I’m excited to say that today’s post will be part of the blog tour for Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman, an amazing historical fiction book set in the 1930’s (review to come!). Anne Blankman has kindly written a really interesting post about her Top 5 Historical Heroines. I hope you enjoy! 🙂
My Top Five Historical Heroines
Obviously, I’m a sucker for anything historical, but add in a strong woman and I guarantee I’ll want to read anything I can find about her. Here’s the list of my top five historical heroines. These women’s bravery, grit, or charisma touched my heart.
Although her romantic entanglements are legendary, thanks to an affair with Julius Caesar and a marriage to Marc Antony, Cleopatra was no intellectual lightweight: She ruled Egypt successively with her two brothers and her son for almost three decades. Her political maneuvers were ultimately unsuccessful, and as Egypt fell to Rome, she committed suicide, allegedly by forcing an asp to bite her. In the centuries since her death, she has become an enduring figure in history and popular myth.
2. Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor was a triple threat: smart, gorgeous, and rich. While married to her first husband, Louis VII of France, she accompanied him on the Second Crusade. After their marriage was annulled, she married Henry II of England. She actively participated in the administration of her realm and oversaw the court’s artistic and social life. Not only that, but after her sons were grown up, she helped them plan a revolt against their father. After it failed, Henry had Eleanor imprisoned for about a decade. Eleanor outlived him, though, and his death signaled her release. Although she was an old woman by then, she remained active in politics. For example, when her son, Richard I was captured by the duke of Austria, Eleanor collected his ransom and personally brought him back to England. She was over 80 when she died. I love a woman who can be smart, tough, devious, and successful during a time period when she was merely expected to be a glittering ornament.
3. Artemisia Gentileschi
This Italian painter overcame tremendous obstacles. When she was 17, one of her father’s colleagues raped her. In an era when rape victims were often ostracized, Artemisia managed to persevere. She became the first woman admitted to the Academy of Arts in Drawing in Florence. Her paintings of strong females take my breath away.
4. Anne Frank
Anne was an ordinary girl growing up in Amsterdam during World War Two when her family went into hiding. After about two years, the Franks were betrayed, rounded up, and deported to concentration camps, where Anne died before her sixteenth birthday. After the war, her father, the sole survivor in their family, discovered the diary Anne had kept during their years in hiding. Since its initial publication, Anne’s diary has sold more than 35 million copies and touched people’s lives all over the world. When I was twelve, I read Anne’s diary and loved her spunk, intelligence, and sensitivity. She’s the reason I became interested in World War Two in the first place.
5. Ruby Bridges
Ruby was 6 when her parents enrolled her in school. Almost immediately, all of the other parents withdrew their children from the school and the teachers refused to teach Ruby. The reason? Ruby was black, and in 1960, the city of New Orleans was attempting to integrate its public schools, a move that was met with widespread resistance.
A teacher was brought in from Massachusetts to teach Ruby. For an entire year, Ruby remained the only child in her class. She was escorted to and from school by U.S. Marshals for her own safety. Throughout it all, Ruby showed a maturity and strength far beyond her years. She kept her composure, even when people shouted death threats at her while she walked to school. Today Ruby is an inspirational speaker and political activist.
Many thanks for letting me visit your blog today!
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.
Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.
Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.
As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?
Prisoner of Night and Fog is out now! The sequel Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke will be out in 2015.