93 books like Dear Evelyn

By Kathy Page,

Here are 93 books that Dear Evelyn fans have personally recommended if you like Dear Evelyn. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Leaving Earth

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

This is the first novel I read of Helen Humphreys and ever since then I’ve been a huge fan of her work, which often focuses on an overlooked period of history. Written with a strong poetic voice, her writing has a deeply humane undercurrent and frequently contains strong female characters. This one especially came to mind, as it features two women aviators in the 1930s striving to break an endurance record by flying around Toronto for 25 days. Humphreys has a special talent for focusing on the details that draw us into the story, while also establishing characters and relationships that make us care deeply about what they are doing. Smart, complex women doing daring things—what’s not to like!

By Helen Humphreys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Leaving Earth was Helen Humphreys's debut, and it brought the beauty of her poetry into the story of two women's love of flight and dream to excel, even if it took all their courage and strength and even their lives. Novice flyer Willa joins Grace, heroine of the skies, in what becomes an intimate journey of friendship. Yet the clouds that gather above are echoed by lurking dangers below for Maddy, a young fan of Grace's, and her Jewish mother and uncle. Anti-Semitism is spreading. Maddy's mother, a true fortune-teller, is beat up by thugs, and the swirl of events…


Book cover of Down by the River

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

This is a devastating story but O’Brien is a master wordsmith and I was dazzled by the writing while being distressed by the events, that of a young teen in Ireland who gets pregnant in abominable circumstances, then tries to find a way out of it. The church looms large in the novel, and the helplessness this young girl feels is palpable. That she keeps fighting against the forces against her despite the gaslighting is a testament to her strength. Even her one chance to escape is foiled in the most frustrating manner. I’ve been reading about the history of reproductive rights for my own novel, and the stories are never easy. The expected thing to do would be to acquiesce and accept the circumstances, but she chose otherwise.  A beautifully written and necessary book.

By Edna O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Down by the River is a newly reissued novel from Edna O’Brien, the author of Girl—“one of the most celebrated writers in the English language” (NPR’s Weekend Edition).

Set in the author’s native Ireland, a powerful and passionate novel about a young girl who becomes pregnant by her father—a situation made worse when it becomes fodder for the gossip mill of church, state, and the town square.


Book cover of Girl Runner

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

This novel of Aganetha, a 104-year-old woman who looks back on her years as a runner in the 1928 Olympics is as much a story about aging and the examination of one’s life, as it is about the glory days of her feat. I loved the idea of this woman at such an advanced age reflecting on her past, on what she has seen and experienced, and all the details of the events are beautifully rendered. This is an intimate yet propulsive novel that takes us through issues of gender equality, abortion, and all the obstacles that Aganetha would have faced as a female athlete.  

By Carrie Snyder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'original and moving... with the quirky charm of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' Daily Mail
'a joy to read' Independent on Sunday
Girl Runner, Carrie Snyder's debut novel, is the story of Aganetha Smart, a former Olympic athlete who was famous in the 1920s, but now, at age 104, lives in a nursing home, alone and forgotten by history. For Aganetha, a competitive and ambitious woman, her life remains present and unfinished in her mind.
When her quiet life is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of two young strangers, Aganetha begins to reflect on her childhood in rural Ontario…


Book cover of Undersong

Pamela Mulloy Author Of As Little As Nothing

From my list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with the lives of women around the period of World War Two when I discovered the female aviators of the Air Transport Auxiliary based in England. It wasn’t until I researched the history of reproductive rights after attending the Women’s March in 2017 in Toronto, Canada that I realized the period of the 1930s was a particularly progressive time for women, a time of early feminism. As a novelist I am drawn to the social history and the impact of wars. My first novel explored PTSD, and in this one I’m exploring the lives of women who fought against the gender norms at the time.

Pamela's book list on women in history challenging the limitations of gender

Pamela Mulloy Why did Pamela love this book?

Here we are taken into the world of Dorothy Wordsworth, considered to be the creative collaborator of her brother William Wordsworth, in this highly original re-imagining of her life. Although as an adult she lived with her brother, she remained in the shadows while he mined her writing for phrases he might use in his own poetry. Her unconventional life is portrayed here through the eyes of others, including a hired hand, James Dixon, whose reverence for her helps shape the story, and the curious but effective use of an old tree, named Sycamore, who provides insightful meditations on her character. I was taken with how intimately we entered Dorothy’s world who, though frail in body, was strong in mind. The internal workings and close observations are what make the novel fascinating, a historical portrait of both woman and artist. An original and thought-provoking work.

By Kathleen Winter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A stunning, spellbinding, poetic triumph." —Toronto Star
 
From Giller-shortlisted author Kathleen Winter (author of the bestseller Annabel): A stunning novel reimagining the lost years of misunderstood Romantic Era genius Dorothy Wordsworth.

When young James Dixon, a local jack-of-all-trades recently returned from the Battle of Waterloo, meets Dorothy Wordsworth, he quickly realizes he’s never met another woman anything like her. In her early thirties, Dorothy has already lived a wildly unconventional life. And as her famous brother William Wordsworth’s confidante and creative collaborator—considered by some in their circle to be the secret to his success as a poet—she has carved a…


Book cover of Up the Junction

Eliza Renton Author Of Faithful

From my list on featuring heroes to snuggle with on a cold night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an English writer now living in the wilds of Tasmania, Australia. My love of books began at school. I devoured the classics and couldn’t wait to audition for the lead in the next school play. Both my father and brother were in the military and I saw firsthand their love and duty for country, and family often with great cost to their mental health and wellbeing. I write stories about heroes like them and the women who win their hearts. Love takes courage. 

Eliza's book list on featuring heroes to snuggle with on a cold night

Eliza Renton Why did Eliza love this book?

This collection of short stories has a special place in my heart.

Stories written about people living in the early sixties in working-class London. The colloquial language rings true in my ears, and the stories belong in that special place held dear by my teenage self. Laugh or cry, I pick the book up when I am at most in need of, no place like home, comfort.

Ken Loach made a film based on the book and followed it up with another one of her books. Poor Cow. Dog-eared and well-worn, the books remain on my shelf.

By Nell Dunn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE JOHN LLEWELLYN RHYS MEMORIAL PRIZE

'Her art is ignited by voice, as you hear it, is unquestionable' ALI SMITH, GUARDIAN

'Distinctive, pared-down style' DAVID EVANS, INDEPENDENT

'Unflinching look at the lives of working-class women' DAILY MAIL

Nell Dunn's scenes of London life, as it was lived in the early Sixties in the industrial slums of Battersea, have few parallels in contemporary writing. The exuberant, uninhibited, disparate world she found in the tired old streets and under the railway arches is recaptured in these closely linked sketches; and the result is pure alchemy.

In this novel, we witness…


Book cover of Martin Eden

F. Scott Service Author Of Playing Soldier

From my list on emotional conflict and post-war survival.

Why am I passionate about this?

Living through the Iraq War compelled me to honestly challenge who I was, what I had believed in, and reshape who I am. One aspect to emerge from that is the belief that there is no good war. War is the worst of all endeavors, born from fundamentally weak minds that are blind to imagination and vision. But while I have had a passion for writing about war and speaking out against it, I feel it’s important for people to look beyond my work as just another veteran writing just another war book. In both of my books, the war is a character more than anything else. 

F.'s book list on emotional conflict and post-war survival

F. Scott Service Why did F. love this book?

While admittedly not a “war” book, Jack London’s masterful novel illustrates notions associated with war and society in an artful way. And he does it within two characters… a truth seeker and a believer in the establishment. From the rich and powerful to the impoverished with no voice, he clearly understood what is behind the masks we don in society. Fantastic read.

By Jack London,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The semiautobiographical Martin Eden is the most vital and original character Jack London ever created. Set in San Francisco, this is the story of Martin Eden, an impoverished seaman who pursues, obsessively and aggressively, dreams of education and literary fame. London, dissatisfied with the rewards of his own success, intended Martin Eden as an attack on individualism and a criticism of ambition; however, much of its status as a classic has been conferred by admirers of its ambitious protagonist. Andrew Sinclair's wide-ranging introduction discusses the conflict between London's support of socialism and his powerful self-will. Sinclair also explores the parallels…


Book cover of Tales of Mean Streets

Mick Finlay Author Of Arrowood and the Thames Corpses

From my list on the lives of the poor in 19th century London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t know anything about Victorian history before I started writing the Arrowood books. The idea for the character of William Arrowood came as I was reading a Sherlock Holmes story. It occurred to me that if I was a private detective working in London at the same time, I’d probably be jealous, resentful, and perhaps a little bitter about his success and fame. That was the basis of Arrowood. I started to write a few pages and then realized I needed to learn a lot about the history. Since then, I’ve read hundreds of books on the topic, pored over newspapers in the British Library, and visited countless museums.

Mick's book list on the lives of the poor in 19th century London

Mick Finlay Why did Mick love this book?

This is another book written by a journalist. The stories in it are about the working class and destitute life in London at the end of the nineteenth century. Not only do they portray intimate relationships, prostitution, crime, and alcohol abuse, but they also give a sense of the life stories of the people who lived in these communities.

By Arthur Morrison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tales of Mean Streets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


Book cover of The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

Blessin Adams Author Of Great and Horrible News: Murder and Mayhem in Early Modern Britain

From my list on bloody true crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an ex-police officer, I have experienced many of the things that I write about, albeit in the modern age: I’ve investigated scenes of sudden and violent death, attended post-mortems, and chased the odd suspected criminal through the streets. After a few years on the beat, I left the force and went to university as a mature student, where I received a PhD for my research into early modern law and literature. I now combine my love of all things true crime with my passion for early modern legal history in the books I write about historical crime, murder, and violent death.

Blessin's book list on bloody true crime

Blessin Adams Why did Blessin love this book?

Finally, a book that is wholly focused on the victims of one of history’s most notorious (and anonymous) serial killers.

Moreso than the descriptive details of five gruesome murders, I think the importance of this book is the conclusion Rubenhold reaches on women, sexuality, poverty, law, and justice in the Victorian age. 

By Hallie Rubenhold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NONFICTION 2019
'An angry and important work of historical detection, calling time on the misogyny that has fed the Ripper myth. Powerful and shaming' GUARDIAN

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

Their murderer was never identified, but…


Book cover of Without Prejudice

Abi Silver Author Of The Pinocchio Brief

From my list on challenging our views that justice prevails.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having spent my youth watching dramas Crown Court and L.A. Law on TV and reading Rumpole of the Bailey, it’s not surprising I became a lawyer and then went on to write legal thrillers myself. The courtroom is an inherently theatrical place, where emotions and tensions run high. It’s a place where egos collide, theories are propounded and punctured and the liberty (and sometimes the life) of the accused is at stake. It follows, then, that lawyers operate in a totally even-handed system, where they’ll always achieve a fair and just result and uncover the truth. All the books I’ve recommended challenge this notion in different (but equally brilliant) ways.

Abi's book list on challenging our views that justice prevails

Abi Silver Why did Abi love this book?

When Armani-loving lawyer, Leanne Mitchell, is asked to defend millionaire Clive Omartian on fraud charges, she believes her career is on an upward trajectory. But her success puts her at odds with the head of her Chambers, who is desperate to be awarded ‘Silk’ and with her instructing solicitor and old friend, as she begins to suspect he knows more about their client than he is letting on. Before she realises, she’s being dragged into dangerous waters.

Oozing authenticity, twisty and turny, the reader shares Lee’s pain, not just the wounds she suffers from courtroom barbs, but in her everyday experience as a young, black, working-class woman barrister in a mainly white, male, privileged world. Despite huge challenges she remains feisty and principled. A real hero for our times.

By Nicola Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Without Prejudice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Impressive and unique. As relevant today as it was over two decades go' Bernardine Evaristo, from the Introduction

A gripping, propulsive courtroom thriller following barrister Lee Mitchell as she uncovers the dark secrets of London's obscenely rich

Lee Mitchell is a thirty-year-old barrister from a working-class Caribbean background: in the cut-throat environment of the courtroom, everything is stacked against her.

After she takes on the high-profile case of notorious millionaire playboy Clive Omartian - arrested along with his father and stepbrother for eye-wateringly exorbitant fraud - the line between her personal and professional life becomes dangerously blurred.
Spiralling further into…


Book cover of Another Side of Paradise

Margaret Porter Author Of The Limits of Limelight

From my list on set in golden age Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in Golden Age Hollywood dates to my childhood of watching classic movies on television. It definitely inspired my career as an actress, which began when I was only ten and later expanded into tv and film. After the publication of twelve historical novels, I decided to write biographical fiction about actresses—famous and obscure—of the 1930s and 1940s. I regularly seek out Hollywood fiction for entertainment, and for research I rely on nonfiction (biographies, histories, sociological studies). I also collect ephemera, so at my author events I can share physical artifacts as well as Hollywood legend and lore!

Margaret's book list on set in golden age Hollywood

Margaret Porter Why did Margaret love this book?

So many Hollywood novels focus primarily on the marquee names—the movie stars. This one explores the tortured romantic relationship between gossip columnist Sheilah Graham and author F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose stint as a scriptwriter was financially sustaining and artistically demoralizing, deepening his descent into alcoholism and despair over his failing marriage to Zelda. Sheilah could have been his creation, with her Gatsby-esque concealment of her background and reinvention of herself. Though this is a work of fiction, it results from meticulous research into the lives and careers of its fascinating and legendary main characters. As a writer myself, who has produced newspaper columns as well as more than a dozen novels, I fully appreciate the literary aspects of this story.

By Sally Koslow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Another Side of Paradise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A stunning, utterly captivating read. Another Side of Paradise delivers an unforgettable portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham, a remarkable couple steeped in all the glamour, romance, and intrigue of old Hollywood. Their wild ride of a love affair is one for the ages!” — Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything

A novel based on the true story of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his longtime mistress, Sheilah Graham—an unforgettable tale of love, celebrity, and Gatsby-esque self-creation in 1930s Hollywood.

In 1937 Hollywood, gossip columnist Sheilah Graham’s star is on…


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