Regardless of the genre,
I have always gravitated towards female characters with distinct attitudes, personalities, and perspectives: To Kill a Mockingbird’s Scout Finch; J.D. Robb’s In Death series’ Eve Dallas; Alan Bradley’s Flavia De Luce; J.K. Rowling’s Hermione Granger; Suzanne Collins’s Katniss Everdeen; Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.
As a teen, I devoured romance novels, but after the publication of Bridget Jones’s Diary, I discovered a self-determined alternative: women’s fiction.
While the romance genre requires “a central love story” and “an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending,” the women’s fiction genre can include a love element as a sub-plot, but most often, the predominant storyline focuses on the protagonist and her friendships and familial relationships (“About the Romance”).
And, as demonstrated in Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, not all female protagonists are damsels in distress, nor do they always want or need a male counterpart to rescue them.