Women's Fiction

A Guide to Popular Reading Interests

by Rebecca Vnuk and Nanette Donohue


Women's fiction comprises an enormous segment of the fiction world, one that is increasingly popular and offers great variety throughout the category, yet works dedicated to this complex genre are sorely lacking. Public librarians and lovers of women's fiction need an up-to-date readers' advisory guide that explains its subgenres and niches—and identifies key titles and authors.

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Cover image for Women's Fiction

September 2013

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 233
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Reference and Information Services and Tools/Readers' Advisory and Leisure Reading
  Reference and Information Services and Tools/Arts and Humanities Literature Reference Tools
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    Hardcover: £43.00/46,00€/A$71.00

Offering a fresh perspective on women's fiction for a broad reading audience—fans as well as librarians—this book defines and maps the genre, and describes hundreds of relevant titles.

Women's Fiction: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests celebrates the books in this broad genre—titles that explore the lives of female protagonists, with a focus on their relationships with family, friends, and lovers.

After a brief introductory history and a chapter that defines the characteristics of women's fiction, the author showcases annotations and suggestions of approximately 300 titles by more than 100 authors. She explains how women's fiction differs from romance fiction, enabling readers to appreciate this rich body of literature that encompasses titles as diverse as Meg Cabot's lighthearted chick lit to the more serious novels of Elizabeth Berg and Maeve Binchy. The book identifies some of the most popular and enduring women's fiction authors and titles, and provides invaluable reading lists and readalike suggestions that will be appreciated by both librarians and general readers.


  • Provides a definitive explanation of what makes a book "women's fiction"
  • Demonstrates how to work with readers who enjoy women's fiction
  • Includes annotations of hundreds of titles
  • Detailed genre organization makes it easy to identify readalikes
Author Info

Rebecca Vnuk is editor for reference and collection management at Booklist Publications. An acclaimed expert on readers' advisory, her published works include Libraries Unlimited's Read On...Women's Fiction: Reading Lists for Every Taste and Women's Fiction Authors: A Research Guide. She received her master of library science degree from Dominican University, where she held several public library positions in readers' advisory, collection development, and administrative roles. A long time reviewer and collection development article writer for Library Journal, Vnuk was named their "Fiction Reviewer of the Year" in 2008. In 2010, she was named both a Library Journal Mover and Shaker as well as the recipient of PLA's Allie Beth Martin Award. Vnuk cocreated the readers' advisory blog Shelf Renewal, now located at

Nanette Donohue is technical services manager at the Champaign Public Library in Champaign, IL. She received her master of science degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003. Donohue has reviewed fiction for Library Journal since 2005, and has served as LJ's Fiber Crafts and Crafts columnist since 2008. She also reviews historical fiction and nonfiction for the Historical Novels Review. In 2007–2008, Donohue served as the president of the ALA New Members Round Table. Her website is

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