10 books like A World Such as Heaven Intended

By Amanda Lauer,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like A World Such as Heaven Intended. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Julia's Gifts

By Ellen Gable,

Book cover of Julia's Gifts

Sometimes what we seek is right in front of us, while we’re looking and wondering elsewhere. That’s what happens to the heroine of Julia’s Gifts by Ellen Gable. She’s so determined to bring a daydream to life that she almost misses the real thing. This first book in the Great War Great Love series takes place during World War I. The story reminds readers that the light and hope of love remain bright even amid the horrors of war. You’ll cheer for the hero and heroine to stay connected when the war threatens their love just as it starts to grow. A special element in this book is the inclusion of beautiful, original sonnets, something I’ve never before encountered in a historical romance.

Julia's Gifts

By Ellen Gable,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Outstanding and unforgettable book!" Jean Heimann, authorAs a young girl, Julia began buying gifts for her future spouse, a man whose likeness and personality she has conjured up in her mind, a man she calls her “beloved.” Soon after the United States enters the Great War, Julia impulsively volunteers as a medical aid worker, with no experience or training. Disheartened by the realities of war, will Julia abandon the pursuit of her beloved? Will Julia’s naïve ‘gift scheme’ distract her from recognizing her true “Great Love?” From Philadelphia to war-torn France, follow Julia as she transitions from unworldly young woman…


In Pieces

By Rhonda Ortiz,

Book cover of In Pieces

In Pieces is the first of a two-book series. The romance develops in this book while subplots thicken. I was quickly drawn to the characters and early American setting. I felt immersed in the ambience of the Boston waterfront during the Federalist years. Themes of redemption, forgiveness and understanding weave through the novel and affect more than the hero and heroine. For example, the hero’s family grapples with his growing interest in Catholicism. As the love story reaches resolution, another subplot deepens: a need for American spies to help protect the young country. I ended the book feeling as though the characters had become friends. In Pieces is subtitled Molly Chase Book 1 and fits the Christian historical fiction genre as well as Catholic historical romance.

In Pieces

By Rhonda Ortiz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Certain things ruin a girl’s reputation, and madness is one.

BOSTON, 1793—Beautiful and artistic, the only daughter of a prominent merchant, Molly Chase cannot help but attract the notice of Federalist Boston—especially its men. But she carries a painful secret: her father committed suicide and she found his body. Now nightmares plague her day and night, addling her mind and rendering her senseless. Molly needs a home, a nurse, and time to grieve and to find new purpose in life. But when she moves in with her friends, the Robbs, spiteful society gossips assume the worst. And when an imprudent…


Playing by Heart

By Carmela Martino,

Book cover of Playing by Heart

I didn’t realize Playing By Heart was a Young Adult book until I finished reading. I was too engrossed in the story about a musical prodigy in 18th century Italy. The romance arc is central but subdued, as the heroine is still a young teenager when this coming-of-age story begins. Her behavior is shaped by family, faith and cultural restrictions. The story placed me in the world of Italian nobility as I followed the heroine and her sisteras they received above-average educations for their time. (Their father has a reason.) Mature adults will enjoy this book. At least I did! I was delighted to learn the main character and her sister are based on real sisters who were 18th century Italian musical and academic prodigies.

Playing by Heart

By Carmela Martino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Playing by Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as much as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the "second sister" means she'll likely be sent to a convent instead. Emilia's only hope is to prove her musical talents crucial to her father's quest for nobility. First, though, she must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl. But before she can carry out her plan, a tragedy sends the family into mourning.

In her sorrow, Emilia composes a heartrending sonata that causes the maestro to finally recognize her talent. He begins teaching…


The Rose Ring

By Anne Faye,

Book cover of The Rose Ring

This is a touching story about love and forgiveness, of oneself as well as of others. The novel is partially historical: the narrative shifts between the 1940s and the present day. The storylines are linked by a beautiful rose ring that is important to the heroines in both eras. Both storylines include love, loss, and love re-found, but not before the modern-day heroine must face what her heart is truly telling her. More than one character finds the redemption that true forgiveness can bring, but each also discovers the journey can be challenging. This novel drops a surprise twist in the middle, so keep your eyes open! I had tears in my eyes when the stories converged and brought closure.

The Rose Ring

By Anne Faye,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Left at the altar by Zach Richards ten years ago, Julia Manning has buried her pain by leading a quiet life working at a bookstore, helping her sister, visiting residents at a local nursing home, and attempting to be a good daughter. When Zach suddenly arrives back in town and her overbearing mother fixes her up with the last man on earth she would ever want to date, Julia is forced to face her past, whether she wants to or not.

A resident at St. Francis Nursing Home, Elizabeth Phelps suffers from dementia and becomes convinced that a ring Julia…


The Beguiled

By Thomas Cullinan,

Book cover of The Beguiled

You may know this strange story as a film, but the different narrators in this gothic tale of John McBurney, a wounded Union soldier being washed and nursed by a group of young girls in Martha Farnworth’s remote school is full of the same sexual tension I hoped to conjure up in my book. What could be more beguiling than the juxtaposition of sheltered women carrying out intimate tasks on a man weakened by injury?

The Beguiled

By Thomas Cullinan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The basis for the major motion picture directed by Sofia Coppola-named best director at the Cannes Film Festival for The Beguiled-and starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning

"[A] mad gothic tale . . . The reader is mesmerized with horror by what goes on in that forgotten school for young ladies." -Stephen King, in Danse Macabre

Wounded and near death, a young Union Army corporal is found in the woods of Virginia during the height of the Civil War and brought to the nearby Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies. Almost immediately he sets about…


Egalia's Daughters

By Gerd Brantenberg,

Book cover of Egalia's Daughters: A Satire of the Sexes

There is never enough alternate history. Particularly alternate history that doesn’t focus either on the Nazis winning World War II or the South winning the American Civil War. Thankfully we have Egalia’s Daughters, yet another forward-thinking novel from the seventies. Set in a world where gender norms are swapped around entirely, its male characters wear special testicle bras and adorn their beards with flowers (I do like that last part). Of course, this woman-dominated world is no less homophobic than our own, and as part of their gender rebellion, the men form relationships with one another, in various configurations. It’s a delightful read, with its gender reversals a mirror reflection of our own society.

Egalia's Daughters

By Gerd Brantenberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reminiscent of Orwell and Huxley's dystopian novels, this classic of women's literature is an intelligent and well-written contribution to the sex-role debate.

Welcome to the land of Egalia, where gender roles are topsy-turvy as "wim" wield the power and "menwim" light the home fires. This re-telling of the prototypical coming-of-age novel will have readers laughing out loud and wondering who should prevail: poor Petronius, who wants more than anything to cruise the oceans as a seawom; or his powerful and protective mother Director Bram, who rules her family with an authoritarian righteousness. But for better or for worse, as the…


Ashes in the Wind

By Kathleen E. Woodiwiss,

Book cover of Ashes in the Wind

Kathleen Woodiwiss was the queen of epic historical romance, an expert at writing long, adventurous epics. I always impatiently waited for her next book to be released. Written in 1979, it is an old bodice ripper, but it was re-released in 2009. The brave, independent Alaina has always stayed with me. She’s a feisty, smart, and stubborn rebel. Cole is an honorable, brave, and kind Yankee surgeon. I am a huge fan of books that make the main characters work hard to find true love, and this one is a great example of an enemies to lovers tale.

It’s set during the Civil War. I loved the humor, action, and thrills!

Ashes in the Wind

By Kathleen E. Woodiwiss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A woman burdened by war ...A doctor torn between passion and duty ...A sweeping tale of love in the face of dishonor from the incomparable storyteller - Kathleen Woodiwiss. Alaina MacGaren is forced to flee the devastation of her homeland in the guise of a young boy, only to find sanctuary in the arms of an enemy. Cole Latimer is a dashing Yankee surgeon who has served the Union faithfully, and his tender heart compels him to help a ragged, innocent 'lad' in need - never suspecting the rags conceal a bewitching belle suspected of being a rebel spy. But…


Priest

By Sierra Simone,

Book cover of Priest

Look. I could tell you it’s a modern-day gothic. I could tell you it wields its heresy to illuminate the true meaning of God. I could tell you she writes with the clarity of an imprisoned martyr watching the pyre being assembled outside her window. But, really, I just want you to know that I read Sierra Simone with a goofy smile on my face, marveling at how she makes the bonkers believable. She’s a surreal realist. There’s an energy here that’s simply unmatched. The book vibrates. And if you make it through Priest, might I suggest her New Camelot trilogy, which tackles the only thing more sacred than the Catholic church: the American presidency.

Priest

By Sierra Simone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There are many rules a priest can't break. A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I've always been good at following rules.

Until she came. Then I learned new rules.

My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I'm twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again.

I am a priest and this is my confession.


Secret Love

By F. Burn,

Book cover of Secret Love

In Secret Love by F. Burn, Richard Cunningham is a different kind of bad boy—a student in his final year of high school who develops a crush on learning support assistant Francesca Gabel. Richard is a challenging guy, pushing the limits and not giving up on chasing Francesca, despite dating someone else closer to his age. When he finishes school and travels, their friendship continues, but he wants more from Francesca, who is a young woman trying to find her path in life. I was hooked all the way to the end, and loved the tease in each chapter, not knowing if the two will end up together until the end. The relationship suspense was brilliantly plotted. 

Secret Love

By F. Burn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Francesca Gabel, a learning support assistant, accepts a post at a prestigious Catholic boys’ school. She manages to form a bond with a challenging student named Richard Cunningham, but the lines begin to blur as they become closer. Francesca experiences an internal struggle as she grapples to control her feelings. The passion they develop for one another consumes them as they enter a world of forbidden love and desire. Is it true love or a simple case of lust? Francesca must make a decision: give in to Richard and face the consequences or let him go.


An American Marriage

By Tayari Jones,

Book cover of An American Marriage

I listened to this novel while gardening during the pandemic and found it utterly absorbing and heartbreaking. It surprised me with its twists and turns, humor, and pathos. Roy and his wife Celestial are newlyweds in Atlanta living a life of ordinary young marriage challenges, planning to have children, and what career moves to make. After Roy is falsely accused of a crime, found guilty, and sentenced to twelve years in prison, the two must find a way to move forward after the American Dream for them is shattered. The sophisticated, stirring novel asks the question, what does one spouse owe another when the state takes away their freedom? By turns heartbreaking, funny, and wise, American Marriage was an Oprah pick and long-listed for the National Book Award. A year ago I did an event with Tayari and probably gushed over this novel to the point of personal embarrassment!

An American Marriage

By Tayari Jones,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked An American Marriage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES AND WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK

A 2018 BEST OF THE YEAR SELECTION OF NPR  * TIME  * BUSTLE  * O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE  * THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS  * AMAZON.COM

OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB 2018 SELECTION

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION

“A moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple.” —Barack Obama

“Haunting . . . Beautifully written.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“Brilliant and heartbreaking . . . Unforgettable.” —USA Today
 
“A tense and timely love story . . . Packed with brave questions about…


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