The best books for escapism on a rainy Autumn evening

Who am I?

I may be a writer of psychological dramas, but I am first and foremost an avid reader who is addicted to books. My go-to genre is the psychological thriller, but I also love any books that use light and shade, balancing humour and darkness, inverting stereotypes, and generally keeping me guessing on plot twists and turns. All of the books I have recommended would keep you warm and cosy – and certainly distracted – on an autumnal evening when the nights are long and cold. 


I wrote...

When We Were Young

By Dawn Goodwin,

Book cover of When We Were Young

What is my book about?

Four best friends. One of them is dead. Are their secrets safe? Uni friends Stacey, Paula, Bev, and Valentina used to be inseparable until one weekend before graduation when nothing was ever the same again.

Thirty years later, reunited at Valentina's funeral, Stacey receives a letter written by her late friend asking for one last wish... that the three friends go back to where things fell apart and finally bury the hatchet. As they revisit their old haunts of their uni days and follow a series of clues left by Valentina, their friend's death begins to look suspicious and it is up to them to find out what happened – but they all have secrets to hide.

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

The books I picked & why

Book cover of We Begin at the End

Dawn Goodwin Why did I love this book?

This is an exceptional crime novel. The characters are rich and unforgettable—Duchess and Thomas Noble will stay with me for a very long time. It is also beautifully writtennothing is unnecessary and every word has a purpose. I cried, I laughed and above all I rooted for them. One of those books I wish I'd written myself. A must-read.

By Chris Whitaker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Begin at the End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel from the Crime Writers’ Association (UK)
Winner for Best International Crime Fiction from Australian Crime Writers Association
An Instant New York Times Bestseller

“A vibrant, engrossing, unputdownable thriller that packs a serious emotional punch. One of those rare books that surprise you along the way and then linger in your mind long after you have finished it.”
—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Four Winds

Right. Wrong. Life is lived somewhere in between.

Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Rules are for…


Book cover of Hungry

Dawn Goodwin Why did I love this book?

This is a memoir that took me straight back to those beige culinary days of my Geordie upbringing, when the best thing about Autumn was rice pudding and the comfort food of the eighties. Grace writes with charm and wit, interspersing her career highs and lows with some wonderfully warm moments of nostalgia. Very moving and will make you reach for a can of Heinz tomato soup.

By Grace Dent,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE FORTNUM & MASON DEBUT FOOD BOOK AWARD 2021
WINNER OF 2021 LAKELAND BOOK OF THE YEAR

'Extraordinary. Vivid, irreverent, heartbreaking.' NIGEL SLATER

'So funny and so delicious. I could eat it.' DAWN O'PORTER

'Delicious.' THE OBSERVER

From an early age, Grace Dent was hungry. As a little girl growing up in Currock, Carlisle, she yearned to be something bigger, to go somewhere better.

Hungry traces her story from growing up eating beige food to becoming one of Britain's best-loved food writers. It's also everyone's story - from cheese and pineapple hedgehogs and treats with your nan, to…


Book cover of The Postscript Murders

Dawn Goodwin Why did I love this book?

Who doesn’t love a cosy crime novel to keep you company when the nights are drawing in? This is a fantastic murder mystery set in Brighton with colourful characters that you can’t help but warm to and a proper whodunnit at its heart. The narrative is cleverly interspersed with literary references and every detail has been considered so that you are left guessing until the very end.

By Elly Griffiths,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

INVENTING CRIME STORIES CAN GET YOU KILLED

'A LOVE LETTER TO MURDER MYSTERIES' SUNDAY MIRROR

The ultimate gripping murder mystery to curl up with, from the bestselling author of The Stranger Diaries and the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka's account of Peggy Smith's death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her...

And that Peggy Smith had been a 'murder consultant'…


Book cover of Where the Crawdads Sing

Dawn Goodwin Why did I love this book?

A wonderfully colourful and vivid story about a marsh girl who falls in love, interspersed with a murder mystery. The writing is lyrical and yet not over the top. You can almost smell the marsh, feel the heat on your skin. Kya is strong-willed, naïve, and charming and you find yourself rooting for her from the very first page. 

By Delia Owens,

Why should I read it?

41 authors picked Where the Crawdads Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

OVER 12 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
A NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

For years, rumours of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be…


Book cover of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

Dawn Goodwin Why did I love this book?

This is a wonderfully twisted, dark, and eccentric story about bored housewives trying to eliminate a vampire who has moved into their neighbourhood. The narrative is peppered with delicious humour and inherent irony hidden behind sterotypical characters. It is gory and bloodthirsty and witty – just what you need with Halloween around the corner. 

By Grady Hendrix,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This funny and fresh take on a classic tale manages to comment on gender roles, racial disparities, and white privilege all while creeping me all the way out. So good."-Zakiya Dalila Harris, author of The Other Black Girl

Now in paperback, Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this New York Times best-selling horror novel about a women's book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town.

Bonus features:
* Reading group guide for book clubs
* Hand-drawn map of Mt. Pleasant
* Annotated true-crime reading list by Grady Hendrix
* And more!

Patricia Campbell's life…


You might also like...

Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

By Christina Ward,

Book cover of Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

Christina Ward Author Of Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

New book alert!

Who am I?

For me, history is always about individuals; what they think and believe and how those ideas motivate their actions. By relegating our past to official histories or staid academic tellings we deprive ourselves of the humanity of our shared experiences. As a “popular historian” I use food to tell all the many ways we attempt to “be” American. History is for everyone, and my self-appointed mission is to bring more stories to readers! These recommendations are a few stand-out titles from the hundreds of books that inform my current work on how food and religion converge in America. You’ll have to wait for Holy Food to find out what I’ve discovered.

Christina's book list on the hidden history of America

What is my book about?

Does God have a recipe? Independent food historian Christina Ward’s highly anticipated Holy Food explores the influence of mainstream to fringe religious beliefs on modern American food culture.

Author Christina Ward unravels how religious beliefs intersect with politics, economics, and, of course, food to tell a different story of America. It's the story of true believers and charlatans, of idealists and visionaries, and of the everyday people who followed them—often at their peril.

Holy Food explains how faith pioneers used societal woes and cultural trends to create new pathways of belief and reveals the interconnectivity between sects and their leaders.

Holy Food: How Cults, Communes, and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat - An American History

By Christina Ward,

What is this book about?

Does God have a recipe?

"Holy Food is a titanic feat of research and a fascinating exploration of American faith and culinary rites. Christina Ward is the perfect guide – generous, wise, and ecumenical." — Adam Chandler, author of Drive-Thru Dreams

"Holy Food doesn't just trace the influence that preachers, gurus, and cult leaders have had on American cuisine. It offers a unique look at the ways spirituality—whether in the form of fringe cults or major religions—has shaped our culture. Christina Ward has gone spelunking into some very odd corners of American history to unearth this fascinating collection of stories…


Genres
  • Coming soon!

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in murder, murder mystery, and escapism?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about murder, murder mystery, and escapism.

Murder Explore 891 books about murder
Murder Mystery Explore 469 books about murder mystery
Escapism Explore 36 books about escapism