The only thing better than a good book is a good book with a great female character! We’ve asked some of the lovely librarians at Wollongong City Libraries to share their all-time favourite literary ladies.

All of these items can be borrowed via the Wollongong City Libraries catalogue.

Midnight in death1. Lieutenant Eve Dallas – Death Series

First appears in Midnight in Death: and Interlude in Death

Author: Nora Roberts (Under the pseudonym J.D. Robb)

What’s it about? Eve’s name has made a Christmas list, but it’s not for being naughty or nice. It’s for putting a serial killer behind bars. Now he’s escaped and has her in his sights. With her husband, Roarke, at her side, Eve must stop this madman from exacting his bloody revenge – or die trying . . .

Why we love her? “The books follow a series of cases Lieutenant Eve Dallas investigates as part of her role in the Homicide Division of NYPSD Division (New York Police and Security Department). The main character is totally focused on her work, is strong, honest, who at times can be quite abrasive and totally oblivious to the norms happening in her relationship and within society.

It’s an ongoing series with a total of 56 books so far.  The genre is science fiction, fantasy, murder mystery all wrapped up with interesting and fun characters.” – Lee

Borrow a copy here


2. Celaena Sardothien – Throne of Glass Series

First appears in Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J Maas

What’s it about? Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness. In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free.

Why we love her? “She’s strong. She’s smart. She always has a plan. Despite being an assassin, she still appreciates beauty and pretty things. She’s loyal, and she has a heart.” – Rosanne

Borrow a copy here


3. Sybylla Melvin – My Brilliant Career

Author: Miles Franklin

What’s it about? Growing up in the Australian outback, creative and headstrong Sybylla Melvyn dreams of becoming a famous writer despite long odds and the objections of her family. Forced by money problems to move in with her rich grandmother, she soon makes the acquaintance of a handsome landowner, Harry, and wins him over despite their class differences. When Harry proposes, Sybylla must choose between romantic love and the brilliant career she craves.

Why we love her? “She (Sybylla) has known extreme hardship and desires comfort, but finds the life of a gentlewoman stifling and tedious. The idea that it would be selfish to marry a man and then not place herself in service of his desires is, of course, outdated. But, when viewed through the lens of Victorian/Edwardian society, Sybylla is something of a revolutionary, rejecting social expectations of her gender and choosing a life that is truly independent.” – Megan

“Sybylla is a young sassy girl growing up in 20th Century Australia who was way ahead of her time in the quest for girl power. She aspires to be writer, and rejects the notion that her main goal in life is to find a wealthy husband, or indeed any husband. She is witty, headstrong, socially awkward and irreverent and I only hope that I continue to follow in her footsteps throughout my life.” – Ashleigh

Borrow a copy here
Or listen to the story here

Harry potter

4. Minerva McGonagall – Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix

First appears in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling

What’s it about? Dark times have come to Hogwarts. After the Dementors’ attack on his cousin Dudley, Harry Potter knows that Voldemort will stop at nothing to find him. There are many who deny the Dark Lord’s return, but Harry is not alone: a secret order gathers at Grimmauld Place to fight against the Dark forces.

Why we love her? “I love Minevra McGonagall, particularly in Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix. I loved how she dealt with Professor Umbridge and even though she got injured, she ran to the aid of Hagrid. She stands up for what is right and is unwaveringly loyal.” – Laura

Borrow a copy here

girl-dragon-tattoo-steig-larsson5. Lisbeth Salander – Millenium Series

First appears in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Author: Stig Larsson

What’s it about? Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.

Why we love her? “Because she’s a bad-arse! Seriously though, although she’s a woman with her own issues, she gets things done.” – Jo 

“Lisbeth had a really disadvantaged and traumatic childhood and young adulthood, but has overcome due to her intelligence and resilience – complex character – still not ‘perfect’ or always likable – makes mistakes and emotionally scarred, but determined and clever.” – Jenny

Borrow a copy here

9780679744955-us6. Idgy Threadgood – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Author: Fannie Flagg

What’s it about? It’s first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women — of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.

Why we love her? “Idgie is a witty, headstrong, socially awkward and irreverent young woman who refuses to appease the gendered stereotypes of her time. She values her female friendships and is fiercely loyal. The entire book is laden with female characters who buck the notion of women as wives, women as property and women as secondary characters to a backdrop of conservative Southern American society. Idgie, Ruth, Evelyn and Ninny demonstrate how to tell a story that passes the Bechdel test with ease and they do it with sass. They also get away with murder, which is kinda cool too…” – Ashleigh

Borrow a copy here

Witches-Abroad7. Granny Weatherwax – Witches Abroad

First appears in Equal Rites

Author: Terry Pratchett

What’s it about? It seemed an easy job… After all, how difficult could it be to make sure that a servant girl doesn’t marry a prince? Quite hard, actually, even for the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick. That’s the problem with real life — it tends to get in the way of a good story, and a good story is hard to resist. Servant girls have to marry the prince. That’s what life is all about. You can’t fight a Happy Ending, especially when it comes with glass slippers and a Fairy Godmother who has made Destiny an offer it can’t refuse. At least up till now…

Why we love her? “I’ve often found that finding older female characters that are  fleshed-out and interesting can be difficult. Granny Weatherwax is the exception. Although she’s often stubborn, selfish, proud and competitive, Granny is a firm believer in tough love. She really destroys the stereotype of the quiet old lady!” –  Mara

Borrow a copy here