Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Cinda's Comparisons - Click on the blue link to jump to our catalog for ordering your copy to personally enjoy.
All three of these selections star a female lead who is destined for greatness beyond her beginnings. One is a humble penitent thrown into leadership and two are born from nothing with no prospects who make changes for themselves and have change thrust upon them by outside forces. Delightfully different from each other, each is exquisitely detailed.
Daughter of the Empire
Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, 1988
The influences of other cultures on the world building accomplished here are beautiful – robes, sigils, drums, rituals, solemn vows. Connected to the Riftwar series (tangentially), the world of Kelewan introduces warriors, sages, tricksters, spies, shrewd negotiators, and foreign species (in the shape of giant ants). When you complete the reading of this first novel, do consider moving further into Mara of the Acoma’s next story, Servant of the Empire, and eventually finish up the trilogy with Mistress of the Empire. Fantasy, politics, action, deceit, and a wonderful level of descriptions help make this work a favorite of mine. Truly, Mara is an intimidating foe.
Special effects technology is finally at the point where a movie translation of this work might actually appeal. Mmmm, the sublime richness of the colors, the landscapes and vistas, the caverns underground… oh, I WISH this were a movie.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Arthur Golden, 1997
The young character followed along her life’s journey of growing up and establishing her happiness in this work sees everything from dirt-poor fisherman’s village to entertaining royalty as a geisha. The convoluted path she takes meets with several important characters along the way – not the least of which is the Chairman, a man she runs into quite accidentally but who encourages her when no one else would. She takes it as a sign that she will prepare her life to include him one day and works to that purpose.
The story itself is simply (and gorgeously) told, but the way it is told is polarizing. A white male American writer telling a Japanese historical romance after supposedly interviewing retired geisha who later sued him for breach of contract and defamation after he printed his retellings of her stories as if they were factual (the case was settled out of court) - amazing! If you can forgive the writer for being different from his subject, then welcome to prewar Japan. And if you want to see the movie (2005), by all means, be kind – they Hollywoodize the fashions and artistry beyond belief, but it is a fun watch and the soundtrack alone is worth it (Yo-Yo Ma and John Williams).
Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens, 2018
Kya’s life seems lower than mere humble. Referred to as the Marsh Girl in exaggerated gossip, she does have a small cohort of supporters – Jumpin’ and Mabel, Tate who teaches her to read. In the progression from subsistence to accolades over her life’s work, Kya is called out by possibly prejudiced witnesses as a murder suspect. What happened to Chase and is someone guilty of killing him?
I have yet to see the movie (It is slated for 2022, I’m so excited!) so I cannot make comments here for a comparison.