When it comes to female icons in literature, it's hard to find any that are happily single at any point in the story. A vast majority of books feature some kind of romantic plot or subplot, and it sometimes feels like readers have to wade through countless stacks of all genres to find a single woman who is contentedly uncoupled. Because when there is a single woman in a book, she is most often the sad, lonely spinster of the story, desperate for love she seems doomed to never receive.
But single women with all of their self-esteem and autonomy intact, deserve to have their stories told, too. And although we still have quite a way to go on getting to a place where the list of these women in our favorite books is long and diverse, there are a few characters who have already found their ways into the distinctive group. Below, authors like Jojo Moyes, Sonali Dev, and Morgan Matson — who have all written romantic plots into their own stories — share their favorite inspirational single lady characters from books that they love. And although some of them had to bend the rules, including women who were, in fact, eventually coupled up, they've still created the ultimate TBR of books with fierce female leads.