The Female Quixote
This is a really light and comedic read. I will try not to compare it to Don Quixote too much because even though the books are similar, comparing any novel to Don Quixote just sets it up for failure.
This novel is about Arabella, a beautiful rustic who believes that romance novels are fact. She fakes swoons, believes that it is a grave crime to tell someone you love them without first attempting suicide, and dresses in retro fashion. The secondary characters, however, are what really makes the novel shine. Mr. Glanville is in love with Arabella and is often mortified when she goes on ridiculous tangents. Sir George, a friend of Glanville's, realizes that Arabella is a little bit insane and plays that part of the chivalrous knight, presumably to get in bed with her.
I was surprised that this novel was so hilarious. Up until now on the list, the books by women have been mediocre and only placed on this list because they were written by females. I particularly liked this novel because I had read a couple of Greek romances for the purpose of the 1001 journey (see Chaireas and Kallirhoe) so I was able to understand what they were making fun of. Highly recommended.
This novel was used as a model for Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.
Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson both "approved" the novel.
This novel was a comment on the power women held over men.