If there’s one thing I’ve learned that I love from steampunk novels, it’s historical figures represented in fiction. Whilst this happens across other genres too, I have noticed it a lot in steampunk. This got me thinking about who I’d like to see represented in fiction – and in particular, which ladies I’d like to see. Which amazing women from historical fiction would you love to see in fiction?
Ada Lovelace was the only legitimate child of the poet Byron, and was born in 1815. She was a mathematician and writer, and wrote the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Therefore, she is often seen as the first computer programmer. Although she died quite young, at the age of 36, she is well remembered for her work in mathematics and science, and was very well regarded by her contemporaries. I would like a novel about a Victorian lady maths genius, yes please.
Mary Seacole was a Jamaican woman who nursed wounded officers and soldiers during the Crimean War. Despite being rejected by the War Office when she offered her help, she then worked independently and saved many lives, all the while facing racial prejudice. Unfortunately, she is often overshadowed by Florence Nightingale, who also served as a nurse during the Crimean War.
Katherine Ferrers was an English heiress, but also, according to popular legend, a female highwayman known by the name ‘The Wicked Lady’. It was said that she turned to highway robbery in order to top up her decreasing fortune. Supposedly, she died when a robbery went wrong, and she was shot. The mystery and intrigue behind her, plus the fact that she defied all expectations of women at the time makes her a perfect subject for fiction.
Gertrude Bell was, amongst other things, a female archaeologist who worked during the 19th and 20th centuries. She was also a highly influential spy, and basically sounds like an all round amazing lady, who was well-respected by many. I’m always on the lookout for books about archaeologists, but they tend to be thrillers based around male characters. A book about a 19th century female archaeologist sounds pretty awesome to me.