Kate and I have had many discussions lately about the women who have gone before us. We have both read quite a few books that focus on historical situations where women are the main characters. I recently enjoyed the books These Is My Words and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
These Is My Words is about Sarah Prine who settled in the Arizona Territories in the late 1800's. It's a realistic view of every little detail that women faced at that time. Sarah, who is loosely based on the author's great-grandmother, is a hero to me. Some situations were too much to bear, as of course, I'd imagine my own reactions to each trial she faced. I don't know how she survived, even without the wild confrontations of floods, fire, rattlesnakes, death and rogue bandits.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan took place in 19th century China. Again, it's a realistic view of every little detail that women faced at that time. I had never heard of Chinese footbinding which is introduced in the first chapter of the book. I had never been educated on Chinese culture for women at that time - at all! This book was engaging, a major page turner for me. I felt detached from the characters, only because I couldn't relate to their lives at all. The freedoms I enjoy as a women in the United States, even if I were born in the 19th century far surpassed the freedoms those women were entitled to. Rank is seemingly all that mattered and being born female is basically a cursed life from the start. I found respect for a race of women I never knew before. Their discipline and life long training to serve their husbands and their husband's family was humbling.
Prior to these two books, I read The Book Theif which took place in Nazi Germany. Another book that taught me things I never knew. This book was from the perspective of the non-Jewish Germans who had much compassion for their Jewish neighbors (who were, as we know, persecuted so unceasingly, to death). An amazing tale about a little orphan girl named Liesel.
My point of this post is to, 1) encourage you to read the first two books listed here and, 2) encourage you to read THIS POST over on Kate's blog. When I read it, I was again humbled by the men and women who went before us.
My personal thanks to all of you modern day pioneer women! You teach me so much and I appreciate your friendship.