100 books like Early One Morning

By Virginia Baily,

Here are 100 books that Early One Morning fans have personally recommended if you like Early One Morning. 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 Angels & Demons

E. Chris Ambrose Author Of The Mongol's Coffin

From my list on weaving adventure and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an art school drop-out who'd been majoring in sculpture, I'm fascinated by material culture—artifacts created by early peoples that reveal their cultural values. Often, the relics and sites that engage both archaeologists and readers suggest unexpected depths of knowledge that show human ingenuity through the ages. I strive to incorporate the details of an artifact or monument's creation into the clues and descriptions in my work, hopefully illuminating a little-known historical realm, if only by torchlight as the adventure unfolds. The fact that I get to explore so many exotic locations, in research if not in person, is a definite plus!

E. Chris' book list on weaving adventure and history

E. Chris Ambrose Why did E. Chris love this book?

While most people associate Dan Brown with his more famous work, The DaVinci Code, this first novel in his Robert Langdon series really founded the archaeological thriller genre.

I loved how this book transports readers to the milieu so thoroughly that it was a bit of a spoiler when I recognized one key location from my own time in Rome before the secret was revealed—but that's a testament to how well he conveys the scene! Brown invites us behind the scenes of secret societies, sharing insider information to raise the stakes.

I had the great good fortune to take a workshop with Dan just before DaVinci Code came out, and benefit from his enormous skill as a teacher. The man tells a ripping yarn, full of puzzles that blend fact and fancy. 

By Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Angels & Demons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

CERN Institute, Switzerland: a world-renowned scientist is found brutally murdered with a mysterious symbol seared onto his chest.

The Vatican, Rome: the College of Cardinals assembles to elect a new pope. Somewhere beneath them, an unstoppable bomb of terrifying power relentlessly counts down to oblivion.

In a breathtaking race against time, Harvard professor Robert Langdon must decipher a labyrinthine trail of ancient symbols if he is to defeat those responsible - the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years, reborn to continue their deadly vendetta against their most hated enemy, the Catholic Church.

Origin, the spellbinding…


Book cover of The Postcard from Italy

Anna Valencia Author Of The Chestnut House

From my list on transporting you to the magic of Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may be English by birth, but my soul has always felt Italian! I have lived and worked in Italy for many years, first in Rome, then Milan, and finally Tuscany when we fell in love with an abandoned farmhouse. I wrote The Chestnut House while we were living in the mountains of the Garfagnana in northern Tuscany, inspired by the wartime stories our neighbours shared with us. For me Italy is the perfect country—great weather, food, wine, language, and culture! I love both reading about it, and writing about it. I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have!

Anna's book list on transporting you to the magic of Italy

Anna Valencia Why did Anna love this book?

I have read several of Angela Petch’s excellent novels, all set in Tuscany. I lived in Tuscany for two years, and her descriptions not only of the countryside but also the characters that inhabit this special part of the world are spot on. This novel kept my interest, was well-plotted, and a real pleasure to read. Her research into the wartime period is well done, and I love the details about how people lived back then. It really is another world. How our modern world integrates with it, and what we can learn from it, is something I feel she explores really well, by introducing the past to the present through her characters. 

By Angela Petch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Italy, 1945. ‘Where am I?’ The young man wakes, bewildered. He sees olive trees against a bright blue sky. A soft voice soothes him. ‘We saw you fall from your plane. The parachute saved you.’ He remembers nothing of his life, or the war that has torn the world apart… but where does he belong?

England, present day. Antique-shop-owner Susannah wipes away a tear as she tidies her grandmother’s belongings. Elsie’s memories are fading, and every day Susannah feels further away from her only remaining family. But everything changes when she stumbles across a yellowed postcard of a beautiful Italian…


Book cover of The House by the Sea

Anna Valencia Author Of The Chestnut House

From my list on transporting you to the magic of Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may be English by birth, but my soul has always felt Italian! I have lived and worked in Italy for many years, first in Rome, then Milan, and finally Tuscany when we fell in love with an abandoned farmhouse. I wrote The Chestnut House while we were living in the mountains of the Garfagnana in northern Tuscany, inspired by the wartime stories our neighbours shared with us. For me Italy is the perfect country—great weather, food, wine, language, and culture! I love both reading about it, and writing about it. I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have!

Anna's book list on transporting you to the magic of Italy

Anna Valencia Why did Anna love this book?

Set in both Devon and Tuscany—this is my perfect book! I loved the historic story of Floriana growing up near the beautiful villa in Tuscany, and it tied in so well with the modern-day story as well. As always Santa’s books are well crafted and a total joy to read, transporting you to the locations with her evocative descriptions. This makes a fabulous holiday read, and I have recommended it to many family and friends.

By Santa Montefiore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An irresistibly compelling from the internationally bestselling author Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the beauty of the magnificent Tuscan villa that overlooks the sea just outside her small village. She likes to spy from the crumbling wall into the gardens, and imagine that one day she'll escape her meagre existence and live there. One day, Dante, the son of the villa's powerful industrialist owner, invites her inside. From that moment on Floriana knows that her destiny is there, with him. But as they grow up they cross an unseen line, jeopardising the very thing they hold most dear. Decades later…


Book cover of Love and War in the Apennines

Alice Leccese Powers Author Of Italy in Mind: An Anthology

From my list on falling in love in (and with) Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the written word and effective communication. My articles and reviews have been published in major newspapers and magazines and for two decades I taught writing on the university level. Travel writing is a subset of my experience as editor of the best-selling In Mind literary anthologies and editor and writer for more than a dozen guidebooks. In addition, I have been “first reader” and editor for prospective authors and shepherded several books to publication, the most recent Red Clay Suzie by first-time novelist Jeffrey Lofton (publication January 2023). 

Alice's book list on falling in love in (and with) Italy

Alice Leccese Powers Why did Alice love this book?

Eric Newby Is one of my favorite travel writers. He worked his way into situations that were bizarre, funny, and sometimes dangerous. His wife, Wanda, was often at his side, the sardonic counterpoint to his irrepressible optimism. Love and War in the Apennines is a memoir of the beginning of their love story. During World War II Newby, an escaped British prisoner of war, was kept alive in the Italian mountains by a courageous group of partisan peasants that included the heroic Wanda. Despite ever-present danger, Newby fell in love with Italy and also with the Italians who risked their lives to save his.

By Eric Newby,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Love and War in the Apennines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed as Newby's 'masterpiece', Love and War in the Apennines is the gripping real-life story of Newby's imprisonment and escape from an Italian prison camp during World War II.

After the Italian Armistice of 1943, Eric Newby escaped from the prison camp in which he'd been held for a year. He evaded the German army by hiding in the caves and forests of Fontanellato, in Italy's Po Valley. Against this picturesque backdrop, he was sheltered for three months by an informal network of Italian peasants, who fed, supported and nursed him, before his eventual recapture.

'Love and War in the…


Book cover of Eternal

Marilyn Baron Author Of The Case of the Forgotten Fragonard

From my list on World War Two and Nazi stolen art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied art history in Florence, Italy, while there for six months during college. I’ve always loved Italy and am fascinated with art and World War II, because my father was a top-turret gunner on a B-17, flying missions over Europe, including on D-Day. WWII historical fiction is my favorite topic to read and write. I write in a variety of genres, from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal. My latest project is a cozy mystery series about an American college graduate who goes to work for a flailing Italian art detective agency in Florence and works with her sexy Carabinieri boyfriend (later husband), to solve Nazi stolen art crimes. 

Marilyn's book list on World War Two and Nazi stolen art

Marilyn Baron Why did Marilyn love this book?

This is my first Lisa Scottoline book.

She’s known for her crime fiction, but this is her first foray into historical fiction and I fell in love with the book. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with art theft but it’s one of the best WW II books I’ve ever read.

I fell in love with her characters and didn’t want the book to end. She has a new book coming out (March 2023) called Loyalty about the rise of the Mafia in Sicily, which is also fascinating and unforgettable.

By Lisa Scottoline,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
#1 bestselling author Lisa Scottoline offers a sweeping and shattering epic of historical fiction fueled by shocking true events, the tale of a love triangle that unfolds in the heart of Rome...in the creeping shadow of fascism.

What war destroys, only love can heal.

Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and…


Book cover of The Day of Battle

Glyn Harper Author Of The Battle for North Africa: El Alamein and the Turning Point for World War II

From my list on Great WW2 books published after 2000.

Why am I passionate about this?

Glyn Harper has been researching and writing military history for over forty years. He is the author of numerous best-selling books on military history and is also an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. A former army officer, Glyn is New Zealand’s only Professor of War Studies.

Glyn's book list on Great WW2 books published after 2000

Glyn Harper Why did Glyn love this book?

The Day of Battle was Volume Two of Rick Atkinson’s acclaimed Liberation Trilogy. While all three volumes of this series are well worth reading, Atkinson was at his best in the second volume which deals with the much-neglected campaigns of Sicily and Italy. The doyen of British military history and a veteran of the Italian campaign, the late Sir Michael Howard wrote that The Day of Battle was ‘one of the truly outstanding records of the Second World War’. I think it is too.

By Rick Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In An Army at Dawn - winner of the Pulitzer Prize - Rick Atkinson provided a dramatic and authoritative history of the Allied triumph in North Africa. Now, in The Day of the Battle, he follows the strengthening American and British armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943 and then, mile by bloody mile, fight their way north. The Italian campaign's outcome was never certain; in fact, Roosevelt, Churchill and their military advisors engaged in heated debate about whether an invasion of the so-called soft underbelly of Europe was even a good idea. But once underway, the commitment to…


Book cover of Fleeting Rome: In Search of La Dolce Vita

Scott Samuelson Author Of Rome as a Guide to the Good Life: A Philosophical Grand Tour

From my list on finding the meaning of life in Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

After learning Latin in college and studying Italian philosophy in graduate school, I stumbled into Rome for the first time over a decade ago as faculty on a study-abroad trip. In two weeks, I learned more about history and life than I had in two decades of study. I’ve been lucky enough to go back every summer since, with the sad exception of the pandemic years. I adore Rome. It didn’t help that a few years ago, in the Basilica of San Clemente, I fell head over heels for a Renaissance art historian and tried her patience with poetry until she married me.

Scott's book list on finding the meaning of life in Rome

Scott Samuelson Why did Scott love this book?

One of my favorite Italian figures of the twentieth century is the writer, painter, and anti-fascist Carlo Levi.

This collection of his essays, evoking the complexities of Rome and its people, sums up what it means to come to terms with the Eternal City:

“Here, everything has already existed: and existence has not vanished into memory, rather it has remained present... The virtues are not the moral and ideological values (which the passage of too long a time has gradually flattened out), but simpler and more visible values: health, physical strength, knowing how to eat and drink, knowing how to speak with a certain humor and brevity, knowing how to command respect, sincerity, friendship.”

May all roads lead to this understanding of the world. 

By Carlo Levi, Antony Shugaar (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Only a renaissance man could have described this glorious city in its heyday. And only Carlo Levi, writer, painter, politician and one of the last centurya s most celebrated talents, could depict Rome at the height of its optimism and vitality after World War II. In Fleeting Rome, the era of post war a La Dolce Vitaa is brought magnificently to life in the daily bustle of Romea s street traders, housewives and students at work and play, the colourful festivities of Ferragosto and San Giovanni, the little theatre of Pulcinella al Pincio; all vibrant sights and sounds of this…


Book cover of The Street Kids

Charles Lambert Author Of Birthright

From my list on set in 20th century Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in the UK, in Lichfield, but moved to Italy in 1976 and to Rome in 1982. Over the past forty years, Rome has become my city, my home, and my inspiration, as it has for hundreds of thousands of other people during its millennia as caput mundi. It isn’t always the easiest place to live, but it’s varied and colourful and endlessly stimulating. It’s provided a backdrop to several of my novels and not only that. Rome is a character in its own right, boisterous, elegant, breathtakingly beautiful, unutterably sordid. Roma è casa mia!

Charles' book list on set in 20th century Rome

Charles Lambert Why did Charles love this book?

Pasolini’s films, Mamma Roma and Accattone, were among the reasons I decided to move to Rome in the first place.

Their blend of poetry and wretchedness chimed with my own vision of life at that time and I seized the chance to improve my knowledge of the city, of Italian and of Roman dialect, by reading his first novel Ragazzi di Vita, as soon as I arrived in the city.

Ragazzi di vita are hustlers, doomed from birth by circumstances outside their control, and I was drawn to the novel’s dark non-conformist romanticism, its refusal to compromise and the sheer texture of the language, which I only partly understood. It’s like Kerouac, but for real.

By Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ann Goldstein (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The “provocative” novel about hard-living teenagers in poverty-stricken postwar Rome, by the renowned Italian filmmaker (The New York Times).

Set during the post–World War II years in the Rome of the borgate―outlying neighborhoods beset by poverty and deprivation―The Street Kids tells the story of a group of adolescents belonging to the urban underclass. Living hand-to-mouth, Riccetto and his friends eke out an existence doing odd jobs, committing petty crimes, and prostituting themselves. Rooted in the neorealist movement of the 1950s, The Street Kids is a tender, heart-rending tribute to an entire social class in danger of being forgotten.
Heavily censored…


Book cover of Courage, My Love

Alyssa Palombo Author Of The Borgia Confessions

From my list on historical fiction set in Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by history my whole life, and have been reading historical fiction for as long as I can remember. I have a particular passion for the history of Italy, in all its complicated, bloody, and dazzling glory, from the politics to the music to the art to, of course, the food and wine. There is so much within Italian history that captivates, and as a woman of Italian descent it holds a special interest for me. I try to capture the drama, beauty, and complexity of Italy in my own historical novels, and the books on this list all do that in the most compelling way.

Alyssa's book list on historical fiction set in Italy

Alyssa Palombo Why did Alyssa love this book?

I just recently read this wonderful debut novel, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since! Courage, My Love tells the story of two women living in Nazi-occupied Rome who become involved in the Italian resistance and its effort to rid their country of fascism. This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching, timely novel of ordinary people living in extraordinary times, and the courage they have in standing up to evil.

By Kristin Beck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the Nazi occupation of Rome begins, two courageous young women are plunged deep into the Italian Resistance to fight for their freedom in this captivating debut novel.

Rome, 1943

Lucia Colombo has had her doubts about fascism for years, but as a single mother in an increasingly unstable country, politics are for other people--she needs to focus on keeping herself and her son alive. Then the Italian government falls and the German occupation begins, and suddenly, Lucia finds that complacency is no longer an option. 

Francesca Gallo has always been aware of injustice and suffering. A polio survivor who…


Book cover of History

Charles Lambert Author Of Birthright

From my list on set in 20th century Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in the UK, in Lichfield, but moved to Italy in 1976 and to Rome in 1982. Over the past forty years, Rome has become my city, my home, and my inspiration, as it has for hundreds of thousands of other people during its millennia as caput mundi. It isn’t always the easiest place to live, but it’s varied and colourful and endlessly stimulating. It’s provided a backdrop to several of my novels and not only that. Rome is a character in its own right, boisterous, elegant, breathtakingly beautiful, unutterably sordid. Roma è casa mia!

Charles' book list on set in 20th century Rome

Charles Lambert Why did Charles love this book?

Morante’s classic novel about the impact on Rome of World War 2 and its aftermath had been on my TBR list for decades but I only got round to it during the first Covid lockdown. I couldn’t have found a more appropriate time.

It’s a novel about oppression, from without and within, laced with the fear of death and an overhanging sense of impotence. This all sounds pretty grim, and the novel certainly doesn’t pull any punches, but it’s also vivid, deeply touching and an extraordinary picture of a city under siege.

It’s particularly poignant for me because I read it while I was holed up in the district of San Lorenzo, one of the main settings of the novel and a place where the destruction wrought by WW2 can still be seen.

By Elsa Morante, William Weaver (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

History was written nearly thirty years after Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia spent a year in hiding among remote farming villages in the mountains south of Rome. There she witnessed the full impact of the war and first formed the ambition to write an account of what history - the great political events driven by men of power, wealth, and ambition - does when it reaches the realm of ordinary people struggling for life and bread.

The central character in this powerful and unforgiving novel is Ida Mancuso, a schoolteacher whose husband has died and whose feckless teenage son treats…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Rome, Italy, and Jewish history?

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