100 books like Sketches by Boz

By Charles Dickens,

Here are 100 books that Sketches by Boz fans have personally recommended if you like Sketches by Boz. 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 The Golden Apples of the Sun

Phil Giunta Author Of Testing the Prisoner

From my list on ordinary people thrown into bizarre and extraordinary circumstances.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two themes run through my book recommendations. First is the lone protagonist against impossible odds. Don’t we all feel this way from time to time in our lives? I’m no exception and still have the scars to prove it, which is why my first novel was intended to promote awareness and prevention of child abuse and domestic violence. Secondly, I’ve had an affinity for speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal) since I was a child so it only stands to reason that I would be inspired by the likes of Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, Philip José Farmer, Philip K. Dick, and other masters of these genres.

Phil's book list on ordinary people thrown into bizarre and extraordinary circumstances

Phil Giunta Why did Phil love this book?

The variety of subjects covered in this collection of 22 short stories demonstrates Bradbury's prowess as a master craftsman and the reason why I count him among my literary heroes. 

More than a few of these tales have become legendary, including “A Sound of Thunder.” Bradbury's premise of how the death of a butterfly in prehistoric times could have drastic changes in the future is a variation on the famous “butterfly effect” and a fine example of the relationship between chaos theory and the physics of time travel.
For me, the most incredible story in the collection is “The Fog Horn” in which an elusive sea monster attacks a lighthouse after being attracted by its foghorn for years. This story was the inspiration for the 1953 film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

By Ray D. Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Golden Apples of the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ray Bradbury is a modern cultural treasure. His disarming simplicity of style underlies a towering body of work unmatched in metaphorical power by any other American storyteller. And here, presented in a new trade edition, are thirty-two of his most famous tales--prime examples of the poignant and mysterious poetry which Bradbury uniquely uncovers in the depths of the human soul, the otherwordly portraits of outré fascination which spring from the canvas of one of the century's great men of imagination. From a lonely coastal lighthouse to a sixty-million-year-old safary, from the pouring rain of Venus to the ominous silence of…


Book cover of The Complete Short Stories of H.G. Wells

Steve Morris Author Of Out on Top – A Collection of Upbeat Short Stories

From my list on short stories for when spare time is short.

Why am I passionate about this?

Short stories suit the speed of modern society. I began writing them as a child and began to get them published in magazines. My first collection of stories in 2009 got quite a lot of press in the UK and two more collections followed. Initially, they were darkly-themed backfiring scenarios for the anti-hero and I redressed the balance in Out on Top. We all deserve some good Karma!

Steve's book list on short stories for when spare time is short

Steve Morris Why did Steve love this book?

During a lengthy hospital stay once, I needed to escape. Magazines were formulaic and newspapers dark. This book materialized on a library trolley. A plain dark blue hard cover looking dull and aged amongst the same-old paperbacks. After only the first story of this magical collection I was hooked away from all around me and into Wells’ tales of incredible imagination. Wells’ other shorts have become well known to the masses but here contained over forty lesser-known proto-sci-fi gems. In the way that Dickens did with characters that others could not, Wells was not constrained by conventions of science. The thought-provoking The Door in the Wall and The Red Room remain today are examples of skill for all contemporaries to aspire to.

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Short Stories of H.G. Wells as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of short stories by one of the greatest science fiction writers of the 20th century, H.G. Wells.


Book cover of Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick

Steve Morris Author Of Out on Top – A Collection of Upbeat Short Stories

From my list on short stories for when spare time is short.

Why am I passionate about this?

Short stories suit the speed of modern society. I began writing them as a child and began to get them published in magazines. My first collection of stories in 2009 got quite a lot of press in the UK and two more collections followed. Initially, they were darkly-themed backfiring scenarios for the anti-hero and I redressed the balance in Out on Top. We all deserve some good Karma!

Steve's book list on short stories for when spare time is short

Steve Morris Why did Steve love this book?

This was recommended to me as having been the lyrical inspiration to songs by several musical artists I was listening to in my teens. To this day I am still baffled and impressed as to where on Earth Dick ever found the ideas for some of these stories. Almost experimental in their nature, particularly at the time of writing, and breaking ground as he went along, P. K. Dick’s skill of crafting chilling perspective scenarios again and again have, become popular film plots. In this book and his other short story collections, you can feast on many more deeply original plots, any number of which could be made into Hollywood films. Many years ahead of his time and almost predicting the disposable instantaneous world we would live in, Dick’s short stories almost arrived from the future themselves. I think he had the edge on dialogue too. I don’t own a…

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick contains twenty-one of Dick’s most dazzling and resonant stories, which span his entire career and show a world-class writer working at the peak of his powers.

In “The Days of Perky Pat,” people spend their time playing with dolls who manage to live an idyllic life no longer available to the Earth’s real inhabitants. “Adjustment Team” looks at the fate of a man who by mistake has stepped out of his own time. In “Autofac,” one community must battle benign machines to take back control of their lives. And in “I Hope I Shall…


Book cover of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Trevor P. Kwain Author Of The Wynnman and the Black Azalea

From my list on turning history upside down.

Why am I passionate about this?

History is nearly always relegated to heavy tomes and stuffy museum rooms. Learning about our past seems no longer important, and we keep promoting it in such uncool and unsexy ways. I feel any of our histories, with either a capital or lower case ‘h’, whether focused on big world events or local life, deserve to be told in a special kind of way, with that sprinkle of “magic realism” only fiction authors can deliver. Alternative history, historical fiction, magic fabulism, they are the sides of the same dice creating new, different stories inspired by our collective memory of things that have happened. These books touch this topic so dear to me.

Trevor's book list on turning history upside down

Trevor P. Kwain Why did Trevor love this book?

Although not historical fiction per se, Sherlock Holmes is a strong product of his time. He embodies the revolutionary modernism of the late Victorian period and for this reason alone the famous fictional detective has become a real character himself embedded in history. The fact his home address half-exists in London makes him even more real. His stories were one of the sources to inspire me for the Wynnman. This idea of creating real characters in a real setting that share their way of thinking, their passions, their curious attitudes, without having to answer to the hard, crude boundaries of factual reality.

By Arthur Conan Doyle,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Is there a more enduring, legendary detective than Sherlock Holmes?
This quintessential collection includes many of the famous cases that made the legendary Sherlock Holmes one of fiction's most popular creations. Set against the foggy backdrop of London and the English countryside, each story unravels an exciting new mystery, from mistaken identity and ominous omens to counterfeit currency and jewellery theft. Including 'A Scandal in Bohemia', 'The Five Orange Pips', 'The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle', 'The Speckled Band' and 'The Final Problem', the collection follows Sherlock Holmes and John Watson on some of their most enjoyable cases.
First published…


Book cover of A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella

Emmanuelle de Maupassant Author Of The Lady's Guide to Mistletoe and Mayhem

From my list on Christmas romances set at country houses.

Why am I passionate about this?

Historical romance author Emmanuelle lives on the bonny banks of Loch Fyne with her husband and beloved haggis pudding Archie McFloof—connoisseur of bacon treats and squeaky toys.
While waiting on her own country house party invitation [sending a wink to Inveraray Castle—which is just down the road, and boasts a duke!] she makes do by serving up imaginary shenanigans.  

Emmanuelle's book list on Christmas romances set at country houses

Emmanuelle de Maupassant Why did Emmanuelle love this book?

In this ‘last chance for love’ romance, our gently bred heroine allows herself to be courted by a London merchant for the sake of her family’s dwindling coffers. The courtship of convenience isn’t going well, however, as the darkly handsome hero keeps his emotions so much under wraps that Sophie despairs of him ever declaring himself. Will an invitation to their Christmas family gathering inspire the necessary proposal? Sophie is almost ready to throw in the towel, but her heart whispers that her suitor may not be as reluctant as he first appears. 

By Mimi Matthews,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Readers will easily fall for Sophie and Ned in their gaslit surroundings." -Library Journal, starred review

A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He's grim and silent. A man of little emotion--or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she's ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn't as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And…


Book cover of Wayfarer

Steven Wilton Author Of Queen of Crows

From my list on fantasy set in strange new worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

Back in the dark ages, before the internet and cell phones, the most common form of off-duty soldiers’ entertainment was reading. I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on, but I was always most excited to read fantasy and science fiction. If a book has a wild new world, magic, or tech, I’m in and usually can’t get enough. I remain a cross-genre reader to this day, but fantasy and science fiction always feel like home. Bonus points for dragons.

Steven's book list on fantasy set in strange new worlds

Steven Wilton Why did Steven love this book?

Listed as a ‘gas lamp’ fantasy, and me being a pre-Victorian/Victorian era London fan, I had to grab this one. It had a fresh twist on the mad scientist’s experiment went wrong, creating a superhero and a supervillain. I found that exciting. I loved how the main character (the hero) struggled to learn his abilities and limitations, all the while not knowing who the villain was or what he was up to. I enjoyed this master class on how to put your main character through the wringer. And the twist ending surprised me. Great stuff. 

By K.M. Weiland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this heroic gaslamp fantasy, superhuman abilities bring an adventurous new dimension to 1820 London, where an outlaw speedster and a master of illusion do battle to decide who will own the city.

Think being a superhero is hard? Try being the first one.

Will’s life is a proper muddle—and all because he was “accidentally” inflicted with the ability to run faster and leap higher than any human ever. One minute he’s a blacksmith’s apprentice trying to save his master from debtor’s prison. The next he’s accused of murder and hunted as a black-hearted highwayman.

A vengeful politician with dark…


Book cover of Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders

Rachel Brimble Author Of A Widow's Vow

From my list on venture into the darker side of Victorian life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am by no means an expert on the Victorian era, but I am most certainly passionate – I have written seven novels set in this period and have researched different aspects of the social, domestic, and gender-related issues for each of those books. The Victorian era is such a fascinating time – from the huge differences in money and class, to the beginnings of women starting to initiate (or maybe even demand) change with the first murmurings of women’s suffrage and, of course, the Married Women’s Property Act 1882. Rich in storytelling possibility and the opportunity to bring societal, gender, and sexual issues to the fore, I find writing in the Victorian period immensely exciting.

Rachel's book list on venture into the darker side of Victorian life

Rachel Brimble Why did Rachel love this book?

This book was recommended to me by a friend who knew I liked books set in the Victorian era. However, at the time, I had not read any books set in a music hall and certainly not a mystery. This book takes the reader deep into the underbelly of Victorian London and introduces a whole cast of eerie characters as well as some wonderful characters with hearts of gold.

The descriptions of the places our heroine is forced to visit are so exquisitely drawn that I could literally taste, smell, hear and see everything. The charm of Kitty and her friends gives a welcome reprieve from the darker aspects of the novel, yet it is those aspects that thrill the most!

By Kate Griffin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Limehouse, 1880: Dancing girls are going missing from 'Paradise' - the criminal manor with ruthless efficiency by the ferocious Lady Ginger. Seventeen-year-old music hall seamstress Kitty Peck finds herself reluctantly drawn into a web of blackmail, depravity and murder when The Lady devises a singular scheme to discover the truth. But as Kitty's scandalous and terrifying act becomes the talk of London, she finds herself facing someone even more deadly and horrifying than The Lady.

Bold, impetuous and blessed with more brains than she cares to admit, it soon becomes apparent that it's up to the unlikely team of Kitty…


Book cover of Things in Jars

Tonya Mitchell Author Of The Arsenic Eater's Wife

From my list on historical fiction books with gothic vibes that will give you the creeps.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved Gothic fiction since I was a teen, though back then, I didn’t know it was Gothic. I just liked the creepiness, the often-isolated heroine, and the things-aren’t-what-they-seem murkiness of the stories. One of my first reads was Jane Eyre, which has remained a favorite. Though I didn’t like history in school (too much memorization!), I read several historical fiction books from different eras that fascinated me. These things, combined with another genre favorite—mystery/thriller, led to my first book. It turns out that all those things I’d gravitated to in my decades of reading became the things I most wanted to write about - mystery/thriller historical fiction with elements of Gothic. 

Tonya's book list on historical fiction books with gothic vibes that will give you the creeps

Tonya Mitchell Why did Tonya love this book?

Nobody does characters like Jess Kidd. Every person in this story is bizarre—a monster, misfit, or malefactor—yet not one feels contrived. I adored Bridie Devine, a small, rotund, pipe-smoking detective who begins to see the same ghost everywhere she goes.

Bridie’s quarry is a strange girl who’s been kidnapped and might (depending on who you ask) have supernatural powers or be a “lovely grotesque” who’s caught the eye of collectors. I fell in love with Kidd’s imaginative Victorian London, where nothing is as it seems, and evil lurks around every bend.

By Jess Kidd,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Things in Jars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may…


Book cover of Fingersmith

Emily Matchar Author Of In The Shadow Of The Greenbrier

From my list on historical fiction with mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love historical settings and detail – I love coming away from a novel feeling like I’ve also learned something about the world. But I also like lots and lots of plot and intensity. Historical fiction slash mystery novels hit the spot just right. Though my own work thus far is more on the historical fiction side, I do try to plot it like a mystery, with lots of questions, revelations, and discoveries to be made as you go along.  

Emily's book list on historical fiction with mysteries

Emily Matchar Why did Emily love this book?

Victorian thieves, forbidden romance, a Gothic mansion, a character known only as “the Gentleman” – yes, please.

I read all of Sarah Waters’ novels in a month or two during the 2016 election runup, and they’re all fantastic, but this one has a particularly high degree of muchness, which I love in a book. It was the basis of a fantastic miniseries, which transported the plot from Victorian England to Japanese-occupied Korea. 

By Sarah Waters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Oliver Twist with a twist…Waters spins an absorbing tale that withholds as much as it discloses. A pulsating story.”—The New York Times Book Review

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man,…


Book cover of Lost London: 1870-1945

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 fascinating doorstopper of a book contains more than 500 photographs of buildings that have long since disappeared from London’s streets. It provides a tantalising glimpse of the city that our ancestors knew and carries me off on a time travelling adventure every time I look through it.

By Philip Davies,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A spectacular presentation of photographs of Tudor, Georgian and Victorian buildings captured just before their destruction - most seen here for the first time.
"This endlessly absorbing book that is at once a record of destruction, a haunting collection of relics, and a door into the past." - John Carey, The Sunday Times.

"Each picture contains a novel in this deeply moving, unforgettable book." - Duncan Fallowell, Daily Express. "A magical book about the capital's past." - Sunday Times.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Victorian, London, and Christmas?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Victorian, London, and Christmas.

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