10 books like Child of My Heart

By Alice McDermott,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Child of My Heart. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

By Jesmyn Ward,

Book cover of Sing, Unburied, Sing

This richly-told journey story revolves around 13-year-old Jojo and his family. Jojo lives with his grandparents, Mam and Pop, his baby sister, Kayla, and his emotionally absent and drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on the small family farm. The many trials Jojo faces while caring for his baby sister on a trip with his neglectful, selfish mother to Parchman Prison to retrieve his father propel him toward maturity. At the beginning of the novel Jojo says he doesn’t understand his mother, but by the end he has developed understanding.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

By Jesmyn Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018 WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2017 ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2017 SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE NEW STATESMAN, THE FINANCIAL TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, TIME AND THE BBC Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalist for the Kirkus Prize Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award 'This wrenching new novel by Jesmyn Ward digs deep into the not-buried heart of the American nightmare. A must' Margaret Atwood 'A powerfully…


Peace Like a River

By Leif Enger,

Book cover of Peace Like a River

Years ago, I pulled this novel from the library shelf on a whim, knowing nothing then of its author. Oh, what a powerful book! Reuben’s coming of age pulled me in and never let go. Eleven years old and asthmatic, Reuben idolizes his brother Davy. But after Davy is wanted for murder, Reuben faces the moral dilemma of justice versus loyalty. Initially, Reuben considers the federal agent tasked with finding Davy a “bad guy” and struggles with his father’s cooperation with the agent. But as time goes on, Reuben’s decision to value the agent’s life over his brother’s freedom suggests that growing up involves allowing one's perception of right and wrong to change as evidence is presented. 

Peace Like a River

By Leif Enger,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Peace Like a River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Israel Finch and Tommy Basca, the town bullies, break into the home of school caretaker Jeremiah Land, wielding a baseball bat and looking for trouble, they find more of it than even they expected. For seventeen-year-old Davey is sitting up in bed waiting for them with a Winchester rifle. His younger brother Reuben has seen their father perform miracles, but Jeremiah now seems as powerless to prevent Davey from being arrested for manslaughter, as he has always been to ease Reuben's daily spungy struggle to breathe. Nor does brave and brilliant nine-year-old Swede, obsessed as she is with the…


Amy and Isabelle

By Elizabeth Strout,

Book cover of Amy and Isabelle

In this exceptional story that I’ve read twice, Elizabeth Strout places a seemingly ordinary, though distant, mother and her shy teenage daughter in the provincial town of Shirley Falls, Maine, to create a stunning awakening in the daughter Amy and foster the admission of a long-hidden secret by Amy’s mother Isabelle. As much as Amy thinks her development is about her sexuality, it is more about forming a relationship with her lonely mother. After Amy learns her mother’s story, she learns her most important moment of identity has not been sexual initiation, but her self-acceptance. The relationship between mother and daughter fosters Amy’s coming of age. 

Amy and Isabelle

By Elizabeth Strout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the Man Booker Prize longlisted author of My Name is Lucy Barton

Isabelle Goodrow has been living in self-imposed exile with her daughter Amy for 15 years. Shamed by her past and her affair with Amy's father she has submerged herself in the routine of her dead-end job and her unrequited love for her boss. But when Amy, frustrated by her quiet and unemotional mother, embarks on an illicit affair with her maths teacher, the disgrace intensifies the shame Isabelle feels about her own past.

Throughout one long, sweltering summer as the events of the small town ebb and…


Rich in Love

By Josephine Humphreys,

Book cover of Rich in Love

Having read this novel a number of times, I am always drawn into its emotional depth. The departure of 17-year-old Lucille Odom’s mother Helen has a shattering effect on Warren, Lucille’s father, and his paralysis intensifies Lucille’s coming of age. Warren’s regression into a kind of adolescent state forces Lucille into the role of parent. She must take control in ways that are at the limit of her competence. Lucille says, “I don’t know now whether the disappearance of my mother was like a trigger mechanism setting off the series of surprises that was to follow. There is no reason the one thing had to lead to the others. But a family without a mother is vulnerable.” As she guides her family through discontent, Lucille discovers she is a woman rich in love.

Rich in Love

By Josephine Humphreys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the age of seventeen, Lucille Odom finds herself in the middle of an unexpected domestic crisis. As she helps guide her family through its discontent, Lucille discovers in herself a woman rich in wisdom, rich in humor, and rich in love.


A Distant Grave

By Sarah Stewart Taylor,

Book cover of A Distant Grave

This is an evocative mystery with not one but two atmospheric settings: Long Island’s Suffolk County, and Ireland’s County Clare. When an Irish national is found dead on a Long Island beach, Detective Maggie D’arcy’s planned vacation to Ireland becomes a tense investigation into the mysterious victim’s death, and a fight to keep her young daughter safe both abroad and back at home. I found A Distant Grave to be deeply chilling and impossible to put down. 

A Distant Grave

By Sarah Stewart Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Distant Grave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the follow up to the critically acclaimed The Mountains Wild, Detective Maggie D'arcy tackles another intricate case that bridges Long Island and Ireland in A Distant Grave.

Long Island homicide detective Maggie D'arcy and her teenage daughter, Lilly, are still recovering from the events of last fall when a strange new case demands Maggie's attention. The body of an unidentified Irish national turns up in a wealthy Long Island beach community and with little to go on but the scars on his back, Maggie once again teams up with Garda detectives in Ireland to find out who the man…


Leave the World Behind

By Rumaan Alam,

Book cover of Leave the World Behind

This novel pulled me in quickly with its portrayal of a middle-class family hoping to spend a relaxing week in a rented home they could never afford to own. The family’s plans go awry quickly when the owners show up at door wanting to stay there as a refuge from the total blackout in NYC. Adding suspense to witty social commentary, Alam creates a sense that something very bad is happening, without ever describing what that bad thing is. I had a few ideas, but the author outsmarted and surprised me with the ending. I feel he captured a lot about modern life and the anxiety many of us feel about the future. Yet, it was entertaining and made me laugh a few times.  

Leave the World Behind

By Rumaan Alam,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Leave the World Behind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*A THE TIMES #1 BESTSELLER*
*THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER*
*A BARACK OBAMA SUMMER READING PICK 2021*

'Easily the best thing I have read all year' KILEY REID, AUTHOR OF SUCH A FUN AGE

'Intense, incisive, I loved this and have still not quite shaken off the unease' DAVID NICHOLLS

'I was hooked from the opening pages' CLARE MACKINTOSH

'Simply breathtaking . . . An extraordinary book, at once smart, gripping and hallucinatory' OBSERVER

_______

A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong

Amanda and Clay head…


The Winter of Our Discontent

By John Steinbeck,

Book cover of The Winter of Our Discontent

Steinbeck is one of my favorite novelists (Willa Cather, the other) but boy did he run off the rails with this, his final book.

He describes an American society locked in irreversible decline, with everything getting worse and our polity doomed. Sixty years later the United States remains the envy of the world and almost every America today lives better materially, with more freedom and security, than almost everyone of 1961.

The novel is a reminder of the extent to which ideological negativity is ubiquitous in literature.

The Winter of Our Discontent

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Nobel committee claimed that while giving John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature that he had "resumed his place as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased feel for what is authentically American" with The Winter of Our Discontent.The main character of Steinbeck's final book, Ethan Allen Hawley, is a clerk at a grocery shop that his ancestors formerly ran. Ethan's wife is restless now that he is no longer a member of Long Island's aristocratic society, and his teenagers are pining for the enticing material comforts he is unable to supply. Then, one day, in…


The Gold Coast

By Nelson DeMille,

Book cover of The Gold Coast

This is the 1st of two books by DeMille featuring wise-cracking lawyer John Sutton. Set on the ultra-affluent Gold coast of Long Island, DeMille masterfully plays up the romantic tension between Sutton and his wife while dealing with a mafia don who moves in next door. Lots of snappy dialogue and intrigue will keep you turning the pages. 

The Gold Coast

By Nelson DeMille,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Great Gatsby meets The Godfather in this #1 New York Times bestselling story of friendship and seduction, love and betrayal.

"[Demille is] a true master." - Dan Brown, #1 bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code

Welcome to the fabled Gold Coast, that stretch on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America. Here two men are destined for an explosive collision: John Sutter, Wall Street lawyer, holding fast to a fading aristocratic legacy; and Frank Bellarosa, the Mafia don who seizes his piece of the staid and unprepared…


The Gate House

By Nelson DeMille,

Book cover of The Gate House

The Gate House is a sequel to DeMille’s successful novel The Gold Coast, which I really enjoyed. Who wouldn’t like a tale of seduction, betrayal, and violence set about a Mafia don moving into a wealthy WASP enclave on Long Island’s North Shore.

I found The Gate House to be even better. The narrating hero of The Gold Coast returns ten years later. He’s older, wiser, but no less sly, cynical, and funny. His ex-wife is also back, and despite his thinking that she is more than a little crazy (and maybe a bit homicidal), he’s still attracted to her. To top things off, the Mafia don’s son, now himself the don, is looking for vengeance. The Gate House is full of sex, humor, and ultimately, violence. 

The Gate House

By Nelson DeMille,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When John Sutter's aristocratic wife killed her mafia don lover, John left America and set out in his sailboat on a three-year journey around the world, eventually settling in London. Now, ten years later, he has come home to the Gold Coast, the stretch of land on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America, to attend the imminent funeral of an old family servant. Taking up temporary residence in the gatehouse of Stanhope Hall, John finds himself living only a quarter of a mile from Susan, who has also…


The Wednesday Wars

By Gary D. Schmidt,

Book cover of The Wednesday Wars

Shakespeare, cream puffs, escaped rats, cross-country track, soggy camping trips, family strife, and the historic events of the late 1960s are expertly woven into a boy-finds-his-inner-hero tale as Holling Hoodhood (yes, that’s his name) navigates the tribulations of seventh grade at his Long Island school. Another Newbery honoree, this clever story is filled with sly wit and tons of heart; it draws you in and won’t let go. For my money, Gary Schmidt is the Bard of adolescent boyhood. Once you’re a fan (and you will be after reading this), check out his other superb chronicles of impending adulthood: Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, Okay for Now, Orbiting Jupiter.

The Wednesday Wars

By Gary D. Schmidt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this Newbery Honor–winning novel, Gary D. Schmidt tells the witty and compelling story of a teenage boy who feels that fate has it in for him, during the school year 1968-69.

Seventh grader Holling Hoodhood isn't happy. He is sure his new teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates his guts. Holling's domineering father is obsessed with his business image and disregards his family. Throughout the school year, Holling strives to get a handle on the Shakespeare plays Mrs. Baker assigns him to read on his own time, and to figure out the enigmatic Mrs. Baker. As the Vietnam War turns lives…


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