The Mercies, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

On Christmas Eve 1617, a violent storm blows up suddenly around the remote Norwegian island of Vardo. As their wives, mothers and daughters watch from the shore, forty fishermen, the majority of the male population of the island, are lost to the sea. The women are left to pick up the pieces of their lives and take on additional work in order to survive. Tensions spring up amongst the women, further exacerbated by the rigid position of the church and whispers of witchcraft. Read More »

The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See

On the small Korean island of Jeju, “typical” society has been turned on its head, as the women play the most important roles. They work outside the home, providing for their families, whilst the men mostly remain at home and care for the children. In particular, Jeju is known for its high-ranking and well-respected sea women, known as haenyeo; free divers who harvest the “wet fields” of the sea. Young-sook and her best friend Mi-ja are training as “baby divers”, learning from the previous generations of sea women and preparing to join the diving collective. Working in the sea is dangerous, however, and they must always have their wits about them and look out for one another. When war and rebellion break out on the island, these bonds of female friendship and family will be tested as never before. Read More »

The Giver of Stars, by Jojo Moyes

When Alice marries a glamourous American and journeys back home with him from England, she expects to start a new life, completely different from her previous limited, stifled and regulated existence. She imagines romance, freedom, adventure and excitement. In truth, her life does not take the direction she expected, but she does discover all of these things and many more. For Alice joins the Packhorse Library, a group of local women who ride out to the most remote homes in the area, delivering books on loan from their library. The library will change Alice’s life, as well as Alice herself. Read More »