The best uplifting contemporary novels

Irene Wittig Author Of The Best Thing About Bennett
By Irene Wittig

Who am I?

I have always found that uplifting stories—in which kindness is more powerful than cruelty, and love and friendship blossom in unexpected and even tragic circumstances—give one hope, and hope is the foundation of resilience. Such stories can be set in familiar, comforting places, or new adventurous locales. My own experiences in Uganda, and my husband’s anti-corruption work were the inspiration for one of the locales of my novel about Bennett.


I wrote...

The Best Thing About Bennett

By Irene Wittig,

Book cover of The Best Thing About Bennett

What is my book about?

An inspiring contemporary novel that follows a socially isolated middle-aged woman who, through chance encounters and the trip of a lifetime, finds the courage to break out of her shell.

The books I picked & why

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

By Rachel Joyce,

Book cover of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Why this book?

I loved this book and the poignant journey of self-discovery and healing taken by the title character. One morning, emotionally down-trodden Harold receives a letter from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years, telling him she is dying and wanted to say goodbye. Believing that if he walks all the way and answers her in person, she will live, he sets out on the 600-mile journey with nothing but the clothes he is wearing. Little by little, Ms. Joyce uncovers the joys and heartbreaks of Harold’s life. Though her touch is light and simple, her writing is rich in emotional wisdom.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

By Rachel Joyce,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Impossible to put down' TIMES
'Life-affirming delight. A comic pleasure' WOMAN AND HOME
'Profoundly moving' RICHARD MADELEY

OVER 4 MILLION COPIES SOLD. SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOVIE STARRING JIM BROADBENT AND PENELOPE WILTON
____________________

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other.

He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else's life.

Harold…


The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

By Rachel Joyce,

Book cover of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Why this book?

Set in hospice as Queenie awaits Harold’s arrival, her story is one of love, kindness, and acceptance, and fills in details not fully covered in Harold’s story. Though the books can be read independently, I would recommend reading Harold’s story first and then Queenie’s. When you finish you will be in love with Rachel Joyce.

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

By Rachel Joyce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait? A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, 'Even though you've done your travelling, you're starting a new journey too.' Queenie thought her first letter would be the…

The Accidental Tourist

By Anne Tyler,

Book cover of The Accidental Tourist

Why this book?

Anne Tyler’s books are all filled with a deep understanding every life, no matter how small it may appear, has value and meaning. Ms. Tyler has great compassion for all her characters. I have several favorites among her many novels, but chose this one to recommend here because it is a story of love found amid the wreckage circumstances sometimes create for us, and is thus a story of hope.

The Accidental Tourist

By Anne Tyler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover a beautiful story of what it is to be human from Pulitzer prize-winning Sunday Times bestselling Anne Tyler

How does a man addicted to routine - a man who flosses his teeth before love-making - cope with the chaos of everyday life?

With the loss of his son, the departure of his wife and the arrival of Muriel, a dog trainer from the Meow-Bow dog clinic, Macon's attempts at ordinary life are tragically and comically undone.

**ANNE TYLER HAS SOLD OVER 1 MILLION BOOKS WORLDWIDE**

'One of my favourite authors ' Liane Moriarty

'She spins gold' Elizabeth Buchan

'Anne…


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows,

Book cover of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Why this book?

This too is a book I loved. Immediately after the war Juliet begins a correspondence with a pig farmer on Guernsey, the Channel island that had been under Nazi occupation throughout the war, and learns of the impromptu book club they formed and how their love of books sustained and strengthened them through the challenges they faced. The letters are at times funny, sad, wise, eccentric and will, in the end, completely win your heart, as they did Juliet’s.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beloved, life-affirming international bestseller which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide - now a major film starring Lily James, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton 'I can't remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one ... Treat yourself to this book, please - I can't recommend it highly enough' Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love To give them hope she must tell their story It's 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer's block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of…

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

By Helen Simonson,

Book cover of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Why this book?

Major Pettigrew, a staunchly traditional Englishman struggling with an ungrateful son and the changes caused by the death of his brother, is unexpectedly drawn to the intelligent and cultured shopkeeper, Mrs. Jasmina Ali. Their friendship grows as they share their love of literature and the loss of their spouses, but rattles family and villagers' sense of what is proper and acceptable. This charming and witty love story is set in a small English village, where obligations, societal pressure, and cultural differences challenge but fail to defeat their budding romance.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

By Helen Simonson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Major Pettigrew's Last Stand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Major Ernest Pettigrew is perfectly content to lead a quiet life in the sleepy village of Edgecombe St Mary, away from the meddling of the locals and his overbearing son. But when his brother dies, the Major finds himself seeking companionship with the village shopkeeper, Mrs Ali. Drawn together by a love of books and the loss of their partners, they are soon forced to contend with irate relatives and gossiping villagers. The perfect gentleman, but the most unlikely hero, the Major must ask himself what matters most: family obligation, tradition or love?

Funny, comforting and heart-warming, Major Pettigrew's Last…

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