Our top picks for International Women’s Day!

Our top picks for International Women’s Day!

Here at Bookends HQ, we’re spending the week leading up to International Women’s Day celebrating some of our favourite women!

From feel-good fiction with strong female characters, to women writers we can’t get enough of, keep reading for some IWD inspiration!

The Sisterhood by Daisy Buchanan

For fans of Bryony Gordon and Dolly Alderton, The Sisterhood is an honest and hilarious book which celebrates the ways in which women connect with each other.

‘My five sisters are the only women I would ever kill for. And they are the only women I have ever wanted to kill.’

Imagine living between the pages of Pride And Prejudice, in the Bennett household. Now, imagine how the Bennett girls as they’d be in the 21st century – looking like the Kardashian sisters, but behaving like the Simpsons. This is the house Daisy Buchanan grew up in,

In this tender, funny and unflinchingly honest account Daisy examines her relationship with her sisters and what it’s made up of – friendship, insecurity jokes, jealousy and above all, love – while celebrating the ways in which women connect with each other and finding the ways in which we’re all sisters under the skin.

The Long Song by Andrea Levy

A Sunday Times bestseller, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Long Song by Andrea Levy is a hauntingly beautiful, heartbreaking and unputdownable novel of the last days of slavery in Jamaica.

You do not know me yet. My son Thomas, who is publishing this book, tells me, it is customary at this place in a novel to give the reader a little taste of the story that is held within these pages. As your storyteller, I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed.

July is a slave girl who lives upon a sugar plantation named Amity and it is her life that is the subject of this tale. She was there when the Baptist War raged in 1831, and she was present when slavery was declared no more. My son says I must convey how the story tells also of July’s mama Kitty, of the negroes that worked the plantation land, of Caroline Mortimer the white woman who owned the plantation and many more persons besides – far too many for me to list here. But what befalls them all is carefully chronicled upon these pages for you to peruse.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

For fans of Marian Keyes, Dolly Alderton and Holly Bourne, Almost Love is one of the most addictive and heartbreaking reads of 2018

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.

So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.

Sarah’s friends are worried. Her father can’t understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she’s on the verge of losing her job.

But Sarah can’t help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew.

And love is supposed to hurt.

Isn’t it?

The F Word by Lily Pebbles

If there’s one piece of invaluable advice for women and girls of all ages, it is that there is nothing more important than creating and maintaining strong, positive and happy friendships with other women.

In a culture that largely pits women against each other, Lily Pebbles wants to celebrate female friendships… all strings attached!

If Lily’s 1998 diary is anything to go by, female friendships are incredibly complex and emotional – but they’re the mini-love stories that make us who we are. For many women, friends are our partners in crime through life; they are the ones who move us into new homes, out of bad relationships, through births and illnesses. In The F Word, Lily sets out to explore and celebrate the essence of female friendship at different life stages and in its many wild and wonderful forms.

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

The Center for women’s reproductive health offers a last chance at hope – but nobody ends up there by choice.

Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.

Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.

Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people – the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment – to this point.

And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.

Eat, Drink, Run by Bryony Gordon

‘The woman who made talking about your thinking not just acceptable but imperative’ Daily Telegraph

Bryony Gordon was not a runner. A loafer, a dawdler, a drinker, a smoker, yes. A runner, no. But, as she recovered from the emotional rollercoaster of opening up her life in her mental health memoir Mad Girl, she realised that there were things that might actually help her: getting outside, moving her body and talking to others who found life occasionally challenging. As she ran, she started to shake off the limitations that had always held her back and she saw she had actually imposed them on herself. Why couldn’t she be a runner?

In April 2017, Bryony Gordon ran all 26.2 miles of the London Marathon. In Eat, Drink, Run., we join her as she trains for this daunting task and rises to the challenge one step at the time. Of course, on top of the aching muscles and blistered feet, there’s also the small matter of getting a certain royal to open up about his mental health. Through it all, Bryony shows us that extraordinary things can happen to everyone, no matter what life throws our way.

A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler

Outspoken. Brave. Brilliant. Fierce.

Alva Smith, her Southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America’s great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly wealthy but socially shunned Vanderbilts. Ignored by New York’s old-money circles and determined to win respect, she designed and built nine mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. But Alva also defied convention for women of her time, asserting power within her marriage and becoming a leader in the women’s suffrage movement.

With a nod to Jane Austen and Edith Wharton, Therese Anne Fowler paints a glittering world of enormous wealth contrasted with desperate poverty, of social ambition and social scorn, of friendship and betrayal, and an unforgettable story of a remarkable woman.

Good behaviour will only get a woman so far.

The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson

1627. In a notorious historical event, pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted 400 people into slavery in Algiers. Among them a pastor, his wife, and their children.

In her acclaimed debut novel Sally Magnusson imagines what history does not record: the experience of Asta, the pastor’s wife, as she faces her losses with the one thing left to her – the stories from home – and forges an ambiguous bond with the man who bought her.     Uplifting, moving, and witty, The Sealwoman’s Gift speaks across centuries and oceans about loss, love, resilience and redemption.

On My Life by Angela Clarke

‘Pacey, fiercely feminist, compulsively readable’ The Pool

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing. And the police think she did it…

Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do: Clear her name. Save her baby. Find the killer.

Angela Clarke’s powerful and gripping new novel shines a light on the experiences of women behind bars, especially those rendered more vulnerable still by pregnancy.

Frieda by Annabel Abbs

The extraordinary story of Frieda von Richthofen, wife of D. H. Lawrence and the inspiration for Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Germany, 1907

Aristocrat Frieda von Richthofen has rashly married English professor Ernest Weekley. Visiting her sisters in Munich, she is captivated by a city alive with ideas of revolution and free love, and, goaded by sibling rivalry with her sisters and the need to be more than mother and wife, Frieda embarks on a passionate affair that is her sensual and intellectual awakening.

England, 1912

Trapped in her marriage to Ernest, Frieda meets the penniless but ambitious younger writer D. H. Lawrence. Their scandalous affair and tempestuous relationship unleashes a creative outpouring that influences the course of literature forever. But for Frieda, this fulfilment comes at a terrible personal cost.