Reviewed by Alyssa Katanic

Do you, or someone you know, love to write, but find yourself discouraged and overwhelmed by the busyness of daily life and frustrated by not knowing how to start or which step to take next? Would you be comforted to know that Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and many others faced many of the same obstacles that you do? Would you like to know how such female literary giants dealt with obstacles to their writing life?

The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life by Nava Atlas brings together twelve such giants and pulls from their journals, letters, and articles pieces that showcase how they handled writing challenges and what advice they had for other young or aspiring writers in the areas of “Becoming a Writer”, “Developing a Voice”, “Conquering Inner Demons”, “The Writing Mother”, “Rejection and Acceptance”, and “Money Matters” among others.

The Literary Ladies’ Guide is beautifully designed and thoughtfully written. Despite being a “guide”, The Literary Ladies’ Guide is anything but text-bookish. The well-chosen quotes and excerpts from twelve well-known women writers work together to make this volume a very personal collection of inspiration, encouragement and advice while giving us a peek into their every day lives. Its artistic design also lends to the personal feel of the book. The photos and artwork throughout would make for a wonderful gift book or coffee table book for anyone interested in writing or for those who simply enjoy the classic books put forth by the twelve ladies who are spotlighted: Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Willa Cather, Edna Ferber, Madeline L’Engle, L.M. Montgomery, Anais Nin, George Sand, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf.

Atlas has given us a moment of standing on the shoulders of those who came before us and shows us that we are not as alone in our obstacles as we may feel. We are encouraged to take a look at these ladies and recognize the doors that they helped in opening for the women writers who would come after them and to realize that, though they were truly blessed writers, our beloved authors still had to work hard and still faced rejection and criticism time and again, as every writer will.

The Literary Ladies’ Guide will serve as a beautiful encourager to every writer. Enjoy!

Rating: 5/5

Alyssa is a wife and stay at home, homeschooling mother of five, with two boxers, two cats, a soft shelled turtle named after Bob the Builder, and 7 frogs (admittedly a homeschooling project gone froggy). In all her spare time, she loves to read and believes that there is no such thing as having too many books!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Sellers Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.