Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Heroine's Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore

The Heroine's Bookshelf
Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder
Erin Blakemore
An exploration of classic heroines and their equally admirable authors, The Heroine's Bookshelf shows today's women how to tap into their inner strengths and live life with intelligence and grace.
Jo March, Scarlett O'Hara, Scout Finch—the literary canon is brimming with intelligent, feisty, never-say-die heroines and celebrated female authors. Like today's women, they placed a premium on personality, spirituality, career, sisterhood, and family. When they were up against the wall, authors like Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott fought back—sometimes with words, sometimes with gritty actions. In this witty, informative, and inspiring read, their stories offer much-needed literary intervention to modern women.
Full of beloved heroines and the remarkable writers who created them,The Heroine's Bookshelf explores how the pluck and dignity of literary characters such as Jane Eyre and Lizzy Bennet can encourage women today.
Each legendary character is paired with her central quality—Anne Shirley is associated with irrepressible "Happiness," while Scarlett O'Hara personifies "Fight"—along with insights into her author's extraordinary life. From Zora Neale Hurston to Colette, Laura Ingalls Wilder to Charlotte BrontË, Harper Lee to Alice Walker, here are authors and characters whose spirited stories are more inspiring today than ever.
My take: The author has compiled essays she has written about female protagonists in literature. Combined with the personal lives of the authors, themselves, the result is often dissonant as the authors rewrite their own stories or mirror their own experiences. Blakemore then pulls from both women; author and fictitious protagonist, life lessons to be emulated. She then ends each chapter with a summary of the lesson, circumstances to read this work, and other books with similar message. 

I enjoyed learning more background about the authors and their personal lives and struggles. I found this portion endearing and made the authors more personal to me.  On the other hand, I found the writing style stilted at times and the author included books I haven't read. This is a reflection on me, however, not the author. Still, since I hadn't read the book, I missed the irony and morals of the stories. 

It's more of a personal journey for the author although she leaves much of herself out of it. She carefully describes what can be learned without giving away the ending of the story but that strategy also left me confused. There is much to be gained from reading the book. The author includes many classics and good research. I found good information but I lost interest before the end of each chapter.

About Erin Blakemore

Erin M. Blakemore learned to drool over Darcy and cry overLittle Women in suburban San Diego, California. These days, her inner heroine loves roller derby, running her own business, and hiking in her adopted hometown of Boulder, Colorado. She is the author of The Heroine’s Bookshelf:
Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Read Erin’s blog at You can also follow her on Twitter, @heroinebook, and connect with her on Facebook. Her website is

Erin’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, November 15th: The Lost Entwife
Thursday, November 17th: Bookstack
Friday, November 18th: Books and Movies
Monday, November 21st: Books Like Breathing
Tuesday, November 22nd: The 3 R’s
Wednesday, November 23rd: Amusing Reviews
Tuesday, November 29th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Wednesday, November 30th: Book Addiction
Thursday, December 1st: Reviews from the Heart
Monday, December 5th: Book Drunkard
Tuesday, December 6th: Book Hooked Blog
Thursday, December 8th: Melody & Words

A copy of this book was provided by TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Joan said...

I love that you have your photo in the header of your blog. I don't remember ever seeing you wer pearls though.

Anonymous said...

I think this one might have me adding lots of new books to my TBR list!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Kim said...

This one sounds like something I'd like - I'll have to check the library (which had funding cut by 35%), and is now offering self-checkout because the staff is of the skeleton variety.

Wish me luck.