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Review: The Heroine’s Bookshelf, Erin Blakemore

the heroine's bookshelfIn times of stress, there’s almost nothing better than rereading a cozy favorite book and shutting out the world. And who better to remind us of how to be the heroines of our own lives than the heroines of our favorite books? From Jane Eyre, my own personal favorite, to The Color Purple, Blakemore takes a closer look at our favorite female characters, the books they star in, and the authors who wrote them. She not only isolates a few of the greatest traits of these heroines, but explains how we can take them away and use them in our own lives.

The Heroine’s Bookshelf was everywhere in the book blogosphere last month and with all the praise it garnered, I couldn’t resist getting a copy for myself. So when it popped up on Amazon Vine, I eagerly requested it, just knowing I’d love a book about so many of my favorite female characters. It’s difficult for a book to live up to those high expectations, but this one managed just that. It’s a delightful, heartening little read, that reminds us we’re not alone and certainly made me want to go right back to these literary favorites. Perfectly written for a time when many women’s lives are getting more difficult, when the pennies have to stretch that much further, this is a book that has a place on every woman’s bookshelf.

What I really loved most about this book was that Blakemore didn’t stop at the actual heroines in the novels. No, those are the women we’re all familiar with, that we have already come to love and store within ourselves. She also talks about the fabulous female authors who created these literary heroines and their own foibles. She speculates on their motivations for creating the strong girls who still manage to inspire us today and adds them into the mix of real life – because much as we’d like it, our lives aren’t fiction with a neat conclusion. Our lives are messy, and so were these authors’, but they stood above that and created literature that transcends. Maybe our acts of heroism aren’t writing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t inspire us.

Split into sections for the trait each character epitomizes, Blakemore takes us on a literary journey of sorts, through one heroine’s capacity to love, to another’s classification of magic, to a third’s unrelenting faith. Even without having read all the books (I have never read The Color Purple or Colette’s Claudine works), I still felt I gained from those sections. As an added bonus, I’d now love to read them, and plan to do so in the very near future. The entire book felt like it was written just for me – and it reminded me of how fortunate I am to love reading and to find inspiration in it on a regular basis.

If you are a woman and love to read – if you spent much of your childhood lost in a book like me – The Heroine’s Bookshelf is simply a must read. I’m thrilled to have it on my shelf.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free for review from Amazon Vine.

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