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The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,686 authors and super readers for their 3 favorite reads of the year.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

My favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era

Eva Seyler Why did I love this book?

I’ve always been a Titanic nerd, and this book was amazing, dispelling myths about the sinking and giving fantastic historical context to many of the people who sailed on the ship.

Russell explores the lives of several passengers, such as Macy’s Isidor Straus and film star Dorothy Gibson, weaving their stories in with that of the ship itself and, most of all, the era. It read like a novel!

By Gareth Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ship of Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Gareth Russell has chosen a handful of passengers on the doomed liner and by training a spotlight on every detail of their lives, he has given us a meticulous, sensitive, and at times harsh picture of the early 20th century in Britain and America. A marvelous piece of work.” —Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey

A riveting account of the Titanic disaster and the unraveling of the gilded Edwardian society that had created it.

In April 1912, six notable people were among those privileged to experience the height of luxury—first class passage on “the ship of dreams,” the RMS Titanic:…


My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Rising Tide

Eva Seyler Why did I love this book?

This year I’ve been on a true crime/mystery kick, and bingeing Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series (both the books and the show) has been part of that.

The Rising Tide, the latest installment in the series, was solid and twisty, with an ending I did not expect and was 100% not prepared for.

By Ann Cleeves,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Rising Tide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of Britain's best crime writers' - Daily Express

Vera Stanhope, star of ITV's Vera, returns in the tenth novel in number one bestseller Ann Cleeves' acclaimed series.

Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion.

Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct…


My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of My Brother's Secret

Eva Seyler Why did I love this book?

My daughter brought this home from the school’s discard rack (her exact words were something like, “I thought you’d like this because it had airplanes on the cover”) and we read it together for bedtime.

It was a twisty, fun middle-grade historical about a German boy who’s been very indoctrinated by the Hitler cult and the process by which he realises that Hitler is a terrible person, actually. The climax was very satisfying, too, and I am always here for a good boy-girl friendship story.

By Dan Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Brother's Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Germany, 1941. 12-year-old Karl Friedmann is looking forward to joining
the Hitler Youth, like all boys his age. But when his father
is killed, his rebellious older brother Stefan shows him things
that leave his faith in the Fuhrer shaken.
What does it mean to be a good German? What does it mean to wear
the mysterious flower sewn inside his brother's jacket? Who is the
real enemy?


Plus, check out my book…

Shadows From the Sky

By Eva Seyler,

Book cover of Shadows From the Sky

What is my book about?

Oregon, 1927: Twelve-year-old Louise Pearson wants to fly. Her mother doesn’t think it’s ladylike; her best friend George Graham doesn’t think it’s safe.

But Louise doesn’t feel safe on the ground. Her mother seems to be holding her at arm’s length. George is preoccupied with a religious identity crisis. Worst of all, terrifying anonymous notes keep popping up where Louise least expects them.

Charles Lindbergh’s celebrated crossing of the Atlantic provides some much-needed distraction for a while, but as the summer goes on and the notes grow more threatening, Louise knows she needs to figure out who is targeting her… before her worst nightmares become reality.