70 books like My Mother's Son

By David Hirshberg,

Here are 70 books that My Mother's Son fans have personally recommended if you like My Mother's Son. 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 Lilac Girls

Jo Horne Author Of Monica's War

From my list on unsung heroes of WWII.

Who am I?

I have had a lifelong passion for history—the choices and challenges faced by others in trying times. I find myself looking for connections and a visit to the Holocaust Museum in DC led me to just such a connection with the story of the White Rose Resistance group, sending me down a rabbit hole of research that has blossomed into years of looking for little known stories of WWII heroes and heroines. From there telling their stories through my stories has become my passion.

Jo's book list on unsung heroes of WWII

Jo Horne Why did Jo love this book?

An American working in Paris, a German doctor, and a Polish teenager working for the Resistance are thrown together in this WWII story based on real events culminating in the notorious Ravensbruck Camp for women, famous for its medical experimentation during the war. It’s a story of survival and courage and unlikely friendships.

By Martha Hall Kelly,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Lilac Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • One million copies sold! Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this remarkable debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances.

“Extremely moving and memorable . . . This impressive debut should appeal strongly to historical fiction readers and to book clubs that adored Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.”—Library Journal (starred review)

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new…

Book cover of Mistress of the Ritz

Nancy Cole Silverman Author Of The Navigator's Daughter

From my list on women of WW2 and their untold stories.

Who am I?

I love to travel, and I’m always interested in the history of where I visit, and what unusual and little known stories I might pick up. I spent twenty-five years working in news and talk radio and I suppose that’s why my fingers itch to get to a keyboard when I hear of an event or someone interesting that I’d like to meet on the pages of one of my books. These days it’s where I spend most of my time, crafting mysteries both national and international and always with sense of suspense, and for good measure, a little whimsey.   

Nancy's book list on women of WW2 and their untold stories

Nancy Cole Silverman Why did Nancy love this book?

You never know who can be until you have to be that person to survive.

Women should never underestimate themselves. That was my takeaway from Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin, a true life story about an American woman who worked for the French Resistance during World War II. 

I couldn’t help but be inspired by Blanche Auzello, a young American actress in Paris, who, as the Nazis are taking over the city, chooses to remain in Paris with her husband.

Despite the difficulties of the Nazi occupation, and the growing distance in her relationship with her husband, Blance takes on new challenges and roles she never expected to play that will forever change her life and the lives of those close to her.  

Mistress of the Ritz is the type of historical mystery that, despite knowing the outcome of the war, will keep readers turning pages and wondering...could…

By Melanie Benjamin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

“A compelling portrait of a marriage and a nation at war from within.”—Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco…

Book cover of Lila

Ruth Rotkowitz Author Of Escaping the Whale: The Holocaust is over. But is it ever over for the next generation?

From my list on novels set during the post Holocaust period.

Who am I?

As the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, I have experienced, observed, and researched inherited trauma. I have also noticed the dearth of works of fiction that focus on the second generation. I believe it is time for the voices of the second generation to be heard, and for the issues facing us to be explored.

Ruth's book list on novels set during the post Holocaust period

Ruth Rotkowitz Why did Ruth love this book?

Lila tells the story of two WW11 survivor families whose daughters are born on the same day in a Displaced Persons Camp, who immigrate to the United States around the same time, and take apartments in the same building in the South Bronx, New York. The immigrant neighborhood, full of busybody characters, is beautifully rendered. Everyone expects the two girls to be as close as sisters, their lives and fates happily intertwined. However, their growing-up years veer into dangerous territory. While one family manages to establish a home of love and caring, the other morphs into a den of dysfunction and perversion. Upending everyone’s expectations, the two girls embark on a path of jealousy and hatred. As secrets are revealed, their paths diverge, ending in tragedy. The novel is a shattering portrait of how trauma of the Holocaust and inherited trauma passed on to the next generation can destroy lives.

By Rose Ross,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sarah and Lila both born in 1946, 11 months after the war, on the same day, minutes apart, in a displaced persons camp in Germany, were seen by their parents, Holocaust survivors, as a miracle, and their lives destined to have a bond that would never be broken. They were ... wrong.Both families relocate to the United States, and settle in the South Bronx, in the same neighborhood and building, to start their new lives. By the end of the summer of 1960, everyone finds themselves in the turmoil of love, friendship, and competition. Secrets are disclosed; accusations are made…

Book cover of The Takeaway Men

Rose Ross Author Of Lila

From my list on post-Holocaust coming of age fiction.

Who am I?

As the only child of Holocaust survivors, I wanted to know everything, and my parents would tell me nothing. "It is to spare you" would be my mother's words of comfort to me. Sadly they were not. Growing up is at best complex; growing up as children of Holocaust survivors is even more so. Some second-generation children could escape the shadow of their parents' suffering; for others, their parents' experiences led them, as I did, into early maturity.

Rose's book list on post-Holocaust coming of age fiction

Rose Ross Why did Rose love this book?

Takeaway Men is a novel that proves once again that you can never forget. Aron and Judy Lubinski and their twin daughters, Bronka and Johanna, leave a Displaced Person Camp in Poland and immigrate to America, hoping to build a new life and escape the horrors of the Holocaust behind them. Through the kindness of Izzy, a cousin that immigrated earlier to America, they settle in Izzy and his wife, Faye's home in Queens, NY. In their neighborhood, we meet other immigrants, survivors, all working hard to build a better life for themselves and their children. Each of the other characters has a different story. They bring another perception of how people try to deal with the experiences of loss, trauma, doubt, and everyday complexities of life. We see this most clearly in the inner thoughts of Aron and Judy. Their struggle is, at times, painful and sorrowful and affects…

By Meryl Ain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp. In the years after World War II, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War. Years later, the discovery of a former Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaust out of the shadows. As the girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents' pasts, and they begin to demand answers. But it soon becomes clear that those memories…

Book cover of Tikki Tikki Tembo

Adam B. Ford Author Of Ryder, Sky, and Emmaline

From my list on children's stories with a magical sense of place.

Who am I?

I never stopped reading children’s books and started writing my own when I hit the age of 40. I gravitate toward crisp drawing styles and illustrations that bring out the magic in the everyday. These books are a few of my favorites.

Adam's book list on children's stories with a magical sense of place

Adam B. Ford Why did Adam love this book?

This wonderful retelling of an old Chinese folktale brings the reader (and listener) into the little village in China where two brothers live—Chang, the younger brother, and the hilariously repeatable Tikki-Tikki Tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo.

There’s a pile of memorable books from my youth—Dr. Seuss, Bill Peet, Robert McCloskey—but this one stands out for its delightful story-telling and a name that I will be able to rattle off from memory for the rest of my life!

By Arlene Mosel, Blair Lent (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tikki Tikki Tembo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-
chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo!

Three decades and more than one million copies later children still love hearing about the boy with the long name who fell down the well. Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent's classic re-creation of an ancient Chinese folktale has hooked legions of children, teachers, and parents, who return, generation after generation, to learn about the danger of having such an honorable name as Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo.

Tikki Tikki Tembo is the winner of the 1968 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Picture Books.

Book cover of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir

Sarah L. Sanderson Author Of The Place We Make: Breaking the Legacy of Legalized Hate

From my list on memoirs to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

Who am I?

I chose to study creative nonfiction during my MFA program so I could learn what makes great memoirs work, but I first fell in love with the genre as a teenager, when I picked up Angela’s Ashes off my mom’s bedside table. I’m grateful for the way memoir gives me a window into the lives of people of other races, religions, abilities, experiences, and even other centuries. While my book The Place We Make isn’t only a memoir—it’s a blend of memoir and historical biography—it was my desire to both understand the view through my research subject’s eyes, and analyze how I was seeing the world myself, that drove me to write it.

Sarah's book list on memoirs to see the world through someone else’s eyes

Sarah L. Sanderson Why did Sarah love this book?

This whole book is a powerful exploration of alcoholism, homelessness, and the father-son relationship, but it was a single chapter that made me write “WOW” in the margins.

“Same Again” is a four-page chapter composed of nothing but short sentences that contain only euphemisms for alcohol, from “the usual” to “same again.” That sounds like it wouldn’t work, but it does. It’s poetic, gripping, and follows a narrative arc through a single evening at the bar.

Read the whole book, but don’t skip this mesmerizing chapter.  

By Nick Flynn,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Another Bullshit Night in Suck City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nick Flynn met his father when he was working as a caseworker in a homeless shelter in Boston. As a teenager he'd received letters from this stranger father, a self-proclaimed poet and con man doing time in federal prison for bank robbery. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City tells the story of the trajectory that led Nick and his father onto the streets, into that shelter, and finally to each other.

Book cover of This Time Tomorrow

Linda Wisniewski Author Of Where the Stork Flies

From my list on time travel dealing with women’s issues.

Who am I?

I’m an avid lifelong reader who became a librarian, my dream job that kept me close to books and everything about them. I’ve seen so many changes in women’s lives since then. My oldest known ancestor was a woman born in 1778. What was her life like compared to mine? What would she think of me? In my time travel novel, I try to answer those questions. I’m drawn to stories that deal with universal women’s themes – family, love, fulfilling work, inequality, domestic abuse, motherhood, sisterhood, daughterhood – the list seems endless, as are the many ways authors use time travel to explore them.   

Linda's book list on time travel dealing with women’s issues

Linda Wisniewski Why did Linda love this book?

I secretly believe that authors who write time travel are speculating about their own lives. What if we could travel back to our teen years? Emma Straub does just that in her novel, This Time Tomorrow. Straub grew up with a famous, loving, and supportive father in New York City, and so she takes her character, Alice, back there in the 90s to revisit herself at 16, hanging out with friends, going to the school where she now teaches. Except that this time, she might be able to save her dying father. Can she do it? Should she? Full of questions we all ask ourselves about the meaning of family love. 

By Emma Straub,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


“The pages brim with tenderness and an appreciation for what we had and who we were. I could not have loved it more."—Ann Patchett

“The kind of book that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you call the people you love. Exceptional."—Emily Henry

"Delightful"—Boston Globe

"Poignant"—New York Times

What if you could take a vacation to your past?

With her celebrated humor, insight, and heart, beloved New York Times bestseller Emma Straub offers her own twist on traditional time travel tropes, and a different kind of love story.

            On the eve of her 40th…

Book cover of Bloodroot

John Mantooth Author Of Holy Ghost Road

From my list on appealing to horror readers and non-horror readers.

Who am I?

I don’t consider myself specifically a horror reader (or writer for that matter!) any more than I consider myself a fantasy, mystery, or science fiction reader. As a writer (under my real name John Mantooth as well as my pseudonym, Hank Early), much of my work has been classified as horror, though I take pride in my novels appealing to people who aren’t typically well-versed in the genre. So, it got me thinking… what are some novels that may or may not be classified as horror that will appeal to a wide range of readers? I call these books horror-adjacent, and no matter what you typically read, I think you’ll enjoy them. 

John's book list on appealing to horror readers and non-horror readers

John Mantooth Why did John love this book?

Another one I read many years ago that still has its claws in me today. A sprawling epic made up of many Appalachian voices. There’s magic and grief and family secrets. It’s a Southern Gothic that will grip you from the first page and has influenced me as a writer in a myriad of ways. This might be an example of a novel that wasn’t classified as horror, but very well could have been. Will appeal to all kinds of readers. 

By Amy Greene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


A dark and riveting story of the legacies—of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss—that haunt one family across the generations.

Myra Lamb is a wild girl with mysterious, haint blue eyes who grows up on remote Bloodroot Mountain. Her grandmother, Byrdie, protects her fiercely and passes down “the touch” that bewitches people and animals alike. But when John Odom tries to tame Myra, it sparks a shocking disaster, ripping lives apart.

"A fascinating look at a rural world full of love and life, and dreams and disappointment." --The Boston Globe

"If Wuthering Heights had been…

Book cover of Trust Me

Dana Perry Author Of The Nowhere Girls

From my list on books that are ripped from the headlines by a headline writing journalist.

Who am I?

I know a lot about “ripped from the headlines” news stories because I’ve been around a lot of news stories and headlines most of my life. I’m a longtime New York City journalist who has worked as a top editor at both the NY Post and the NY Daily News. Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of wild headlines in these places (e.g., Headless Body in Topless Bar!). So you can understand why I now like ripping from news headlines for fiction books as an author. 

Dana's book list on books that are ripped from the headlines by a headline writing journalist

Dana Perry Why did Dana love this book?

I love Hank Phillippi Ryan’s books, and I love big court trials, so it makes perfect sense that I loved this book.

Ryan–who is an award-winning TV journalist as well as a best-selling thriller author–started covering the murder trial of Casey Anthony, the mother who made headlines for allegedly killing her two-year-old daughter Caylee and hiding the body for months, with the idea of doing a non-fiction book about the case.

But, when Anthony was found not guilty by the jury, Ryan switched gears and came up with the idea of doing a mesmerizing fictional novel inspired by a case such as Casey Anthony. The result is a must-read!

By Hank Phillippi Ryan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Trust Me is the chilling novel of psychological suspense and manipulation that award-winning author and renowned investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan was born to write.
"Ryan dazzles―a must read."―Mary Kubica 
"Mesmerizing!" ―Lisa Gardner

**Now an AGATHA AWARD nominee** Best Contemporary Novel

"A knockout."―Booklist (starred review)Now a Criminal Element Best Book  of 2018! Now an >>AMAZON Editors' Pick BEST MYSTERY/THRILLER OF THE MONTH!BOOKLIST  Starred review!  "A knockout." Now a Criminal Element  Best of 2018! Now a REAL SIMPLE Magazine Top Thriller of 2018!Now a Book Bub Top Summer Thriller of 2018!Now a POPSUGAR  Top Summer Thriller!Now a CrimeReads Most Anticipated Thriller…

Book cover of The Children of Green Knowe Collection

Alexandria Blaelock Author Of The Ghost and Ms Cox

From my list on ghosty best friends.

Who am I?

I was five when we moved to Australia, and soon after I discovered two things: I am the seventh child of a seventh child, with magic powers including the ability to see ghosts. My mother’s brother Dennis drowned when he was six. Naturally I started talking to him. Mind you, Mum also told me if the wind changed my face would stay like that, so the ghost thing probably wasn’t true either. Technically she only brought two of us to term. Dennis and I still talk, but we don’t have much in common anymore. With that in mind, please enjoy my ghosty best friends book recommendations.

Alexandria's book list on ghosty best friends

Alexandria Blaelock Why did Alexandria love this book?

I received the whole collection as a birthday gift, though I don’t remember which birthday or who gave them to me, but I’m sure they’d be pleased I still have them. I wanted to marry Toseland (sigh), and I use this name to anonymise my male friends when I talk about them in my blog posts. Perhaps he’s why Dennis came into my life.

I thought it would be nice to live in a house your family had lived in for generations. The feeling of lacking roots is apparently something many first and second-generation immigrants share. Perhaps home really is where you make it. 

By Lucy M. Boston,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Children of Green Knowe Collection as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Children of Green Knowe Collection brings the Lucy Boston classics The Children of Green Knowe and River at Green Knowe together in one beautifully packaged edition.

These enchanting, haunting stories from Carnegie winner Lucy M. Boston have become modern classics, beautifully evoking all the magic and wonder of childhood. Now The Children of Green Knowe and River at Green Knowe are available in one edition.

Children of Green Knowe
Tolly's great grandmother isn't a witch, but both she and her old house, Green Knowe, are full of a very special kind of magic. There are other children in the…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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