Prepare To Be Inspired

8 Historical Fiction Novels To Read During Women’s History Month

Build a TBR pile that honors and celebrates these amazing female trailblazers.

Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Amazon
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Historical fiction often gets a bad rap. Routinely confused for the dusty old textbooks tucked away in the deep corners of the library, the enriching genre is a colorful, more interesting way to learn about our history — not just as a nation, but as women. A simple flip of a page can transport us back to the fight for women's suffrage, the roaring '20s, the height of the Civil Rights Movement, or pre-war America. But most importantly, it gives us the chance to read the untold stories of amazing, real-life women trailblazers like Emily Roebling, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Clementine Churchill.

Dipping into the world of historical fiction can be a little daunting — but don't worry! We've gathered a list of titles to help get you started on your history literary journey, just in time for Women's History Month. Get to know some of the genre's most beloved authors, like Kristin Hannah, Fiona Davis, and Marie Benedict, alongside their fiction and nonfiction characters.

1. The Women by Kristin Hannah

When it comes to thought-provoking storylines about women trailblazers, bookworms will point you no further than Hannah, who has become one of the literary space’s most beloved historical fiction writers. Her latest masterpiece follows a young nursing student who joins the Army Nurse Corps in the midst of the Vietnam War. Preparing for a war zone takes tough skin, but it’s the coming home part that no one can prepare you for.

2. Unbecoming a Lady: The Forgotten Sluts and Shrews Who Shaped America by Therese Oneill

In this book, Oneill brilliantly captures the impressive lives of 18 unbecoming ladies from the 19th and early 20th century whose “audacity, courage, and sheer disdain for lady-like expectations left them out of so many history books” and earned them the nicknames of slut, shrew, sinful, and scold.

3. The Engineer’s Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood

You’ve seen and heard of the Brooklyn Bridge, but did you know it was carefully designed and constructed by a woman? Based on the true story of an icon, The Engineer’s Wife centers around rising feminist (and often forgotten) Emily Roebling, who helped build one of our nation’s most significant landmarks while also spearheading the suffragette movement in New York City.

4. Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart

Set in the summer of 1945, University of Iowa students and best friends Marjorie Jacobson and Marty Garett arrive in the Big Apple fresh-faced and bursting with opportunity. After getting turned down by every major department store, they somehow land a gig as pages at Tiffany & Co. Little did they know they would go on to become the first women to ever work on the sales floor.

5. The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

Once upon a time, there was a hotel in Manhattan called the Barbizon Hotel for Women. It was the “it” place to be during the 1950s for aspiring models, secretaries, and writers who dreamed of paving their own way in the world. Told in dual timelines, Dollhouse tells the lives of these women while also dipping 50 years into the future when new residents take up space.

6. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Now a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures is the exceptional true story about a group of Black women mathematicians — called “human computers ” — whose knowledge and expertise helped launch some of NASA’s most significant achievements in space over the course of 30 years, spanning from WWII to the Cold War to the Civil Rights Movement up until the Space Race.

7. The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

A tale of two unlikely friends, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt finds herself a confidant and close friend in civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune during the midst of her husband’s presidential tenure. With their marriage on the fritz and Eleanor seeking to make real-life changes of her own, she begins spending more time with Mary and aiding in the Civil Rights Movement — which earns her enemies of her own.

8. Fast Girls by Elise Hooper

Read about the real-life heroes who earned themselves a spot on Team USA’s first-ever women’s Olympic squad ahead of the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, Nazi Germany. They hail from Chicago, Missouri, and Boston with dreams of making it big against all the odds and hardships thrust upon them by society in pre-war America.