When I first read that, I thought, "Female author? Do I even read female authors?" Then they slowly started coming into my mind and I consistantly headdesk'd through the list.
Books written by women are rather hard to come by on my shelves (I say "shelves", because there are several).
Let me see if I can list all the female authors. The longer I look, the more I see.
Liz Curtis Higgs
And I think that's all.
The reason I had such a time of it is that most of them only have one or two volumes to their name, as far as my collection is concerned, whereas male authors sprawl out sometimes to the point of owning a shelf of their own.
Once more, this is a tough answer, because my favorite book and favorite author do not match.
The Gothic Novelist
My favorite book is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. I can't say she is my favorite author, though, because that is the only work I've read, and so cannot judge her abilities and artistry in general.
"Oh, comply!" it said. "Think of his misery; think of his danger, look at his state when left alone; remember his headlong nature; consider the recklessness following on despair--soothe him; save him; love him; tell him you love him and will be his. Who in the world cares for you? or who will be injured by what you do?"
Still indomitable was the reply--"I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad--as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth--so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane--quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart is beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot"
The story of Jane is a good one. Though her worldview is a mixture of paganism and Christianity, Jane recognizes the problems and hypocrisy of the church of her time, knowing that it doesn't match the scriptures. As she has no one to teach her properly, she muddles through at times, but she holds to that which she does know when times are tough. No matter how much she wants to toss the Bible and God wholesale out the window to follow Rochester, she "plants her foot" and keeps to the laws of God and man. She may only have a faint understanding of Christ, but she believes him.
And in the end, having surrendered her dreams to Him, she receives back a hundredfold more than she could have ever imagined.
The Lady Murder Writer
As for storytelling, Dorothy Sayers wins by a mile.
Lord Peter Wimsey is my favorite detective of all time. Better than Sherlock Holmes. Better than Miss Marple. Miss Sayers had the ability to write a character who was Sherlock Holmes and Bertie Wooster rolled into one. No small feat, that.
She wrote other characters, too. All of them are brilliant. She even wrote a radio drama of the Easter story. I wish I could get hold of a copy.
I think my favorite of her books is "The Documents In The Case". It isn't a Lord Peter story. It stands alone. But what makes it so unique is the lack of a detective. What you hold in your hands is more or less a dossier of the case- statements, evidence lists, etc. No detective to follow around. You have to notice the important things yourself. The storyline is that one officer has sent it to another, because he needs fresh eyes on it. I can't recall if it's a cold case or what, but the second officer writes his answer in the end, giving you the solution to the tale. I think it was also accompanied by a confession from the killer.
And those witness statements aren't as helpful as you'd expect. People forget things, misremember them, think irrelivant things are important and don't talk about the important stuff...
It's brilliant, that's what it is.
Well, life goes on a pace. I have a business to tend to today, so I shall say farewell and God bless.
EDIT: Of course, there is an Austen Quote for everything, as proven earlier in this post...