Recs list - central mentor-student relationships between women
One thing I love to read about is mentor-student relationships, especially where both participants are women or girls. Often these kinds of relationships are in the background of narratives where other stuff is going on, but here are a few of my favourites that have a prominent place in their own stories:
Wise Child, Monica Furlong – This is one of those books that I keep coming back to. It’s a rich, vibrant fantasy set in a misty Celtic past, telling the story of a clever and prickly girl called Wise Child who is sent to live with the mysterious Juniper, a healer and sorceress who teaches her and helps her to discover her own strength and power. There’s also a prequel that’s just as magical, following Juniper’s very different experiences with her own mentor, Euny.
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot – This series follows the adventures of New York teen Mia Thermopolis as she discovers that she is the princess of a small European nation, and learns how to handle her new responsibilities and power. Mia’s grandmother the dowager princess – unlike the version played by Julie Andrews in the (AWESOME!) movie adaptation – is a terrifying and manipulative woman who nevertheless gives Mia invaluable help as she learns about everything from how to refuse a proposal to how to speak in public, navigate life in the public eye and trust her own instincts.
Quarter Days, Iona Sharma – In interwar London, in the midst of an investigation into a rail disaster and an upheaval in the magical world, Salt magic practitioner Grace semi-reluctantly takes on an apprentice – a perceptive and talented girl named Kira. As Kira settles into the world of magic and learns the basics of her craft under Grace’s care, Grace learns her own lessons and makes her own discoveries. This lovely and evocative novella is available to read for free HERE.
Maresi, Maria Turtschaninoff – Maresi grows up in a community of women, and Sister O is just one of her many teachers and role models, but in spite of Sister O’s seriousness and strict discipline, the two of them have a deep connection built on an understanding of the importance of the quest for knowledge, and the need to share it. If you’d like to know more, I recced Maresi in detail HERE.
The Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater – Like Maresi, Blue Sargent grows up surrounded by other women – the ones at 300 Fox Way are clairvoyants and practitioners of magic, most not related by blood but living together as a family. Despite being the only non-psychic in the house, Blue learns a lot from the older women around her – especially her mother Maura, and Maura’s best friends Calla and Persephone.
Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery – The entire Anne series is rich with mentor-student relationships between women, with Anne herself often in the mentor role in the later books, but for me one of the most special is Anne’s hero-worship of Muriel Stacy, her teacher in her later years at Avonlea School. Miss Stacy is a vibrant, intelligent woman who encourages Anne to challenge herself and form her own opinions of the world, and her influence continues to resonate through Anne’s later life.
If you know of any I’ve missed out, please, please reblog and add them, I’m always looking for more books like this!