#303 ~ The Heroine’s Bookshelf

The Heroine’s Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder by Erin Blakemore

Published by: HarperCollins

Published on: October 2010

Page Count: 200

Genre: Non-Fiction

My Reading Format: ARC sent to me by the publisher

Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook (Kindle only, not currently available for Nook)

My Review

Erin Blakemore had a wonderful idea when she set out to write about some of her favorite literary heroines and their authors. The best part of this idea was the way she translated it into print for her readers.  I got so much from this book. Each chapter gave me the opportunity to relive my first experiences with Jane Eyre, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jo March, Janie Crawford, Celie, and Scarlett O’Hara. What enriched the experience was the background on the authors. Who they were, how they lived, and why they wrote what they wrote.  The Heroine’s Bookshelf is a wonderful tool to begin thinking more deeply and critically about your favorite literary heroines – if you want to. Erin Blakemore certainly knows what it’s like and what it means to get competely lost with your heroines.

I haven’t yet met all of the heroines Erin Blakemore explored in The Heroine’s Bookshelf.  Half of them were new to me, such as Anne of Green Gables and the works by Collette.  As much as re-encountering some of my old favorites was, I wanted to get to know these new heroines as well.  I’m not the only one.  Janel at Bibliophibian is hosting a reading challenge.

My favorite feature of this book is the reading suggestions at the end of each chapter. They provide suggestions as to what type of situation is most conducive to reading a heroine and similar literary heroines if I’d like to explore a little more.  As such, it was my favorite Christmas gift this year, especially for young women.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have such a resource when you’re first finding yourself and can use guidance from someone else who has been there?

I read The Heroine’s Bookshelf on the plane on my way to Chicago in November.  It made for the perfect travel read.  Each chapter is self-contained and you can read them in any order without changing its impact.  I did read it in order even though I was jonesing to dive straight into Scarlett O’Hara’s chapter.  The anticipation and the self-control made it that much better.

If you ever find yourself in need of some building up in self, faith, happiness, dignity, family ties, indulgence, fight, compassion, simplicity, steadfastness, ambition, and magic, be sure to pick this book up.  There’s nothing a literary heroine can’t help you work through or overcome.  You might as well pick up two copies.  You’ll be giving this one away as gifts without a doubt. It’s a precious gift because it helps you see more clearly the heroine within.

Other Voices
You’ve read what I have to say.  Why not check out what other bloggers have said?  Go here to the Book Blogs Search Engine (thanks for this, Fyrfly!) and take a peak at all of the available reviews.


  • At 2010.12.27 13:33, Martha said:

    I remember seeing this book on some blogs earlier this year and thinking it looked like just the book I’d want to read. Now, I know I want a copy for myself and my daughter.

    • At 2010.12.27 14:04, Emily said:

      This was already on my TBR list, but now it’s moving near the top! Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to reading it 🙂

      • At 2010.12.27 15:06, Short Story Slore said:

        I really enjoyed this book as well, even though I probably only read half of the books she covered (now more of these classics are on my list). I even gave a copy to an old co-worker for xmas and she can’t wait to dive into it.

        • At 2010.12.27 15:33, Kate {The Parchment Girl} said:

          This sounds like a great book! I’ll definitely look into this one some more.

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          • At 2010.12.27 17:21, softdrink said:

            YOU HAVEN’T READ ANNE OF GREEN GABLES??!!?? (Sorry, but if there’s ever a time to shout, now is it.) Promise me you’ll read them with your girls in a few years.

            • At 2010.12.27 22:56, Lisal said:

              I’m looking forward to this one and reading the books that I haven’t read yet that Blakemore talks about.

              • At 2010.12.28 11:46, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

                You know I loved this too, I think Blakemore did an absolutely fabulous job with “The Heroine’s Bookshelf,” it definitely surpassed my high expectations. By the way, it is available in the B&N store for Nooks now, and on Google Books as well.

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                • At 2010.12.29 10:15, Michelle said:

                  I really need to read this one soon.

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