The best novels about motherhood

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always wanted to write fiction but it wasn’t until I became a mother that I finally took the plunge. I think motherhood, with all the joy, fear, and complexity that comes with it, is such a rich topic which I was inspired to explore in my writing and most of my books are centred around parenting and family life. And I also think that, like many of the characters in the books I’ve recommended, my journey to rediscover my sense of identity in the world as I approached my 40th birthday pushed me to finally pursue my dream of being an author.   


I wrote...

The Legacy of Eve

By Natasha Boydell,

Book cover of The Legacy of Eve

What is my book about?

Annie’s mother, Eve, died in childbirth thirty-five years ago. Despite this profound loss, Annie’s made it to adulthood just fine. She enjoys being an estate agent, she loves her partner, Gabe – and now, after two years of trying, she’s finally expecting a baby. But as her pregnancy progresses, Annie grows anxious about what happened to her mother, wanting to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. Her quest for more information, though, leads only to frustration. The medical records no longer exist, her mother’s family is estranged, and even her father can’t fill in the blanks.

Then Annie comes across three long-hidden photographs. But these clues to the past raise more questions than answers and make Annie wonder what’s real and what isn’t.

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

The books I picked & why

Book cover of All My Mothers

Natasha Boydell Why did I love this book?

This book resonated with me because it explores relationships between women and reminds us that family can be found in the most unlikely of places. It’s one of those books that made me laugh and cry and stayed with me long after I’d finished it.

All My Mothers follows the story of a young girl who grows up wondering why her emotionally absent mother avoids her and why no one will answer any of her questions about her beginnings. Her journey of discovery spans decades and centres around the different women who shape her life.

There are many women who have played an important part in my own journey and made me who I am today. 

By Joanna Glen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked All My Mothers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of those rarest of books: so beautiful I almost couldn't bear it, and so moving I was reading through tears' STACEY HALLS

'Uniquely witty, beautifully observed, intricately woven' MIRANDA HART

'A truly glorious life-affirming book, in which love, hope and friendship trump sorrow' DINAH JEFFERIES

'Had me absolutely sobbing - a beautiful, beautiful book' JO BROWNING WROE, bestselling author of A TERRIBLE KINDNESS

'Worth every tear' WOMAN & HOME

'Exquisitely tender, powerfully compelling' SARAH HAYWOOD

'One of my new all-time favourite books - an absolute joy' JULIETTA HENDERSON

'Thoughtful, warm and engaging' CHRISTINA SWEENEY-BAIRD

'Honest, heartfelt and hopeful' MARIANNE…


Book cover of The Push

Natasha Boydell Why did I love this book?

From one extreme to another!

The Push is a fast-paced suspense that had me on tenterhooks from start to finish and I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s about a woman, Blythe, who is determined to be a loving and kind mother to her new baby. But as the stress and relentlessness of early motherhood takes its toll, Blythe becomes increasingly convinced there’s something wrong with her daughter. The problem is that no one believes her.

This book reminded me of my early days of parenting, when I was sleep deprived, overwhelmed, and paranoid that I was a terrible mother. Looking back now, it really does feel like a distant memory and if you’re a new mother reading this, I promise you that this too shall pass. (Unless you’re Blythe perhaps…!) 

By Ashley Audrain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Good Morning America Book Club Pick | A New York Times bestseller!

"Utterly addictive." -Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

"Hooks you from the very first page and will have you racing to get to the end."-Good Morning America

A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family-and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for-and everything she feared

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of…


Book cover of Big Little Lies

Natasha Boydell Why did I love this book?

The school-mum politics and school-yard scandals in Big Little Lies are so entertaining! It’s fiction, of course, but there is some truth to it.

As mothers, we should be allies, but sometimes the school gates can be intimidating places, especially if we are already doubting our abilities and questioning our identities. This novel is about three very different mothers who are juggling their lives and families, while living in fear of losing the women they were before motherhood. I think we all experience this fear at some point and it can be terrifying.

It’s our default setting to put our families first but we have to remember that just because we are mothers, it does not mean that we are any less important, relevant, unique, and special. 

By Liane Moriarty,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Big Little Lies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Published as BIG LITTLE LIES in Australia and the United States*

Liane Moriarty, million copy selling author of The Husband's Secret brings us another addictive story of secrets and scandal.

Jane hasn't lived anywhere longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic seaside town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane finally feels like she belongs. She has friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste - two women with seemingly perfect lives . . . and their…


Book cover of The Break

Natasha Boydell Why did I love this book?

I’ve been a huge fan of Marian Keyes for years and I’ve read all her books.

She has a wonderful talent for character development and describing the intricacies of family life and relationships and she seamlessly combines chick-lit humour with meatier, serious themes. In The Break, a story about midlife crisis, Amy’s husband Hugh decides to take a break from their marriage and family, and go travelling to find himself, leaving her at home, a single mum, wondering what the heck has just happened. But will he return, and if he does, will Amy still be the same woman?

I was actually reading this book when I got the idea for my debut novel! 

By Marian Keyes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*** CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS AUTHOR OF THE YEAR 2022***

THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GROWN UPS, MARIAN KEYES

'JUST BRILLIANT' SUNDAY TIMES
___________

'Myself and Hugh . . . We're taking a break.'

'A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?'

If only.

Amy's husband Hugh says he isn't leaving her.

He still loves her, he's just taking a break - from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together.

Six months in South-East Asia. And nothing she says can stop him.

But when does a break become a break-up?…


Book cover of Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy

Natasha Boydell Why did I love this book?

This book had me in stitches!

It’s a comedy about a woman who gives up her job as an undercover spy to raise her family. But beneath the school runs and bake sales, she’s never quite said goodbye to the past and when the opportunity to work for MI5 again presents itself, she can’t say no. But does she still have what it takes?

If you’re terrified of your child’s class Whatsapp group, shudder when you see anyone from the school’s PTA, and are juggling being a mum with a career, then I think you’ll enjoy this one. 

By Faye Brann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I just loved this book... put on a smile on my face' Libby Page, The Lido 'Naturally funny... page turning, smart and sassy' Helen Lederer, comedian, author and founder of the CWIP Prize 'Fresh and different... and skilfully written' Yomi Adekoke, Slay in Your Lane

Vicky Turnbull has never regretted giving up her career for family life in the suburbs. And apart from being outstandingly good at paintball, no one would ever know that in a past life she was an undercover spy and has been trained to kill a man with her bare hands. Not even her husband, and…


You might also like...

Shadow of the Hidden

By Kev Harrison,

Book cover of Shadow of the Hidden

Kev Harrison Author Of Below

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Storyteller Traveller Horror addict Reader

Kev's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

It’s Seb’s last day working in Turkey, but his friend Oz has been cursed. Superstition turns to terror as the effects of the ancient malediction spill over, and the lives of Oz and his family hang in the balance. Can Seb find the answers to remove the hex before it’s too late?

Journey with Seb, Oz, and Deniz across ancient North African cities as they seek to banish the Shadow of the Hidden.

Shadow of the Hidden

By Kev Harrison,

What is this book about?

It’s Seb’s last day working in Turkey, but his friend Oz has been cursed. Superstition turns to terror as the effects of the ancient malediction spill over and the lives of Oz and his family hang in the balance. Can Seb find the answers to remove the hex before it’s too late?

From Kev Harrison, author of The Balance and Below, journey with Seb, Oz and Deniz across ancient North African cities as they seek to banish the Shadow of the Hidden.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in romantic love, motherhood, and MI5?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about romantic love, motherhood, and MI5.

Romantic Love Explore 845 books about romantic love
Motherhood Explore 46 books about motherhood
MI5 Explore 15 books about MI5