The best books about women balancing life and family while living the dream and laughing through the storm

Jeanne Skartsiaris Author Of Dance Like You Mean It
By Jeanne Skartsiaris

Who am I?

Laughing through the storm, really? It sounds so romantic. Creativity beckons like a muse, I enjoy writing, painting, and daydreaming. But honestly, I imagine creativity more than actually completing the idea. Having a day job and writing novels is a bit Sisyphean. I can see the dream fulfilled at the end, but may get smushed on the way up. I’m so grateful I’ve been published but it adds another layer of worry. How do I get my book out there? What if nobody likes it? A writer puts their soul into the pages and we pray that a reader loves the story and characters as much as the writer does. 


I wrote...

Dance Like You Mean It

By Jeanne Skartsiaris,

Book cover of Dance Like You Mean It

What is my book about?

Working mothers juggling life but never giving up hope on realizing their dreams.

This book is extra special to me since I wrote it! It hits the heart of women who are overcommitted taking care of everyone else and losing themselves. Cassie, who always wanted to be a writer, pens a bodice ripper novel. When the book becomes a breakout bestseller she realizes she can't let anyone—especially her family—know she wrote it. So she goes to book signings incognito. The romance novel is also embedded in the main story, both characters parallel each other.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Forever, Erma

By Erma Bombeck,

Book cover of Forever, Erma

Why this book?

Erma was a genius at tapping family emotions while making you laugh. A timeless treasure. I keep Forever, Erma near me so I can pick it up and read a few of her essays. She always makes me smile. She nails family life with humor and grace. She makes me laugh and cry. Though written many years ago, her stories are still timely.

Forever, Erma

By Erma Bombeck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A collection of newspaper columns by the late humorist, including her first and last, deal with children, marriage, food, and holiday entertaining, and are accompanied by a chapter of tributes from her friends.


Me Talk Pretty One Day

By David Sedaris,

Book cover of Me Talk Pretty One Day

Why this book?

David Sedaris conveys humor and family behavior in one sentence. Most can relate to his spot-on observations about people. David Sedaris is able to define people in a unique way, one that most of us don't see until he shows us so many quirks of humanity! His writing truly makes me laugh out loud. 

Me Talk Pretty One Day

By David Sedaris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Me Talk Pretty One Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new collection from David Sedaris is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris has inspired hilarious pieces, including Me Talk Pretty One Day, about his attempts to learn French. His family is another inspiration. You Cant Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers and cashiers with 6-inch fingernails. Compared by The New Yorker to Twain and Hawthorne, Sedaris has become one of our best-loved authors. Sedaris is…


The Husband's Secret

By Liane Moriarty,

Book cover of The Husband's Secret

Why this book?

Liane is able to make a reader laugh and cry at the same time. She’s deft at weaving characters and settings and tying their stories together. Sometimes what you see isn't the truth. It's heartwarming and heartbreaking. What I love about Liane Moriarty's books is that she's a genius with character relationships and is able to make the reader relate to each person she creates. They all seem so real. And, as you can see, I love books that make me happy.  

The Husband's Secret

By Liane Moriarty,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Husband's Secret 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 #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF BIG LITTLE LIES AND APPLES NEVER FALL

One of the Best Books of the Year—Entertainment Weekly
One of the Top Ten Books of the Year—People

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read…

My darling Cecilia,
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died…
 
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not only the life you…


The Great Alone

By Kristin Hannah,

Book cover of The Great Alone

Why this book?

This book speaks of dynamics. Although not humorous it makes one think about how important family is—no matter how dysfunctional. This book grabbed me and didn't let go. It's a story about survival—both with family and the Alaska wilderness. Parts were really hard to take, but the spirit of the characters came through brilliantly.

The Great Alone

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Great Alone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, a desperate family seeks a new beginning in the near-isolated wilderness of Alaska only to find that their unpredictable environment is less threatening than the erratic behavior found in human nature.

#1 New York Times Instant Bestseller (February 2018)
A People “Book of the Week”
Buzzfeed’s “Most Anticipated Women’s Fiction Reads of 2018”
Seattle Times’s “Books to Look Forward to in 2018”

Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter…


The Great Santini

By Pat Conroy,

Book cover of The Great Santini

Why this book?

Honor, family, and appearance. A story of a rigid and overpowering father, who deep down loves his family but is too tough to admit it. It's honest and brutal. The abuse the father doles out is both discipline and love. Though much of the story is difficult to read. It resonated with me as I grew up at the same time as the book is written.

The Great Santini

By Pat Conroy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Pat Conroy’s New York Times–bestselling coming-of-age novel about a son’s struggle to escape the domineering expectations of his volatile military father
 
Marine Col. Bull Meecham commands his home like a soldiers’ barracks. Cold and controlling, but also loving, Bull has complicated relationships with each member of his family—in particular, his eldest son, Ben.
 
A born athlete who desperately seeks his father’s approval, Ben is determined to break out from the colonel’s shadow. With guidance from teachers at his new school, he strives to find the courage to stand up to his father once and for all.
 
Inspired by Pat Conroy’s…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in family secrets, France, and homemaker?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about family secrets, France, and homemaker.

Family Secrets Explore 111 books about family secrets
France Explore 690 books about France
Homemaker Explore 8 books about homemaker

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Where the Crawdads Sing, The Poisonwood Bible, and Before We Were Yours if you like this list.