Liza Hoeksma tells us Why She Loves Strong Women

I am incredibly happy to introduce this article for my ‘Why I Love Wednesdays’ feature as the first guest post, and it is written by Liza Hoeksma, who you can find out more about below. Thanks Liza!

Why I Love… Strong women

My family has just celebrated my mum turning 70 and as my brother said in his birthday toast, she’s the sort of woman who when life gives her lemons, whacks them in a gin and tonic and throws a party. Growing up she set me an example of being someone who was always willing to stand up for other people whether it was serving as a local councillor, raising money for the nearby women’s refuge or campaigning against apartheid in South Africa.
My mum also gave me a love of fiction and it’s no surprise that I love it when I come across a really strong female character. One who makes me want to shout and cheer, one who inspires me to be braver, work harder and never give up. If you love a strong and feisty heroine, you might like to try one of these books:
Invention of WingsThe Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
On Sarah’s 11th birthday her wealthy family give her Hetty, her very own slave girl and so begins an incredible story of slavery, friendship, cruelty and courage. Set in America in the 19th Century this book is heart-breaking and yet awe-inspiring. Sarah and a number of other characters are based on real people who stood against the common thinking of the time and tried to turn the tide against slavery. I love reading about people who break boundaries because of their beliefs and who stand up against the evils they see around them. Some of the scenes are pretty hard to stomach but the story is so beautifully told that it will draw you in and leave you desperate to know how it turns out for Sarah, Hetty and all those around them.
RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue
Though in this book we see life through the eyes of five year old Jack, we are quickly introduced to his mum, Joy, and realise she is the only person he has ever met. They live together in Room and Jack has no understanding there is a whole world outside. Joy was a normal girl until the most horrendous of circumstances changed her life and that’s what’s amazing about her character. Despite the hell she continues to live in – Joy makes everything as normal as possible as she can for Jack. It’s amazing what you could survive if you had to. One of the things I loved was that she had moments of breakdown, when forcing herself to be OK for Jack’s sake became too much. That felt so real to me; being a strong woman isn’t about pretending life is all OK. Joy does what she needs to in order to survive and she gives Jack everything she has; nothing is stronger than a mother’s love.
NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
This was one of my favourite reads of last year, a beautifully written story featuring two amazing sisters separated during the Second World War. Struggling to survive Vianne and Isabelle take wildly different paths as France is occupied, one forced to take the enemy into her home and the other considering becoming part of the Resistance. There are no easy choices as the women struggle to make it through each day, longing to see their country free again, and the book is a humbling and eye-opening read about the realities of war on those left behind. A heart-breaking but utterly compelling read that highlights the resilience of so many women.
How to be a womanHow to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Our heroine here is a real one as this book is part memoir of Caitlin’s life and part social commentary. She covers everything from the joys of puberty to the pressure women constantly face to have children. She tackles feminism and takes it from being something of a dirty word to something that is just common sense for every decent human being (“it’s just everyone being polite”). Chances are you won’t agree with what she says on every topic but you’ll no doubt find yourself fascinated by her opinions, entertained by her stories and laughing at her honest and hilarious observations.
AnneOfGreenGablesAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
She may be a daydreamer prone to disasters but Anne is nothing if not feisty. This orphaned girl captures the heart of every reader who meets her so if you’ve not given her a try yet don’t be put off by how old the book is – some things stand the test of time! In a world of cynicism you can’t help but lap up Anne’s romantic nature and innocent fantasies, if you live in a concrete jungle like me, you’ll love the stunning surroundings of Prince Edward Island, if you need something to make you smile you can’t help but love Anne’s ability to get herself into trouble, and if you love romance – no other relationship in fiction can touch that of Anne and Gilbert. Anne will forever be my favourite heroine; she never lets life’s disappointments break her, she stays optimistic and keeps dreaming, she sacrifices for those she loves and she refuses to quit.
So those are some of my favourite heroines to be found in the pages of a book – I’d love to know some of yours. Here’s to strong women: “May we know them, may we be them and may we raise them”.
Thanks again Liza, I will make sure to check out all of the books! What books have you read that have strong women in?
More Than EnoughAuthor info
Liza’s first novel More Than Enough is out now and was voted ‘Mumsnet Best’ by Mumsnet readers. She lives in Hertfordshire, works part-time for a charity, can easily lose hours on Pinterest and spends much of her life helping people spell and pronounce her Dutch surname (think Hook-smar).
Find Lisa on Twitter | Goodreads
Buy her book on Amazon

Why I Love…Mrs Doubtfire

Mrs Doubtfire was one of my favourite movies as a child, and remains that way to this day. Firstly. Robin Williams was a great actor and comedian, and he injects such magic into every movie I’ve seen him in, and none more so for me than Mrs Doubtfire.

Whenever I hear either ‘Jump Around’ or ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady’, it bring memories of this great film, and if I’m alone (or if Simon is the only person present) I will sing and dance along to either. This film is just makes me laugh and smile, every time I watch it I can almost guarantee to find a new joke every time, or at least a joke I’ve forgotten about. The humour is just the best, it’s got humour for children and adults with some cultural references.

Why I Love…Wine!

I never really liked wine before I started my job designing wine lists for a wine wholesaler. I was sent on a WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) course to learn about wine and my love developed from there. I never understood how one Sauvignon Blanc could taste of Gooseberry’s and another of tropical fruits. To be honest I never got how you got grapes to taste of anything other than grapes. However, being taught about it all and having to taste a load of different varieties of grapes from different countries, really peaked my interest and after acing that test (92% getting only 4 questions wrong) and getting a merit in a more advanced course, including a blind tasting, my love for wine was born. I want to eventually work my way to getting my diploma, then another and then I will be a master of wine. That is such an awesome name, but I would love to get better in wine tasting, and maybe turn it into a profession. However, there are only about 250 masters out there so it’s obviously going to be challenging.

Why I Love…Back To The Future

I know guys, I missed the perfect opportunity to post this article last week, but it never occurred to me until my friend Laura (@grumpygirlie) suggested it!

I first saw them about 12 years ago when Simon was amazed that I hadn’t seen them before, and quickly they became my favourite series of films, and Simon and I being  a teeny tiny bit nerdy have named our home network around it, so our Wifi is called Mr Fusion, our password is related to BTTF and our network storage is called Marty.