I’m Susan Vaughan Author Of Cleopatra's Necklace
Author Romantic suspense author Nut about happy endings Constant reader
The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,199 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…

Lessons in Chemistry

By Bonnie Garmus,

Book cover of Lessons in Chemistry

Susan Vaughan Why did I love this book?

I loved it partly because it was riveting, page to page, but also because the author, with humor and emotion and wit, brought to life fascinating characters and the challenges of an independent woman in the ‘60s.

Elizabeth Zott, a gifted research chemist unable to find work in her field,  has to star in a cooking show. Hilarity ensues, along with character-building challenges, tragedy, romance, and a mystery surrounding her early life.

Every page was a delight. No wonder it’s still #1 on the bestseller list. After writing this, I feel I must read it again!

By Bonnie Garmus,

Why should I read it?

42 authors picked Lessons in Chemistry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • Meet Elizabeth Zott: a “formidable, unapologetic and inspiring” (PARADE) scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show in this novel that is “irresistible, satisfying and full of fuel. It reminds you that change takes time and always requires heat” (The New York Times Book Review).

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Oprah Daily, Newsweek, GoodReads

"A unique heroine ... you'll find yourself wishing she wasn’t fictional." —Seattle Times…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

The Bullet That Missed

By Richard Osman,

Book cover of The Bullet That Missed

Susan Vaughan Why did I love this book?

This is the third book in Osman’s series about murder-solving senior citizens in a British retirement community.

Each book can stand alone, but I recommend the entire series. Book 4 is due this fall. The group meets every Thursday to solve cold cases as a game, but somehow the current project develops a threat against one of their own and points to a more recent murder. The characters are wonderfully drawn and compelling, individuals with wry humor and touching problems, some due to aging.

Humor, danger, a little romance, and a tangled puzzle I couldn’t detangle kept me riveted through to the last page.

By Richard Osman,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Bullet That Missed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brought to you by Penguin.

A new mystery is afoot in the third book in the Thursday Murder Club series from record-breaking, bestselling author Richard Osman.

It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.

Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.

Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill. . . or be killed.

As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience…

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Mischief And Mistletoe

By Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliott, Anne Gracie, Susan Fraser King

Book cover of Mischief And Mistletoe

Susan Vaughan Why did I love this book?

Although I write contemporary romantic suspense, historical romance, and historical fiction are often my reads of choice, and these stories by very talented authors did not disappoint.

This is a set of romance short stories set in the Recency period in England, during the Yuletide season. The authors are favorites of mine, and this collection did not disappoint. Always witty, sometimes emotional, sometimes humorous, but each has fascinating characters, a unique challenge, and a happy ending.

With passionate secrets, snowy nights by the fire of a country inn, and even a spy, these stories were a delicious read, a holiday treat.

By Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliott, Anne Gracie, Susan Fraser King

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mischief And Mistletoe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sparkling holiday collection, eight acclaimed authors unwrap the most daring of Regency delights. . .
Christmastime in England--a time for passionate secrets, delicious whispers, and wicked-sweet gifts by the fire. From a spirited lady who sets out to save her rakish best friend from an unsuitable engagement, to a bold spy who gets the unexpected chance to win the woman he's always loved, to a vicar's daughter who pretends to be a saucy wench, these holiday tales will make you curl up in front of the fire for a memorable season of mischief and mistletoe. . .


Plus, check out my book…

Cleopatra's Necklace

By Susan Vaughan,

Book cover of Cleopatra's Necklace

What is my book about?

Former Delta officer and now security exec Thomas Devlin must recover the legendary Cleopatra’s necklace from smugglers to restore his company’s reputation. When the smugglers pursue his old flame, he jets to her aid.

Cleo Chandler’s involvement with the forger who copied the necklace sends her on the run. When Thomas finds her in Europe, Cleo knows he will protect her but worries this take-charge man will crush her love again. Thomas runs into more trouble than he can handle in the arms of this woman he can’t forget. From Venice to Vegas, as they race against time, they find something greater is at stake than recovering the precious antiquity. As the peril escalates, so does the risk to their hearts.

I read 34 books this year.