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The best female friendships in fiction

Celebrate the highs and lows of sisterhood in these twelve relatable novels.

Let’s be honest, where would we be without our female friends? Remember that time you were laughing so much you couldn’t breathe, or that guy you argued viciously over (only to have forgotten him a few weeks later), or that much-needed bottle of wine shared after a bad week at work? We have enough sisterhood stories to fill an entire library and we’ve picked the best so that you don’t have to go searching for them.

So whether you want to cry in solidarity, laugh-out-loud at some inappropriate oversharing, or appreciate the women that are always prepared to stand by you, here are twelve books that put complicated, yet ultimately indispensable, female friendships at their heart.

Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

by Alexandra Potter

Book cover for Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

If you’re a woman wondering why life isn’t quite how you imagined it was going to be, don’t worry sister, we’re all in this together. Meet Nell, a forty-something f**k up, who in a world of perfect Instagram lives, is still desperately trying to figure hers out. But then Nell meets Cricket, an eighty-something widow with whom she forges a rare friendship. With Cricket’s help, Nell is finally starting to turn things around, but first, she has a confession. . .

Yours Cheerfully

by AJ Pearce

Book cover for Yours Cheerfully

It’s 1941, and while the men head off to war, the girls must stick together and create their own kind of army. Emmy is determined to do all she can to help on the Home Front, helping to recruit female supporters to the war effort. But when she and best friend Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the tough reality for women war workers, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma: carry out her duty or stand by her friends. This is your charming and hilarious testament to the importance of women supporting women.

Single Bald Female

by Laura Price

Book cover for Single Bald Female

Jessica Jackson’s life is going perfectly according to plan: she has the career, the boyfriend and the cosy London flat she’s always wanted. But a shock diagnosis of breast cancer turns it all upside down. In the midst of feeling like she’s now being left behind, Jess meets Annabel, another cancer patient who may not have long left. Together, the two women face a life affirming journey about how to make every day count.

Devotion

by Hannah Kent

Book cover for Devotion

If you want your heartstrings pulled by a beautiful story of girlhood and friendship (that turns into something more), then look no further. For Hanne, a child of nature, friendship doesn’t come easily, until she meets the gentle Thea and she finds in her a kindred spirit. They say that the best relationships are built on friendship and this is no exception. Try not to be moved by these two young women who find a home in one another and whose one-of-a-kind bond cannot be broken.

Firefly Lane

by Kristin Hannah

Book cover for Firefly Lane

If you’ve watched the Netflix adaptation of Firefly Lane, starring Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke, you’ve got to read the Kristen Hannah novel it’s based on. Kate is uncool, Tully is popular, but despite their differences the two are inseparable. For thirty years, they buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship, jealousy, hurt and resentment. They think they’ve endured it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart. Can the bond of a lifelong friendship survive?

Bridget Jones’s Diary

by Helen Fielding

Book cover for Bridget Jones’s Diary

If you aren’t well acquainted with Shazzer, Jude and Tom, Bridget Jones’s network of quirky friends, where have you been? This addictive bestseller is a document of Bridget’s struggles through the social minefield of her thirties and is best read when accompanied by a bottle of chardonnay on your next sad girl day.

Emma

by Jane Austen

Book cover for Emma

Fancy a taste of Austen’s biting wit and social commentary on manners and misconstrued romance? Our charming but at times insensitive heroine, Emma, takes the pretty but unsophisticated Harriet Smith as her subject and tries to find her a suitable bachelor. But after a series of misunderstandings, she realises it isn’t the lives of others she must try to transform. Emma is a well-loved classic, so well-loved that our girl Cher from Clueless is a modern day showcase of Emma Woodhouse’s ill-fated attempt at match-making. 

Soul Sisters

by Lesley Lokko

Book cover for Soul Sisters

Fancying the same guy is a classic example of how some female friendships can be truly tested. Brought together by a shared family history which stretches back generations, Scottish Jen and South-African born Kemi are two women with a lifelong friendship. When they meet Solam, a charming South African man with political ambitions, he sweeps them both off their feet and causes a devastating rift in their friendship. Cue betrayal and secrets when they travel to Johannesburg, where Jen and Kemi are further torn apart by politics and a devastating secret.

Hens Reunited

by Lucy Diamond

Book cover for Hens Reunited

Each friendship group has one: a control-freak, the career girl, and the one that can’t get over her ex. Meet Katie, Georgia and Alice, who celebrated their last days as single women at each other’s hen nights. But things didn’t really work out . . . their marriages are in pieces and their friendships have been tested to their limits. In this laugh-out-loud story of three trying friends, hearts have been broken and feathers ruffled by betrayal.

My Brilliant Friend

by Elena Ferrante

Book cover for My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend is the first novel in Elena Ferrante's bestselling Neapolitan series that follows the lifelong friendship of two young women, Elena and Raffaella. In this first novel, discover the beginnings of their epic friendship as they go from academic rivals competing to be the first to escape their impoverished Naples neighbourhood, to loyal friends who are prepared to stand by each other even through the most difficult of times.

Conversations With Friends

by Sally Rooney

Book cover for Conversations With Friends

Now a hit series on BBC iPlayer, this mordantly funny book explores a friendship between ex-girlfriends Frances and Bobbie after they become entangled with an older, married couple, Nick and Melissa. A complex ménage à quatre ensues in a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence. But when left alone at the dinner table, an amusing flirtation between Frances and Nick gives way to a strange intimacy neither of them expect, causing complicated entanglements and jealousies within the group.

Queenie

by Candice Carty-Williams

Book cover for Queenie

Queenie is a Jamaican British girl whose world is falling apart, looking for the strength she needs to put it back together. In this darkly comic read, Queenie has a warm but hilarious dynamic with her girlfriends (the Corgis) who try to keep up with her dating drama and inappropriate oversharing while supporting her with the brutal honesty all best friends should. There’s nothing more simultaneously savage but supportive than a girl’s group chat, right?