January is over for another year, February has arrived, and Femmeuary is upon us! Created by the lovely Lauren from the BookTube channel Lauren and the Books, Femmeuary is a month-long event that celebrates strong women and how damn great it is to be a female. It also happily coincides with the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which granted some women over the age of thirty the power to vote for the first time, and was a great success on the road towards women’s suffrage. I’m all for celebrating women and marking this significant turning point in British women’s history, and so I’ve decided that to mark the occasion I’ll be reading books written exclusively by female authors during the month of February, hurrah!
There are quite a number of them, by authors that I already love and adore and authors that are new to me and I can’t wait to get to, and while I will try my very best to read everything on my sizeable TBR pile I’m not sure that’s it’s entirely possible. That being said I’m not going to be deterred before I’ve even begun, and as the majority of the titles I’ve chosen are extremely anticipated reads for me, I’m eager to get to them all as soon as possible!
Still Me by Jojo Moyes is the third book in the Me Before You series, and follows Louisa’s adventures in New York. I’ve recently re-read After You, the previous title, in preparation for this one, which was published last week, and after running out to the bookshop to grab myself a copy, I’m so very excited to devour it and catch up with one of my favourite characters. Another new release that I have been eagerly awaiting is The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, a rich historical fiction novel that I’ve been hearing endless amazing things about. I adore a good chunky historical fiction, and I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth in – not only is the cover absolutely beautiful, but the premise sounds utterly intriguing, too. Finally for the new releases, Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon is another that I’ve been desperate to read, ever since I picked up Joanna’s first novel, The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, back in the summer. If this latest offering from Cannon is anything like her debut, then I am sure that I will love it, although I do think that I might need to get hold of some Battenburg cake before I dive in – have you seen that cover?! Delicious.
I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about the next three titles on my list – Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden and The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry – and I think it’s about time that I dust them off and finally check them off my TBR. There really is no excuse as to why these have all been left unread; I know that they are many people’s favourite books of the last year or so, and I’m certain that I will enjoy them, too. Moving on to authors that I have read and loved, Frances Hardinge, Sarah Waters and Daphne du Maurier are all fantastic female writers that I cannot praise highly enough. Their work is phenomenal, and what better time to read more from my favourite female authors than during Femmeuary! A Skinful of Shadows sounds like an enchanting YA historical fiction/fantasy that reminds me a little of one of my favourite Disney Pixar films, Brave, and I think will be just perfect for a cosy Sunday afternoon. Sarah Waters is probably the queen of historical fiction, and Fingersmith is one of the final few novels of hers that I am yet to read, and finally, we have the much-loved du Maurier classic, Rebecca. Yes, I know what you’re thinking – despite loving du Maurier’s other books, why is it that I’m still yet to read her most famous work?! I can give you no real explanation, just know that my grave mistake will soon be rectified (I promise!).
Last, but my no means least, I’ve also selected a few non-fiction titles that I’d like to dip in and out of throughout the month. Non-fiction tends to take me a little longer to read, but if I manage to get these three under my belt during Femmeuary, I will be extremely proud of myself. 100 Nasty Women of History by Hannah Jewell is packed full of essays on inspiring women throughout history, many of whom we many not know much about. It seems rather like Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, one of my favourite books of last year, but for grown-ups, and while skimming through I’ve already spotted a few sections that have got me giggling! History and fashion are two of my favourite things, and The Button Box: The Story of Women in the 20th century told through the clothes they wore appears to combine the two beautifully. I think this one is going to be particularly interesting, and looking at women’s place within society through the lens of the clothes that were in fashion is a really unique and interesting take on social history. Finally, I couldn’t not read a book about the Suffragettes during the month of the women’s suffrage centenary, so I’ve gone with another new release, Hearts And Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote by Jane Robinson. As much as I love reading about the Pankhursts, they do tend to hog the majority of the popular suffrage historiography, and I think it will make a pleasant change to read more about the other incredible women who played a large role in the iconic movement.
As excited as I am to finally read some of the books that I’ve been looking forward to for a while and celebrate wonderful female authors, I also want to give something back to women out there and make my participation in Femmeuary count. So, having thought long and hard about ways in which I can make that possible, I’ve decided that for every book that I read during the month of February, I’ll be donating £1 each to both The Pankhurst Centre and The Fawcett Society. While I wish that I were in the position to donate more, I do hope that my donations will be able to help both of these fantastic women’s charities in some way, and I’m both happy and excited to do my bit. Up the women!
Will you be taking part in Femmeuary? What’s on your February TBR? Do let me know!