In The Heroine's Bookshelf, author Erin Blakemore, an avid reader herself, focuses on the lives and circumstances of different female authors, from Harper Lee to Louisa May Alcott to Zora Neale Hurston. Blakemore tries to help the reader understand the circumstances of these famous women when they wrote their books, and how that might have affected them while writing. Then Blakemore takes on the characters these authors wrote, the ones that she and so many others admire, and tries to discern how the character relates to the author, and what women can learn from them. It makes for interesting reading, especially if you are very familiar with the book that Blakemore is describing. The book is divided into essays, each tackling a single author and character, whether that person is from a single book (such as Jane Eyre) or multiple (such as Laura Ingalls Wilderís Little House series).
Readers who arenít too familiar with these classic authors they love will learn a lot from The Heroine's Bookshelf. There may be authors readers are overly familiar with but also others that are completely new, which will inspire readers to seek out these writers. There are little tidbits in each section that readers may not know about the authors and books they love - for example, Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House series as historical fiction, and not a memoir. Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women in just a few weeks, for money. Blakemore also reminds readers of the joys of rereading old favorites. This book made me want to pick up books such as The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables and find the delight in them that I did as a child.
The Heroine's Bookshelf is a wonderful book that I recommend for any female who is an avid reader, regardless of age. For young women, this book may serve as an introduction to different authors and heroines and inspire them to learn what they can from these books. For more experienced readers, this book will be a wonderful reminder
of the power of books and is a great tribute to a lifelong love affair with reading.