Women’s fiction is a term that refers to stories where the female protagonist deals with situations and relationships that challenge her and affect her emotional growth.
The subjects and themes of these books can cover a wide range of issues that women face. Relationships with other people are important, and are an integral part of the story. Though there is often a love interest, it isn’t the central focus.
What’s most important is the woman’s emotional development as she pursues her dreams, fights her fears, or overcomes obstacles life throws her way. These stories touch the emotions, and don’t necessarily have a happy ending. Like any book, though, women’s fiction does need an ending that satisfies readers.
Women’s fiction tends to be more commercial than literary, but doesn’t fit the narrower restrictions of genre fiction. It appeals to a wide, mainstream audience and generally will be shelved with general fiction in a bookstore.
Examples of books considered women’s fiction (per Barnes & Noble) are:
Picture Perfect, by Jodi Picoult
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
What other books can you think of that would be considered women’s fiction? What, if anything, appeals to you about this type of book?