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Galentine's Day - female friendship

Eight relatable female friendships in books

13th February is now known as Galentine’s Day (thanks to Parks and Recreation) so here at Bookends we’re celebrating our favourite female friendships.

I’m a huge Austen fan and I’d say #relationshipgoals belongs to sisters Jane and Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice. They’re both completely supportive of one another, and Lizzie in particular fiercely defends Jane’s honour when she falls out of favour with her one true love Bingley (thanks to his conniving sister). Second place goes to Charlotte and Lizzie; even though Lizzie can’t quite understand why her best friend would marry someone so ridiculous as Mr Collins, she manages to get on board with the idea (after a little bit of persuading). More recently, at the centre of How Do You Like Me Now? is lifestyle guru Tori, who may seem to have it all from the outside – a great career, loads of money, and a devoted boyfriend – but she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing. Her friendship with teacher Dee is completely true-to-life, full of cynicism and snarky comments about moving through your 20s and 30s whilst everyone seems to have their life together. And the wedding bingo scene is beyond relatable. Aimee

Growing up I was OBSESSED with the Angus, Thongs and Full – Frontal Snogging series. I read them all back to back several times over and my Mum had to hide them from me to encourage me to read new things. If ever you need a laugh-out-loud throwback to the late 00’s then this is the one to read – and the film is a must watch: Aaron Johnson at his best and Eleanor Tomlinson before she started doing Poldark. How To Be A Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan is now my go-to guide for learning (pretending) how to be a grown up. Daisy has written this amazing guide that has everything from how to NOT be jealous of all those green-juice drinking images you see on Instagram and there’s a whole chapter on ‘How To Have Friends’. Helena

If you’re looking for warm tales of female friendship then look no further than The Early Birds by Laurie Graham. This hymn to lifelong female friendship follows Peggy, Kath, Gayle, Audrey and Lois, five former US Air Force wives, and shows us that the bonds of friendship forged in military bases are still going strong fifty years later! I absolutely fell in love with this sharp-tongued, often eccentric, but always loyal group of friends, and I’m sure you will too this Galentines day! In 2017 I also loved reading Swing Time by Zadie Smith – it deals with the complicated nature of female friendship and identity in such a real way. I really related to the stories of childhood dance classes, and it brought memories flooding back of time spent in dusty village halls with old friends. A really beautiful but at times sombre read, but without a doubt it will make you value lasting friendships. Hannah

I don’t have sisters, and I’ve not sure I’ve ever really wanted any, except when reading Little Women. In a household of chaos, the Marsh sisters are each other’s best friends and most trusted confidantes. Against all manner of adversity in their lives as domestic servants in Singapore, the women of The Maid’s Room – often thousands of miles away from their own families and children – bond together and support each other.  Alice

If non-fiction is more your thing:

Deeds Not Words (written by the great-granddaughter of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst) takes a look at the changing roles of women over the last century, and discusses how much more needs to be done in the search for equality. Lily Pebbles’s The F Word celebrates the good, the bad, and the in-between of female friendships.