The best novels about father-daughter relationships

Who am I?

I am a debut novelist writing stories that peel back the layers of complex and often fraught relationships with those who are closest to us, family relationships being among the most intriguing to me. I wrote a novel focused on a single father and his daughter in part as a tribute to my own incredible father, who has dedicated his life to bettering life for my mother, my brother, and me. I also think father-daughter stories go largely unwritten and uncelebrated, so Our Best Intentions is my attempt to fill that void.

I wrote...

Our Best Intentions

By Vibhuti Jain,

Book cover of Our Best Intentions

What is my book about?

Our Best Intentions follows the Singhs - Babur “Bobby” Singh, single parent, eternal optimist, and owner of fledging Uber business “Move with Bobby,” and his daughter Angie, an introverted teenager who is uncomfortable in her own skin unless she’s swimming. They are a working-class, Indian-American family who become entangled in a crime in their affluent New York suburb. 

Alternating between multiple perspectives, Our Best Intentions is a pulsating story about a father and daughter re-examining their familial bonds and place in the community. Both a gripping page-turner and an intimate portrait of an immigrant family, Jain’s provocative debut explores how easily friendships, careers, communities, and individual lives can unravel when the toxicity of privilege and racial bias are exposed.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

Vibhuti Jain Why did I love this book?

Atticus and Scout Finch are OG father-daughter #goals, so it’s only fitting that any list of novels about father and daughters start here. Lawyer Atticus Finch teaches young Scout about empathy, the multiple perspectives to a story, and standing up for what’s right. His advice resonates with me decades after I first read this classic in middle school: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Atticus’ compassionate and measuredly wise parenting style, coupled with young Scout’s wide-eyed coming of age and discovery of uncomfortable social blights, like racism and injustice in our criminal justice system, make this literary duo an unforgettable pair. 

By Harper Lee,

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped…

Book cover of All the Light We Cannot See

Vibhuti Jain Why did I love this book?

Set during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, Doerr’s stunningly lyrical novel tells the story of twelve-year-old Marie-Laure Leblanc and her father, Daniel, a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Father and daughter flee Paris for the walled coastal city of Saint Malo, where they take refuge with a relative.

Doerr weaves a gorgeous story of survival during calamitous times that is particularly poignant when it comes to Daniel’s relationship with his daughter. Having been blind since her childhood, one of the ways Daniel keeps Marie-Laure safe is by constructing model replicas of their surroundings so she can navigate her neighborhood while sightless – what a beautiful testament to the love and resourcefulness of a parent for his child.

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

37 authors picked All the Light We Cannot See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.'

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic…

Book cover of Goodbye, Vitamin

Vibhuti Jain Why did I love this book?

The story of thirty-year-old, recently unengaged Ruth Young, who moves back in with her parents for a transitional year to help care for her father, Howard Young, a history professor recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Khong’s novel, written as a diary, contains astute vignettes on a daughter's understanding, misunderstanding, and re-learning to love her father. The novel addresses the heavy topic of caring for one’s aging parent, who is in the throes of dementia. And while the Fosters will, at times, make you weep, they remarkably are also able to elicit a chuckle in the next breath. 

By Rachel Khong,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Goodbye, Vitamin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An O: the Oprah Magazine Best Book of 2017

'Khong is a magician ... Brilliant' Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

'Khong's first novel sneaks up on you - just like life, illness and heartbreak. And love. A million small, human and often deeply funny details gather force to tell a tale that is ultimately, incredibly poignant' Miranda July, author of The First Bad Man

Ruth is thirty and her life is falling apart: she and her fiance are moving house, but he's moving out to live with another woman; her career is going nowhere; and then she learns…

Book cover of Ghana Must Go

Vibhuti Jain Why did I love this book?

This is the story of the relationships and legacy of surgeon Kweku Sai, who passes away of a heart attack in his garden in Ghana in the opening pages of this page-turning family drama. The novel explores Kweku’s relationships with each of his four children and how each makes sense of and mourns his death.

While slightly different than the other selections in this list in that it doesn’t focus on a single father-daughter relationship, the novel nonetheless explores the complexity of Kweku’s estranged relationships with each of his children, including his daughters Taiwo and Sadie. 

By Taiye Selasi,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ghana Must Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "buoyant" and "rapturous" debut novel (The Wall Street Journal) about the transformative power of unconditional love

Electric, exhilarating, and beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go introduces the world to Taiye Selasi, a novelist of extraordinary talent. In a sweeping narrative that takes readers from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, it is at once a portrait of a modern family and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are.

A renowned surgeon and failed husband, Kweku Sai dies suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of his death…

Book cover of The Lowland

Vibhuti Jain Why did I love this book?

Anything written by Lahiri is IT for me. She is the reason I wanted to write. She normalized storytelling that features Indian American characters, and this novel is nothing short of breathtaking.

While it doesn’t focus on the relationship between a biological father and daughter, the novel depicts the trials and tribulations between Subhash Mitra and his deceased brother’s daughter Bela, whom Subash raises as his own child. Their relationship is moving, at times gutwrenching, and ultimately, redemptive. I’d recommend this novel for a thousand reasons, one of which is Lahiri’s masterful portrayal of love, estrangement, and reconciliation between Subhash and Bela

By Jhumpa Lahiri,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2013. From Subhash's earliest memories, at every point, his brother was there. In the suburban streets of Calcutta where they wandered before dusk and in the hyacinth-strewn ponds where they played for hours on end, Udayan was always in his older brother's sight. So close in age, they were inseparable in childhood and yet, as the years pass - as U.S tanks roll into Vietnam and riots sweep across India - their brotherly bond can do nothing to forestall the tragedy that will upend their lives. Udayan - charismatic and impulsive - finds himself…

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By Jan Sikes,

Book cover of The Edge of Too Late

Jan Sikes Author Of The Edge of Too Late

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Interested in family, Ghana, and World War 1?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about family, Ghana, and World War 1.

Family Explore 3,559 books about family
Ghana Explore 23 books about Ghana
World War 1 Explore 857 books about World War 1