Please welcome back author Audry Fryer

Choices is pleased  Audry Fryer is returning today with a guest post about strong female characters in literature. She has listed fifteen whom we’re sure most of you can relate to. Audry was with us a few days ago when we high lighted her new book, Until Next Sunday (

Please read on and then let us know who your favorite female protagonist is:

Top Strong Female Characters in Literature

by Audry Fryer

Strong female characters in literature amaze and inspire us as readers. We love to witness them defy the odds and persist in following their dreams. We keep turning the pages as they stand tall in the face of oppression and opposition. And we cheer them on as they break free from conventional feminine roles and bust through societal boundaries.

5 Traits all Strong Female Protagonists have in common:

  • She is true to her opinions, instincts, and value system.
  • She has flaws that make her relatable.
  • She has her own identity, ambitions, and goals.
  • She’s tough and can face the consequences of her actions.
  • Her character arc grows and changes throughout the story.
  • Her background story and personality captivate us as readers.

Who are the strongest female characters in literature?

A complete list of strong female leads most likely numbers in the thousands. However, I narrowed it down to a brief collection of 15 of the literature’s strongest, most iconic female characters. 

These brave female characters range from bold personalities to heroines. They are women we can relate to, who empower us, and who dazzle us with their storylines.

Elizabeth Bennet, Pride, and Prejudice

Elizabeth Bennet tops many best female protagonist lists for a good reason. She is considered an icon in English Literature. Her character’s snarky, stubborn, self-confident nature places her at entertaining odds with Victorian society.

Hermione Granger, The Harry Potter series

Where would Harry Potter (and Ron) be without Hermione Granger? Her strength comes from overcoming her non-magical Muggle background. Her studious personality, hard work, and unwavering determination help her become one of the best witches in the wizarding world.

Josephine “Jo“ March, Little Women

Writer Louisa May Alcott loosely based Jo March on herself in her novel Little Women, published in 1868. Jo March defies the times she’s living with her strong-willed, tomboy, outspoken personality. She’d instead pursue her writing than conform to society by getting married. And Jo loves her family and even chopped off her hair to earn money for them!

Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

You can call Katniss Everdeen,The Hunger Games heroine, a contemporary icon. She’s not only a physically tough, highly skilled archer surviving two fights to her death, but she’s also strong-willed, stubborn, and willing to do anything to protect her mother and younger sister.

Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter

Hester Prynne isn’t taking what her Puritanical society is handing out, a red-letter A for adulter. While separated by distance and years from her husband, Hester fell in love with a minister and became pregnant with his baby. Her inner strength and self-reliance help her defy the governor and the townspeople.

Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

Anne Shirley is a lovable character who also tops several lists of strong female characters. Her personality (which can be a bit ridiculous) makes her so likable. Anne has so many great traits including, imagination, intelligence, ambition, competitiveness, loyalty, and wanting to be a good person. Also, she rocked her red hair, freckles, and puffy sleeves. 

Liesel Meminger, The Book Thief

Liesel encounters great tragedy, grief, and loss at a young age. However, she is determined to learn to read, which leads to her love of books. As she matures, Liesel becomes outraged and frustrated at the injustices of war. Liesel cares about her new friends and shows great courage.

Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre’s ascent from her troubled young life as an orphan to becoming a governess, displays great strength of mind, determination, and perseverance. In her Victorian Society, Jane stands out among women with self-reliance and willingness to question and challenge norms.

Meg Murry, A Wrinkle in Time

Meg Murray has that perfect mix of awkward teen and awesome time-traveling, super-smart mathematician. She’s both so relatable and an exciting heroine. Plus, Meg is loving, caring, and brave. She never gives up, even when it seems all hope is lost.

Lucy Pevensie, The Chronicles of Narnia Series

Lucy Pevensie is the one who discovers the magical land of Narnia despite her brother not believing her story about the wardrobe’s secret. However, Lucy bravely enters this world and eventually becomes crowned Queen of Narnia. She’s an inquisitive character who is also kind and open to wonder and magic.

Laura Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie 

Likable Laura Ingalls gains her strong female character status for two reasons. First, she lives in the untamed West in the 1800s. There are wolves and bears right outside her door. And she travels by riding bareback on her horse. Second, Laura follows her dreams and becomes a famous writer.

Elphaba, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Elphaba is a genuinely fascinating character. There’s so much more to her character than being the Wicked Witch of the West. In Wicked, we learn Elphaba’s origin story and about Elphaba’s true personality. Despite the pain of being an outcast due to her green skin, she cares about others and animals. Elphaba is strong-willed, intelligent, confident, and, oh yes, a little wicked.

Lisbeth Salander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Lisabeth Salander is a brilliant computer hacker who has overcome a traumatic childhood. With her take-charge, somewhat unhinged attitude, she has one of the strongest moral codes of any character on this list or in all literature. Lisbeth is aggressive, willing to go to extremes, and one exciting strong female lead.

Nancy Drew, Nancy Drew Mystery Stories

One of the most iconic characters, Nancy is no sidekick to a male counterpart. She’s a strong female lead using her intelligence to solve mysteries. Nancy’s gutsy, strong-willed personality often puts her in harm’s way. But she always solves the crime and then takes on another case.

Celie, The Color Purple

Celie’s transformation from victimized and abused to confident and independent earns her spot on this list of strong female characters. Celie uses the power of love and forgiveness to gain strength, triumph, and joy. 

Final Thoughts on Strong Female Characters in Literature

These strong female characters inspired me as I was writing the character of Rosina in my book, Until Next Sunday. Rosina is one strong female character, both in fiction and real life. In 1919, she made the brave yet heart-wrenching choice to leave everyone and everything she knew behind for a new life in America. Once in America, Rosina faced new challenges to her health and welfare before achieving her “American dream.”

I hope you enjoyed this list of iconic female characters. These characters are relatable, empowering, and inspiring. There are quite a few of my favorite characters on this list, including Hermione Granger, Meg Murray, and Elphaha. Who’s your favorite strong female character? 


About Until Next Sunday

Rosina leaves Italy to build a better life, but the reality in America is nothing like the dream. She is far from the Italian countryside and the beautiful olive groves where she grew up. Here the work is endless, and the winters are cold and desolate. She never expects to find love in such a place.

Then she met him. Gianni, the shoemaker’s apprentice, is gentle, handsome, and everything she never knew she needed in her life.

But when Rosina falls ill and is quarantined, their future is at stake. All she can do is cling to the beautiful letters Gianni writes. Each week she tries to survive the long, lonely days until next Sunday for his brief visit.

Will fate bring Rosina and Gianni together once more? Or are they destined to remain star-crossed forever?

Until Next Sunday is a sweet Historical Romance inspired by a true story. It is based on actual Italian love letters which were discovered a century after they were written (some of which are contained in this book.) It is a portrait of the times, and a true immigrant experience. Feel the force with which these two lives find love, against all odds.

Purchase your own copy on: SmashwordsAmazonApple Books, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo

Author Bio

Audry Fryer is an author and professional freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Formerly a teacher, she wrote her first novel while her toddler son and baby twins napped. As her children have grown into teenagers, she has expanded her career. Audry lives with her family and two pugs in a quiet corner of Southeastern PA. To learn more about Audry, please visit her website at

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  1. […] wasn’t easy to narrow down the list with so many strong female leads and iconic female characters. That said, this list focuses on a selection of fiction containing phenomenal female characters and […]

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