Celebrating Women By Telling Their Stories through Historical Fiction

Guest Post by Janis Robinson Daly –

As an effort to support the National Women’s History Alliance’s 2023 theme for Women’s History Month in March, Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories, author Janis Robinson Daly curated a list of 31 titles within the historical fiction genre which spotlight women in history whose achievements languished in the shadows. The list also celebrates the 31 women authors who tell the stories. Using exhaustive research, these authors based the subject of their novel on facts for authentic portrayals of the women’s lives and accomplishments.

Historical fiction, however, also allows an author to imagine the women’s emotional responses as they strode forward with dreams in their minds and hopes in their hearts. From her own library and with recommendations from other avid readers of historical fiction, Janis developed the list using a defined set of criteria:

  • Historical Fiction genre—no biographies or memoirs
  • Women authors only
  • Diversity in authors—cultural, as well as type of publishing and name recognition
  • Diversity in the subject—cultural, setting, field of recognition
  • Goodreads ratings

“In developing this list, I hope the appeal of historical fiction will lead more readers to discover, learn, celebrate, and share the stories of these women. They’ve been invisible for too long,” said Daly.

Which ones have you read? Share by using #31titleswomeninhistory.

1. Smith College graduates in WW1 France

2. First Black female self-made millionaire in America, Madam CH Walker

3. Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians


4. Fashion designer, Ann Low

5. Artist & designer of nearly all of Tiffany’s lamps, Clara Driscoll

6. Former slave who served with the Buffalo Soldiers by disguising herself as a man, Cathy Williams


7. Architect & Engineer, Emily Roebling

8. U. S. Women’s 1936 Olympic track team

9. Plantation Owner/Grower, Eliza Lucas


10. Lady Jane Grey

11. Abolitionists, Sarah and Angelinka Grimke

12. Landowner and Entrepreneur, Dorothy Kirwan Thomas


13. Matriarchal Society of Women Divers of Jeju Island, South Korea

14. Tzu Hsi, Lady Yebonala

15. Philanthropist, Caroline Ferriday


16. Journalist, Martha Gelhorn

17. Mannah Borthwick Cheney

18. Factory worker, Catherine Donohue


19. Presidential candidate, Victoria Woodhull

20. Heiress and philanthropist, Marjorie Post

21. Empress, Josephine Bonaparte


22. First Daughter, Martha Jefferson

23. Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

24. Librarian Belle da Costa Greene


25. Paleontologist, Mary Anning

26. Code breakers of Bletchley Park (England, WWII)

27. Graduates of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania


28. Socialite, Suffragist Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont

29. Angels of Bataan, WWII Nurses

30. Scientist and infectious disease researcher, Dr. Dorothy Hortsmann


31. Suffragists Alice Paul, Maud Malone, Ida B. Wells


Prepared by Janis Robinson Daly, author of The Unlocked Path

Add your suggestions for a 2024 list by contacting Janis through her website, www.janisrdaly.com.

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