The best contemporary fiction novels that are heartwarming and bring tears to your eyes

Who am I?

As an Indian writer of contemporary fiction revolving around family, relationships, emotions, and hope, I am constantly on the lookout for similar novels to take inspiration from them and learn how to build beautiful, well-etched characters and portray heart-wrenching emotions. I love books that make me cry as they give me a fulfillment like nothing else. I love characters that are likable and make me feel a strong connection with them. And I like to write similar characters in my books as well. The readers of my novel The Fragile Thread of Hope have corroborated the same. I live in Gangtok, a hill station in northeast India.

I wrote...

The Fragile Thread of Hope

By Pankaj Giri,

Book cover of The Fragile Thread of Hope

What is my book about?

A gripping emotional inspirational fiction about love, loss, and finding hope in the darkest of times. 

Seasoned with the flavours of exotic Nepalese traditions and set in the picturesque Indian hill station, Gangtok, The Fragile Thread of Hope explores the themes of spirituality, faith, alcoholism, love, and guilt while navigating the complex maze of family relationships.

Inspirational and heart-wrenchingly intimate, it urges you to wonder—does hope stand a chance in this travesty called life?

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

A Daughter's Courage: An Utterly Heartbreaking Novel of Family Secrets, Tragedy and Love

By Renita D'Silva,

Book cover of A Daughter's Courage: An Utterly Heartbreaking Novel of Family Secrets, Tragedy and Love

Why this book?

This novel oscillates between pre-independent times in India and the present. It is about Gowri, Lucy, and James, the terrible sacrifices they make, and how they affect their families in the present. I love Renita D’Silva’s descriptions of Indian culture and food, and the powerful emotions her stories trigger in me. A Daughter’s Courage is my favorite book of hers. The sacrifices and dialogues wrenched my heart, the revelation of family secrets astonished me, and the skilled narrative bound me from start to finish. A masterpiece.

Lessons In Forgetting

By Anita Nair,

Book cover of Lessons In Forgetting

Why this book?

A story of two characters, Meera and Jak. Jak, whose daughter is in a vegetative state after suffering from a tragic accident, and Meera, whose husband has just left her. I love books about complicated family relationships, regret, love, and second chances, and this was right up my alley. Certain revelations were devastating, and a few conversations brought a tear to my eye. The characters are real and relatable, and I found myself rooting for them until the very end. I was happy to know that this book has also been adapted into a movie.

A River on the Wall

By Stormy Hazarika,

Book cover of A River on the Wall

Why this book?

Employing delectable metaphors and classy language, Stormy Hazika scripts a moving novel about love that defies the barriers of age and time. The unorthodox relationship between Ryeed, a professor and Nikita, his young student, is penned with such skill and depth that I couldn’t believe it’s her debut novel. I loved reading about the trials and tribulations they face from their respective families, their sacrifices, and how destiny gives them second chances. Several lines filled me with inspiration and tugged at my heartstrings. A wondrous novel indeed.

Prisoners of Secrets

By Lata Gwalani,

Book cover of Prisoners of Secrets

Why this book?

Set in South India in the 1950s, this is a story of Meera, Manuel, and Shankar—three conflicted souls, each with secrets that can destroy the other. It is a beautiful novel showing how one can become a prisoner of one's secrets and live compromised lives. The descriptions are so hauntingly vivid that they will remain etched in my mind forever. I loved the narration and the poetic language, and the bittersweet ending was like icing on the cake.


By Eunice Nirja,

Book cover of Perfect

Why this book?

Based in Darjeeling, my maternal home, Perfect is the story of a fatherless young man Gideon as he wrestles with self-doubt and a dark past as he makes his way into adulthood. It is a beautiful coming-of-age story narrating his special bond with an enigmatic girl Lakisha and his complicated relationship with his father. Highly underrated, extremely moving, and filled with doses of inspiration, this story from the gorgeous hills of Darjeeling will remain with me for a long time.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in India, the British Raj, and Mumbai?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about India, the British Raj, and Mumbai.

India Explore 274 books about India
The British Raj Explore 14 books about the British Raj
Mumbai Explore 19 books about Mumbai

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Full Tilt, Cessions of Land by Indian Tribes to the United States, and The Life and Teaching of Naropa if you like this list.