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The Heroines

2.77 of 5 stars 2.77  ·  rating details  ·  896 ratings  ·  260 reviews
Up in the dusty attic of Prairie Bluff Homestead, Anne-Marie keeps all of her beloved books locked safely away. For her treasured novels - and the tragic heroines who make them so irresistible - have a way of hitting too close to home. To the Homestead itself, actually...

This otherwise ordinary boarding house has become the favoured refuge of the great women of literature,
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Arrow (first published December 1st 2007)
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Sometimes a clever conceit should remain just that--a conceit. Because no matter how you try to develop it, it will never be as as wonderful as the idea itself. Trying to build upon it and give it complexity strips it of its fanciful "What if?" brilliance and plummets it back to earth. And so we have The Heroines, a novel built around one of the most wonderful ideas I've ever encountered--what if the heroines from famous novels needed a respite from the tragedies of their own storylines--and yet ...more
Awesome idea. Terrible execution. It is just a mess. The writing is awful. I almost didn't make it through the first paragraph. It is much darker than I thought it would be, which is not bad in itself. The darkness didn't really do anything to me emotionally though. I didn't care about the characters at all. Also, the Heroines the novel is named after are underutilized. I thought it would be a story about what all the heroines got up to at the B&B, why they came, etc., but it was more the na ...more
Stories about fictional characters interacting with the physical world are nothing new -- see Jasper Fforde's bestselling Thursday Next series or, on the silver screen, Enchanted. Still, the premise of this novel -- that literary heroines like Madame Bovary are able to visit our world via an isolated bed and breakfast in rural Illinois -- should delight all bibliophiles.

But premise only gets you so far, and this book turns out to be more Helen Fielding than Gustave Flaubert. Though that's unfai
Audrey Niffenegger's review on the front of this book is very apropos.

"Quirky: adolescent angst meets metaphysics, screwball-comedy trysts with the underpinnings of reality. It's funny and tender; it's a chance to see Scarlett O'Hara and Emma Bovary off duty."

This was a fun book to read - one of those read-it-in-one-day books.

This book really gives you a little look at what it would be like if heroines from books suddenly appeared in your home.
I am giving this book 2 stars mainly because the idea was so wonderful--a bed and breakfast where heroines of classic literature come for a respite from their plotlines--but the execution just left me kind of "meh". I think it tried to be too many things--a book about coming of age, a book about literature, a book about mothers and daughters---and not one of those themes really melded well with another. There was also a lot of odd lusting from the main character, Penny--a 13 year old girl who ha ...more
This book began with such promise. A lively adolescent girl growing up in her mother's bed and breakfast, which just happens to be a favorite destination of literary heroines escaped from their novels for a little R & R -- what a delightful premise! (Hmmm . . . a premise with promise.) BUT, for me, the story fell flat.

When I try to analyze why it did so, I come to the conclusion that the author tried to write two different types of books at one time, and it just didn't work. When Penny (the
A Christmas gift from Miss B....It's an odd book, the fantasy clash of literature famous heroines appearing in an everyday bed and breakfast...set in the USA 70s. It has all the marks of the 70s, the pot, the psych and the drugs, Nixon and Watergate. It is literally a clash, which I found disconcerting, but I know that if that background wasn't there, there would be nothing, and the book would fall apart. I called Penny's parentage well before she knew it herself, found it odd how she kept refer ...more
Kristy Miller
If you are interested in this because love fiction/real life cross-over stories, such as the works of art written by Jasaper Fforde, do yourself a favor and skip this one.
Penny's mother has had book heroines popping in and out of her life since she was a child. Now she runs a bed and breakfast outside Chicago, where Heroines often come to escape the woes of their stories. Dealing with the emotionally wrought heroines doesn't leave much time for Penny, who is thirteen and wants some of her mothe
It is 1974, and thirteen-year-old Penny is living with her mother in their small bed and breakfast in rural Illinois. Penny longs to read, but her mother has disallowed it and she can't understand why -- until the heroines from all sorts of famous works start magically coming to life and visiting the bed and breakfast. Their lives intersect with Penny's in unexpected ways, and through these intersections Penny must learn about what it means to be a woman, what it means to be a literary heroine, ...more
I lack the verbal skills to make you, the reader, fully comprehend the twitching heap of nerdy glee to which I was reduced by the sheer potential of this premise: rural bed and breakfast, in which dwells a female narrator steeped to the ears in puberty rage (and her mother), is visited periodically by heroines of classic literature, each on brief hiatus from the climax of her drama.

If you, like me, squealed and opened an window upon reading that, if you have already begun to consider
What if your favorite heroines from literature made an appearance in real life? Would it be fun, hobnobbing with them or an utter nightmare?

Being the inverse of the Thursday Next novels, Ms. Favorite adroitly brings the protagonists from some favorite old classics into the real world and shows how one woman and her curious daughter deals with them. These aren’t just heroines; these are heroines in need of rescue or at least a respite from the perils given to them by their authors. They cannot be
(This one is going to contain spoilers. Sorry, but I have to talk about the ending with someone. Don't worry, I'll warn you when they are coming.)

When I first read the blurb on this book, I thought it sounded great. Set in 1974, thirteen year old Penny lives with her mother in a bed & breakfast set in a picturesque setting in northern Illinois. But, it's not an ordinary B&'s a place where literary heroines go to escape their stories. Past guests have included women like Scarlet O'
I was really excited to read this book, but it contained too much 'angst-ridden teenage rebellion', sexuality, & drug use for me to really enjoy the story. The book couldn't make up its mind whether it was metafiction or mother-daughter drama. The heroines didn't play as big a role as I had hoped. How could someone as fiery as Scarlett O'Hara be relegated to one chapter? If you're looking for wonderful metafiction, try reading Jasper Fforde.
The idea is rather interesting - a bed and breakfast for all those heroines in those really old novels. But in some ways, you want it to be a little more something.

Favorite does an excellent job of nailing down the characters of her heroines, and the book is a rather intersting look at how we see fiction and fact. Just need a little more something.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Ika
My thought
I was disappointed in this book. it was not hard to read through, I thought the plot would be a little more exciting and maybe even a bit humorous. The concept sounded so awesome--fictional heroines come to life--but it did not live up to its potential or my sounded interesting, but didn't deliver. The story is told by a young teenage girl who's mom runs a bed and breakfast in Illinois. The thing is, many of the guests are women from classic stories. Madame Bovary, Scar
This is a YA novel, but I really liked it.

found today 8/2/2013 1 of 20 books for $10
Little House on the Wide Sargasso Prairie

Thirteen-year-old Penny Entwhistle, in Eileen Favorite’s new novel The Heroines, is growing up in the 1970s American Midwest on a steady diet of Watergate coverage and over-the-top dramatic heroines, from Scarlett O’Hara to Blanche du Bois. For those of us who grew up in similar places and times with similar reading lists, Penny is a familiar figure. One difference: for Penny, the fictional heroines come to weepy, irreverent life and set up residence at h
Jeanette Stingley
When I read the inside blurb to this book, I couldn’t wait to tear into and read it. The story is set in 1974 in a small town in Illinois . A single mother runs and lives in a Bed and Breakfast with her daughter, Penny, and a quirky housekeeper, Gretta. The story is told from the point of view of Penny who is thirteen for the main part of the story but the story does jump back in her life for back story.

What makes this B&B unique is the times that heroines from classic fiction books and folk
Wow. What a concept. This adult novelist has all the heroines of famous literature (Hester Prynne, Madame Bovary, Scarlett O'Hara) coming to stay at a bed and breakfast in Prairie Bluff, Illinois. And somehow makes it work. I was mesmerized reading this fast-paced novel that's full of twists and turns. Anne-Marie Entwhistle grows up with heroines (who aren't real, right?) and deals with them getting all of her mother's attention. But then a handsome stranger sweeps her up in the forest onto his ...more
I grabbed this book after reading a review in the Bas Bleu catalog. It sounded whimsical and charming, but I'm finding it's irritating and cloying. I'm a little more than half-way through and I'm disappointed in the main character's narrative. I realize she's an adult reminiscing on being 13, but neither her adult personality nor her 13-year-old personality come across.
The realistic events seem contrived and stiff. For instance, Penny's visit to the hospital for a pelvic exam ordered by the poli
Penelope Entwhistle è un’adolescente dirompente. Capelli ramati, elettrici ed eccentrici come la sua personalità. Penny è bizzarra come la propria apparenza, un personaggio dei fumetti dall’ironico piglio deciso, frettolosa e riflessiva allo stesso tempo.
Penny è l’Io narrante di un romanzo, che pare acerbo e ingenuo, quasi affrettato, non perfettamente consapevole di essere fondato su basi potenzialmente pretenziose.
Una narrazione che scorre leggera, frizzante ma che tocca temi importanti, com
I first started listening to this as an audio book, and just could not get into it. I really disliked the mom, for her betrayal of her daughter, and even though I felt some sympathy for the 13 year old girl, I didn't really care enough about what happened to her to push through to complete the book. Yet I had really expected to love this book, with the role of literary heroines from books through the ages, and how the fantastical intermingled with the ordinary—so I checked out the hard copy book ...more
Megan Palasik
This book was interesting. Not exactly what I expected, but not bad either. I listened to this as an audio book, so my experience may differ from other reviewers'.

This is the story of a girl, Penny, who lives in a bed and breakfast with her mother, Anne-Marie. Heroines from famous and not so famous books frequent their B&B almost as often as paying customers. Penny, as an early adolescent, has grown tired of her mother giving more attention to the whiny heroines than herself, and becomes a b
Sarah Beth
The Heroines has a brilliant plot idea but suffers from poor execution. The novel centers around 13-year-old Penny, who lives with her mother Anne-Marie in a bed and breakfast that regularly hosts heroines from classic novels.

I liked the idea of pursuing well-known classic characters like Scarlett O’Hara and Heathcliff by taking them out of context – it provides an interesting meta writing quality to the novel. However, the plot of this novel was all over the place. I especially disliked the ps
Rachel Lehman
The Heroines is a tale of a young girl,penny, who lives with her mother in . Her Illinois runs a small bed and breakfast, but not all of the tenants are as normal as might be expected. Some of the guest at the inn have been and continue to be heroines from classic stories. These Heroines usually come to rest at the inn during the point in there stories that is the most traumatic. It is a kind of rest from there lives. Penny being a young teenage girl finds the attention that her mother is givin ...more
Heroines starts off with an intriguing premise. Ann-Marie and her daughter, Penelope, maintain a boarding house in the 1970s (Forrest Gump anyone?) and from time to time Heroines from various novels/plays/stories will come and visit them. There is only one rule: you must never interfere with a Heroine's fate. Little Penelope is 13 and on the cusp of womanhood as a daring Hero (or Villain?) arrives chasing down his lost heroine. She is drawn by this dashing stranger and resents the heroines for m ...more
Colleen Stone
You know what made me like this book so much? It made me feel clever! I'd read all the books the author had rounded up and reprised, one at a time to put in a cameo performance in this book. And some of those heroines had given me the pip when I read about them the first time. I remember wanting them to 'grow a pair', toughen up and get on with it. I wouldn't have fed them tea and offered a shoulder to cry on like the mother in this book. I would have lectured them on making lemonade from the le ...more
Thirteen-year-old Penny Entwistle and her mother Ann Marie run a bed and breakfast inn in Prairie Bluff, Illinois.

Penny is forbidden to enter the woods behind the house, and she assumes that it's just because of the danger of getting lost or meeting wild animals.
But when Penny runs out of the house, upset because Ann Marie has given her room to a guest whose sobbing disturbs the other guests she learns otherwise.

Deirdre is only the latest Heroine to monopolize Anne Marie's attention, and the ad
Se doveste preparare un tè per Emma Bovary sapreste resistere alla tentazione di convincerla a lasciar perdere Rodolphe e trovarsi un’occupazione?
Se Anna Karenina vi chiedesse la marmellata riuscireste a non suggerirle di tenersi lontana dai binari?

Anne-Marie e Penny, madre e figlia, sono le proprietarie di un bed&breakfast davvero singolare. Perché le ospiti più frequenti sono le eroine in temporanea fuga dalle loro tormentatissime storie e per Penny, quindicenne, non è sempre facile rispet

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Eileen Favorite teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received her MFA in Writing in 1999. Her poems, essays, and stories have been published in many periodicals. She has received two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships for poetry and prose. Her poetry and essays have aired on WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio. She lives in Chicago with her husband and daughter.
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“Choosing between day and night. Edgar and Heathcliff.” 16 likes
“In fiction, beauty was run-of-the-mill.” 9 likes
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