I recently enjoyed two non-fiction books about women becoming independent: The Barbizon by Paulina Bren, and The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson. The first is a history of the famed single woman's NYC residence; the second describes England's first marriage introduction service, opened during the 1930s by two, single twenty-four-year-old women.
More than merely the history of a building, The Barbizon movingly describes the era before a woman was permitted an independent life, fearing to be "left on the shelf" and unmarried even while teenagers. Stories of its famed residents which included Grace Kelly whose romantic, dreamy, movie look reflected myopia) and Sylvia Plath (who endured numerous electric shock treatments without anesthesia) are included.
The Marriage Bureau describes the early lives of its founders and how, seeking financially comfortable lives when the only path seemed marriage, they blindly forged ahead and became successful, helping many find joy in an increasingly frightening world. Good reading for our troubled time.