10 books like Lady of Ch'iao Kuo

By Laurence Yep,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Lady of Ch'iao Kuo. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Bird in a Snare

By N. L. Holmes,

Book cover of Bird in a Snare

N. L. Holmes is my absolute favorite “under the radar” historical fiction author writing today. She has a number of wonderful books out there, but if I had to suggest one to new readers, I would pick Bird in a Snare, the first book of the Lord Hani Mystery series. Set in Ancient Egypt under the reign of Akhenaten, the series is an amazing insight into a tumultuous part of ancient history I knew next to nothing about when I first picked up the book and a great mystery series. Throw in awesome prose and a wonderful cast of characters, and I recommend this one whenever I get the chance.

Bird in a Snare

By N. L. Holmes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Hani, an Egyptian diplomat under Akhenaten, is sent to investigate the murder of a useful bandit leader in Syria, he encounters corruption, tangled relationships, and yet more murder. His investigation is complicated by the new king’s religious reforms, which have struck Hani’s own family to the core. Hani’s mission is to amass enough evidence for his superiors to prosecute the wrongdoers despite the king’s protection—but not just every superior can be trusted. And maybe not even the king!


The Twentieth Wife

By Indu Sundaresan,

Book cover of The Twentieth Wife

Going back for a reread of this one now, I know there are some issues (as far as the historical record goes) in this book, but I still find the descriptions of Mughal India stunning… and I’ve always had a weak spot for the beautiful, ambitious woman uses the power of social climbing to succeed in a “man’s world” sort of narratives. And The Twentieth Wife has definitely got that in spades. 

The Twentieth Wife

By Indu Sundaresan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An enchanting seventeenth-century epic of grand passion and adventure, this debut novel tells the captivating story of one of India's most legendary and controversial empresses -- a woman whose brilliance and determination trumped myriad obstacles, and whose love shaped the course of the Mughal empire.
She came into the world in the year 1577, to the howling accompaniment of a ferocious winter storm. As the daughter of starving refugees fleeing violent persecution in Persia, her fateful birth in a roadside tent sparked a miraculous reversal of family fortune, culminating in her father's introduction to the court of Emperor Akbar. She…


When You See Her

By Barbara Boehm Miller,

Book cover of When You See Her

Set in the US in the late 70s, this book was one I went back and forth on if it fit my criteria of being a lesser-known locale (or possibly even historical fiction, since the 60s and 70s are just now starting to hit that cut-off). The world it presents—life in a traveling carnival during the tail end of the freakshow era—was so interesting, though, I felt I had to slip it in. On the run from a terrible secret, the protagonist joins the carnival as their “fat lady” act in the freakshow… and things are just as crazy (and yet somehow so emotionally grounded?) as that premise makes it sound. I’d definitely suggest giving it a read. 

When You See Her

By Barbara Boehm Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When You See Her as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Trapped and isolated in small-town Wisconsin, Sarah wants nothing more than to blend in and lead a normal life away from her abusive brother. Weighing five hundred pounds and having no job or formal education, however, makes this almost impossible.


When Sarah commits an unthinkable act, she seizes the only opportunity available to escape the consequences of her actions. She contacts the carnival man who previously offered her a job as a sideshow act. Burying her guilt, Sarah leaves home and begins performing under the stage name Lola Rolls.

Traveling from town to town, Lola wonders if it's possible to…


Baltasar and Blimunda

By José Saramago, Giovanni Pontiero (translator),

Book cover of Baltasar and Blimunda

I admit, Baltasar and Blimunda is not the type of historical fiction I generally pick up (a more distanced narrative voice plus magical realism doesn’t tend to be my normal pick for pleasure reading) but I felt I needed to read at least one novel set in 18th century Portugal before trying to write my own set there. Something by a Portuguese author as well seemed entirely the way to go. So, I picked this up, and am really glad I did. 

Baltasar and Blimunda

By José Saramago, Giovanni Pontiero (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In eighteenth-century Portugal, fifty thousand laborers carry stones on their backs across mountains to build the king's convent, a heretical priest devises a magic flying machine--the Passarola--and two lovers' dream of flight sets them apart.


For Black Girls Like Me

By Mariama J. Lockington,

Book cover of For Black Girls Like Me

This novel is about eleven-year-old Makeda, who is adopted and Black and her parents and big sister are White. Keda is a great character and I loved this coming of age story that touches on family and identity. Also, the writer is an adoptee and I’m always looking for more adoption stories written by adoptees.

For Black Girls Like Me

By Mariama J. Lockington,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked For Black Girls Like Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Makeda June Kirkland is eleven-years-old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda's family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena - the only other adopted black girl she knows - for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda's sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can't seem to find one real friend.

Through it all, Makeda can't help but wonder: What would it…


How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America

By Karen Brodkin,

Book cover of How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America

Now that I’ve raised the issue of whiteness – ways in which American structures and institutions reflect the agendas and interests of white people, and the role those structures play in shaping opportunity and life experiences -- here I want to bring it front and center. Many white people don’t recognize how they benefit from having white skin (called “white privilege”) and many white ethnic groups, including many white Jews in the U.S., deny their white privilege altogether, insisting that they too have been the victim of white discrimination, and that anti-Black racism is no different. Brodkin offers a powerful counter-narrative, pointing out the many important ways that American Jews of European descent did indeed benefit from their white skin even when they did not realize it. 

How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America

By Karen Brodkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fashion identities in the context of a wider conversation about American nationhood, to whom it belongs and what belonging means. Race and ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality are all staple ingredients in this conversation. They are salient aspects of social being from which economic practices, political policies, and popular discourses create ""Americans."" Because all of these facets of social being have such significant meaning on a national scale, they also have major consequences for both individuals and groups in terms of their success and well-being, as well as how they perceive themselves socially and politically.

The history of Jews…


Queen of Shadows

By Sarah J. Maas,

Book cover of Queen of Shadows

I have an absolute favourite book character and her name is Manon Blackbeak.

No, she’s not the main protagonist in this book (although Aelin Galathynius is awesome), and that’s why I’m recommending the fourth book in this series rather than the first, because it’s really where we start to Manon come into her own. She is vicious, unapologetic, fiercely loyal, and just so cool. Yet for someone so hard and tough, her bond with her wyvern, Abraxos, gives you all the feels. I loved how Manon’s plotline developed further in Queen of Shadows and her showdown fight with Aelin at the end was one of the best I’ve ever read. 

This is a fantastic series by Maas, with a trove of great characters. My experience was that book three – Heir of Fire – was where the story really began to find its footing. By halfway through…

Queen of Shadows

By Sarah J. Maas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume. Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire-for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past... She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight. She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable…


Females

By Andrea Long Chu,

Book cover of Females

A short, powerful investigation of how we construct and succumb to the lies of gender. Chu explores our fears of desire and how we allow politics to corrupt identity, believing gender to be so constructed that it can only be given and not created. Female is a quality we all carry, whatever label we use. Chu forces the reader to look in the mirror with a question instead of a statement, always uncertain about who that person really is. 

Females

By Andrea Long Chu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Everyone is female, and everyone hates it."

So begins Andrea Long Chu's genre-defying investigation into sex and lies, desperate artists and reckless politics, the smothering embrace of gender and the punishing force of desire.

Drawing inspiration from a forgotten play by Valerie Solanas-the woman who wrote the SCUM Manifesto and shot Andy Warhol-Chu aims her searing wit and surgical intuition at targets ranging from performance art to psychoanalysis, incels to porn, and even feminists like herself. Each step of the way she defends the indefensible claim that femaleness is less a biological state of women and more a fatal existential…


Slated

By Teri Terry,

Book cover of Slated

The prequel to this book had a big influence on me when writing my own book, as I wanted to explore how something so awful, like my trials and Terry’s slating process, could be introduced and the reasoning behind that. What I really love about Terry’s book is the science included. Slated explores wiping someone’s brain completely and giving them a blank slate. Her other books explore things like dark matter, think tanks (literally, the brains are in tanks), and global warming. Slated is where I started and is a series I read every year. While the subject matter is dark, it has become a comfort series, and Kyla a comfort character, for me. 

Slated

By Teri Terry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The gripping first book of a rebellious trilogy about truth, power, and impossible choices, perfect for fans of Divergent and Legend.

Kyla’s memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost forever. She’s been slated. The government claims that she was a terrorist and they are giving her a second chance—if she plays by their rules. But scenes from the past haunt her as she tries to adjust to a new life, family, and school, leaving her unsettled. Who is she really? And if only criminals are meant to be slated, why are so many other teens disappearing?…


The Moorchild (Aladdin Fantasy)

By Eloise McGraw,

Book cover of The Moorchild (Aladdin Fantasy)

I absolutely love this book and have both listened to it and read it more than once. There are so many layers and insights especially for those who feel out of place and are bullied for being different. It is about a girl who is half-human and has Moorfolk (faerie) banished from the fae for her inabilities and exchanged for a human baby. As she grows, her odd abilities are noticed and feared. Despite the taunting and blood-thirsty actions of the village folk, she gives of herself and ultimately takes the risk to retrieve her adopted parents’ human baby. She has the inner strength to venture out and be her unique self.

The Moorchild (Aladdin Fantasy)

By Eloise McGraw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moorchild (Aladdin Fantasy) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The daughter of a fairy folk mother and human father, Moql is raised by the fairies, until she is considered too great a risk and is left with a strange human family. Reprint. Newbery Honor Book. Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in identity, princesses, and China?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about identity, princesses, and China.

Identity Explore 86 books about identity
Princesses Explore 53 books about princesses
China Explore 434 books about China