The best books featuring changeling lore

Why am I passionate about this?

Most people don’t realize how deeply ingrained folklore is to our daily lives. Superstitious habits like tossing spilled salt over the shoulder seem silly now, but had grave implications a hundred or more years ago. I love books that draw lines between folklore and reality, that weave tales laced with superstition, especially through the lens of modern issues. Stories like these have always helped me to not only understand myself better, but the world around me. The things people do and say aren’t nearly as important as why. Folklore, like changeling stories, I’ve found, is the key to human understanding.


I wrote...

Graveyard of Lost Children

By Katrina Monroe,

Book cover of Graveyard of Lost Children

What is my book about?

As a baby, Olivia was almost murdered. Her mother became obsessed with the idea that Olivia was a changeling, and that the only way to get her real baby back was to make a trade with the "dead women" living at the bottom of the well. 

Now, Olivia should be happy, but the birth of her own daughter only fills Olivia with dread. As Olivia's body slowly deteriorates, she begins to fear that the baby isn't her daughter at all. That history is repeating itself. Then Olivia is drawn back to the well that almost claimed her life—tying mother and daughter together in a desperate cycle of fear and violence that must be broken if Olivia has any hope of saving her child…or herself.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Changeling

Katrina Monroe Why did I love this book?

The Changeling is my favorite kind of novel, mixing folklore with modern struggles at the center.

It’s told the way a fairy tale is supposed to be told – part adventure, part cautionary tale, and all beautiful language, making it nearly impossible to put down. Victor LaValle has a way of opening windows to characters’ souls, making them almost too real.

With The Changeling, I saw a piece of myself in Emma, a woman who desperately wanted to be heard and would go to any lengths to do so. 

By Victor LaValle,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Changeling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Apollo Kagwa was just a child, his father disappeared, leaving him with recurring nightmares and a box labelled 'Improbabilia'. Now a successful book dealer, Kagwa has a family of his own after meeting and falling in love with Emma, a librarian. The two marry and have a baby: so far so happy-ever-after.

However, as the pair settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Emma's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, until one day she commits an unthinkable act, setting Apollo on a wild and fantastical quest through a suddenly otherworldly New York, in…


Book cover of Little Darlings

Katrina Monroe Why did I love this book?

Little Darlings was the first book I’d read in a long time that made me feel seen.

When Lauren came home from the hospital after delivering twins only to find her life had not become as picture perfect as she was led to believe, I felt a keen connection. Told with visceral desperation, Lauren’s story is one we can all relate to—a story of self-doubt and a mad scramble for validation. 

By Melanie Golding,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Atmospheric and very creepy' The Guardian

'Goosebump-inducing...Unforgettable' Woman & Home

'Unforgettable...One suspects that the real sorceress here is Golding, whose writing has given a voice to every wronged mother' The New York Times

'Chilling story...stunning' Clare Mackintosh

'Taps into every woman's fear that she will not be believed' Mel McGrath, author of The Guilty Party

* * * *

THE TWINS ARE CRYING. THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY.
LAUREN IS CRYING. LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED.

Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .

A terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves Lauren convinced someone is trying to steal…


Book cover of The Good People

Katrina Monroe Why did I love this book?

Though Kent’s first novel, Burial Rites, was an absolute triumph, The Good People broke me in ways I am still discovering.

Based on a true story in Ireland, this book places a child at the center, surrounded by superstition and fear. He doesn’t speak or walk, which makes some folks believe he is a changeling. But the women who protect him demonstrate immense empathy as they try to navigate this world plucked out of a Grimm fairy tale.

Reading this book made me more deeply understand the power of kindness.

By Hannah Kent,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of Burial Rites, "a literary novel with the pace and tension of a thriller that takes us on a frightening journey towards an unspeakable tragedy" (Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water).

Based on true events in nineteenth century Ireland, Hannah Kent's startling new novel tells the story of three women, drawn together to rescue a child from a superstitious community.

Nora, bereft after the death of her husband, finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Micheal, who can neither speak nor walk. A handmaid, Mary, arrives to help…


Book cover of Cuckoo Song

Katrina Monroe Why did I love this book?

Cuckoo Song is not just a book about growing up, it’s a book about growing up in an environment where you suddenly don’t fit in.

Triss is a character I instantly related to. Once young adulthood hit, I found I’d pulled away from the rest of my family, a black sheep. Wrong. In Cuckoo Song, Triss bravely faces her darkest fears in order to find the truth of herself. And though it might be terrifying, it is her truth, and she will claim it.

By Frances Hardinge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Read this thought-provoking, critically acclaimed novel from Frances Hardinge, winner of the Costa Book of the Year and Costa Children's Book Awards for The Lie Tree.

When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry, her sister seems scared of her, and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In…


Book cover of Bone China

Katrina Monroe Why did I love this book?

Bone China, on the surface, is a book about a woman looking to start over, but she is quickly pulled into a world of fantastical lore and superstition.

Like The Good People, a child who is other sits at the center, who forces Hester to confront everything she thought she knew about herself. I am always fascinated by books in which the past directly influences the present, lines drawn between choices and events.

Reading Bone China made me think about my own past, the influence it had on my present, and the kind of future each choice might bring. 

By Laura Purcell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Daphne Du Maurier-esque chiller set on the mysterious Cornish coast, from the award-winning author of The Silent Companions. 'Du Maurier-tastic' GUARDIAN 'Deliciously sinister' HEAT 'A clever, creepy read' SUNDAY EXPRESS Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft's family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home. Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to…


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By Mari Sangiovanni,

Book cover of Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

Mari Sangiovanni

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What is my book about?

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Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

By Mari Sangiovanni,

What is this book about?

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Interested in changelings, superstitions, and China?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about changelings, superstitions, and China.

Changelings Explore 17 books about changelings
Superstitions Explore 19 books about superstitions
China Explore 591 books about China