Joanne Harris Selects Six Books About Women's Power

By The Orion Publishing Group

Joanne Harris Selects Six Books About Women's Power

By The Orion Publishing Group

Women's power comes in many forms, and from unexpected places. It can be quiet, it can be calm; it can be a voice of protest or the voice of a revolution. Here's a list of some of my favourite books about women's power - moving, gentle, passionate, funny, political, inclusive, diverse, occasionally violent, but always arresting. I hope you enjoy them.

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven

Juno Dawson

£14.99 £14.24

A marvellous, subversive romp of warring witches, secret societies, cults, cabals and friendships against a background of post-war turmoil, with a healthy dose of satire, gender politics, wicked humour and a strong and unifying message of inclusion, kindness and loyalty.


Emily H. Wilson

£9.99 £9.49

The fates of a goddess, a hero and a soldier entwine to shape the future of a civilization – even a world. This vibrant, sometimes startling novel is at the same time an excellent revisiting of The Epic of Gilgamesh and a beautifully-constructed piece of speculative historical fiction, weaving plausible historical detail with existing mythology as well as giving them both a wholly original shake-up. The characters are vivid, diverse and alive; the world-building impressive; the tension perfectly-handled. It’s the first of a series based on Sumerian myth, and I can’t wait for the next one.

Our Hideous Progeny: A thrilling Gothic Adventure

C. E. McGill

£16.99 £16.14

This stunning new historical novel manages to be two opposing things at once: a feminist revisiting of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and a completely original story, exploring the themes of male violence, male entitlement and a woman’s ambition and power. The protagonist, Mary, is the great-niece of Viktor Frankenstein, who vanished in the Arctic under mysterious circumstances. Piecing together some of his old papers, Mary, a keen archaeologist, though unable by virtue of gender to join the Royal Society, sets out to prove her theories about certain recent prehistoric finds by recreating his experiment, to her own specifications.

A Closed and Common Orbit: Wayfarers 2

Becky Chambers

£9.99 £9.49

I am convinced that Becky Chambers is the future of sci-fi. Her books are incredibly well-built, her world-building supreme, her understanding of the moral dilemmas involved in creating and writing about “other races” second to none. She brings to the often masculine, monocultural, combative world of sci-fi a welcome dose of gentleness. This novel, the second in her Wayfarers series, concentrates on one small part of a world that grows with every instalment: but at the heart of all of them, lies a message of understanding, compassion, and the sense that we, humanity, are neither all-powerful nor unique, but just a small part of a universe filled with wonder and diversity.

She Who Became the Sun

Shelley Parker-Chan

£9.99 £9.49

Set in 14th-century China, this is an extraordinary piece of historical fantasy. In it, two siblings from a dirt-poor background are each given a destiny: the boy, greatness; the girl, nothing. But Zhu Chongba refuses to be nothing. When her brother dies, she assumes his gender, his fate – and his destiny. Sumptuous, complex, unexpected, this is a captivating exploration of the concepts of predestination, gender, power and visibility.

The Power: Now a Major TV Series with Prime Video

Naomi Alderman

£9.99 £9.49

A marvellous feminist fable exploring the nature of personal and societal power, the hold of the patriarchy, the arbitrary nature of gender roles and what would happen if overnight, women of all ages, and from all over the world developed a physical superiority over men. Written from the perspective of several characters, this is an extraordinary book; impactful, wise, thought-provoking and ultimately, sobering.

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