66 books like Soaring Above the Ashes

By Emily Samuelson,

Here are 66 books that Soaring Above the Ashes fans have personally recommended if you like Soaring Above the Ashes. 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 Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

Donna Jenson Author Of Healing My Life: from Incest to Joy

From my list on pathways to healing from sexual abuse.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. Since 1998, I have encouraged them to find their voice and use it through my organization, Time To Tell. Being isolated is foundational to our experience, and our culture perpetuates the isolation by often refusing to address it, acknowledge it, or expose it, as well as not listening tonor believing–survivors. This forces us to remain silent. I am certain that telling is healing. I lead writing circles for survivors to experience community and get support and encouragement. I recommend all these books not only for the wisdom offered but also the direct experience of not being alone in the reading.

Donna's book list on pathways to healing from sexual abuse

Donna Jenson Why did Donna love this book?

This was by far the most essential book in supporting my healing. Reading it at age 45, eight years into my recovery, so many times Herman described the exact thing I was either going through or had to go through to recover.

Explaining that being abused in a family was like being a prisoner of war blew my mind. Like a POW, seven-year-old me couldn’t escape. She helped explain so much of my trauma, my reactions, and my struggle and gave me a mountain of hope to climb!

By Judith Lewis Herman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Trauma and Recovery was first published in 1992, it was hailed as a ground-breaking work. In the intervening years, Herman's volume has changed the way we think about and treat traumatic events and trauma victims. In a new afterword, Herman chronicles the incredible response the book has elicited and explains how the issues surrounding the topic have shifted within the clinical community and the culture at large. Trauma and Recovery brings a new level of understanding to a set of problems usually considered individually. Herman draws on her own cutting-edge research in domestic violence as well as on the…


Book cover of Wild Hope: Healing Words to Find Light on Dark Days

Donna Jenson Author Of Healing My Life: from Incest to Joy

From my list on pathways to healing from sexual abuse.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. Since 1998, I have encouraged them to find their voice and use it through my organization, Time To Tell. Being isolated is foundational to our experience, and our culture perpetuates the isolation by often refusing to address it, acknowledge it, or expose it, as well as not listening tonor believing–survivors. This forces us to remain silent. I am certain that telling is healing. I lead writing circles for survivors to experience community and get support and encouragement. I recommend all these books not only for the wisdom offered but also the direct experience of not being alone in the reading.

Donna's book list on pathways to healing from sexual abuse

Donna Jenson Why did Donna love this book?

Doing the work to heal from the trauma of sexual abuse is arduous and definitely not linear. We go in and out, up and down, finding and retracing our feelings, remembering’s, beliefs, and judgment.

This book is a fantastic antidote to the poison we’re purging. More than half the page's top corners are turned down, so I can quickly go anywhere in Ashworth’s uplifting offerings and get a dose of light and even laughter, like her poem titled, Rest Here Awhile. Just reading that phrase helps me take a deep breath.  

By Donna Ashworth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Wild Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Find Hope and Solace in Inspirational Poetry from Scotland’s Poet Sensation and Sunday Times Bestselling Author

“Beautiful and uplifting” —Davina McCall
“So inspiring, so heartfelt ... the way Donna writes is beyond beautiful.” —Lisa Snowdon

#1 Best Seller in Love Poetry, Poetry by Women, and Emotional Self Help

Wild Hope is Donna Ashworth’s powerful new collection of wisdom to help us find comfort, hope, peace, self-acceptance, and inspiration when we feel worn down, helpless, or sad.

Find solace in Ashworth's eloquent verse. Through contemporary poetry, Donna explores the human condition. This inspiring poetry collection brings comfort and guidance, offering a…


Book cover of Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives

Donna Jenson Author Of Healing My Life: from Incest to Joy

From my list on pathways to healing from sexual abuse.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. Since 1998, I have encouraged them to find their voice and use it through my organization, Time To Tell. Being isolated is foundational to our experience, and our culture perpetuates the isolation by often refusing to address it, acknowledge it, or expose it, as well as not listening tonor believing–survivors. This forces us to remain silent. I am certain that telling is healing. I lead writing circles for survivors to experience community and get support and encouragement. I recommend all these books not only for the wisdom offered but also the direct experience of not being alone in the reading.

Donna's book list on pathways to healing from sexual abuse

Donna Jenson Why did Donna love this book?

Writing, journaling, writing my memoir and play, and writing morning pages (handwriting three pages as soon as I wake up) have all contributed greatly to my healing.

DeSalvo's book has helped me again and again when I get stuck and need a boost to get back to writing. Most pages have highlights I've made in blue marker that jump out at me, reminding me to write, such as "recover the person or self we lost." Amen! 

By Louise Desalvo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Writing as a Way of Healing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this inspiring book, based on her twenty years of research, highly acclaimed author and teacher Louise DeSalvo reveals the healing power of writing. DeSalvo shows how anyone can use writing as a way to heal the emotional and physical wounds that are an inevitable part of life. Contrary to what most self-help books claim, just writing won't help you; in fact, there's abundant evidence that the wrong kind of writing can be damaging.

DeSalvo's program is based on the best available and most recent scientific studies about the efficacy of using writing as a restorative tool. With insight and…


Book cover of Beginning to Heal: A First Book for Men and Women Who Were Sexually Abused as Children

Donna Jenson Author Of Healing My Life: from Incest to Joy

From my list on pathways to healing from sexual abuse.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. Since 1998, I have encouraged them to find their voice and use it through my organization, Time To Tell. Being isolated is foundational to our experience, and our culture perpetuates the isolation by often refusing to address it, acknowledge it, or expose it, as well as not listening tonor believing–survivors. This forces us to remain silent. I am certain that telling is healing. I lead writing circles for survivors to experience community and get support and encouragement. I recommend all these books not only for the wisdom offered but also the direct experience of not being alone in the reading.

Donna's book list on pathways to healing from sexual abuse

Donna Jenson Why did Donna love this book?

It wasn't until I believed healing was possible that I started to heal. It's a huge step, and this little book was perfect for helping me to start believing. It's very short but packed full of wonderful ideas, exercises, and tips. I love their list of things to do to express your anger.

Reading it gave me the first glimpse that I had a right to my anger—what a gift! The second part has stories from other survivors and how they got to healing, which are very inspiring. 

By Ellen Bass, Laura Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There's nothing as wonderful as starting to heal, waking up in the morning and knowing that nobody can hurt you if you don't let them.

Beginning to Heal offers hope and guidance for all survivors starting the healing journey. No matter how great your pain today, you can not only heal but thrive. Based on the authors' bestseller The Courage to Heal, this Revised Edition of Beginning to Heal takes you through the key stages of the healing process, from crisis times to breaking the silence, grief, and anger, to resolution and moving on. It includes inspirational highlights, clear explanations,…


Book cover of Invisible Girl

S.M. Stevens Author Of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

From my list on uplifting stories of sexual abuse and harassment.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a big fan of fiction that fills a need. While recovering from a broken pelvis, I wrote a book for my animal/adventure-loving fifth-grader. A year later, while in treatment for ovarian cancer, I wrote a series for my other daughter and teens/tweens who love musical theater but can’t find books set in that world. When the Harvey Weinstein nightmare erupted, I was horrified at the parallels in how naysayers treat victims of both incest and workplace harassment. I decided the world needed a novel exploring that, and taking readers into the minds of survivors. (Thankfully, I wasn’t recovering from an injury or disease while writing that one!)

S.M.'s book list on uplifting stories of sexual abuse and harassment

S.M. Stevens Why did S.M. love this book?

The younger the victim, the more egregious the act seems. This true story is a riveting read. Dixon repressed childhood incest memories until, ironically, she became a nurse helping others with similar pasts. The book is an insightful look at how hidden pain manifests itself in our current lives regardless of what walls the mind has erected to protect us. Woven into the memoir is helpful advice for survivors, counselors, lawyers, and others working with abuse victims. I was mesmerized.

By Sandra J. Dixon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This story breaks new frontiers in what we know about repressed memories. It is a riveting account of horrific and humorous events of living in the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse. It is based on the author's personal experience and that of hundreds of patients she treated as a mental health professional. She weaves prevention recommendations into the book to help prevent child abuse.


Book cover of The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Helen Epstein Author Of The Long Half-Lives of Love and Trauma

From my list on healing from sexual trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a veteran author, journalist, and journalism professor who has taught over 1000 students. At the age of 50, through a memoir I began writing, I fell down a rabbit hole of memory and began to suspect I had been sexually abused as a child. The man was a close family friend, who liked to call himself my grandfather. He did not speak English. My parents were immigrants and the usual difficulties of retrieving memories from childhood were complicated by the fact that they were all in the Czech language. For years I read everything I could find about childhood sexual abuse and then everything I could read about psychoanalysis.

Helen's book list on healing from sexual trauma

Helen Epstein Why did Helen love this book?

The Courage to Heal was another of the first books I turned to when I began reading about childhood sexual abuse.

I felt confused back then and ambivalent about believing that I had been abused that I didn’t borrow the book from a library or buy it. Instead I went to the local bookstore and read it crouched in an aisle. It’s a great survey of the world of people who were sexually abused as children, with many case studies, background research, and resources for community support. 

By Ellen Bass, Laura Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Come to terms with your past while moving powerfully into the future

The Courage to Heal is an inspiring, comprehensive guide that offers hope and a map of the healing journey to every woman who was sexually abused as a child—and to those who care about her. Although the effects of child sexual abuse are long-term and severe, healing is possible.

Weaving together personal experience with professional knowledge, the authors provide clear explanations, practical suggestions, and support throughout the healing process. Readers will feel recognized and encouraged by hundreds of moving first-person stories drawn from interviews and the authors' extensive…


Book cover of I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This

Marie Jaskulka Author Of The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl & Random Boy

From my list on YA about overcoming abuse and assault.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with reading in fourth grade but felt like real girls weren't reflected in young adult books. The characters had friend problems and boy problems, but books about really big problems like sexual assault were rare because most people thought subjects like addiction and abuse weren't appropriate for young readers. It's one of those weird dichotomies: we know kids deal with big problems, but we're afraid to broach the subject. I used books to help me understand stuff I didn't feel comfortable talking about so I appreciate books that show people how to claw themselves out of a bad place and be their own hero.

Marie's book list on YA about overcoming abuse and assault

Marie Jaskulka Why did Marie love this book?

I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This is one of my favorite novels for its subtlety. It's almost like sleight of hand because you aren't sure where to look. The story kind of unfolds all around you. One of the hardest things after a sexual assault is opening up to someone about it, so I am a fan of books that give people a blueprint of how to go about it. There is no single right way to tell someone about abuse and assault, but it helps to have examples. 

By Jacqueline Woodson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In this Coretta Scott King Honor Book, 12 year old Marie is African American. She befriends Lena, a white girl, because both have lost their mothers. Lena has a terrifying secret, and Marie must decide if she can help Lena more by keeping her secret--or..


Book cover of The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story

Karen C.L. Anderson Author Of You Are Not Your Mother: Releasing Generational Trauma and Shame

From my list on difficult mother/adult daughter relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the 1980s, my mother “divorced” her mother with a letter in the mail. In 2010 I did the same via email. I thought it was just my dysfunctional family, but come to find out, mother-adult daughter estrangement is not unusual and difficult mother-daughter relationships don’t happen in a vacuum, they happen in the context of patriarchy, white supremacy, internalized misogyny, and other oppressive systems. Through therapy and, later, when I trained to be a life coach, allllll my “mother stuff” came up. The tools and practices I learned and developed were so helpful to me, I couldn’t keep them to myself. 

Karen's book list on difficult mother/adult daughter relationships

Karen C.L. Anderson Why did Karen love this book?

Laura Davis hits it out of the park with this epically honest and human memoir.

In it, she tells the story of how, after decades of estrangement due to family abuse and incest, which her mother denied, she decides to care for her elderly mother. I believe any woman will find value, wisdom, and relief in The Burning Light of Two Stars, but it is especially poignant for mothers and adult daughters who have struggled, are estranged, and/or are navigating reconciliation.

It is in revealing and speaking the truth, that healing, even when it's messy and emotional, can take place. 

By Laura Davis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Burning Light of Two Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Caregiving an elderly parent, especially against the backdrop of a difficult shared past, can be a bruising spiritual ordeal. We who must travel this territory don't need any more sentimental narratives about it. What we do need is the healing medicine of truth-telling, and Laura Davis brilliantly and generously gives it to us. I literally could not put this book down."

—Katy Butler, bestselling author of Knocking on Heaven's Door and The Art of Dying Well

This riveting memoir by Laura Davis, the author of The Courage to Heal, examines the endurance of mother-daughter love, how memory protects and betrays…


Book cover of The Survivor's Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse

Michael Castleman Author Of Sizzling Sex for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Maximize Erotic Pleasure at Any Age

From my list on sex and sexuality.

Why am I passionate about this?

During a career spanning almost 50 years, Michael Castleman has become the world’s most popular sex expert you’ve probably never heard of.  He has answered more sexuality questions than anyone else on the planet.

Michael's book list on sex and sexuality

Michael Castleman Why did Michael love this book?

The myth is that childhood sexual abuse is so horrific that survivors are scarred for life and can never enjoy fulfilling lovemaking. Actually, with information and therapy, survivors can enjoy deeply pleasurable and satisfying sex lives. This book points the way. 

By Staci Haines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Survivor's Guide to Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on the author's extensive training and experience in working with abuse survivors, The Survivor's Guide to Sex offers an affirming, sex-positive approach to recovery from incest and rape. While most books on the topic broach sexuality only to reassure women that it is alright to say "no" to unwanted sex, this one encourages women to learn how to say "yes" to their own desires and on their own terms.

Points of discussion include problems common to women survivors. Haines teaches survivors to embrace their own sexual choices and preferences, learn about their own sexual response cycles, and heal through…


Book cover of The Kiss: A Memoir

S.M. Stevens Author Of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

From my list on uplifting stories of sexual abuse and harassment.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a big fan of fiction that fills a need. While recovering from a broken pelvis, I wrote a book for my animal/adventure-loving fifth-grader. A year later, while in treatment for ovarian cancer, I wrote a series for my other daughter and teens/tweens who love musical theater but can’t find books set in that world. When the Harvey Weinstein nightmare erupted, I was horrified at the parallels in how naysayers treat victims of both incest and workplace harassment. I decided the world needed a novel exploring that, and taking readers into the minds of survivors. (Thankfully, I wasn’t recovering from an injury or disease while writing that one!)

S.M.'s book list on uplifting stories of sexual abuse and harassment

S.M. Stevens Why did S.M. love this book?

You would be forgiven for finding this memoir creepy and cringe-worthy. It is also bold and brave in its brash, brutally honest depiction of a sexual relationship between a woman in her twenties and her father. (I refuse to call it “love”.) The story is a raw example of how predators push through the permeable walls between right and wrong for their own gain. You may not agree with the young woman’s choices and you may not feel satisfied in the end, but you will accept her anguish and enter a world you hate to know exists.

By Kathryn Harrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of THE BINDING CHAIR, a searing memoir of a four-year affair between the author and her father.

'My father takes my face in his hands. He tips it up and kisses my closed eyes, my throat. I feel his fingers in the hair at the nape of my neck. I feel his hot breath on my eyelids.'

Kathryn Harrison's parents married aged 17 but were forced apart by disapproving parents within a year. By which time their only child, Kathryn, had been born. She was not to see her father again until she was ten. Instantly,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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