Fiona Jeffcoat-Yu left an interesting comment in response to my list of female protagonists, with two recommendations for further reading.
The first is an academic study called All-American Girl: The Ideal of Real Womanhood in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America, by Frances B. Cogan, 1989. This is a University of Georgia Press book and will probably be a bit of a challenge to find in paperback, but I think I’ll have to have a look at it if only to give me more to argue with the next time somebody writes to say that Elizabeth Middleton is an anachronism.
(The two extremes of criticism I have got about my Elizabeth are: (1) she’s unrealistic for her time; (2) she’s June Cleaver. In the first case, I reject the criticism on the basis on historical fact, and in the second, I laugh. I can’t see June Cleaver going after Jack Lingo with a rifle butt.)
Fiona’s second recommendation was for a novel, Thalassa Ali’s A Singular Hostage (Bantam ISBN: 0553381768) which is a historical set in 1836, and looks to be the kind of book I like best, with a heroine in line with My List of Seven. I’m ordering a copy from Village Books today.