100 books like Light a Penny Candle

By Maeve Binchy,

Here are 100 books that Light a Penny Candle fans have personally recommended if you like Light a Penny Candle. 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 Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

Ann O’Loughlin Author Of Escape to the Irish Village

From my list on strong women and female friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by the extraordinary things ordinary people do, particularly women. Women show such strength; they juggle so many things every day, and they can draw on huge reserves of power in a crisis. Time and time again, I see how when women pull together, they can conquer anything. A woman on her own can do many things, but when we band together, nothing can stop us. So often, others concentrate on the negative aspects of a group of women together, but I have seen the power of female friendship and how we can reach the stars when we hold each other up. 

Ann's book list on strong women and female friendship

Ann O’Loughlin Why did Ann love this book?

This book was published after the demonstration at Tiananmen Square, Beijing which ended in bloodshed. With this book, I felt finally somebody was giving an honest account of life in China in the 20th Century and  under the Chinese Communist Party.

But this is no regular history book; it is Jung Chang’s personal account following the lives of three generations of women in her own family: Jung Chang herself, her mother, and her grandmother. They endured so much, but I was struck by how united and loving they remained. They managed in the face of adversity to keep their humanity, inner strength, and incredible courage.

I felt empowered by these women, from the grandmother who had endured the torture of having her feet bound as a young girl to the author who showed admirable courage to tell us exactly what China was like right up and through the dark years…

By Jung Chang,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Wild Swans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Few books have had such an impact as Wild Swans: a popular bestseller which has sold more than 13 million copies and a critically acclaimed history of China; a tragic tale of nightmarish cruelty and an uplifting story of bravery and survival.

Through the story of three generations of women in her own family - the grandmother given to the warlord as a concubine, the Communist mother and the daughter herself - Jung Chang reveals the epic history of China's twentieth century.

Breathtaking in its scope, unforgettable in its descriptions, this is a masterpiece which is extraordinary in every way.


Book cover of Pride and Prejudice

R.K. Scott Author Of Choosing Season

From my list on characters displaying inner strength.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a large family and was often forgotten since I wasn’t the loud and rebellious child, but I was often pushed over because I wouldn’t stand up for myself in fear of anger. My only escape was walking the seven blocks to my local library and reading about heroic deeds, beautiful ladies falling in love with the dashing prince, and wishing I could be brave like the characters in my books. In my late teens, I realized there’s more to a person than physical strength. 

R.K.'s book list on characters displaying inner strength

R.K. Scott Why did R.K. love this book?

This one is the queen of romance novels. I loved this when I read it in high school, and whenever I decide to pick it up again, I remember why. Elizabeth Bennet must overcome many obstacles before finally finding love with Mr. Darcy. It takes courage to say no to the societal expectations of her time, like marrying the first man who asks just because they aren’t wealthy or who her mother tells her to because her cousin could take their home away.

What I love most about her is that she’s virtuous but isn’t a pushover; she stands up for herself. Something I’m constantly working on in my personal life.

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

35 authors picked Pride and Prejudice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World.

Jane Austen's best-loved novel is an unforgettable story about the inaccuracy of first impressions, the power of reason, and above all the strange dynamics of human relationships and emotions.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is illustrated by Hugh Thomson and features an afterword by author and critic, Henry Hitchings.

A tour de force of wit and sparkling dialogue, Pride and…


Book cover of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Nathan Gower Author Of The Act of Disappearing

From my list on dual timeline novels with a satisfying twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love studying history and reading books informed by the past because of the ways such study elucidates and complicates my understanding of the present moment. I also think the best stories should entertain as well as teach; that is, books should be enrapturing and never didactic. I’m a professor of English at a liberal arts university in Kentucky, and every time I assign a short story, novel, play, or poem, I always do so with the conviction that reading the assigned text should enthrall my students as much as it teaches them about a particular literary movement or historical moment. 

Nathan's book list on dual timeline novels with a satisfying twist

Nathan Gower Why did Nathan love this book?

I love the way the book's two timelines run parallel until the two narratives kiss at the end. The intertwined plots move at a breakneck speed, which means that I didn’t have time to get ahead of the narrative.

Yes, the book has a big twist at the end, but I was invested in the characters long before I got there, which is so important for me to feel truly satisfied by the book.

By Taylor Jenkins Reid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"If you're looking for a book to take on holiday this summer, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has got all the glitz and glamour to make it a perfect beach read." -Bustle

From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & the Six-an entrancing and "wildly addictive journey of a reclusive Hollywood starlet" (PopSugar) as she reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready…


Book cover of The Alice Network

Ann O’Loughlin Author Of Escape to the Irish Village

From my list on strong women and female friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by the extraordinary things ordinary people do, particularly women. Women show such strength; they juggle so many things every day, and they can draw on huge reserves of power in a crisis. Time and time again, I see how when women pull together, they can conquer anything. A woman on her own can do many things, but when we band together, nothing can stop us. So often, others concentrate on the negative aspects of a group of women together, but I have seen the power of female friendship and how we can reach the stars when we hold each other up. 

Ann's book list on strong women and female friendship

Ann O’Loughlin Why did Ann love this book?

This book, a novel that spans two world wars, gripped my heart and made me fully realise how strong women can be in the face of adversity.

I was completely drawn in, and there were plenty of moments to cry, laugh, or gasp at the courage displayed. So often, the contribution of women gets pushed aside, but I felt here it was brought to life in the sacrifices and true grit displayed by the women as we made our way through WW1 and WW2. 

There is a vitality and optimism in this book, which shines through. I loved this story and how it showed that women when they band together can do anything.   These women are definitely on my party invitation list. 

By Kate Quinn,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Alice Network as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women-a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947-are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption. 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might…


Book cover of The Twenty-One-Year Contract

Mark Love Author Of Devious

From my list on contemporary cozy mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a contemporary mystery junkie. Realistic tales always grab my attention. A touch of romance never hurts. In college, one professor suggested the old ‘write what you know’ approach. I don’t know everything, but I know what I like. Mysteries! I thrive on distinctive characters, those who are willing to put every effort into getting to the bottom of the situation. Sharp, tight dialogue and descriptions are essential. Give me that, and I’ll be back for more. This is my passion. Come along if you want a thrill and a surprise or two. 

Mark's book list on contemporary cozy mysteries

Mark Love Why did Mark love this book?

I’m a fan of history. A storyline that revolves around such a long-term contract intrigued me. This one is set back in the 1960s, with scenes that jump back to World War II and then the fifties.

Griffin’s style was smooth. She brought me along in the story, giving me little hints as to what was really going on. There are secrets galore here and plenty of surprises. The characters are well-drawn. The timeframe of the story works perfectly with some of the twists.

By L. B. Griffin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Twenty-One-Year Contract as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kathleen Gray—talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family.
Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her—he has a business to run and his own life to manage.
Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.


Book cover of London A-Z Street Atlas

Fiona Rule Author Of The Worst Street in London

From my list on Victorian London.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fiona Rule is a writer, researcher, and historian specialising in the history of London. ​ She is the author of five books: The Worst Street In London, London's Docklands, London's Labyrinth, Streets Of Sin, and The Oldest House In London. ​ A regular contributor to television and radio programmes, Fiona also has her own company, House Histories, which specialises in researching the history of people's homes. She holds an Advanced Diploma in Local History from the University of Oxford.

Fiona's book list on Victorian London

Fiona Rule Why did Fiona love this book?

This facsimile of the original A-Z shows London before huge swathes of the city were destroyed by enemy bombing in the Second World War. It is invaluable when searching for old addresses and presents a picture of areas that had not changed much since Victorian times but would soon be altered beyond recognition.

By Geographers' A-Z Map Co Ltd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked London A-Z Street Atlas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a facsimile reproduction of the A to Z London Street Atlas, circa 1938/39, this publication shows street mapping of London as it was before the Second World War bombing and the redevelopments that followed and may be of assistance in tracing family history for that period.

The coverage extends from central London to Edgware, Whetstone, Palmers Green, Edmonton, Walthamstow, Snaresbrook, Seven Kings, Barking, Silvertown, Plumstead, Kidbrooke, Bellingham, South Sydenham, Croydon, Streatham Common, Morden, Wimbledon Common, Twickenham, Richmond, Kew, Hanwell, Ealing Broadway, Wembley, Harrow and Wealdstone. Included within the atlas is a map of the Underground Railways of London and…


Book cover of Warlight

Amanda Hale Author Of Mad Hatter, Volume 164

From my list on human relations in the altered reality of wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

The writing of Mad Hatter (my 7th book), was fueled by curiosity about WW2 and about my absent father. I emigrated to Canada as a young woman and pursued a career in the Arts – theatre, painting, writing. But only when I embarked on this fictionalized family story did I begin to uncover shocking family secrets as I pulled together threads of childhood memory, woven in with research material, trying to make sense of it all. Writing has literally saved my life, and Mad Hatter has liberated me in a manner I could never have predicted. I am an intense, passionate workaholic, writing in many genres, exulting in life's surprises!

Amanda's book list on human relations in the altered reality of wartime

Amanda Hale Why did Amanda love this book?

Since my own novel is set partly in post-war England, I was drawn to Ondaatje’s Warlight, which begins in 1945 London as the city is recovering from brutal bombing. Another hook for me was the youthful characters; my book is also populated with war-confused children. Ondaatje’s narrator, 14-year-old Nathaniel, recalls his youth with the benefit of adult wisdom. He and his sister Rachel are abandoned by their parents to the care of some eccentric and slightly dangerous characters. Their teen years are marked by many mysterious events and experiences, only beginning to clarify in retrospect. Do we ever know what’s really happening?

By Michael Ondaatje,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018**

An elegiac novel set in post-WW2 London about memory, family secrets and lies, from the internationally acclaimed author of The English Patient

It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women all who seem determined to protect Rachel and Nathaniel.…


Book cover of The Book of Last Letters

Patricia McBride Author Of The Picture House Girls

From my list on WW2 saga books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written one complete WW2 saga series, Lily Baker, and am currently writing a second series, The Library Girls. I am addicted to reading about the period and can lose hours and hours doing factual research as well. My mother was a Cockney, and I became immersed in her wartime stories, mostly about the fun she had but also about her many struggles. I love stories about strong women overcoming adversity, and during WW2, many showed the world how capable and resilient they were. I have a Master's Degree in Professional Writing and write occasional magazine articles.

Patricia's book list on WW2 saga books

Patricia McBride Why did Patricia love this book?

I love books that cover two time periods, and this one did not disappoint.

The WW2 story showed me the importance of ‘last letters’ soldiers wrote home in case they died in action. I found myself immersed not just in the character, Ellie, but the wartime background in which she worked.

It was an emotional read. The present-day half of the book is equally engaging, where we learn about Stephanie’s difficult childhood. Reading it, I was fully engaged in her struggles and rooting for her to succeed.

By Kerry Barrett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Heart-breaking but so uplifting - Kerry really is a hugely talented voice.' Nicola Cornick, author of The Forgotten Sister

Inspired by an incredible true story, this is an unforgettable novel about love, loss and one impossible choice...

London, 1940
When nurse Elsie offers to send a reassuring letter to the family of a patient, she has an idea. She begins a book of last letters: messages to be sent on to wounded soldiers' loved ones should the very worst come to pass, so that no one is left without a final goodbye.

But one message will change Elsie's life forever.…


Book cover of Storm Harvest

Caroline Newark Author Of The Making of a Tudor

From my list on historical fiction that don't disappoint in romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love of history began at the age of 9 with a book given to my older brother: Our Island Story. My history teacher at school introduced me to serious historical biography and studying for a Law degree taught me the value of accuracy. The chance discovery of a notebook detailing one strand of my mother's family tree led to my current project of writing about the imagined lives of my female ancestors beginning in 1299  with my 19 times-great-grandmother Marguerite of France and ending in 1942 with my mother. Twenty-one books mean a lot of history and a mountain of research. A very pleasant way to spend my retirement.

Caroline's book list on historical fiction that don't disappoint in romance

Caroline Newark Why did Caroline love this book?

I came across this book at a bring-and-buy sale in West Wales and it has become one of my firm favourites. It tells the story of Faye Ludlow whose husband is impatient for her to adapt to life in his family's ancient manor house. As the Second World War unfolds and nearby Dover comes under daily bombardment, Faye struggles to save not only her marriage but the family's finances threatened by her husband's increasingly grandiose schemes. Any sense of purpose she acquires from her war work as an ambulance driver is bolstered by an unlikely friendship with an enigmatic London banker. A story for any of us who have ever faced temptation.

By Patricia Wright,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Light Perpetual

Julianna Boyer Author Of Sunni: The Life and Love of King Tutankhamun's Wife

From my list on historical fiction about lesser-known characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for Historical Fiction. It started when I was 12 years old. Before that, I never liked any kind of history. Then, in school, we started learning about King Tut, and I was fascinated. I started having frequent dreams that he would sit and tell me stories about our life together and he believed that I was his wife, Sunni. Into adulthood, I still had these dreams, so I decided to write about the stories that he would tell. Along with exhaustive research, I learned who Sunni (Anukshanamun) was. My book is based on facts mixed with my dreams.

Julianna's book list on historical fiction about lesser-known characters

Julianna Boyer Why did Julianna love this book?

In 1944, the Woolworth’s in London was bombed, killing 168 people. 15 were kids.

In this story, the author brings back 5 of those children and writes a story of how they might have been growing up and as adults. It is a tearjerker and really makes you wonder what all of those 15 children would have been like.

Several senseless tragedies leave a lot of “What-ifs,” and this one really pulled at my heartstrings.

By Francis Spufford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Named a Best Book of the Year by TheNew York Times, NPR, Slate, Lit Hub, Fresh Air, and more

From the critically acclaimed and award‑winning author of Golden Hill, an “extraordinary…symphonic…casually stunning” (The Wall Street Journal) novel tracing the infinite possibilities of five lives in the bustling neighborhoods of 20th-century London.

Lunchtime on a Saturday, 1944: the Woolworths on Bexford High Street in South London receives a delivery of aluminum saucepans. A crowd gathers to see the first new metal in ages—after all, everything’s been melted down for the war effort. An instant later, the crowd is gone; incinerated. Among…


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