History Through Women’s Eyes: Bold New Historical Fiction with Women Leads

Woman with blond hair wearing old garments writes with a quill sitting behind a desk with an owl in a historical setting
04/27/2020

New Historical Fiction that Will Change How You See History

Three inspiring works of historical fiction that challenge old perspectives

You’ve heard the slogan “The Future Is Female,” but what about the past? History has long been focused on the “important men” of bygone eras and it’s too often ignored the women who witnessed and influenced events that would shape the modern world, and this is true of both historical fiction and non-fiction.

Thankfully, a growing number of new historical fiction titles are changing that. They reimagine important historical moments as seen through the eyes of their female protagonists, and they couldn’t come at a better time. The world needs more feminist stories now as much as ever.

Women’s voices have been silenced for much of history. The further back you go, the harder it is to find their stories. Today, writers like Sue Monk Kidd and Lisa Wingate are helping us fill in the gaps with well-researched historical fiction that shows us how women struggled, survived and thrived throughout history.

Why Listen to Historical Fiction?

History teaches us what happened; historical fiction lets us feel what happened. When we listen to historical fiction audiobooks, we experience the facts of the past through a character’s emotional journey.

Without women protagonists in these stories, we’re only getting half the picture of what it might have been like to live through historical times. By listening to historical fiction written from new points of view, we start to complete the picture.

Get Started with these Recommendations

If you want to start discovering new titles that put women first, but aren’t sure where to get started, we have tons of recommendations. Some of the most anticipated titles of 2020 are historical fiction from bestselling writers and rising stars. These are bold new narratives that challenge our male-centric perspectives on history and imagine what it would’ve been like to be a woman during pivotal moments in the past. These titles allow you to step into their shoes and see history with fresh eyes.

The Book of Longings

There aren’t many women’s voices that have survived from as far back as the 1st century, but Sue Monk Kidd imagines what it would have been like for a woman in ancient Galilee, secretly studying and writing down the stories of her peers when her life becomes entangled with a young Jesus Christ.

The 1st century can feel like ancient history, but the events of the time had long-lasting repercussions that shaped society today. The best we may be able to do is imagine what the women of the time could have been capable of. Sue Monk Kidd uses meticulous research to reconstruct life in the distant past and imagine the struggles that people of the time had to face.

The Book of Longings: A Novel

Author:
Sue Monk Kidd
Narrator:
Mozhan Marnò, Sue Monk Kidd
Length:
13:27
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

The Book of Lost Friends

If you’re looking for a title that sinks its teeth into tough issues and the history of the American South, this month sees the release of Lisa Wingate’s The Book of Lost Friends. Wingate explores the post-Civil War South through the eyes of three women from vastly different backgrounds who are forced together on a journey from Louisiana to Texas, taking dangerous roads rife with vigilantes and soldiers. It’s a story that dives into the legacy of the Civil War, emancipation and lost and broken families across the South.

The founder of the Red Cross, Clara Barton, once claimed that the female nurses, soldiers and family providers in the Civil War advanced the position of women by at least 50 years. Titles like The Book of Lost Friends give us insights into some of the ways that lives were changed during the social tumult of the post-Civil War years. Women’s advancement has come a long way, and while there’s still plenty more work to do, the achievements of the past are a reminder that it can be done.

The Book of Lost Friends: A Novel

Author:
Lisa Wingate
Narrator:
Sophie Amoss, Sullivan Jones, Robin Miles, Bahni Turpin, Lisa Wingate, Lisa Flanagan, Dominic Hoffman
Length:
15:06
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

The Age of Light

Enter the bohemian cabarets of 1930s Paris with Lee Miller, the real-life model-turned-photographer who apprenticed under surrealist Man Ray and went on to become Vogue’s war correspondent during WWII.

This debut from writer Whitney Scharer will inspire anyone pursuing (or dreaming about) a career as an artist in these turbulent times. Miller was a figure who seized opportunity and always challenged the status quo. Scharer’s portrait shows a woman both fiercely independent and vulnerable to the self-doubt that can strike anyone who dares to be different.

Miller once famously said, “I’d rather take a photograph than be one.” The Age of Light lets us in on the world of one of bohemian Paris’s most compelling and overlooked artists. Miller was a pioneer in photography and made huge strides for women in journalism. Her story finally gets its due in Scharer’s complex and sensitive portrayal.

The Age of Light: A Novel

Author:
Whitney Scharer
Narrator:
Therese Plummer
Length:
11:47
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Start an Audiobook Club for Historical Fiction

Looking for a way to listen to titles like these and put together an awesome group to talk about them? Check out our guide on how to start an audiobook club and bring people closer together (even remotely) listening to inventive historical fiction. With Audible, hosting a virtual audiobook club and sharing titles couldn’t be easier.

A great listen makes you want to shout about it from the rooftops, talk about it until late into the night and make all your best friends listen to it. Audiobook clubs scratch that itch and give you a chance to enjoy fiction and literature audiobooks and entertainment in good company. You can celebrate women’s voices with these listens and more right here on Audible.

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All articles: fiction