The best books with unforgettable characters

Who am I?

As a novelist, I focus on the characters in my books, and the plot is woven around them. I'm a people-watcher, and I remember bits and pieces of the folks I observe—many of which find their way into my novels. As a reader, plot pulls me in, but it is the characters that I remember. As a novelist, I always begin with a cast of characters: I start with a physical quirk, a personality flaw, an offbeat way of seeing things. Then I add a plot. For me, plot is the hardest. There are hundreds of characters swimming around in my imagination (see my first book, Characters in Search of a Novel).


I wrote...

The World Came to Us

By Molly D. Campbell,

Book cover of The World Came to Us

What is my book about?

Tommy Poole and her mother Meg have decided to become recluses together. Not forever; only for a year. And not at night when the dog needs to be walked. In the midst of their grief over the loss of Tommy’s other mother, Sam, shutting themselves away seems the only viable way to recovery. 

However, while they have decided to step away from the world, the world has not made the same decision. Soon, Tommy’s best friend is living with them. And the crotchety neighbor is making their lives miserable. And when a teenaged girl with a troubled past and an indignant future enters their orbit, life might be as full for Tommy and Meg as it has been for years. And that was before the wedding…

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Anne of Green Gables

Molly D. Campbell Why did I love this book?

I have been an eccentric my whole life. As a child, I had an adult soul. Nobody, including my parents, recognized this. So I felt as if I didn’t fit anywhere. Then I discovered Anne Shirley. The kindred spirit to my soul. She knew “big words.” Her heart was vulnerable, so her spirit was brave. I read that book so many times, the binding split. Anne Shirley was the first fictional character that resonated with me, and I have carried her with me ever since. I named my daughter Anne.

By L.M. Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Anne of Green Gables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anne of Green Gables is the classic children's book by L M Montgomery, the inspiration for the Netflix Original series Anne with an E. Watch it now!

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are in for a big surprise. They are waiting for an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables - but a skinny, red-haired girl turns up instead. Feisty and full of spirit, Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts' affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter. It's not long before Anne finds herself in trouble, but soon it becomes impossible for the Cuthberts to…


Book cover of The Man in the Window

Molly D. Campbell Why did I love this book?

Perhaps this was an inspiration for my own novel. It is about Louis, who has not left his house in sixteen years, due to his disfigured face. I won’t ruin the book, but I must say that it is written with great tenderness and understanding, and the characters are luminous. 

This book has stayed with me for years. Cohen weaves a bit of magic into his writing, and though the topic is sad on the surface, its two main characters will fill the reader with deep love and great satisfaction.

By Jon Cohen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An off-beat love story alternately deeply moving and laugh-aloud funny. Good Housekeeping Jon Cohen conjures magic, weaving a gentle romantic fantasy of piercing and eccentric beauty. Boston GlobeSince he was disfigured in a fire sixteen years ago, recluse Louis Malone has remained hidden from the prying eyes of his neighbors in the small town of Waverly.Across town, Iris Shula, a lonely and unlovely nurse knows, at thirty-seven, it is unlikely that her Prince Charming will ever appear. But Iris is about to learn how wrong she is.When Louis accidently falls out of his second story window these two kindred souls…


Book cover of Mr. Flood's Last Resort

Molly D. Campbell Why did I love this book?

Talk about quirky chararcters and magic! This book is full of them! 

Apparently, I am fascinated with agoraphobics and magical themes! Cathal Flood is a horrible old man.  He is a hoarder and misanthrope. However, he doesn’t want to go into a home, so he hires Maud to help him sort out his home so he can satisfy all that he is sane and orderly.

But there are saints seeping out of the woodwork and cats are everywhere. This hoarder has stories, and Maud keeps uncovering them, along with hints from the saints who comment on the action. This book is what? A thriller? A study of Irish folklore and the Catholic faith? I don’t know, but I just loved the book.

By Jess Kidd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Flood's Last Resort as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning author of Himself comes a spellbinding and “magically entertaining read” (Good Housekeeping, UK) about a lonely caregiver and a cranky hoarder with a house full of secrets that “will appeal to fans of Tana French and Sophie Hannah, as it charms and unsettles in equal measure” (BookPage).

Maud Drennan is a dedicated caregiver whose sunny disposition masks a deep sadness. A tragic childhood event left her haunted, in the company of a cast of prattling saints who pop in and out of her life like tourists. Other than visiting her agoraphobic neighbor, Maud keeps to herself, finding…


Book cover of Nothing to See Here

Molly D. Campbell Why did I love this book?

Lillian is asked by her old friend Madison for Lillian's help. Madison needs a caregiver for her twin stepchildren, who are moving in with her. No problem, right? 

Well, one small thing: when the twins are angry, excited, or otherwise emotionally aroused, they catch on fire. Lillian obviously has her work cut out for her, keeping the two cool. This is so well written, so funny, and yet heartwrenching at the same time—these characters will not let go of you.

By Kevin Wilson,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Nothing to See Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller  •  A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!

Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, People, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, TIME, The A.V. Club, Buzzfeed, and PopSugar

“I can’t believe how good this book is.... It’s wholly original. It’s also perfect.... Wilson writes with such a light touch.... The brilliance of the novel [is] that it distracts you with these weirdo characters and mesmerizing and funny sentences and then hits you in a way you didn’t see coming. You’re laughing so hard you…


Book cover of Lessons in Chemistry

Molly D. Campbell Why did I love this book?

A mother. Who is a scientist. Her daughter who adores her. The mother is a feminist. But the world knows her as the star of a hugely popular cooking show.

This book bursts with the personality of Elizabeth Zott, whose life is science, but whose daughter needs a mother, a carer, a role model, and a teacher—so Elizabeth becomes all of those. She fights the stereotype of “housewife” with all she has, and we learn a lot from her.

By Bonnie Garmus,

Why should I read it?

55 authors picked Lessons in Chemistry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • Meet Elizabeth Zott: a “formidable, unapologetic and inspiring” (PARADE) scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show in this novel that is “irresistible, satisfying and full of fuel. It reminds you that change takes time and always requires heat” (The New York Times Book Review).

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Oprah Daily, Newsweek, GoodReads

"A unique heroine ... you'll find yourself wishing she wasn’t fictional." —Seattle Times…


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Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay

By Kate Darroch,

Book cover of Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay

Kate Darroch Author Of Death in Paris

New book alert!

Who am I?

Living on Devon's gorgeous coast, I'm melding my lifelong love of reading Cozy Sleuths with my love of writing and years of living in foreign climes to write Travel Cozies. I also have a Vella Heist serial Found Money starting on Vella soon, and a Cozy Spy series They Call Him Gimlet coming out in the Autumn.

Kate's book list on humorous murder mysteries

What is my book about?

This is a recovery and redemption novel about forgiveness, full of warmth and compassion, which stirs the heart as it navigates sensitive topics delicately yet realistically. The riveting sobriety journey of Eric, an alcoholic newly recovering in AA, who falls in love with Lily, a woman haunted by memories of domestic abuse.

The emotional roller coaster of their journey unfolds by the sea on the gorgeous Devon coastline in England. This is a super-sweet story of strong friendships and complex, flawed, yet caring people moving toward committed love. Visit the compassionate community at St Michael's, where this old-fashioned love story is part of everyday life in a community which reflects your own. This is life as it should be.

Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay

By Kate Darroch,

What is this book about?

This is a recovery and redemption novel about forgiveness, full of warmth and compassion, which stirs the heart as it navigates sensitive topics delicately yet realistically. The riveting sobriety journey of Eric, an alcoholic newly recovering in AA, who falls in love with Lily, a woman haunted by memories of domestic abuse.

The emotional roller coaster of their journey unfolds by the sea on the gorgeous Devon coastline in England. This is a super-sweet story of strong friendships and complex, flawed, yet caring people moving toward committed love. Join the compassionate community at St Michael's, where this old-fashioned love story…


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