100 books like Mapp and Lucia

By E.F. Benson,

Here are 100 books that Mapp and Lucia fans have personally recommended if you like Mapp and Lucia. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Emma

Charisse Cooke Author Of The Attachment Solution: How to develop secure, strong and lasting relationships

From my list on how to create a great relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fortunate enough to meet my husband over 17 years ago, and we have packed a lot of life in since then. Along with two kids and a dog, we’ve had our fair share of tough moments: financial challenges, bereavement, family issues, marital disagreement, and traumatic life events that taught me just as much as my two decades-long career as a relationship psychotherapist has. This, combined with working with individuals, couples, and partners in search of what love means and how to practically go about achieving it, has clarified for me just how much we all need tools and teachings when it comes to matters of the heart.

Charisse's book list on how to create a great relationship

Charisse Cooke Why did Charisse love this book?

Jane Austen would have made such a great therapist! Her razor-sharp observations, combined with profound insights into people and relationships, make this book an all-time favorite of mine. I love her descriptions of falling in (and out of) love and how fallible each of her characters is, reminding us of our humanity–especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

What also strikes me is how true it is that pride, image, and status can still play out in our more modern relationships today. This book feels very old-fashioned in places, but it warns us how easily we can hurt other people and damage relationships, sometimes irrevocably. There’s a lot to learn from Emma, and I enjoy seeing relationships depicted in fiction, where so much can be explored through a fascinating and absorbing story, too.

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Her masterpiece, mixing the sparkle of her early books with a deep sensibility' Robert McCrum, Observer

Although described by Jane Austen as a character 'whom no one but myself will much like', the irrepressible Emma Woodhouse is one of her most beloved heroines. Clever, rich and beautiful, she sees no need for marriage, but loves interfering in the romantic lives of others, until her matchmaking plans unravel, with consequences that she never expected. Jane Austen's novel of youthful exuberance and gradual self-knowledge is a brilliant, sparkling comic masterpiece.

Edited with an Introduction by FIONA STAFFORD


Book cover of The Small House at Allington

Alice McVeigh Author Of Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation

From my list on for readers who like a varied book diet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been “big-five-published” in contemporary fiction, Indie-published in speculative thrillers and I – only last year – rejected several publishers in favour of self-publishing books Jane Austen herself might have loved. A Jane Austen fanatic from an early age, I know most of the novels by heart, and appear to have succeeded (to some extent) in understanding her style. My Susan – a unique imagining of Austen’s Lady Susan as a young girl – is both award-winning and bestselling and my Harriet – an imaginative “take” on Austen’s Emma, has just been selected as "Editor's Pick - outstanding" on Publishers Weekly.   

Alice's book list on for readers who like a varied book diet

Alice McVeigh Why did Alice love this book?

The delight of this book is in the characters of the two sisters, and the character development/coming-of-age arc of the hero.

We have two sisters in a little village (living in the Small House at Allington). They are very different, but both delightful - one sought by a cousin she can't care for, the other jilted by a casual gallant.

As I've written elsewhere, the plot is Austenesque and the writing not far inferior - the dialogue instantly transports one to the period, to the village, and every character is cleverly drawn. It was first published in serial form, so there are no boring bits. There's a satirical portrait of high society, too, and the men are much better-developed than is generally the case in the period. There's a HEA, but not necessarily the one expected!! Highly recommended!

By Anthony Trollope,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'She had resolved to trust in everything, and, having so trusted, she would not provide for herself any possibility of retreat.'

Lively and attractive, Lily Dale lives with her mother and sister at the Small House at Allington. She falls passionately in love with the urbane Adolphus Crosbie, and is devastated when he abandons her for the aristocratic Lady Alexandrina de Courcy. But Lily has another suitor, Johnny Eames, who has been devoted to her since boyhood. Perhaps she can find renewed happiness in Johnny's courtship?

The Small House at Allington was among the most successful of Trollope's Barsetshire novels,…


Book cover of Joy in the Morning

Alice McVeigh Author Of Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation

From my list on for readers who like a varied book diet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been “big-five-published” in contemporary fiction, Indie-published in speculative thrillers and I – only last year – rejected several publishers in favour of self-publishing books Jane Austen herself might have loved. A Jane Austen fanatic from an early age, I know most of the novels by heart, and appear to have succeeded (to some extent) in understanding her style. My Susan – a unique imagining of Austen’s Lady Susan as a young girl – is both award-winning and bestselling and my Harriet – an imaginative “take” on Austen’s Emma, has just been selected as "Editor's Pick - outstanding" on Publishers Weekly.   

Alice's book list on for readers who like a varied book diet

Alice McVeigh Why did Alice love this book?

I could have picked most of the Jeeves novels - though the Mulliner stories are almost as funny - of the immortal P.G. Wodehouse, but this one is especially full of panache. Bertie Wooster is forced to pretend to be Gussie Fink-Nottle in Deverill Hall - a stately pile infested with any number of critical aunts - and the machinations Jeeves is involved in while sorting out the love lives of the rest - not Bertie, on this occasion - are brilliantly done. A great introduction to Wodehouse, for the uninitiated - for the aficionados, a treat.

By P. G. Wodehouse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Follow the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman's gentleman, Jeeves, in this stunning new edition of one of the greatest comic novels in the English language. Steeple Bumphleigh is a very picturesque place. But for Bertie Wooster, it is a place to be avoided, containing not only the appalling Aunt Agatha but also her husband, the terrifying Lord Worplesdon. So when a certain amount of familial arm-twisting is applied, Bertie heads for the sticks in fear and trepidation despite the support of the irreplaceable Jeeves.


Book cover of Lord Hornblower

Alice McVeigh Author Of Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation

From my list on for readers who like a varied book diet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been “big-five-published” in contemporary fiction, Indie-published in speculative thrillers and I – only last year – rejected several publishers in favour of self-publishing books Jane Austen herself might have loved. A Jane Austen fanatic from an early age, I know most of the novels by heart, and appear to have succeeded (to some extent) in understanding her style. My Susan – a unique imagining of Austen’s Lady Susan as a young girl – is both award-winning and bestselling and my Harriet – an imaginative “take” on Austen’s Emma, has just been selected as "Editor's Pick - outstanding" on Publishers Weekly.   

Alice's book list on for readers who like a varied book diet

Alice McVeigh Why did Alice love this book?

Hornblower is a fantastic character, and the entire series is worth a read, but C.S. Forester got more accomplished throughout the series. Meticulously researched - and recently wildly popular, thanks to a TV series - the books are still much deeper, more resonant, and better!! Hornblower is in constant turmoil, too sensitive for his own good or for the crises every Admiral probably had to face, he is also so self-conscious that even in love - and he is very passionate - he can't quite let go. Combine that with a number of vivid females and still more interesting fellow officers - all with their own crosses to bear - and the Napoleonic war on the seas and... could not have been written better.

By C. S. Forester,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The ninth novel in the Hornblower series by the author of "The African Queen".


Book cover of Miss Mapp

Suzette A. Hill Author Of Shadow Over Southwold

From my list on making one laugh or ponder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Privately and professionally, I've always been addicted to literature and history and stirred by the experiences that these studies reveal. Yet as a novelist (retired from college lecturing) I instinctively assume the comic or satirical mode. Whereas in analysing the poetry of perhaps T.S. Eliot, I'm totally serious, when creating a story I start to giggle. Psychiatrists might label this a defence mechanism – but I suspect it's the result of formative years spent reading social satirists such as Huxley, Greene, Wodehouse, and Waugh. While certainly no imitator, I feel that this type of literature has become insidiously bred in the bone – hence my listed choices being socially directed and often comic or acerbic. 

Suzette's book list on making one laugh or ponder

Suzette A. Hill Why did Suzette love this book?

Part of Benson’s much-loved Lucia series. Gentler than Saki, this comedy of manners (also set in a bygone England) is deliciously entertaining, with its eccentric characters gleefully etched. Miss Mapp herself – prim and genteel but with lethal eyes – is a social snooper par excellence, and whose insidious wiles and steely shafts create havoc among the gossiping residents of sedate Tilling (firmly based on the ancient Sussex town of Rye, once home to Henry James.) As they negotiate the delicate snares of bridge, golf, and “charming” tea parties, cronies and quarries alike are pawns in her ruthless game of one-upmanship. It is a game she plays with relish and practised ease... that is until, elsewhere in the series, she is upstaged by the awesome Lucia. Hilarious.

By E.F. Benson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The acclaimed author of Mapp and Lucia introduces the beloved Miss Elizabeth Mapp, a devious social climber, in this charming British comedy of manners.

In the English seaside village of Tilling, Miss Elizabeth Mapp keeps a thorough notebook about everyone’s business, including her servants. Whatever information she can’t collect through gossip, she discovers with the aid of opera glasses. Looking out from her window over High Street, she pays especially avid attention to her neighbor, Maj. Benjamin Flint, whom she has been planning for years to marry.
 
The second novel in E. F. Benson’s popular Mapp and Lucia series, which…


Book cover of Looking Back

Jessica Russell Author Of Hot Winter Sun

From my list on character-driven historical suspense with romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first experience with historical fiction was reading The Witch from the Sea by that iconic author, Victoria Holt. This sparked a 40-year-long love affair with that genre that’s still burning intensely. I’ve been immersed in such fiction for a lifetime and have read the works of virtually every great author in this genre. I started my own series in 2020 because I feared this type of no-fluff fiction was becoming obsolete. There were 17th Century English characters making noise in my head so I used my creative writing background to bring them to life on the pages of my books, under the pen name Jessica Russell. 

Jessica's book list on character-driven historical suspense with romance

Jessica Russell Why did Jessica love this book?

I was so tired of books that follow a formula with every author trying to imitate whoever had a bestseller that week when I picked this up. Nothing was what I expected! This was a totally character-driven book and so realistic with regard to how people actually behave and feel instead of contrived dialogue and predictable reactions. I could clearly visualize each and every person in this novel and the character development was superb. On top of that, the plot just didn’t quit! You will never believe the ending. 

By Belva Plain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Belva Plain goes to the heart of what it means to be a woman, a wife, and a friend, in her powerful new novel—a story of love and betrayal that measures the limits of loyalty, friendship, and forgiveness.

They met at school and have been inseparable ever since: Cecile, confident, elegant daughter of privilege; Norma, extraordinarily gifted and sadly troubled; and beautiful, ambitious Amanda, determined to rise above her humble southern beginnings. Two are married. One despairs of ever finding love. Three women. Leading their busy adult lives. Yet first and always: friends.

Then something…


Book cover of The World Unseen

Kay Acker Author Of Leaving's Not the Only Way to Go

From my list on sapphic about finding happiness in hard times.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe deeply that, as messy and painful as life is, there is always joy, and usually humor, to be found. The book I wrote, Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go, pulls from some of the painful experiences I’ve had, and I often find myself following my description of the book, about two women who meet in a grief group, with “but it’s not a downer!” It’s true, because Leaving is also inspired by all the joy and connections I’ve made for myself, even in the midst of loss. I learned how to balance the two sides of life through books like the ones on this list. 

Kay's book list on sapphic about finding happiness in hard times

Kay Acker Why did Kay love this book?

Another classic lesbian novel.

Two Asian women living in South Africa in the 1950s meet and take hold of a beautiful opportunity to care for each other, despite both personal struggles and the broader challenges of trying to build a life during Apartheid.

There is tragedy and loss, and also hope and defiance; the two of them have little victories, both personal and political, that build toward a promising future, even if they haven’t quite made it there yet.

By Shamim Sarif,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1950's South Africa, a free-spirited café owner falls for a young wife and mother. Their unexpected attraction pushes them to question the cruel rules of a world that divides white from black and women from men, but a world that might just allow an unexpected love to survive.


Book cover of Someone Like You

Helen McKenna Author Of The Beach House

From my list on an ensemble cast of characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong bookworm, I have always loved curling up with a book, especially one that takes me on an emotional journey through the characters within. I especially love stories with an ensemble cast of characters linked through one common thread and always knew my first novel would be of this format. A fascination with the stories that lie beneath the surface of everyday life keeps me constantly inspired to create new characters that can bring comfort and familiarity to readers but still explore important life lessons in a gentle way.

Helen's book list on an ensemble cast of characters

Helen McKenna Why did Helen love this book?

I love the way this book captures holiday friendships. It taught me that holidaying alone does not have to be a negative experience and, indeed, can make you much more open to forming connections with people you may otherwise not interact with. Someone Like You is not all sunshine and roses but left me feeling content and with a real connection to the three-dimensional characters within.

By Cathy Kelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cathy Kelly has enjoyed unprecedented success in the UK and her native Ireland. Building on the popularity of her "Dear Cathy" advice column, Kelly brings to her fiction a warmth and humor that speaks to women everywhere.

Hannah, Emma, and Leonie, three women at critical turning points in their lives, meet on holiday and find themselves changing in unexpected ways. Hannah, young, beautiful and reeling from the betrayal of a lover, decides to throw herself into her career and embrace the single life. Emma, married for two years and hoping to start a family, constantly questions her ability to be…


Book cover of Ain't She Sweet?

Katherine Grace Author Of Just a Fling

From my list on second-chance romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading romance novels since I was way too young to be reading romances and I love the romance genre. I’m a fan of many tropes, but second-chance romance is one of my favorites and it is the main trope in my debut novel, Just a Fling. When I read romance, I want to read stories that make my heart break and then stitch it back together. Second-chance romances do that because they capture the essence of hope and forgiveness. They give readers the opportunity to experience the beauty and power of forgiveness and to believe in the transformative power of love.

Katherine's book list on second-chance romance

Katherine Grace Why did Katherine love this book?

Ain't She Sweet is my favorite second-chance romance. It will make you laugh, cry, and fall in love all over again.

It's about Sugar Beth Carey, the ultimate mean girl, who returns to her hometown and tries to make amends for all the drama she caused in the past. And of course, there's a handsome man from her past, Colin Byrne, who she just can't resist.

With hilarious banter, relatable characters, and steamy scenes, Ain't She Sweet is a must-read for romance junkies.

By Susan Elizabeth Phillips,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ain't She Sweet? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In high school Sugar Carey had reigned supreme. She alone had decided what or who was cool. Her spiral perm had been the perm against which all others were measured, and her opinion on which boys were acceptable to date the only one that counted. A beautiful, blonde - if not always benevolent - dictator, she had a reputation for being the wild child of Parrish, Mississippi, the girl most likely to set the world on fire, and leave a trail of destruction in her wake. When she left home she swore she'd never return. Only now, fifteen years and…


Book cover of Valley of the Dolls

Stephen Rebello Author Of Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!: Deep Inside Valley of the Dolls, the Most Beloved Bad Book and Movie of All Time

From my list on the down-and-dirtiest showbusiness Romans à clef.

Why am I passionate about this?

A Southern California-based author and screenwriter whose adventures in and around the film business have led to hundreds of feature stories for such magazines as Vibe, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, American Film, Smithsonian, and Movieline. My books include three dedicated to Disney animated classics and a volume on the art of American movie posters. The lovingly satirical book Bad Movies We Love, co-written with Edward Margulies, inspired a Turner Network movie marathon series. My next non-fiction book will be published in 2024.

Stephen's book list on the down-and-dirtiest showbusiness Romans à clef

Stephen Rebello Why did Stephen love this book?

Newbie novelist Jacqueline Susann created an iconic all-time bestseller with her tale of three young glamazons who vault to the show business heights, only to tumble into a pit of addictions, poor choices in men, and delightfully overripe dialogue. Susann made her sweeping, sexy soap opera shenanigans even more irresistible by patterning her characters on such 20th-century headline-makers as Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Grace Kelly, Ethel Merman, and the Kennedys. Said publicity-savvy Susann, “They can keep calling it that ‘roman à clef'. It’ll only make my books sell.” They did. It did. Although the sanitized and critically bashed 1967 movie version toned down the à clef elements, it became a box-office smash that has gone on to become enshrined as a kitsch classic.

By Jacqueline Susann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before Jackie Collins, Candace Bushnell and Lena Dunham, Jacqueline Susann held the world rapt with her tales of the private passions of Hollywood starlets, high-powered industrialists and the jet-set.

Valley of the Dolls took the world by storm when it was first published, fifty years ago. Never had a book been so frank about sex, drugs and show business. It is often sited as the bestselling novel of all time.

Dolls - red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight. For Anne, Neely and Jennifer, it doesn't matter, as long as the pill bottle is…


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