100 books like A Very Long Engagement

By Sebastien Japrisot,

Here are 100 books that A Very Long Engagement fans have personally recommended if you like A Very Long Engagement. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Testament of Youth

Deborah Carr Author Of The Poppy Sisters

From my list on World War One that live rent free in my head.

Why am I passionate about this?

I discovered my passion for the First World War when researching my great-grandfather’s service history in the cavalry. I also write historical fiction with several of my books being set during the First World War and have spent thousands of hours over the past twenty years researching different aspects of this period, both from the point of view of the V.A.D.s, wounded soldiers, medical staff treating them, as well as grieving families. The stories I’ve come across never fail to haunt me and I can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of wanting to discover more about the people who survived these experiences, or stop needing to write books about them.

Deborah's book list on World War One that live rent free in my head

Deborah Carr Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this book about twenty years ago and still find it heartbreaking to think it was written by someone who experienced first-hand the horror of the First World War and with it so much pain and grief brought about not only from her experiences as a V.A.D. but also from her own personal losses.

It is a book that helped me understand as much as anything possibly could living in the twenty-first century, how much of a struggle it must have been for ordinary people to keep going and survive that dark time in history.

By Vera Brittain,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Testament of Youth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An autobiographical account of a young nurse's involvement in World War I.


Book cover of Life After Life

Sam Taylor Author Of The Two Loves of Sophie Strom

From my list on making the impossible feel real.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved stories that rearrange reality in some simple, allusive way, including movies like Groundhog Day or The Truman Show. They remind me of a quote about Italo Calvino that I first read when I was a teenager and have loved ever since: ‘He holds a mirror up to life, then writes about the mirror.’ I tend not to be attracted to stories that simply depict reality and even less so to stories that completely abandon reality for an invented fantasy world. All my favorite fictions take place somewhere in between, in the blending of the real and the impossible. 

Sam's book list on making the impossible feel real

Sam Taylor Why did Sam love this book?

It always seemed unfair to me that not only do we get just one life, but we only get to live it once. So I fell in love with this novel from the moment I read its premise: Ursula Todd is born and dies and is born again… and again… and again.

I love that she doesn’t remember her previous lives except as vague intuitions that help her avoid making the same mistakes twice–and I also love that avoiding those mistakes often means she makes other (often fatal) mistakes. I found this book funny, moving, and thought-provoking, but what I love most about it is the way its down-to-earth, realistic style allowed me to fully inhabit the impossible conceit at its heart. 

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…


Book cover of Hell's Foundations: A Town, Its Myths and Gallipoli

Adam Hochschild Author Of Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes

From my list on the human impact of World War I.

Why am I passionate about this?

Adam Hochschild is the author of ten books. The era of the First World War figures in his latest, Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes, and is the major subject of his To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. To End All Wars has been translated into seven languages, won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is at work now on a book about the First World War era and its aftermath in the United States.

Adam's book list on the human impact of World War I

Adam Hochschild Why did Adam love this book?

A striking look at the devastating impact the war had on one English town, hundreds of whose young men died in the disastrously bungled Gallipoli campaign.

By Geoffrey Moorhouse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There is no shortage of books on the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign of 1915 but this one stands out. In it Geoffrey Moorhouse moves the focus from the more familar aspects to concentrate on one small mill town, Bury, in Lancashire, and to anatomize the long-lasting effect the Dardanelles had on it.

Bury was the regimental home of the Lancashire Fusiliers. In the Gallipoli landings of 25 April 1915 it lost a large proportion of its youth. By May 1915, some 7,000 Bury men had already gone to war, to be followed by many others before Armistice Day. More than 1,600,from…


Book cover of Suicide of the Empires: The Battles on the Eastern Front, 1914-18

Adam Hochschild Author Of Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes

From my list on the human impact of World War I.

Why am I passionate about this?

Adam Hochschild is the author of ten books. The era of the First World War figures in his latest, Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes, and is the major subject of his To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. To End All Wars has been translated into seven languages, won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is at work now on a book about the First World War era and its aftermath in the United States.

Adam's book list on the human impact of World War I

Adam Hochschild Why did Adam love this book?

This book brings to life a part of the war Western readers know far too little about: the vast battles that ranged back and forth across Eastern Europe and Russia. Two of the three armies involved, those of Tsarist Russia and Austria-Hungary, were spectacularly incompetent, and saw their soldiers needlessly slaughtered by the millions before these two empires dissolved under the war’s impact.

By Alan Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Suicide of the Empires as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the outbreak of war in 1914, the armies of the western front soon became bogged down in the mud at Flanders. But on the wide plains and forests of Eastern Europe the three great Empires - Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary - grappled in a series of battles involving millions of men and hundreds of miles of front. Shortly after the outbreak of war the Russian "steamroller" had lurched into Prussia only to be hurled back amind the marshes of Tannenberg. For the next three years the fighting swung indeterminately back and forth. This work describes the campaigns which provoked…


Book cover of Regeneration

Julie Anderson Author Of The Midnight Man

From my list on evocative stories set in a hospital.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical crime fiction, and my latest novel is set in a hospital, a real place, now closed. The South London Hospital for Women and Children (1912–1985) was set up by pioneering suffragists and women surgeons Maud Chadburn and Eleanor Davies-Colley (the first woman admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons) and I recreate the now almost-forgotten hospital in my book. Events take place in 1946 when wartime trauma still impacts upon a society exhausted by conflict, and my book choices also reflect this.

Julie's book list on evocative stories set in a hospital

Julie Anderson Why did Julie love this book?

I loved this book for its humanity and compassion, as well as its consideration of the impact of war on the individual combatants and those who choose to try and heal them.

Another wartime novel, this time World War One, it is set in Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh, a real place, with many real, historical characters. Its central relationship is between the poet Siegried Sassoon and his psychiatrist, W. H. R Rivers, a British neurologist who experimented with treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Sassoon’s publicly stated reservations about war echo those of Rivers, who struggles with healing patients only to send them back to the front.

It raises questions about masculinity and manliness, honour and truth, and does so without seeming doctrinaire or didactic. It shows a society, as well as individuals, traumatized by war. I will read it and the subsequent novels in the trilogy again.

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Regeneration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Calls to mind such early moderns as Hemingway and Fitzgerald...Some of the most powerful antiwar literature in modern English fiction."-The Boston Globe

The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy-a Booker Prize nominee and one of Entertainment Weekly's 100 All-Time Greatest Novels.

In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back…


Book cover of The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton

Susan Garzon Author Of Reading the Knots

From my list on women slogging through turbulent times.

Why am I passionate about this?

Foreign cultures have always intrigued me. I am a Midwesterner who lived for several years in Latin America, teaching English and later doing field work in anthropology. As a young woman, I lived through a violent coup d’état in Chile, and I drew on that experience when I later wrote about political upheaval in Guatemala. A Ph.D. in anthropology gave me the opportunity to spend time in Guatemala and Mexico, some of it in Mayan towns. My love of historical fiction stems from my desire to enter and understand other worlds, and I am grateful to authors who spin their magic to bring far-off places and times to life. 

Susan's book list on women slogging through turbulent times

Susan Garzon Why did Susan love this book?

I love Lidie Newton. She is a newlywed who accompanies her abolitionist husband from Illinois to Kansas Territory, at a time when the territory is mired in partisan rage and violence. Lidie narrates the story, and her straightforward, often insightful accounts pulled me in immediately. I was right there with her as she forged her way through numerous exploits, some humorous, others heart-breaking. The story is populated with characters who are both colorful and believable, and I came away with a heightened understanding of the role played by events in Kansas and Missouri during the frightening months leading up to the Civil War.

By Jane Smiley,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lidie joins the pioneering Westward migration into America's heartland. It is harsher, more violent and more disorientating then Lidie could ever have imagined. They find themselves on a faultline - forces crash against each other, soon to erupt into the he American Civil War.


Book cover of Longbourn

Linda O'Byrne Author Of Cassandra

From my list on fiction that doesn’t want to teach you history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write romantic historical fiction and am a lifelong lover of the works of Jane Austen. I am English, love historical novels but dislike books that give you “great lumps of facts” that slow up the storyline. I like stories and characters that capture your attention and your heart. Plots and backgrounds that make you think about what it might really have been like to live in those times.

Linda's book list on fiction that doesn’t want to teach you history

Linda O'Byrne Why did Linda love this book?

Pride and Prejudice was only half the story.

This wonderful novel looks at the whole affair from the servants’ points of view. “If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.” I love this book.

Love the way the historical domestic details are covered so effortlessly and the emotions explored of those silent characters who watch their “betters”, take messages, serve meals, and endlessly wash clothes!

By Jo Baker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Longbourn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
A RICHARD AND JUDY BOOKCLUB PICK
'Utterly engrossing' Guardian

It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House, and Sarah's hands are chapped and raw. Domestic life below stairs, ruled with a tender heart and an iron will by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman, bearing secrets and the scent of the sea.

What readers are saying:

'A novel to be savoured'
'Highly recommended'
'Very enjoyable exploration of the background to Pride and Prejudice'


Book cover of Three Hours in Paris

Rhys Bowen Author Of The Paris Assignment

From my list on brave women in WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Rhys Bowen, New York Times best selling author of two historical mystery series and several Internationally best selling historical novels. Many of these take place in and around World War II. I have particularly focused on the bravery of ordinary women, the unsung heroines who risked their lives against impossible odds. My stories take place in France, Italy, as well as, England so these books resonated with me.

Rhys' book list on brave women in WWII

Rhys Bowen Why did Rhys love this book?

I’m not normally a thriller reader, but I’ve loved Cara Black’s Aimee Leduc mystery series, so I tried this. Oh, my goodness. You will hold your breath from page one until the climax.

A young woman suffers unbearable loss and then trains as a sharpshooter, sent to Paris with the goal of assassinating Hitler.

Based on the knowledge that Hitler only came to Paris for three hours and left abruptly, Cara fills in the why for us.

By Cara Black,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Three Hours in Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In June of 1940, when Paris fell to the Nazis, Hitler spent a total of three hours in the City of Light—abruptly leaving, never to return. To this day, no one knows why.

Kate Rees, a young American markswoman, has been recruited by British intelligence to drop into Paris with a dangerous assignment: assassinate the Führer. Wrecked by grief after a Luftwaffe bombing killed her husband and infant daughter, she is armed with a rifle, a vendetta, and a fierce resolve. But other than rushed and rudimentary instruction, she has no formal spy training. Thrust into the red-hot center of…


Book cover of Paths of Glory

W.D. Wetherell Author Of A Century of November

From my list on unjustly forgotten books from World War One.

Why am I passionate about this?

Novelist, essayist, and short-story writer W. D. Wetherell is the author of over two dozen books. A visit to the World War One battlefields in Flanders led to his lasting interest in the human tragedies of l914-18, inspiring his novel A Century of November, and his critical study Where Wars Go to Die; The Forgotten Literature of World War One.

W.D.'s book list on unjustly forgotten books from World War One

W.D. Wetherell Why did W.D. love this book?

Film historians regard the movie version as one of Stanley Kubrick’s most powerful achievements, thanks in no small measure to Kirk Douglas, who, in the role of a French colonel desperate to preserve the life of his men in a suicidal attack, gives a performance for the ages. The l935 novel the film is based on stands on its own as one of the great anti-war books that followed in World War One’s wake.

By Humphrey Cobb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Familiar to many as the Stanley Kubrick film starring Kirk Douglas, "Paths of Glory" explores the perilous complications involved in what nations demand of their soldiers in wartime. Humphrey Cobb's protagonists are Frenchmen during the First World War whose nightmare in the trenches takes a new and terrible turn when they are ordered to assault a German position deemed all but invulnerable. When the attack fails, an inquiry into allegations of cowardice indicts a small handful of lower-ranked scapegoats whose trial exposes the farce of ordering ordinary men to risk their lives in an impossible cause. A chilling portrait of…


Book cover of Journal à quatre mains

Robert Gildea Author Of Marianne in Chains: Daily Life in the Heart of France During the German Occupation

From my list on France in the Second World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of France, seduced since I did an exchange with a French family aged fourteen and was a student in Paris in my gap year, aged eighteen, in the aftermath of 1968. Since then I have been fascinated by the tension between la France profonde and revolutionary France. France in the Second World War is a wonderful place to study both, shattered by defeat, foreign occupation and division, and generating huge amounts of literature and film, myth-making, historical research and controversy.

Robert's book list on France in the Second World War

Robert Gildea Why did Robert love this book?

A funny and moving account of life in occupied Paris by two young sisters, one sensible and studious, the other fun-loving. Written in diary form by each sister in turn, hence the ‘four hands’. Some signs of touching up with hindsight before publication in 1962. There is an English translation, ‘Diary in duo’ (1965) but currently out of print.

By Flora Groult, Benoîte Groult,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Journal à quatre mains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nouvelle édition en 2002


5 book lists we think you will like!

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