Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top Ten Authors That Deserve More Recognition

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new subject each week and this week's topic is top ten authors that deserve more recognition.

At first I thought I'd have a hard time creating this list but then I found that I had to trim it down to ten!

My list of authors includes some less familiar authors and some names that are known but I just want to highlight them anyway because I hope to encourage readers to give them a try.

1. Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell is the author of Cranford, North and South, and Wives and Daughters, among others. She was a friend of Charles Dickens and the first biographer of Charlotte Bronte. While the works I mention have been turned into films by BBC (the image above is from North and South), her books still do not have the recognition of Dickens, Bronte, or Jane Austen. If you are new to Gaskell, I'd recommend starting with North and South. It would appeal to both fans of Dickens (for the social commentary) and Austen (for the romance between the heroine Margaret Hale and John Thornton).

2. Gail Carriger

While Gail's Parasol Protectorate novels (Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, and the upcoming Heartless) are growing in popularity, I think she still deserves more recognition. Her books are entertaining and feature a delightful blend of humor, romance, and mystery. This is a good introduction to steampunk for those who are unfamiliar with it. Plus there are nattily dressed vampires and brawny werewolves, and an umbrella wielding intelligent heroine who is one of a kind. I consider these books to be vastly superior to the more popular Sookie Stackhouse. Have I convinced you to try her books yet? You can listen to a sample of the excellent Soulless audiobook at Audible.

3. Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah Pekkanen made her debut last year with The Opposite of Me. I am currently reading her latest book, Skipping a Beat, which takes a look at what happens when people change inside a marriage. Sarah is a talented new writer of women's fiction. Even Oprah agrees as Skipping a Beat is an April pick for O Magazine! Sarah's books would likely appeal to fans of Claire Cook and Cecelia Ahern.

4. Susanna Kearsley

Susanna Kearsley is an author that is new to me. I believe she is more popular in Britain and her native Canada. I read and loved The Winter Sea and have since picked up two of her earlier works, Mariana and The Shadowy Horses. I believe she deserves more recognition as a writer of historical fiction with romantic elements. I think Susanna's writing would appeal to fans of Diana Gabaldon because of the combination of historical fiction, elements of fantasy, and romance as well as the Scottish setting used for a number of the books. You can read chapter one here.

5. Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Shilpi Somaya Gowda has written only one novel so far but Secret Daughter blew me away. This is a moving story about two mothers living worlds apart and the daughter who is connected to both of them. From the slums of Mumbai to the struggles of marriage and adoption, Secret Daughter takes readers on an emotional and unforgettable journey. Secret Daughter received excellent reviews from publications as diverse as Booklist and Romantic Times. This would make a great book club pick too and it is now available in paperback. Check out my review of Secret Daughter. I can't wait to see what Shilpi writes next.

6. Cindy Pon

You may be more familiar with author Cindy Pon now but her name is still not as widely recognizable among the YA readership as it should be. Cindy made her debut with the critically acclaimed Silver Phoenix though sadly some bookstores did not choose to carry the book. Now it has been reissued with a more YA friendly cover and the excellent sequel, Fury of the Phoenix, is also available. Hopefully more readers will be introduced to Cindy's books. She deserves more recognition for her excellent writing and for her Asian heroine, Ai Ling. Along with Malinda Lo, Cindy is now one of a growing number of talented Asian YA authors and I hope to see many more! You can read my reviews of Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix and don't forget to visit Diversity in YA, a fantastic website put together by Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo.

7. Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin burst onto the Christian fiction scene last year with her debut, A Distant Melody, part of her Wings of Glory trilogy set during World War II. Sarah's historical fiction series features realistic and flawed characters, romance, historical detail, and edge of your seat adventure. She also does an excellent job of writing male characters that feel very real, something that you don't often find in Christian fiction. I think she deserves more recognition both for her relatable characters and the level of detail she brings to her historical fiction. Sarah's books would appeal to fans of Bodie Thoene's Zion Covenant and Zion Chronicles series. I would even suggest it to male readers of Christian fiction. I reviewed A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us and I can't wait to read the final book, Blue Skies Tomorrow. If you like Christian fiction and are looking for characters who aren't beautiful or perfect, try the Wings of Glory series. You won't be disappointed!

8. Y.S. Lee

 A Spy in the House, is the first in Ying Lee's Agency series about teenage Mary Quinn who escapes the noose to become a trained female spy in Victorian London. In addition to being a fantastic YA historical mystery series, the books also feature an intelligent protagonist who happens to be POC! There is also romance, humor, historical detail, and plenty of adventure. Have I sold you on the books yet? If not, read my review of A Spy in the House, then go to your local library and find out for yourself why Y.S. Lee deserves more recognition!

9. Sarwat Chadda

Sarwat Chadda's YA novels, Devil's Kiss and Dark Goddess, feature a strong female heroine who just happens to be POC. Bilquis Sangreal, better known as Billi, is only fifteen but she is a member of the Knights Templar. She fights against evil creatures like ghuls (vampires) and demons. I think he deserves more recognition for writing action packed stories that have depth and flawed characters. In addition, he is one of the few South Asian writers of YA out there (along with Mitali Perkins and Anjali Banerjee). His new series will feature Indian mythology and involve crossover from Billi's world. I can't wait to read about Ash Mistry's adventures too. I would suggest Sarwat Chadda's books to fans of Sarah Rees Brennan and Lili St. Crow. You can find out more about Sarwat Chadda and his books on his website (he has a great sense of humor!). Still not sure if these books are for you? Read my reviews of Devil's Kiss and Dark Goddess.

10. Lawrence Hill

I was introduced to Lawrence Hill's writing by my cousin's wife Loria who kindly loaned me her copy of The Book of Negroes (published as Someone Knows My Name here in the States). Lawrence Hill is a Canadian author which could be why I was unfamiliar with his work. Someone Knows My Name is a powerful and moving story about a young woman's journey from slavery to freedom during the late 18th and early 19th century. This is one of those books that I truly believe everyone should read and it is based on historical fact. It is well written and filled with historical detail but it packs an emotional punch. Aminata Diallo is truly an unforgettable heroine. You can read my review of Someone Knows My Name. Please check out this amazing book!

What do you think of my list? Did you find some authors that are new to you? If you do decide to try any of these authors, please let me know what you think! As always, these are my opinions. If you are uncertain that you will like a book, I strongly recommend that you try to obtain it from your library or through interlibrary loan so that you don't end up with a book that you don't like!


  1. I agree about Y.S. Lee. Good idea in adding her; I completely forgot! I have been meaning to read Kearsely and Carriger. I know how much you like the Parasol Protectorate series. I need to get it from the library next time I am there. Great list, Christina!

  2. Thanks for sharing you list. Most of the authors are new to me hear but I am eager to search for one or two. Thanks.

  3. A few of these authors were new to me, or new to me as of today after seeing them on other lists too. I've heard of Elizabeth Gaskell but haven't read anything by her and only read the first Parasol Protectorate book. Have already added the others to my TBR list!

  4. I'm getting ready to read Sarah and have Cindy and YS on my TBR. Great list!

  5. I totally agree with Elizabeth Gaskell and Y.S.Lee. I looove them, the whole world should know how awesome these ladies are!

  6. Completely agree with Y.S. Lee - can't wait for the third Agency book!

  7. Posting a picture of Richard Armitage is a sure way to win my heart! I really enjoyed North and South (both the book and the BBC adaptation), so I should probably check out her other works.

    Haven't heard of the other authors, so you've provided a lot for me to look into!

  8. I think Secret Daughter has had some great reviews but definitely some more cross over I can see, it is on my Wishlist.

    I have also been intrigued with GailP books.

  9. I enjoy the Parasol Protectorate series although I must say I was a bit disappointed by #3! I hope #4 picks up the pace a bit!

    I recently finished The Winter Sea and loved it! Definitely going to be looking for more of Susanna Kearsley's novels soon.

  10. Great variety in your list. I haven't read any of them, so thank you for the recommendations.

    Check out my post here: http://hawthornescarlet.blogspot.com/2011/03/top-ten-tuesday-check-um-out.html


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