ladies' school aboard an airship to learn espionage and she takes to it amazingly well. She's hilarious and incredibly resourceful.
5. Deryn from the LEVIATHAN series by Scott Westerfeld. Speaking of resourceful, Deryn Sharp is an intrepid English girl who disguises herself as a boy to serve aboard a giant living airship. She's clever and brave and determined not to let anyone discover her secret so she can keep doing what she loves best.
6. Kitty Tylney from GILT by Katy Longshore. Kitty is brought to the court of Henry VIII when her childhood friend Catherine Howard is made Queen. Kitty's an incredibly loyal friend, even when her spoiled, selfish BFF doesn't deserve it, and even when the price could be her own head.
7. Cecily and Gwenhwyfar from THE WICKED AND THE JUST by J. Anderson Coats. Cecily is a spoiled English girl whose father has just moved them to the heathen outpost of 1290s Wales; Gwenhwyfar is the Welsh girl who works as her maidservant. Neither of them are very nice - but they're both remarkably sympathetic and fascinating, especially when the Welsh revolt and the power dynamic's flipped upside down.
8. Maggie from RELIC by Renee Collins. Maggie's a spunky orphan girl determined to care for her little sister by working dangerous relic magic - while fighting ghost coyotes and dealing with duplicitous Haciendos and sexy cowboys! I totally want to visit Maggie's world because it's so cool, unlike anything else I've ever read.
9. Queen Elizabeth's Maids of Honor from MAID OF SECRETS by Jenn McGowan. I've only read the first book in this series so far, which stars mimic, pickpocket, and spy Meg Fellowes - but I love the premise that all five Maids of Honor have different talents (the mimic, the heartbreaker, the scholar, the seer, the warrior). I love the loyalty they show their young queen and each other.
10. Zara from THE SPRINGSWEET by Saundra Mitchell. After the death of her fiance, Zara goes West to the Oklahoma prairie to stay with her aunt and discovers a remarkable gift for divining water. Zara is incredibly strong as she opens herself up to an entirely new life and falls in love again.
Thank you, Jessica! I love your picks. There are some heroines there that I'm really excited to meet!
About Jessica's books:
Born Wicked, Star Cursed, and the upcoming Sisters' Fate.
To avoid spoilers for the series, here's Born Wicked's synopsis:
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.
Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.
If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.
Jessica has very kindly offered a giveaway for US/Can residents of one copy of a paperback of either Born Wicked or Star Cursed, whichever the winner would like!
Some Rules (aka the not so fun but important part):
~ This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only.
~ No P.O. boxes.
~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email. The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email, otherwise they forfeit their prize and I will choose another winner, who must abide by the same rules.
~ Neither Jess nor I are not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
~ No cheating! In this case, I have the right to disqualify entries as I see fit.
~ By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to these rules.
Best of luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway