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Three historic novels flesh out what women can accomplish

Assigning one month to the glorification of "women's" history is insulting considering that in 2012, 50.8% of human beings in the United States were of the female persuasion. Women have done more than stand by their man since human beings inhaled for the first time.

Centuries before President Jimmy Carter, on behalf of the National Women's History Project recognized,

"From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well."

Reading historic fiction with female protagonists expands feminine consciousness. Consider the following stories, published in the last few years:

  1. "Where the Light Falls" by Katherine Keenum
    Keenum draws on family history to detail her story of an American ingenue and artist in 1878 Paris. Jeanette Palmer proves smart, talented and inquisitive, as she explores the bohemian lifestyle of aspiring artists struggling to succeed in a competitive world where few studios welcome women and society considers her study of the nude human body inappropriate. Yet, every spring, the prestigious Salon hangs accomplished women's paintings in galleries beside men's with alacrity; all one need accomplish is framed brilliance. Jeanette rubs elbows with Marie Bashkirtseff, Sarah Bernhardt, and Sophie Croizette in this literary novel highlighting the lifestyle of ambitious artists during the Belle Epoque era.
  2. "The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion" by Fannie Flagg
    Humor pervades Flagg's revealing tale of Women Airforce Service Pilots who shuttled planes- including P-51 fighters and Boeing Bombers- to male aviators during World War 2. Her point-of-view character, a sweet, southern, sixty-something stumbles into the little-known WASP world without intention and responds with a fire she didn't know she nourished. Flagg writes characters with appealing sentiment, a quintessential Southern belle who appears as astonished to dig up Yankee roots as her protagonist Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama. Easy to read, yet eye-opening.
  3. "beyond the ties of blood" by Florencia Mallon
    In contrast to Flagg, Mallon illustrates the effect of brutal concentration camp outcomes. The torture and rape of women during Chile's 1973 coup remains a non-memory for most Americans. Information regarding such atrocities was rarely publicized in local papers, considering the weight of compelling United States news.

    During 1973:

  • The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling overturned state laws against abortion.
  • Senate Watergate hearings began, highlighting Nixon's secret tapes.
  • Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in disgrace.
  • The Arab Oil Embargo shot gasoline prices sky high.
  • And on September 11 of that year, General Augusto Pinochet seized power from the democratically elected Socialist government of Salvador Allende.

    Personifying atrocities committed by the Pinochet regime into Eugenia Aldunate's chilling story of sacrifice and redemption, Mallon brings to life this ingenue, whose world has gone lopsided and confused. Horrors are exposed, yet Mallon focuses on victim Eugenia's healing process. In fact, the first half of the novel reads more like Wikipedia than biography; it is the second half that contains the story's energy and thrust.

These three stories of women, courage, fortitude and creativity remind the feminine psyche that, though we may exist in the minds of men one month a year, our gender history soars.