Top 5 Ageless Boss Babes With a Spunky Spirit

Want older women in novels that breathe life into the story? Read on to discover our beloved, nostalgic females that thrive to redefine “girl boss!”

Author's Corner Female Voices Fiction Recommendations

We all know those older women in literature who make us snap our fingers and yell, “Slay Queen.” Those women who always, despite their age, defy the stereotypes and command the room with a single glance. The kind of women we all aspire to be like who live with the resilience of a storm in every step they take.

Here are just some of the spunky women in literature who exude this vibe with their sharp wit and fearless determination.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – Marilla Cuthbert

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery book cover. A blue background, cartoon painting of a ginger-haired, red dress young girl in the middle of a acrylic-paint-like forest with green, pink, and rose tones.

Marilla doesn’t start off as the best nurturer for Anne. She is harsh and often known to be critical and judgmental. However, upon discovering Anne’s past neglect, she welcomes her into her home without hesitation. Over time, her initially reserved and practical-ness softens, showing affection in her own unique ways. Marilla develops a genuine care for young Anne’s well-being. Despite her rough edges, Marilla always takes Anne’s side and gradually learns that her life without the child would be incomplete. Marilla may be a tough lady, but she always has a good heart.

Matilda by Roald Dahl – Miss Honey

Matilda by Ronald Dahl book cover. A cartoon of a young girl thinking, book open on her lap and closed books surrounding her.

Yes, Miss Honey is not an “older woman” per se, but I decided to add her because she is the gentle mother figure to our main protagonist, Matilda. As her schoolteacher, she protects Matilda and looks out for her. Her name truly precedes her, she is as sweet as honey. Her kindness knows no bounds, and she even becomes Matilda’s adoptive mother to show her the boundless love that a true mother is supposed to give. And just like a mother, she will become a full-on Mama Bear if anyone dares to even think of touching her children.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Random Riggs – Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Reggs book cover in greyscale. A little girl floating in the middle of a creepy forest, with a bedazzled headband and swing dress.

Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine is a peculiar spirit. She is the tough headmaster of her home for Peculiar Children. As a ymbryne, she possesses the power to manipulate time and even shift into a bird. The woman is a mother bird. She fiercely protects her children with her life. Although she hides important secrets from the children, it’s all to take the burden off their shoulders and selflessly put herself in harm’s way. Throughout her life, Peregrine has been beaten down. However, because of this, she’s come out resilient, thick-skinned, and armed with a determination to protect what is hers.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout book cover with a grey-scale leaf extending out.

Olive lives in the small town of Crosby, Maine. She is a blunt, and almost uncomfortably honest, retired schoolteacher. She’s a go-getter, even at her old age. She wants the most out of life and takes it with a hunger for what it can offer. Olive isn’t scared of that hunger. Throughout the story, she doesn’t let her old age hold her back.

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald – Great-great-grandmother Irene

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald book cover, gold and black. Goblins underneath caves at the bottom, Princess looking at a castle above.

Great-great-grandmother Irene is a 200-year-old enchantress with the power to glamour herself from a cobweb-like, fragile old broad to a beautiful young woman with luscious golden hair. She believes that old age should not be sick and frail, but adventurous and beautiful. She is the wise guide to our main character, also named Irene, helping in her ventures to save her love.

All in all, adoration for these older protectors in our novels is timeless. Whether serving as a mature mentor or as a main protagonist who undergoes character growth themselves, these women prove that the story doesn’t end with age. Regardless of the stage in life we find ourselves, we all need inspiring older females like these.

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Read about historic fearless females here!