The best books for when destiny calls, and love answers

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for the topic because it’s so unlimited. We’re all called to destiny inner/outer in so many ways. We see a lot of stories about those calls being massive adventures with global impact—but sometimes the small stories, those inner calls with inner love answers are just as epic, just as magnificent. Love of family, community, country, lovers, nature… truly, it can be anything. These are just a few books off the older shelves to illustrate the many ways love answers the call. My challenge is to go back and re-read them with this list in mind. Re-visit books from a decade ago, reframe the story with love.


I wrote...

Murder of Crows: Book One of the Pillars of Dawn

By Athena,

Book cover of Murder of Crows: Book One of the Pillars of Dawn

What is my book about?

Fable Montgomery, Muse of Story, suddenly finds herself at the center of the FBI investigation into several missing women, all muses, and the murder of her beloved aunt. Fable is targeted by a global conspiracy to destroy humanity by capturing and killing the Muses, sending mankind back to the Dark Ages. 

As the mystical world of Aria clashes with Earth, dark forces and malignant factions make their power grab for the chance to own Earth’s future. Fable’s power of story awakens, forcing her out from under the magical shield that has kept her protected. The Muse of Story writes The Prophecy of Crows–a near future foretelling her own demise. Before she can make sense of the manuscript, Fable is attacked by Abra who steals all but thirteen of the pages. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Light Bearer

Athena Why did I love this book?

I never miss an opportunity to recommend this book for its broad scope and human courage.

It’s such an immersive and very human story full of adventure, challenge, will, and passion. Auriane is brought to such exquisite life as a woman born to a destiny meant to free the people she loves.

This book lands on my list for a call to destiny answered by love because Auriane’s life is an example of how we can’t see ourselves, or how we often don’t know where to fit, whom to challenge, and where to connect—but we find our way by being relentlessly devoted to doing what feels right to us, guided by that internal flame until we unite with the force that gives us a purpose, place, meaning.

Often, if not always, that destiny is deeply anchored in love. 

For Auriane, that love is her tribe, and her community, family, friends, and lovers. 

By Donna Gillespie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Auriane, daughter of a Rhine River area chieftain in 50 A.D., must face her difficult destiny and lead her people against the invading legions of the Roman Empire


Book cover of Kushiel's Dart

Athena Why did I love this book?

Jacqueline Carey writes worlds that are so rich and juicy with literary cadence and poetry that reading her work is like reading music.

The story of Phèdre nó Delaunay’s call to destiny, which is answered by love, is such a sexy adventure, so deeply enmeshed in humanity and personal freedom that it’s literally impossible to put down once you start.

I put Phèdre’s story on this list because she answers the call of destiny with tenderness, supplication, and surrender, versus warrior heroics and overt violence. Her tool is self-mastery, and a willingness to be of service in all ways that are available to her—which in the end is the ultimate wielding of power and a collaboration with divinity that supports all those she holds most dear.

And there is epic romantic love, sex, adventure… always a good time to be had in a Carey novel.

By Jacqueline Carey,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Kushiel's Dart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The lush epic fantasy that inspired a generation with a single precept: Love As Thou Wilt

The first book in the Kushiel's Legacy series is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. A world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, deposed rulers and a besieged Queen, a warrior-priest, the Prince of Travelers, barbarian warlords, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess...all seen through the unflinching eyes of an unforgettable heroine.

A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger... a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm...

Born…


Book cover of Freedom's Landing

Athena Why did I love this book?

This one might seem an odd pick at first. I thought so too when a friend gave me a copy. I was surprised there was an Anne McCaffery book I hadn’t read!

This book belongs on the list for its beautiful depiction of what love and community can do for a group of mismatched outcasts, refugees on a dangerous planet—a collection of peoples all very different from one another working together to survive.

Their destiny was to become a cohesive extended family despite all their differences, and to become empowered individuals at the same time. There’s a steamy romance, too. So that’s always yummy. It goes to show that when destiny calls, the love that answers can be with a voice of multitudes.

By Anne McCaffrey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Freedom's Landing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Let Anne McCaffrey, storyteller extraordinare and New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author, open your mind to new worlds and new concepts. Worlds where humans are the slaves of aliens and love can flourish in the most unlikely of places... Perfect for fans of David Eddings, Brandon Sanderson and Douglas Adams.

'Anne McCaffrey, one of the queens of science fiction, knows exactly how to give her public what it wants' - THE TIMES
'My go to comfort book' -- ***** Reader review
'Anne McCaffrey at her best' -- ***** Reader review
'Unputdownable' -- ***** Reader review
'I love this…


Book cover of The Alchemist

Athena Why did I love this book?

Again, not a book someone might expect to be on my list, which is why it really should be.

One of the most beautiful layers in this book is that destiny can come from within. It speaks to us. It feeds us with dreams, ignites our passion.

Love is answered by the deepest yearnings of self toward the manifestation of those passions. A little love of our dreams, and ourselves and the destiny they embody goes miles toward a more fulfilling and collaborative life with our world and those who share this experience with us.

I dare you to re-read The Alchemist with this tilt on the work. When Santiago sets out on his adventure to chase his dream—you won’t be able to see the story for anything other than a call from destiny answered by the very love of being alive.

By Paulo Coelho,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide. Now this magical fable is beautifully repackaged in an edition that lovers of Paulo Coelho will want to treasure forever.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book - a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life's path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is…


Book cover of The Odyssey

Athena Why did I love this book?

This is an obvious pick, I know. Still, it’s on record as the greatest adventure, the highest bar of duty and courage—and ultimately love.

Homer’s epic detailing Odysseus’ journey home from the Trojan War is fraught with peril and obstacles that would have made a lesser human give up and call it a day. 

Destiny called him away, but it was love that brought him home from war. At each crossroad Odysseus was offered an alternative, he chose to return to his wife, his son, and his land. He could have been made immortal.

He was offered riches and greater glory, and all the dude wanted was to kiss his wife and sleep in his own bed at the end of the day. Is that so much to ask?

The reason The Odyssey is on my list is to reflect the scale of destiny, and the answering and equal call of the human spirit to prevail. If Odysseus didn’t have a family and a home he loved enough to return to—there wouldn’t have been a story.

He’d have been just a guy, wandering around, having some pretty rotten days. Love brought his story to life, and kept him alive long enough to unite with the people he cared about. 

Destiny called, love answered… and we’re still telling the story hundreds of years later.

By Homer, T. E. Lawrence (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Homer's great epic, The Odyssey, is perhaps Western literature's first adventure story, and certainly remains one of its finest. It describes King Odysseus of Ithaca's epic, ten-year quest to return home after the Trojan War. He encounters giants, sorceresses, sea-monsters and sirens, while his wife Penelope is forced to resist the suitors who besiege her on Ithaca. Both an enchanting fairy tale and a gripping drama, The Odyssey is immensely influential, not least for its rich complexity and the magnetism of its hero.

This Macmillan Collector's Library edition uses a translation by T. E. Lawrence, now remembered as 'Lawrence of…


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The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

Book cover of The Woman at the Wheel

Penny Haw Author Of The Invincible Miss Cust

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Why am I passionate about this?

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Penny's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cäcilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love—with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his plans, a dicey move since they alone believe in the machine. When Carl's partners threaten to withdraw their support, he's ready to cut ties. Bertha knows the decision would ruin everything. Ignoring the cynics, she takes matters into her own hands, secretly planning a scheme that will either hasten the family's passage to absolute derision or prove their genius. What Bertha doesn't know is that Carl is on the cusp of making a deal with their nemesis. She's not only risking her marriage and their life's work, but is also up against the patriarchy, Carl's own self-doubt, and the clock.

Like so many other women, Bertha lived largely in her husband's shadow, but her contributions are now celebrated in this inspiring story of perseverance, resilience, and love.

The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

What is this book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cacilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love-with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his…


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