This is my first try at this, so I hope I can come up with something that makes sense. The first thing that popped into my mind was books with strong female leads, so I want to start with any one of the books in the JD Robb In Death series. I guess starting with Survivor In Death is as good a place to start as any other. In this one, Eve Dallas has to face flashbacks of her own life as she tries to help a young girl who has just had her life destroyed to a similar degree. Eve freezes momentarily at the crime scene and has to pull herself together to aid young Nixie Swisher, whose family has just been massacred.
Another leading lady who loses her family, though not necessarily to death, is Mehr in Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. Mehr is the half-caste daughter of the Ambhan Governor of Irinah and has her Amrithi mother’s magic. Mehr has to find the strength within herself to not only survive the training by the mystics and Maha but face the sleeping gods themselves as she enters their dreams in the storms.
In The Patchwork Bride, Ellen keeps running until she finds the right situation for her and her baby. No matter how right each situation seemed, she kept going until she found her home.
And in Murder in the Queen’s Wardrobe by Kathy Lynn Emerson, Rosamond is busy spying. She’s approached because she understands Russian and placed in Lady Mary’s household under false pretenses. Then she’s discovered and kicked out. In the meantime, she’s busy receiving information, her contact dies in the queen’s wardrobe, she saves Lady Mary’s life from poisoning, gets hit with a rocky snowball, falls down stairs covered in candle wax, and hit with a door. She sees and hears things. She pays attention and thinks things through. She comes up with the truth. She’s so much more than they thought they were getting when they chose her for the job!
Amber/Maud in The Lines We Leave Behind by Eliza Graham is probably the strongest woman character of any I’ve read. A woman whose story starts out in an asylum for the dangerously insane and who can laugh about being given blunt silverware at mealtimes is a strong woman. Who finally has her freedom and then faces returning to the asylum, but to the bleaker side behind the baize door with equanimity. She knows what life will entail on that side of the door, but she puts up no struggle or resistance when they take her.
And perhaps leaving this one for last is a mistake, but it was either that or first, so with that, I give you, Polgara the Sorceress! David and Leigh Eddings have been writing books in this series for quite a while. Polgara takes on all sorts of fantastic beasts and things, even gods and creatures of prophecy. Her father is Belgarath the Sorcerer and one would be hard-pressed to decide which one of them is stronger in their magic. Being several hundred years old, she has had to say goodbye to many mortal friends over the years. She has to raise the child of prophecy as well. Then she has to send him off to try to kill a god and probably get killed himself. And over the years, even her long-lived magical relatives die off. It’s really difficult to lose uncles you’ve had around for 600 or so years. And Polgara does most of it with grace and charm and some magic.
So that’s my chain of strong leading ladies. Now that I’ve listed them, I want to go back and reread some of the ones I haven’t read in a while! Try a chain of your own and link it here in the comments. #6degrees