The best books with an ensemble cast of characters

Helen McKenna Author Of The Beach House
By Helen McKenna

Who am I?

As a lifelong bookworm, I have always loved curling up with a book, especially one that takes me on an emotional journey through the characters within. I especially love stories with an ensemble cast of characters linked through one common thread and always knew my first novel would be of this format. A fascination with the stories that lie beneath the surface of everyday life keeps me constantly inspired to create new characters that can bring comfort and familiarity to readers but still explore important life lessons in a gentle way.


I wrote...

The Beach House

By Helen McKenna,

Book cover of The Beach House

What is my book about?

The Beach House is a holiday house in a small Australian town. Built over a century ago, it is a hidden gem until a developer covets the prime real estate it sits on and attempts to have it demolished. Not only are the locals up in arms about this proposal, so are many of the people who have stayed there over the years. A young journalist is tasked with telling these stories and in doing so learns many life lessons of her own. The Beach House could best be described as contemporary Women’s Fiction with an ensemble cast of characters.

The books I picked & why

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Evening Class

By Maeve Binchy,

Book cover of Evening Class

Why this book?

I love the delightful yet diverse ensemble of characters that form the story of Evening Class and how their individual stories weave together so beautifully. It taught me that it’s never too late to take a risk or try something new and that everybody has a story, no matter how they present themselves to the world. There is something so comforting in Maeve Binchy’s delightful prose and many moments of laugh-aloud humour.

Evening Class

By Maeve Binchy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Evening Class as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was the quiet ones you had to watch. That's where the real passion was lurking. They came together at Mountainview College, a down-at-the-heels secondary school on the seamy side of Dublin, to take a course in Italian. 

It was Latin teacher Aidan Dunne's last chance to revive a failing marriage and a dead-end career. But Aidan's dream was headed for disaster until the mysterious Signora appeared, transforming a shared passion for Italy into a life-altering adventure for them all...bank clerk Bill and his dizzy fiance Lizzie: a couple headed for trouble...Kathy, a hardworking innocent propelled into adulthood in a…


Someone Like You

By Cathy Kelly,

Book cover of Someone Like You

Why this book?

I love the way this book captures holiday friendships. It taught me that holidaying alone does not have to be a negative experience and, indeed, can make you much more open to forming connections with people you may otherwise not interact with. Someone Like You is not all sunshine and roses but left me feeling content and with a real connection to the three-dimensional characters within.

Someone Like You

By Cathy Kelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Someone Like You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cathy Kelly has enjoyed unprecedented success in the UK and her native Ireland. Building on the popularity of her "Dear Cathy" advice column, Kelly brings to her fiction a warmth and humor that speaks to women everywhere.

Hannah, Emma, and Leonie, three women at critical turning points in their lives, meet on holiday and find themselves changing in unexpected ways. Hannah, young, beautiful and reeling from the betrayal of a lover, decides to throw herself into her career and embrace the single life. Emma, married for two years and hoping to start a family, constantly questions her ability to be…


House for all Seasons

By Jenn J. McLeod,

Book cover of House for all Seasons

Why this book?

House For All Seasons is like a love letter to small-town life. I love the way all the characters are connected through The Dandelion House and how the house itself is like another character in the multi-layered story. It taught me the importance of resolving unfinished business and that you can always come home, even if you’ve spent much of your life running from your past. House For All Seasons stirred many emotions in me but ultimately it is a warm, feel-good story.

House for all Seasons

By Jenn J. McLeod,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked House for all Seasons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Faraday Girls

By Monica McInerney,

Book cover of The Faraday Girls

Why this book?

I love how perfectly The Faraday Girls captures the dynamics of being part of a big family, in all its messy glory. It is a story that is hilariously funny in some parts and quite dark in others, but ultimately the strength of family ties is what shines through. Being part of a big family myself, there is a wonderful familiarity about The Faraday Girls that kept me engaged right until the last page.

The Faraday Girls

By Monica McInerney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

BONUS: This edition contains excerpts from Monica McInerney's Lola's Secret, At Home with the Templetons, Family Baggage, The Alphabet Sisters, Greetings from Somewhere Else, and Upside Down Inside Out.

From internationally bestselling author Monica McInerney comes a captivating and charming new novel of family secrets, the loyalty of sisters, and the power of redemption.

As a child, Maggie Faraday grew up in a lively, unconventional household with her young mother, four very different aunts, and eccentric grandfather. With her mother often away, her aunts took turns looking after her–until, just weeks before Maggie’s sixth birthday, a shocking event changed everything.…


The Husband's Secret

By Liane Moriarty,

Book cover of The Husband's Secret

Why this book?

What I enjoyed the most about The Husband’s Secret was the way that Liane Moriarty managed to entwine three seemingly unrelated characters into a compelling story, underpinned by a unique secret that you don’t see coming. While the suspense and more serious themes of the story were intense at times, I loved the humourous observations of everyday life and the wonderfully drawn characters I could relate to so well. It taught me to never assume, as there is always a hidden layer waiting to be revealed.

The Husband's Secret

By Liane Moriarty,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Husband's Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE—THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF BIG LITTLE LIES AND APPLES NEVER FALL

One of the Best Books of the Year—Entertainment Weekly
One of the Top Ten Books of the Year—People

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read…

My darling Cecilia,
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died…
 
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not only the life you…


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