10 books like Peace Like a River

By Leif Enger,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Peace Like a River. 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).

Sing, Unburied, Sing

By Jesmyn Ward,

Book cover of Sing, Unburied, Sing

This richly-told journey story revolves around 13-year-old Jojo and his family. Jojo lives with his grandparents, Mam and Pop, his baby sister, Kayla, and his emotionally absent and drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on the small family farm. The many trials Jojo faces while caring for his baby sister on a trip with his neglectful, selfish mother to Parchman Prison to retrieve his father propel him toward maturity. At the beginning of the novel Jojo says he doesn’t understand his mother, but by the end he has developed understanding.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

By Jesmyn Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018 WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2017 ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2017 SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE NEW STATESMAN, THE FINANCIAL TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, TIME AND THE BBC Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalist for the Kirkus Prize Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award 'This wrenching new novel by Jesmyn Ward digs deep into the not-buried heart of the American nightmare. A must' Margaret Atwood 'A powerfully…


To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee,

Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

The story takes place in a small town in Alabama, and is seen through the eyes of six-year-old Scout, the daughter of a compassionate and wise widowed lawyer who volunteers to defend a black man wrongly accused of rape. I found this coming-of-age-too-soon story to be both heartbreaking and beautiful in the lessons it offers up in a raw and unflinching look at the good and the bad that can both fracture and fortify the human spirit. Hailing from the South, I felt uncomfortable by Harper Lee’s hard-line look at a culture so broken by fear and prejudice because of the absolute truth of it, but I also felt comforted and hopeful by the kindness and compassion that, I believe, is innate in most everyone. 

To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped…


Life of Pi

By Yann Martel,

Book cover of Life of Pi

Again, I chose a book that is given in the first-person point of view. Rather than using a variety of first persons to tell a story, Martel takes the main character, Pi, and uses him in back-and-forth narrations from various ages – young and in the moment, and older, looking back. As well, he uses Pi as a general narrator overall in the storytelling. This gives the illusion that perhaps the other characters are not so important, or rather they are not the point of the story. 

Life of Pi

By Yann Martel,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked Life of Pi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan—and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger.

Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi Patel, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with the tiger, Richard Parker, for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his…


Gilead

By Marilynne Robinson,

Book cover of Gilead

The Reverend John Ames—an aged Congregationalist minister in the small, secluded town of Gilead, Iowa—is dying of heart failure, while his seven-year-old son is just entering boyhood. As Ames wrestles with generational wounds related to his father and grandfather, he wonders tenderly about the wounds he might be passing on to his own son, both due to his presence and his pending absence. Thanks to Ames, we get to see life and existence through the eyes of the wise and dying—eyes we so rarely get to see through because, by definition, they leave us before we get a chance to look. The result is a luminous view of existence, and an abiding gratitude for having been alive.

Gilead

By Marilynne Robinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION and THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD

AN OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK

In 1956, towards the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son: 'I told you last night that I might be gone sometime . . . You reached up and put your fingers on my lips and gave me that look I never in my life saw on any other face besides your mother's. It's a kind of furious pride, very passionate and stern. I'm always a little surprised to find my eyebrows unsinged after…


The Far Pavilions

By M.M. Kaye,

Book cover of The Far Pavilions

This classic novel of colonial-era India is an absolute epic, and it immerses you in that world, in all its beauty, injustice, majesty, and history, focusing on a heartrending love story between a doomed Indian princess and a rebellious British soldier who has been raised by a Hindu woman, and the forbidden love they share in the shadow of the 1879 Uprising. With a sympathetic view of the Indian population and a clear-eyed look at colonialism, this book is as much as a love letter to India (the author grew up there) as it is a rollicking adventure story and heartrending romance. Satisfies on every level! 

The Far Pavilions

By M.M. Kaye,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Far Pavilions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of M.M. Kaye's epic novel of love and war. M.M. Kaye's masterwork is a vast, rich and vibrant tapestry of love and war that spans over twenty years, moving from the foothills of the Himalayas, to the burning plains, to the besieged British Mission in Kabul. It begins in 1857 when, following the Indian Mutiny, young English orphan Ashton is disguised by his ayah Sita as her Indian son, Ashok. As he forgets his true identity, his destiny is set...A story of divided loyalties and fierce friendship; of true love made impossible…


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Book cover of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Some people will argue that of all the movies adapted from books, the book will always win, but in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I believe the film adaptation is more alluring than the original short story, but it would not be fair to discredit that this film was influenced by Fitzgerald’s original satire of a child born aging in reverse.

While the movie veers away from the short story in time period, setting and character development, the short story draws more into the philosophical questions I believe we ourselves as a society are subconsciously thinking—even today, nearly a century after it’s writing as to how we contradict the specific wisdom that comes with age while also relinquishing it due to natural mental decline and end up treating our elderly like children.

Unlike the film, the story takes place just after the American Civil War and draws a…

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Curious Case of Benjamin Button as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As long ago as 1860 it was the proper thing to be born at home. At present, so I am told, the high gods of medicine have decreed that the first cries of the young shall be uttered upon the anesthetic air of a hospital, preferably a fashionable one. So young Mr. and Mrs. Roger Button were fifty years ahead of style when they decided, one day in the summer of 1860, that their first baby should be born in a hospital. Whether this anachronism had any bearing upon the astonishing history I am about to set down will never…


A Gracious Plenty

By Sheri Reynolds,

Book cover of A Gracious Plenty

Finch Nobles is a gutsy, burn-scarred loner. She’s also a cemetery caretaker who can hear the dead talking. She listens to their stories and engages them in conversation, since they’re the only friends she has. This story is strong from the start, and so are all of its characters. I found it easy to love as I witnessed Finch finding out what she needed to know. 

A Gracious Plenty

By Sheri Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sheri Reynolds delivers an emotionally moving novel of Finch Nobles, a girl severely burned as a child, who later discovers she can hear the voices of the dead.

After sustaining terrible burns from a household accident as a young girl, Finch Nobles refuses the pity of her hometown. The brave and feisty loner finds comfort in visiting her father’s cemetery, where she soon discovers that she can hear the voices of those buried underground. When she begins to speak to them, their answers echo around her in a remarkable chorus of regrets, explanations, and…


The Third Angel

By Alice Hoffman,

Book cover of The Third Angel

This one is all about the enchantment and disenchantment that comes with love. In it, women fall for the wrong sort of man and a grieving mother grows “belladonna, thorn apple, hemlock, black nightshade...everything poisonous” in her garden. The story is told in reverse until it comes to 12-year-old Lucy Green in 1952 who blames herself for a tragic accident, then spends forty years looking for the angel she hopes will renew her faith.

The Third Angel

By Alice Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This haunting, poignant and addictive story travels effortlessly across time, telling the tale of three generations of women who make the wrong choices and have to live with the consequences.

It opens in London in the present day, when an envious sibling comes to her sister's wedding. Back in the Swinging Sixties, the bridegroom's conventional English mother, Freida, behaves in a wholly unconventional way while working in a Knightsbridge hotel. Even before that, the seeds of tragedy are sown in the Fifties, when twelve-year-old Lucy first visits London and the same hotel. Precocious, impatient, wise beyond her years, Lucy becomes…


This Tender Land

By William Kent Krueger,

Book cover of This Tender Land

The author, well known for his mysteries, used to write daily from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the St. Clair Broiler by our first home in St. Paul. In 2019, he penned a gorgeous narrative chronicling three boys and a sweet young girl named Emma and their 1932 odyssey from an Indian training school breakout down the Mississippi River. Krueger drops readers smack-dab into the Great Depression and a magical trek. It reminds me of Amor Towles' Lincoln Highway but was written first.

This Tender Land

By William Kent Krueger,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked This Tender Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1932, Minnesota-the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O'Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent's wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will fly into the unknown and cross paths with others…


The Tea Rose

By Jennifer Donnelly,

Book cover of The Tea Rose

This is a wonderfully romantic saga focusing on a young woman in the East End of London in the late 1800s, and how she works her way up to run her own business empire, facing tragedy and treachery along the way. Set alongside the Jack the Ripper murders, it has plenty of intrigue and mystery, as well as romance, perfect for fans of Downton Abbey or The Gilded Age. A true saga of the kind that was popular in the 1980s—a big, glitzy, wonderful, passionate book!

The Tea Rose

By Jennifer Donnelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a splendid, heartwarming novel of pain, struggle, decency, triumph - and just what we need in these times - Frank McCourt

It is 1888 and Jack the Ripper is stalking the streets of Whitechapel. For the people that live there, he is just one more adversary in their everyday battle to survive. Despite working long days at the tea factory, and the constant threat of the Ripper, Fiona Finnegan knows that life is better for her than for many others. With a father in work, a roof over her head, enough to eat and a loving family to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in brothers, Minnesota, and bildungsroman?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about brothers, Minnesota, and bildungsroman.

Brothers Explore 67 books about brothers
Minnesota Explore 38 books about Minnesota
Bildungsroman Explore 220 books about bildungsroman