Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Five difficult women in historical fiction

Shelley Blanton-Stroud grew up in California’s Central Valley, the daughter of Dust Bowl immigrants who made good on their ambition to get out of the field. She recently retired from teaching writing at Sacramento State University and still consults with writers in the energy industry. She serves as President of the Board of 916 Ink, an arts-based creative writing nonprofit for children, and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at Claremont McKenna College. She recently stepped down from co-directing Stories on Stage Sacramento, where actors perform the stories of established and emerging authors. Copy Boy was her first Jane Benjamin Novel, Tomboy her second. The third, Poster Girl, is new in bookstores. Blanton-Stroud and her husband live in Sacramento, California, surrounded by photos of their sons, their partners, and their nearly perfect grandchild.

At CrimeReads she tagged five favorite difficult women in historical fiction, including:
Grace Marks, in Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace

(Published in 1996, set in 1843.) Based on a true story, Grace is a domestic servant and convicted murderer. A young doctor researches her case, trying to figure out whether she’s innocent or guilty. Grace’s life revolves around survival, not conventional goals of power or status. But, again, she’s an unreliable narrator, making the reader second-guess the truth of her motivations and their own empathy.
Read about another entry on the list.

Alias Grace is among Paraic O'Donnell's seven top contemporary novels about the Victorian era, L.S. Hilton's top ten female-fronted thrillers, Rebecca Jane Stokes's top seven books for fans of Orange Is The New Black and Tracy Chevalier's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue