Heroines Populate Books for Young Folks
Season of Ice
By Diane Les Becquets
Bloomsbury, 2008, $16.95
La Petite Four
By Regina Scott
Razorbill, 2008, $8.99
By Celia Rees
Bloomsbury, 2008, $16.99
If there were a study done on the percentage of books written for girls versus that for guys, the girls would surely win by a landslide. These three books would be part of that landslide victory.
Award-winning "Season of Ice" by Diane Les Becquets is so real-life that it's hard to believe it's fiction. Set in Maine, the novel explores the unfathomable challenges of mature teenager Genesis. Genesis' father disappears on Moosehead Lake, and though his empty boat is found, there's no body. Things become even more complicated when the lake freezes over, and the search has to be discontinued.
Genesis is overcome with questions: Is her father alive? Did he stage his own death? And was there another woman involved? Fighting to believe in her father's integrity, yet embarrassed by the way others view her family, Genesis searches for answers.
Along the way she gains understanding about herself, her relationship with her stepmother and brothers, and her feelings for a young research scientist studying in the area.
The antithesis of Genesis' character, the young ladies in "La Petite Four" are so society-obsessed and flighty that you're thrilled they are fiction. Set in another era of girls being raised to become the prizes for which young men compete, this book is like "Legally Blonde" meeting Jane Austen's worst nightmare. And yet the story is oddly compelling.
Consumed with their desire to throw the "ball of all balls," a fearless foursome of friends connives and schemes to create a social event that overshadows all others. When Lady Emily Southwell has a marriage arranged for her, she's more concerned that she may miss the ball than that she finds her chosen spouse appalling.
The girls are at least feisty enough to realize that there's something amiss with the forced engagement, and investigate the background of Lady Emily's intended. Along the way they meet handsome, mysterious young gentlemen, explore the dark streets of the city, and manage to have their ball, too.
"Sovay" is another feisty heroine penned by author Celia Rees. Set in the 1700s, this novel unfolds like a television mini-series. Sovay is an atypical girl of the times. She decides, on a lark, to hold up the stagecoach that her betrothed is in so she can test the depth of his devotion to her. When he fails her test, Sovay's life of thievery and in-your-face robberies continues.
She eventually holds up a stagecoach carrying one of England's political scoundrels, and is immersed in a plot to overthrow the government. She rides fearlessly through the countryside, meeting other highwaymen, an American who is trying to help Sovay save her father from charges of treason, and eventually, her love interest.
Whatever type of reader you have or are, one of these books is sure to fit your needs. Sure, all the main characters are heroines and not heroes, but authors are taught to write what they know, and all of these authors are women.
Men, looks like it's time to get busy!
Read more of Southern Pines writer Charlene Vermeulen's reviews at www.prudereviews.blogspot.com.
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