The best books about why sisters inspire love & aggravation

Who am I?

I’m a writer with two sisters very different from me in lifestyle. For example, one went into nursing (I hate blood!), and one was a bookkeeper (I also hate numbers!) I first wrote about loving but dissimilar sisters in a cozy series called The Sleuth Sisters Mysteries, under the pen name Maggie Pill. The books are fun, and readers often tell me which of the sisters they most identify with. “I’m Barb,” or “I’m the nice one.” Seven books later, I found I wanted to examine the darker side of sisterhood. What if things your sister does (or sisters do) make you uncomfortable? What wins: family loyalty or personal integrity?


I wrote...

Sister Saint, Sister Sinner

By Peg Herring,

Book cover of Sister Saint, Sister Sinner

What is my book about?

Same home, same parents. How do sisters become such different adults?

Nettie is a mess who commits a murder she refuses to explain. Ruth is a success at everything she does, which might include becoming the First Lady of the United States. Kim is "Baby Sister," unsure of what she wants from life. Separated by their lifestyles, the sisters are caring but not close until events push them back toward each other. Their collision leads to a stunning escape, a crushing decision, and societal questions that concern not only the Kovalesky girls, but all of us.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Nightingale

Peg Herring Why did I love this book?

Maybe it’s the sister thing, but this book pleased me way more than other recent WWII novels that are touted as “great literature.” Sisters Isabelle Rossignol and Vianne Mauriac struggle to survive during the occupation of France, opposing the Nazis in different ways, with different results. Their courage in the face of danger and their dedication to each other result in a wonderful read.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women.

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women's stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah's…


Book cover of We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Peg Herring Why did I love this book?

Because it’s been copied a lot since its release, the book might not shock readers today, but in its time, the idea was ground-breaking. I read it as a teen and was fascinated with “Merricat" Blackwood, her sister Constance, and the mystery of how their family was poisoned. The rhyme chanted by local children whenever Merricat leaves home has stuck in my head for decades.

“Merricat,” said Constance, “would you like a cup of tea?”
“Oh no,” said Merricat, “you'll poison me.”
“Merricat,” said Constance, “Would you like to go to sleep down in the boneyard ten feet deep!”

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked We Have Always Lived in the Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister, Constance, and her Uncle Julian for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the world isn't leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives, armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe, Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family.


Book cover of The Poisonwood Bible

Peg Herring Why did I love this book?

This is a book that people either love or hate, and it comes down to your beliefs about…well, belief.

Nathan Price, the self-righteous pastor who packs his wife and four girls up to go “save” people in Africa, is a telling representation of American ethnocentrism. The family’s mistakes in a new culture sometimes result in danger, sometimes in awakening, and sometimes in humor. I loved how each girl (and the mother too) struggled to deal with what the man of the family chose for them.

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Poisonwood Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**NOW INCLUDING THE FIRST CHAPTER OF DEMON COPPERHEAD: THE NEW BARBARA KINGSOLVER NOVEL**

**DEMON COPPERHEAD IS AVAILABLE NOW FOR PRE-ORDER**

An international bestseller and a modern classic, this suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and their remarkable reconstruction has been read, adored and shared by millions around the world.

'Breathtaking.' Sunday Times
'Exquisite.' The Times
'Beautiful.' Independent
'Powerful.' New York Times

This story is told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.

They carry with them everything they believe they will…


Book cover of Sense and Sensibility

Peg Herring Why did I love this book?

One has to have read Jane Austen in order to be a literature teacher, which I was for many years. The trials and tribulations of the Dashwood daughters, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret, provide an entertaining look into their society and the opportunities (or not) available for women of the age. It’s fun to see them operating by “sense” or by “sensibility.” Many people of today could use more consideration of those two opposites and the repercussions of each.

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Sense and Sensibility as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste' Virginia Woolf

Jane Austen's subtle and witty novel of secrets and suppression, lies and seduction, brilliantly portrays a world where rigid social convention clashes with the impulses of the heart. It tells the story of two very different sisters who find themselves thrown into an unkind world when their father dies. Marianne, wild and impulsive, falls dangerously in love, while Elinor suffers her own private heartbreak but conceals her true feelings, even from those closest to her.

Edited with an Introduction by ROS BALLASTER


Book cover of When We Believed in Mermaids

Peg Herring Why did I love this book?

I liked the premise of this one: Kit’s sister Josie was supposedly killed in a terrorist attack, but one night she sees her on a TV news report in faraway New Zealand.

We might all wonder what we would do if the chance to find and reunite with a lost loved one arose. Questions must be asked and answered: Why did she leave? How could she let us grieve all this time? What happens if I find her?

By Barbara O'Neal,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked When We Believed in Mermaids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller.

From the author of The Art of Inheriting Secrets comes an emotional new tale of two sisters, an ocean of lies, and a search for the truth.

Her sister has been dead for fifteen years when she sees her on the TV news...

Josie Bianci was killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. Gone forever. It's what her sister, Kit, an ER doctor in Santa Cruz, has always believed. Yet all it takes is a few heart-wrenching seconds to upend Kit's world. Live coverage of…


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Book cover of The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven

Jennifer Ivy Walker Author Of Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author French teacher Avid reader Lover of medieval romance European traveler

Jennifer's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

As the sole heir to the crown of Ireland, Issylte must flee her stepmother (the wicked queen who seeks her death), finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the enchanted forest. Fate leads Issylte to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her new life as a gifted Celtic healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom.

The chivalrous hero of this medieval romance is Tristan of Lyonesse, a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his uncle, King Marke of Cornwall, against the Morholt, the indomitable Black Knight who commands the Viking forces of the ruthless Irish queen. When Tristan becomes a warrior of the ancient Tribe of Dana, a gift of Druidic magic might bestow upon him the power he needs to ally with Issylte and confront the Black Widow Queen, who threatens them both.

Haunted and hunted. Entwined by fate. Can their passion and power prevail?

By Jennifer Ivy Walker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom.
Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in sisters, family secrets, and France?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about sisters, family secrets, and France.

Sisters Explore 184 books about sisters
Family Secrets Explore 171 books about family secrets
France Explore 856 books about France