Author History nerd WWII aficionado HR professional Never-met-a-stranger
The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,681 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 Vaquero's Heart

Linda Shenton Matchett Why did I love this book?

I will read anything Heather Blanton writes because of her ability to engross me in the characters’ lives. Each character is unique, and often deeply flawed and dealing with serious issues, but not to the point that I can’t relate.

The book conveyed the gospel message as well as themes like God’s sovereignty, forgiveness, and the joy one can have as a believer without being preachy. The story also made me consider my own life and how I can do a better job of sharing my faith with others in a loving, but non-intrusive way.

I read historical fiction because I enjoy learning, and The Vaquero’s Heart taught me a lot about the Spanish/Mexican influence in the cowboy culture/ranching industry of the Old West. 

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Uncharted Grace

Linda Shenton Matchett Why did I love this book?

The unusual premise of the Uncharted series, historical fiction combined with fantasy, drew me in from the first book.

I enjoy reading about the late 1800s era, and the flavor of that time period is maintained because the characters have discovered an island hidden away between time and place. Uncharted Grace is especially appealing because of the secrets each character carries and how they are intertwined. Secrets never stay hidden forever, so the anticipation of when and how they will be revealed kept me turning pages.

I liked the main characters, Caroline and Jedidiah, and the information the author sprinkles throughout the story about the medicinal uses of herbs and the fictional gray leaf tree. 

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of All God's Children

Linda Shenton Matchett Why did I love this book?

This is an “older” book (2014) that I stumbled on while researching a novel. I’ve not seen many WWII stories about the German homefront, so was pleased to find the story.

The premise is fascinating: a German-American woman stuck in Germany during the war. The book is well-researched, but it is the writing that kept me engaged. Descriptions and the sprinkling of German words evoked the era and the country.

This is not a typical romance story which was refreshing, and the ending is “happy for now” rather than “happily ever after,” but there is closure to the plot as well as leaving me with a desire to read the next book. The main character and her family are Quakers, a group I knew little about, so I enjoyed learning about their beliefs.

By Anna Schmidt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All God's Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beth Bridgewater, a German American, finds herself in a nightmare as World War II erupts―a war in which she takes no side, for she is a Quaker pacifist. Just as she gains opportunity to escape Germany, Beth decides to stay to help the helpless. Meanwhile, Josef Buch, a passionately patriot German, is becoming involved in his own secret ways of resisting the Nazis. . . . Despite their differences, Beth and Josef join together in nonviolent resistance―and in love. Does their love stand a chance. . .if they even survive at all?

The Peacemakers Series:
Book 2: Simple Faith -…

My channel is...

Moments in History

On my YouTube Channel, Moments in History, I share the intriguing people, places, and events I discovered while researching my historical novels.

Although helpful to ensure historical accuracy and inform my writing, most of the information doesn’t end up in the story. Therefore, I created the channel to share these tidbits to bring history to life.