Woman at the Center

Books with a strong, female protagonist.

  • The Children

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Fans of contemporary, often humerous, fiction that explores wealthy, dysfunctional families. Readers interested in a seemingly perfect fiancé entering one family's realm, and the problems that ensue. Anyone who loves a character who collects mass followers by engaging in a false persona online by way of...


  • Mudbound

    Lovers of historical family fiction Readers interested in the story of a young woman struggling to raise her children on her husband’s farm when two young war veterans come to work the land. Fans of multi-perspective literature.


  • The Expatriates

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of fiction told from the POV of three, distinct women. Readers looking for the story of a group of ex-pats living in Hong Kong, all intertwined by way of one, tragic moment. Anyone interested in learning about the perks and pitfalls of living in a...


  • The Girls

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Readers looking for strong writing that delivers a poignant coming-of-age story set in 1969. Anyone interested in the horrific murders committed by Charles Manson's followers, and what could have led young, American teen girls to partake in them. Lovers of disturbing-yet-insightful intellectual fiction that examines the...


  • Day after Night

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of historical fiction Readers looking for a story of four Jewish women who meet in an Israeli holding camp after surviving World War II Fans of books with strong female leads


  • Eligible

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Readers interested in a modern update of 'Pride and Prejudice'. Book clubs looking for a light, clever summer read. Lovers of Mr. Darcy.


  • Paris, He Said

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Readers interested in a young artist (Jayne) whose life in NYC lacks direction. Fans of older men from France interjecting and moving above-mentioned artist to the art-infused world of Paris. Lovers of romances with some evocative descriptions and expected heartaches.


  • The Art Forger

    Clair Roth is a young woman struggling to become an artist in 1990. As she scrapes by, trying to earn a living, Clair meets an influential gallery owner, Aiden Markel. The two seal a deal in which Clair promises him a forgery of a famous painting. When she receives what...


  • Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter

    During Chile’s Pinochet regime in 1980, Carmen Aguirre and her family are forced to flee to Canada. This page-turning thriller recounts the commencement of Carmen’s life as an undercover revolutionary. Perfect for: Fans of historical non-fiction focused on revolutionaries. Readers who enjoy gripping and dark stories about escaping dictatorships. Lovers...


  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

    Reading more like linked short stories, this narrative explores the story of Hattie Shepherd and her many children during The Great Migration. Perfect for: • Readers looking for fiction that explores race. • Fans of loosely connected vignettes. And Oprah’s picks. • Anyone interested in the difficulties of being both...


  • Nervous Conditions (Nervous Conditions #1)

    Set in 1960s Rhodesia, this superb coming-of-age novel follows two cousins, Tambu and Nyasha, as they struggle with identity. Perfect for: • Lovers of post-colonial, feminist, African literature. • Anyone looking for a coming-of-age story of two cousins. • Fans of stories that investigate the deep scars caused when one...


  • Orphan Train

    17-year old Molly Ayer has bounced around the foster care system for far too long. When she meets 91-year-old Vivian Daly, an Irish immigrant who, as a young girl, was put on the famous ‘orphan trains’ in New York City to be taken to a different life, the two form...


  • Everything I Never Told You

    In this page-turning exploration of one Asian-American family’s grief, Ng spins a touching, smart and very readable novel. In 1970s Ohio, 16-year-old Lydia Lee is found dead at the bottom of the lake. Leaving behind her parents and two siblings, the novel explores how little we may know about the...


  • The Paying Guests

    In Waters’ latest, set in 1922 South London, Frances and her mother, Mrs. Wray, are forced to rent out their house to Lillian and Leonard Barber. Frances has lost her two brothers in The Great War, and the whole country is reeling from its many fatalities. Frances and Lillian form...


  • The Hundred-Year House

    On the eve of the millennium, Grace Devohr, daughter Zee, and a cast of characters gather at Laurelfield – their estate with a troubled history and a reputed unsavoury spirit. As we move back in time from 1999 to 1900, strange secrets involving a former artist’s colony, a ‘maybe’ ghost,...


  • Crow Lake

    In northern Ontario, Kate Morrison and her three siblings are orphaned when their parents die in a car crash. The eldest brother, Luke, decides to keep the family together and raise his siblings. Kate has always looked up to her brother Matt – he inspired her career - but a...


  • Mary Coin

    ‘Migrant Mother’ by Dorothea Lange – the famous 1936 photograph that epitomized the despair of The Great Depression – is the inspiration for this fictionalized account of its subject and photographer. Here we meet the two women on either side of the picture, one caught in the claws of poverty,...


  • The Birth House

    Dora Rare is the first daughter in five generations of male Dares. She is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife and healer and becomes her apprentice: together, they help the women of Scots Bay, an isolated village in Nova Scotia, in countless ways. But, times are changing: World...


  • Bone and Bread

    Two sisters, Beena and Sadhana, grow up in the shadow of tragedy. Their parents have died and, as teenagers, a Sikh uncle who runs a Montreal bagel store looks them after. The narrative jumps between present and past as Beena tries to cope with Sadhana’s untimely and mysterious death. Perfect...


  • Americanah

    This is the type of book that will change your perspective, probably forever: We first meet Ifemelu as a Nigerian living in the States: she is a fellow at Princeton and her blog (which examines the hypocrisies and complexities that make up race in the U.S., specifically American Black and...


  • Those Who Save Us

    Anna, born in Germany, has been tight-lipped for fifty years regarding her personal experience during WWII. When her daughter, Trudy, was three years old, an American soldier brought them both to Minnesota. Trudy, a professor of German history, doesn’t know anything about her mother’s haunting past – including the identity...


  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

    You know the story – literary super couple, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald meet, fall madly in love and then: Don’t. Stop. Partying. In NYC, in Paris, in the South of France, until it all goes to hell; however, you’ve probably never heard it from Zelda’s perspective before.In this delightfully...


  • The Post-Birthday World

    Irina is fully committed to Lawrence: a steady and dependable bloke. One night, she’s tempted to kiss another man – the fiery snooker player, Ramsey. What happens if she does – or doesn’t? Irina’s future hinges on a single moment in this witty novel of parallel universes. Shriver uses her...


  • The Painted Girls

    Degas’ famous sculpture, “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen,” has been admired for over a decade: here is the multi-perspective story behind the ballerina upon which the painting is based.Set during ‘La Belle Epoque’ in Paris during the 1880s (and involving one real-life murder trial), we are introduced to three, fatherless sisters...


  • Cowboys are My Weakness

    This smart collection of short stories is as good as its title. Relationship dynamics take center stage in these stories about intelligent women who can’t help but fall for the strong, silent type.Perfect for:Those who would enjoy sensual and thoughtful narratives.Readers interested in a fresh take on sexual politics.Anyone who...


  • Island Beneath the Sea

    In this engaging novel that takes us from the island of Saint Dominigue to New Orleans, Allende introduces us to a cast of vivid characters including Tété, a slave of mixed race, and Toulouse Valmorain, a French plantation owner.  Rich in both emotion and historical detail, Allende fans will delight...


  • The Light Between Oceans

    In post-World World I Australia, Tom and Isabel, a lighthouse keeper and his wife, struggle with infertility and loss on an isolated island. When a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and an infant girl, Tom – desperate to please his grieving wife – accepts to raise the baby...


  • The Taste of Apple Seeds

    After the death of her grandmother, Iris is summoned back to her grandparents’ farmhouse where she had spent all of her holidays as a girl where she learns that that she has, surprisingly, inherited the family home. However, this is no ordinary house: it’s a place where the preserves taste...


  • Thirty Girls

    When 130 Ugandan girls are kidnapped from a Catholic school, one of the nuns negotiates the return of all but thirty girls. This is the heartbreaking story of Esther – who got left behind, and of the journalist trying to understand and write about what happened.Perfect for:Readers interested in human...


  • Astonish Me

    Spanning thirty years, and jumping from the opera house in Paris to suburbia in Southern California to the dance scene of NYC in the ‘70s, the novel centers around Joan, a ballerina in the corps of an American company who helps a brilliant, Russian dancer defect to the States early...