14 Best Novels With Divorced Heroines

14 books with a divorced heroineReading is one of my favorite hobbies as you likely have guessed. It follows suit to recommend novels with divorced heroes/heroines. We can always gain comfort from someone else’s divorce story fictional or fact. Similar to my television series and divorce movie countdown, here are the 14 books…

But before I begin, not every single one of these books involves a divorce. Some characters are just on the brink of it. Nevertheless, it’s not only the character but the social reaction and the judgment surrounding their divorce that is of interest in these novels. The books vary in time setting  reasons for divorce and represent a nice variety of perspectives on divorce.

Open House by Elizabeth Berg-when her husband leaves her, Samantha is forced to take in boarders to earn extra cash. As all of Berg’s books, this one is comforting and full of sweet moments.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton-What was it like to be a divorced woman in the late 1800’s? You’ll find out when you meet Ellen, the ‘disgraced’ cousin of May Welland.

Black and Blue by Anna Quindlan-an abused woman changes her identity when she finds the courage to leave her husband.

The Good Mother by Sue Miller-The intersection of motherhood, love and divorce can be messy. Anna learns the hard way that she may not be able to have all she yearns for.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy-I haven’t read this yet—I know, for shame. I am intrigued though and when I’m ready for a literary masterpiece I will attempt. It is available as audio book and based on my test listen, was an introduction to a richly described world of domestic indifference. To quote the jacket summary; “… it explores and illuminates the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon-this is told from the perspective of a young teenage boy with autistic tendencies. Although he investigates the incident of the dog, what he uncovers are mysteries closer to home. Eventually, we see how the boy adapts to his parents divorce.  This book is equally engaging for both teens and adults. My son recommended it to me after he read it. So, technically it isn’t a divorced heroine but….his parents separate and we get to view this from the child’s perspective and that’s why I’ve included it.

Faithful by Alice Hoffman-I haven’t read this one yet, but it promises to be one of Hoffman’s best. I am a fan of hers since way back and although the heroine here was not married, she was living with her boyfriend of many years.

Say When by Elizabeth Berg-How do we know when a marriage is at its end? That’s something Ellen and Griffin cannot agree on. Again, a Berg classic.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron-Love, love, love the late Nora Ephron. Author of I feel bad about my neck and Sleepless in Seattle wrote Heartburn long before those hits. You may recall the film version released back in the late 80’s starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. To quote the jacket summary; “the creator of Sleepless in Seattle reminds us that comedy depends on anguish as surely as a proper gravy depends on flour and butter.” The perfect marriage has flopped and what ensues is hilarious. Only Ephron could make that funny. Remember the theme song?

Divorced, Desperate and Delicious by Christie Craig-this is self explanatory. There’s always time for a little dirty romance and escapism. It does the soul good like a ray of sun after the storm.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed-the emotional remains of an amicable divorce. Oh, and a very long and serious hike.  It’s literally the physical struggle of the trail set against the inner turmoil of a divorced woman.

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler-this one is more from the perspective of a separated or soon to be divorced man but the story is one we can relate to, having been through the end of  a marriage or long term relationship.

Divorced Girl Smiling by Jackie Phillosoph-This has been on my TBR shelf and looks interesting and fun. With a jacket summary opener like this “Smile! It’s not just the end of your marriage, it’s the beginning of your second chance!” who wouldn’t be tempted? Jackie is also a fellow DivorcedMoms.com writer.

Happy reading, Escapees!

Thanks to my divorced tweeps who responded to my query @divorcedgirlJP @chumplady @stilllearning2b

Have you read any good novels with a divorced heroine? Do share in the comments.

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22 Replies to “14 Best Novels With Divorced Heroines”

  1. Lisa, I wonder what attracts you to divorce fiction and would like to know. Probably you can write another post about all the reasons…do you read them just for satisfaction or can you actually relate to the heroines? Isn’t it difficult to keep dwelling in the unpleasant experiences, which could be similar? Do they inspire and reassure that you had taken the right step?
    Just thinking! 🙂
    Balroop Singh recently posted…How Much Of Laughter?My Profile

    1. Very deep questions, Balroop 😉 Actually, I haven’t read every single book on this list. However, the ones I have read I’ve enjoyed immensely for many reasons. I mainly wrote this post because I thought women going through it now might appreciate a good book with a strong heroine who happens to be navigating divorce…or the end of a relationship. I have read some of these books long before my divorce in fact and some more recently. I don’t feel reading books are bringing back any unpleasant experiences as these are all so different (from mine). Thanks for the thought provoking questions my friend!

    1. Hi Jane, Wild is worth a read (although the movie adaptation was very well done!). Hope you found something interesting here. I have to say though, our own experiences can be stranger than fiction lol.

  2. I love Elizabeth Berg so I was happy to see her more than once. I did read those and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time but I’m one of the few people not to be in love with it. I don’t remember why, though!
    Tamara recently posted…Easy DIY Tug Toy For Your DogMy Profile

    1. I discovered Elizabeth Berg at my local library many years ago. Fell in love with her writing on the first read. I still have a couple of her older ones I want to read. “Tapestry of Fortunes” comes to mind. “The Curious incident…” is a unique read because the m/c is autistic. They actually made a play based on the book. My son saw it in London a couple of years ago.

  3. What a great list! Bookmarking now since I’m always on the hunt for a new book to sink my teeth into — thank you. I never made it through Wild but I’d really like to pick it up again. I don’t think I was in a good place at the time and I’m certain that made a huge difference, because it always seemed like a book I’d enjoy.

    Also I’ve never read Anna Karenina either! XOXO
    Charlotte recently posted…I was kicked out of a blog group on Facebook (and an announcement!)My Profile

    1. Hey Charlotte, thank you and so glad you’re seeing some books of interest. Wild was a bit slow in some parts but overall a good one. I guess we’ll have to read Anna Karenina together 😛

    1. Hey Kim, summer was the season I discovered Berg and I guess she goes well with that season 🙂 I recall hearing about Wild from you, my dear friend. xo

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