Women in today’s fiction are often brave, confident and self-sufficient. In this respect, they reflect modern society.
In the Kim Reynolds mystery series, for instance, Kim, a quiet, introverted librarian of moral integrity, solves murders. She teams up with tough Bert St. Croix, police detective and woman of color, as well as her fiancé, Lt. Mike Gardner.
In BLOOD FAMILY, 5th novel in the series, Kim is intent on finding her biological father. Unfortunately after locating him, James Shaw dies unexpectedly. It is up to Kim to connect with the family she has never known. In doing so, she discovers a half-sister who is in need of emotional support. Kim is concerned that Claire Shaw is being exploited and wants to help her. Kim also learns that Claire’s stepmother died under mysterious circumstances and her stepbrother disappeared. When Kim becomes involved, her life is placed in danger, but she refuses to stop her pursuit until the truth is uncovered.
There are many empowered women in mystery fiction, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple for one. The P.I. novel was male-dominated until the late 1970’s and early 80’s when writers such as Sara Paretsky, Marcia Miller and Sue Grafton began creating women investigators who were as tough as men. These novels offered more in-depth characterization and, in the case of Paretsky, a social agenda.
In romance fiction, no longer is the-too-dumb-to-live female in distress who needs rescuing particularly popular. Women want to read about females with strength of character who are the equal and can go toe to toe with an alpha male. Jayne Ann Krentz’s romantic suspense novels are good examples. Nora Roberts also gives us strong, competent female protagonists.
Today, more women than ever have an “I can do” philosophy. They often run their own businesses, serve their community, while still nurturing their children, and being supportive wives. That sense of female empowerment is increasingly reflected in literature.
Your comments welcome here. What empowered female characters can you think of? As a reader and/or writer what books reflecting female empowerment would you recommend—either your own or those of others?