The best lyrical women's fiction that deep-dives into complex relationships, while tugging every heartstring

Elizabeth Sumner Wafler Author Of Topanga Canyon
By Elizabeth Sumner Wafler

Who am I?

As you get to know the characters I create, you'll be imbued with a sense of hope and possibility–with the magic that can happen when someone pokes a toe out of her comfort zone and makes things happen. You'll relate to discrete characters, who like most women, desire and deserve true love, authentic relationships—whether they be friends, mothers, daughters, or loversand meaningful work. You'll care about their emotional hurts, the misunderstandings that cause them to stumble, and cheer them on as they make choices that ultimately lead them to create empowered, fulfilling lives. Hooking you from the first sentence, I'll ignite your brain's hardwired desire to learn what happens next. 


I wrote...

Topanga Canyon

By Elizabeth Sumner Wafler,

Book cover of Topanga Canyon

What is my book about?

Candy empire heiress Dare O'Day has never done a reckless thing in her life, or so her version 2.0 hippie, estranged daughter Caroline believes. When Dare is haplessly involved in a scandal that rocks her small-town Virginia world, she needs to get out of town fast. Acting on a hunch that it could be her last chance to forge an authentic relationship with her daughter, Dare and her one-eared rescue dog head for Caroline's intentional community "Crewtopia" in California.

Despite their differences, Dare and Caroline manage to confront a lifetime of family secrets and misunderstandings. Ultimately, the two learn that a loving and supportive relationship between mothers and daughters has the power to influence generations to come and is the strongest and most important bond of all.

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).

The School of Essential Ingredients

By Erica Bauermeister,

Book cover of The School of Essential Ingredients

Why this book?

This luminous women's fiction is anchored by Lillian, restauranteur by day, cooking class instructor by night. Come for the lyrical and evocative descriptions of sophisticated food and indulgences. Stay for a brilliantly-crafted cast of flawed characters, who seek hope and restoration. I especially adore this novel for the relatable backstories of Lillian's students. It's the perfect, decadent slice of life for escaping yours.


You Me Everything: A Novel

By Catherine Isaac,

Book cover of You Me Everything: A Novel

Why this book?

I love this tale of Jess, single mom of young William, who sets off to spend the summer at her ex-boyfriend Adam's hotel—an idyllic, restored castle nestled into the sunlit hills of the French countryside. Her aim? To make Adam fall in love with his son. Jess can't allow Adam to let William downbecause she is tormented by a secret, one that nobodyespecially her sonmust discover. Come for an equal-parts wry comedy and heart-wrenching family drama. Stay for a deliciously tender story about finding love and joy in unexpected places.



Daisy Jones & The Six

By Taylor Jenkins Reid,

Book cover of Daisy Jones & The Six

Why this book?

A Fleetwood Mac devotee, I couldn't help fall for this book whose flawed and fabulous band characters are at the heart and soul of the story. Reid swears it's a fictional group, but you will find yourself wondering if she's having us on. It's that real. And so absorbing, it's a page-turning palooza. Ambition, success, friendship, desire, betrayal, disillusionment, and true love lie below the surface of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. 


Remembrance

By Rita Woods,

Book cover of Remembrance

Why this book?

This masterpiece will compel anyone who's not yet a lover of historical fiction with elements of fantasy to jump the broom into Remembrance, a voodoo-induced world refuge for 18th and 19th century enslaved people. The lives of a trio of women separated by place and time are deftly braided by this debut author. Evocative escapism at its best.


Second Nature: A Love Story

By Jacquelyn Mitchard,

Book cover of Second Nature: A Love Story

Why this book?

I unabashedly admit to reading this fabulously fascinating novel at least five times. Set "a few years in the future," a remote young medical illustrator, Sicily Coyne, needs a new face. When the girlhood victim of a deadly church fire learns that her fiancé holds a deeply buried and devastating secret, Sicily is propelled to agree to receive the first-ever face transplant. Surgery not only restores her appearance, but transforms her into a gorgeous young woman, which sends her spiraling into deep depression. But Sicily's a survivor. She begins embracing a brave new world, ultimately finding an unexpected and by all accounts unsuitable new love, who gives her a gift she never would have expected. Mitchard, one of our finest women's fiction writers at the top of her game.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in rock music, romantic love, and refugees?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about rock music, romantic love, and refugees.

Rock Music Explore 129 books about rock music
Romantic Love Explore 417 books about romantic love
Refugees Explore 90 books about refugees

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, The Piano Teacher, and The Unsinkable Greta James if you like this list.