100 books like Property

By Valerie Martin,

Here are 100 books that Property fans have personally recommended if you like Property. 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 Small Island

Eleanor Shearer Author Of River Sing Me Home

From my list on history in all its strange and unsettling glory.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before I fell in love with History as an academic subject, I fell in love with stories. And as the granddaughter of Caribbean immigrants, true stories of my grandparents’ early lives could transport me to another place as vividly as fiction. So although I have studied History to Master’s level, where I specialized in the legacy of slavery, it is always to fiction that I turn to breathe life into the past. My favourite books are those that are unsettling in the unfamiliarity of the world they create, and yet deeply moving because, at heart, the characters are motivated by timeless and human things like grief, ambition, or love. 

Eleanor's book list on history in all its strange and unsettling glory

Eleanor Shearer Why did Eleanor love this book?

This novel is about the experience of the Windrush generation – the Caribbean people who moved to Britain after the Second World War.

Andrea Levy so perfectly captures the experiences of these people that I feel like I can see my own grandparents on the page.

But what I love most about this book is that it sees itself as telling a part of British history – showing how the Caribbean and Britain were connected, but also exploring with equal empathy the experiences of white British characters during and after the War.

As someone mixed race, it is so rare to find books that speak to both sides of my heritage, and this is one of them. 

By Andrea Levy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hortense shared Gilbert's dream of leaving Jamaica and coming to England to start a better life. But when she at last joins her husband, she is shocked by London's shabbiness and horrified at the way the English live. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was. Queenie's neighbours do not approve of her choice of tenants, and neither would her husband, were he there. Through the stories of these people, Small Island explores a point in England's past when the country began to change.

Book cover of The Known World

Moriel Rothman-Zecher Author Of Before All the World

From my list on historical novels brimming with life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that we betray the past when we treat it as the past, and we abandon our ancestors, actual and spiritual, when we dehumanize them as denizens of history, as fundamentally different from us in terms of their lusts and appetites and political nuances and strange senses of humor and nose picking and dance moves and love. Novels, I think, are a powerful mode for understanding and perhaps even undoing the cultural patterns that would have us believe that history is behind us and that the past is not part of the forever dance of the present. 

Moriel's book list on historical novels brimming with life

Moriel Rothman-Zecher Why did Moriel love this book?

This kaleidoscopic book takes a sliver of American life in the era just before the Civil War in Virginia and tells a breathtaking story of slavery, human strangeness, cruelty, and moments of decency. It is stunningly written, and I feel that reading it made my life more expansive.

By Edward P. Jones,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Known World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Masterful, Pulitzer-prize winning literary epic about the painful and complex realities of slave life on a Southern plantation. An utterly original exploration of race, trust and the cruel truths of human nature, this is a landmark in modern American literature.

Henry Townsend, a black farmer, boot maker, and former slave, becomes proprietor of his own plantation - as well as his own slaves. When he dies, his widow, Caldonia, succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart: slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love beneath the weight of slavery…

Book cover of Kindred

Hajar Yazdiha Author Of The Struggle for the People's King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on understanding revisionist history politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied forty years of the political misuses of the memory of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement as a sociologist at USC and the daughter of Iranian immigrants who has always been interested in questions of identity and belonging. My interest in civil rights struggles started early, growing up in Virginia, a state that celebrated the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday alongside Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. I wanted to understand how revisionist histories could become the mainstream account of the past and how they mattered for the future of democracy.

Hajar's book list on understanding revisionist history politics

Hajar Yazdiha Why did Hajar love this book?

I am, to put it lightly, obsessed with the way Octavia Butler revolutionizes the timescape and invites us to speculate about worlds that could be. In this and so many of her books, her vision of Afrofuturism is one that reminds us that our ancestral pasts and our imagined futures are always connected. 

I thought a lot about the future when I wrote my book, and I share Butler’s conviction that there is collective healing and liberation in revisiting and reimagining the past.

I also love that my neighborhood library in Pasadena is the one Octavia Butler used to frequent!

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Parable of the Sower and MacArthur “Genius” Grant, Nebula, and Hugo award winner

The visionary time-travel classic whose Black female hero is pulled through time to face the horrors of American slavery and explores the impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy then and now.

“I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.”

Dana’s torment begins when she suddenly vanishes on her 26th birthday from California, 1976, and is dragged through time to antebellum Maryland to rescue a boy named Rufus, heir to a slaveowner’s plantation. She soon…

Book cover of Tar Baby

David Wright Faladé Author Of Black Cloud Rising

From my list on complicated Black-white relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, the American story is about “mixedness”—about the ways in which people of various backgrounds and beliefs have come together, oftentimes despite themselves, to make up our modern racial stew. It has been true since the Founding and is all the more so now, even as we, as a society, continue to want to resist it. These novels achieve what I aspire to in my own writing: the white characters are as complex as the Black ones. And in their struggles to make sense of the world, they all reveal the complexity and contradictions of American identity.

David's book list on complicated Black-white relations

David Wright Faladé Why did David love this book?

I came to Toni Morrison a little late. This was in the 1980s, after she’d won the Pulitzer. I read Song of Solomon first, upon the recommendation of a friend who told me he couldn’t read the end of the novel without bursting into tears. Next, Beloved: I was so awed that I reread it five times in a row!

At that point, I realized that I needed to circle back and start with her first books. The Bluest Eye and Sula both stunned me.

Then came Tar Baby. I immediately understood it to be different from the others. The novel has significant, primary characters who are white. In the other early novels, white characters might be present, but they are few and very secondary.

Six people live in relative luxury on a Caribbean island. Yet, despite themselves, their racial assumptions inform how they view and treat one…

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A ravishingly beautiful and emotionally incendiary reinvention of the love story by the legendary Nobel Prize winner

Jadine Childs is a Black fashion model with a white patron, a white boyfriend, and a coat made out of ninety perfect sealskins. Son is a Black fugitive who embodies everything she loathes and desires. As Morrison follows their affair, which plays out from the Caribbean to Manhattan and the deep South, she charts all the nuances of obligation and betrayal between Blacks and whites, masters and servants, and men and women.

Book cover of The Cocktail Waitress

Lily Sparks Author Of Teen Killers Club

From my list on with narrators that may or may not be psychopaths.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my mom pressed an Agatha Christie into my hands at age eight, I’ve been fascinated by mystery novels; when I got older that bled into true crime, and from there psychological non-fiction about psychopathy. What evolutionary purpose do psychopaths serve, is this a label we can confidently assign people or is the spectrum of human behavior a gray horizon we’re still approaching? These are questions I’m always happy to spend an hour or six debating, and this interest in psychopaths was definitely heightened by learning I’m closely related to one. 

Lily's book list on with narrators that may or may not be psychopaths

Lily Sparks Why did Lily love this book?

The Cocktail Waitress is the last work of total master James M. Cain, posthumously published in 2014. I started this on a hike and did not stop listening until it was done, netting me quite a bit of cardio. This firsthand explanation of a tabloid murder scandal, as told by its prime suspect, is often hilarious, surprisingly feminist, and darkly sinister. As the titular waitress innocently recalls meeting and marrying a much older millionaire and his baffling demise soon after, it’s clear she’s lying through her teeth. But deducing how and why is the fun of the book. Still, the ending is a gut punch. My book hangover was a solid 72 hours (could’ve been the hike though). 

By James M. Cain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following her husband's death in an accident, beautiful young widow Joan Medford is forced to take a job serving drinks in a cocktail lounge to make ends meet. At the job she encounters two men who take an interest in her, a handsome young schemer and a wealthy but unwell older man who rewards her for her attentions with a $50,000 tip and an unconventional offer of marriage...

Book cover of Unmissing: A Thriller

Regina Buttner Author Of Down a Bad Road

From my list on love triangles that turn deadly.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a close girlfriend who was once involved with a man she wanted to marry. The trouble was, the guy was always hanging out with this other woman who he’d known since childhood. Just friends, he said. Nothing going on. Ha! The shenanigans they got up to were unbelievable, and extremely upsetting to my girlfriend, who eventually broke up with the cad. Her unlucky experience got me interested in the psychology of the love triangle, and why some people remain mired in these dead-end relationships. My reading jam is anything twisty and suspenseful, and what’s more fraught than a three-way competition for someone’s affections.

Regina's book list on love triangles that turn deadly

Regina Buttner Why did Regina love this book?

Picture it: you’re a woman married to a man whose first wife went missing, presumed dead. Then: knock, knock, who’s there? It’s the missing wife.

I loved the freaky premise, the mystery, and the scheming among the members of this shockingly unexpected and awkward ménage à trois. I can relate to Merritt, the caring second wife who feels a moral obligation to help the now-unmissing Lydia. I’d want to help too, and like Merritt, I’d probably feel guilty for enjoying a dreamy new life with another woman’s husband.

I enjoyed pondering the thorny legalities of the situation, but as the parties involved dig deeper into the circumstances of Lydia’s disappearance, it turns out that who’s legally married to whom is the least of their worries.

By Minka Kent,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A return from the past knocks a family dangerously off-balance in a novel of spiraling suspense by Washington Post and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Minka Kent.

Merritt Coletto and her husband, Luca, have the life they dreamed of: a coastal home, a promising future, and a growing family. That dream ends with a late-night knock on the door.

Weak, broken, and emaciated, it's Luca's first wife, Lydia. Missing for ten years, presumed dead, and very much alive, she has quite a story. Her kidnapping. A torturous confinement that should've ended with her dead. And finally, escape. Racked with guilt…

Book cover of The White Forest

Clare Langley-Hawthorne Author Of Consequences of Sin

From my list on historical books to incorporate magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history buff I am also fascinated by folklore and magic, and how it has influenced society during various time periods. I love discovering writers who seamlessly manage to present a parallel magical universe grounded in actual history or who manage to incorporate fantastical or magical elements into a historical novel. Over the last few years I’ve been increasingly drawn to exploring the philosophical, magical, and spiritual underpinnings of society as part of my historical research. Although my own published works to date have been straight historical fiction, my current work in progress is definitely veering into the speculative, alternative history realm. 

Clare's book list on historical books to incorporate magic

Clare Langley-Hawthorne Why did Clare love this book?

Set in Victorian England, this novel is a sinister, gothic tale based on the ability of a young woman to read the souls of man-made objects and the disappearance of a young man drawn to the occult. I loved how this book was grounded in the real Victorian London and yet managed to incorporate gorgeously gothic supernatural elements as well as a love triangle involving well-drawn and believable characters. For me, the writing was what really drew me in and I have to admire anyone who can weave historical and fantastical elements as beautifully as this author. 

By Adam McOmber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this hauntingly original debut novel about a young woman whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society, Adam McOmber uses fantastical twists and dark turns to create a fast-paced, unforgettable story.

Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is…

Book cover of The Heat of the Day

Paul Tomkins Author Of London Skies

From my list on heroism and flaws of the English during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

A lover of fiction since my teens, I only really took an interest in history in my 20s. I’m fascinated with WWII and the 1950s due to family histories and having visited key sites, like Bletchley Park and the Command Bunker in Uxbridge, near where I grew up. I’m not especially patriotic, but I am proud of what Britain had to do in 1940, as well as the toll the war took and the years of recovery. But it’s also the time, albeit decreasingly so, when people still alive today can look back at their youth, and we can all have a nostalgia for that time in our lives.

Paul's book list on heroism and flaws of the English during WWII

Paul Tomkins Why did Paul love this book?

It is a beautifully atmospheric, Blitz-era novel about passions and complex relationships in the noir blackout and who can be trusted in such times. 

Published just after the war, it captures the period in a way that those born decades later can only dream of doing. My mum was an un-evacuated child in London during the Blitz, and her school was bombed to the ground by the Luftwaffe—but luckily, on a Saturday.

England is flawed as a nation, then and now, but it’s important to remember the unique evil of the Nazis. Most individuals are flawed in much more minor ways. The novels I have chosen all contain imperfect people making mistakes. To me, that’s true life. It’s what I relate to.

By Elizabeth Bowen,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Heat of the Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is wartime London, and the carelessness of people with no future flows through the evening air. Stella discovers that her lover Robert is suspected of selling information to the enemy. Harrison, the British intelligence agent on his trail, wants to bargain, the price for his silence being Stella herself. Caught between two men and unsure who she can trust, the flimsy structures of Stella's life begin to crumble.

Book cover of Mildred Pierce

Glenn Kaplan Author Of Angel of Ambition

From my list on fearless females in fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maybe because I was raised by strong, independent women. Maybe because I went to an all-women’s college for a bit. Or maybe because I worked with so many powerful women in advertising. All those things combined to create my interest in fearless females in fiction. Women with natural ambition and power needs have many more obstacles put in their way than men do. For me, the character of Angela, the “angel” in Angel of Ambition, emerged naturally. She is part and parcel of the best and worst traits of the fearless females I’ve known in life and the fearless females in fiction that I’ve sometimes loathed and, in the end, always loved.

Glenn's book list on fearless females in fiction

Glenn Kaplan Why did Glenn love this book?

Mildred starts out trying to fulfill all the traditional roles society expects of women as a wife and mother.  But she discovers, through travails, that she is too smart, too talented, and too natively ambitious to settle for those limitations. As Mildred gains success in the “man’s world,” she becomes the provider for everyone around her. She learns the bitterest lessons imaginable as her men and her daughter, first use her, then betray her. Against her will, Mildred Pierce becomes a fearless female in a cold cruel world. She triumphs in the end as a woman of courage, relying not on the unreliable love of others, but on her own independent spirit.

By James M. Cain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Mildred Pierce, noir master James M. Cain creates a novel of acute social observation and devasting emotional violence, with a heroine whose ambitions and sufferings are never less than recognizable.

Mildred Pierce had gorgeous legs, a way with a skillet, and a bone-deep core of toughness. She used those attributes to survive a divorce and poverty and to claw her way out of the lower middle class. But Mildred also had two weaknesses: a yen for shiftless men, and an unreasoning devotion to a monstrous daughter.

Book cover of Blue Flag, Vol. 1

Hannah Krieger Author Of All My Friends Are Ghosts

From my list on for kids who feel like outcasts.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who struggled with connections growing up, I have a big heart for outcasts. When Shane-Michael Vidaurri and I collaborated on All My Friends are Ghosts, we wanted to reach out to kids who may be experiencing the same struggles with loneliness that we faced in our own childhoods. When it feels like the whole world is against you, it’s important to find those alcoves in your life where you feel safe and seen… and books can be exactly that! 

Hannah's book list on for kids who feel like outcasts

Hannah Krieger Why did Hannah love this book?

Blue Flag features an intense love rectangle between four unlikely friends and explores everything from cliques, crushes, self-hatred, projecting your insecurities onto others, and figuring out how to grow as a person. The relationships in Blue Flag are very complex, and almost uncomfortably real in their strengths and shortcomings. This is a series I wish I could have read as a teen; I would have loved it to be my companion in navigating the unnavigable maze of school social life.

By Kaito,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An unexpected love quadrangle with a dash of unrequited love as two classmates, a boy and a girl, begin to fall for each other when each of their best friends have already fallen for them.

Love is already hard enough, but it becomes an unnavigable maze for unassuming high school student Taichi Ichinose and his shy classmate Futaba Kuze when they begin to fall for each other after their same-sex best friends have already fallen for them.

For some reason, Taichi Ichinose just can't stand Futaba Kuze. But at the start of his third year in high school, he finds…

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