85 books like Spellbound

By Allie Therin,

Here are 85 books that Spellbound fans have personally recommended if you like Spellbound. 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 The Once and Future Witches

Virginia Watts Author Of Echoes from The Hocker House

From my list on leaving you spellbound.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an unusual child. My favorite stories were fairytales, no tale was too tall for me. On Christmas Eve, my father always read a story called “Giant Grummer’s Christmas” because it was my favorite. Giant Grummer lived in a huge castle made of limburger cheese. He threatened to reach his long arm down chimneys to steal the presents Santa left but Santa saved the day by giving Giant Grummer presents too. Folklore, legends, and magic are important. We need to believe more in the “make believe.” Everyone should read stories about ghosts and witches and cheese-eating giants, anything fantastical to open their worlds and set their imaginations free.

Virginia's book list on leaving you spellbound

Virginia Watts Why did Virginia love this book?

Alix Harrow writes that “behind every witch is a women wronged.”

Here are three sisters wronged by an abusive father who have hurt and betrayed each other in the past, but the bonds of love and sisterhood and witchcraft are stronger.

This book is for every woman because every woman has felt powerless. Every woman has been marginalized and dismissed but these three sisters prove to all of us that there is great power when women come together as they have throughout history.

I was rooting like crazy for these the sisters to prevail. I was charmed by the spells they cast based on fairy tales, nursery rhymes, lullabies. This is a book rooted in feminist tradition told in the tradition of great folklore. 

By Alix E. Harrow,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Once and Future Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Glorious . . . a tale that will sweep you away' Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Tiger

'A gorgeous and thrilling paean to the ferocious power of women' Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer

In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when…


Book cover of The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings

Molly Ringle Author Of Lava Red Feather Blue

From my list on fantasy with great queer representation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been making up magical worlds ever since childhood, when I populated the creekbanks and vacant lots in my hometown with ghosts, fae, Land of Oz residents, and other creatures from my imagination. Fantasy and forbidden love have always been my two main allures in reading, and different varieties of sexuality and gender identity also fascinated me once I became more aware of such issues in college, through books as well as my anthropology classes. I was recently pleased to learn there’s at least one cool label for me as well—demisexual—and nowadays I love populating my fantasy novels with queer characters. Everyone deserves adventures in the otherworld!

Molly's book list on fantasy with great queer representation

Molly Ringle Why did Molly love this book?

Do not read after dark! At least, don’t do so if you’re a scaredy-cat like me when it comes to ghost stories. That said, I found this story lovely and fun and steamy—when it wasn’t scaring the daylights out of me, that is. The premise is fabulous: a man moves to York, England, because he has inherited an old house there, which turns out to be super haunted. So who does he turn to for help? One of the many ghost-tour guides who roam the city telling their tales, of course. Turns out this particular guide—aside from being a highly sexy fellow with dyed-blue hair—can in fact see ghosts. And the ones in this house would rather murder the living than be politely ushered out.

By Lily Morton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Levi Black is at a crossroads. After suffering a loss and breaking up a long-term relationship, he’s looking for a change. When he receives the news he’s inherited a house in York, he seizes the opportunity to begin a new chapter in his life.However, when he gets there, he finds a house that has never kept its occupants for very long. Either through death or disinclination, no one stays there, and after a few days of living in the place, Levi can understand why. Strange noises can be heard at all hours of the day and night, and disturbing and…


Book cover of The Dark Wife

Molly Ringle Author Of Lava Red Feather Blue

From my list on fantasy with great queer representation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been making up magical worlds ever since childhood, when I populated the creekbanks and vacant lots in my hometown with ghosts, fae, Land of Oz residents, and other creatures from my imagination. Fantasy and forbidden love have always been my two main allures in reading, and different varieties of sexuality and gender identity also fascinated me once I became more aware of such issues in college, through books as well as my anthropology classes. I was recently pleased to learn there’s at least one cool label for me as well—demisexual—and nowadays I love populating my fantasy novels with queer characters. Everyone deserves adventures in the otherworld!

Molly's book list on fantasy with great queer representation

Molly Ringle Why did Molly love this book?

The story of Persephone and Hades is my favorite Greek myth—and a lot of other people’s, to judge from how many of us have written about it. Therefore I’ve read lots of the novels that retell it, but The Dark Wife stands out for being the only Sapphic version I’ve found! Here Hades is a goddess rather than a god, and rather than abducting Persephone, she shelters her in the Underworld, where Persephone can avoid the sexual predators among the gods above. (Of which there are a lot, in canonical myth; let’s be honest.) Though set in the deliciously spooky land of the dead, the romance between the two goddesses is sweet and comforting, and the writing is as lyrically pretty as a classical poem.

By S.E. Diemer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dark Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth. Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want--except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice. Zeus calls Hades "lord" of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the…


Book cover of Peter Darling

Sylvia Barry Author Of Lessons in Timing

From my list on grumpy/sunshine romance with a healthy side of yearning.

Why are we passionate about this?

Sylvia Barry is our invention, a solitary witch who writes queer romance from her lighthouse keep. As a pair of co-authors, one of us grew up with the dry humor of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, and the other grew up with fanfiction and romance tropes. We came together to write quirky, queer romances that are playful and ironic but also deal with deeper themes of self-discovery, trauma healing, and community. Rivals-to-lovers and grumpy/sunshine are our favorite tropes to write, especially in dual (or more!) POV, because the Yearning is always juicy, and we play off each other’s energy as we write our opposing characters.

Sylvia's book list on grumpy/sunshine romance with a healthy side of yearning

Sylvia Barry Why did Sylvia love this book?

Time moves differently when you can never grow up. We love to revisit S.A Chant’s brilliant exploration of Queer Time again and again.

Peter Darling has fast become one of our favorite books of all time–it’s a lush, transformative addition to the Peter Pan canon. The rivals-to-lovers element is rich and romantic, and the plot twist breaks boundaries, subverts expectations, and plays with gender in such a careful and nuanced way while also depicting a fresh and unique take on Neverland.

It’s a masterpiece of a book and one that continues to amaze us every time we reread it.

By Austin Chant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A queer, transgender retelling of Peter Pan in which Pan returns to Neverland after a decade in the real world.


The Lost Boys say that Peter Pan went back to England because of Wendy Darling, but Wendy is just an old life he left behind. Neverland is his real home. So when Peter returns to it after ten years in the real world, he's surprised to find a Neverland that no longer seems to need him.


The only person who truly missed Peter is Captain James Hook, who is delighted to have his old rival back. But when a new…


Book cover of The Lies That Bind

Jacqueline Friedland Author Of That's Not a Thing

From my list on contemporary romance set in Manhattan.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who’s been born and raised in and around the suburbs of Manhattan, I have a love-hate relationship with the city. I crave the excitement it offers but then gets frustrated by its drawbacks- the crowds, the dirt, the noise, the expense, the pressure. But then you crack open the pages of a romance story, and the allure of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs is undeniable. Anything is possible in New York City.

Jacqueline's book list on contemporary romance set in Manhattan

Jacqueline Friedland Why did Jacqueline love this book?

The night before September 11, 2001, I was in New York City, and my now-husband proposed to me. We woke up the next morning to a whole new world. Any book set in Manhattan that relates to September 11th instantly speaks to me. This romance story is one you will never see coming, and I can’t recommend it more highly.

By Emily Giffin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this irresistible novel from the author of All We Ever Wanted and Something Borrowed, a young woman falls hard for an impossibly perfect man before he disappears without a trace. . . . 

It’s 2 A.M. on a Saturday night in the spring of 2001, and twenty-eight-year-old Cecily Gardner sits alone in a dive bar in New York’s East Village, questioning her life. Feeling lonesome and homesick for the Midwest, she wonders if she’ll ever make it as a reporter in the big city—and whether she made a terrible mistake in breaking up with…


Book cover of Skyscraper Dreams: The Great Real Estate Dynasties of New York

Jason M. Barr Author Of Cities in the Sky: The Quest to Build the World's Tallest Skyscrapers

From my list on real estate titans built New York skyline.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an economics professor, I’ve spent the past twenty years researching why cities build upward. Though I mostly look at cities through the lens of statistics and data, every building has a personal and dramatic story that exists behind the numbers. And no matter where you go in the world, great cities with their towering skyscrapers all owe a debt to New York—every city wants its own version of the Empire State Building to signal its economic might. New York is the world’s metropolis. As the (now cliché) song line goes, “If I can make there, I’ll make it anywhere,” is a true today as a century ago.

Jason's book list on real estate titans built New York skyline

Jason M. Barr Why did Jason love this book?

When I walk through the streets of Manhattan, I’m constantly awed by the variety and density of its buildings. I wonder how such a city could have ever been built. New cities today lack the soul and character. But when you look at why these buildings exist, you see that they are there for a more mundane purpose: as shelter. The Garment District, for example, was created to house massive sweatshops to clothe America. Gotham’s apartment towers enclose the beds on which residents sleep. 

Many of these structures were built by a group of family-run development companies. The founders of these enterprises invariably began as immigrants trying to hustle their way up the economic ladder. They started as teenagers working in the sweatshops or hawking newspapers and, bit by bit, erected their own real estate empires. Tom Schactman’s book tells how entrepreneurial spirit, along with New York’s rapid economic growth,…

By Tom Shachtman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A portrait of Manhattan real estate and of the multimillionaires who are its masters, describing a world of high risks and huge rewards. Skyscrapers embody the romance of our times. The inspired gamblers who built the structures that transformed not only Manhattan but also the world took great risks. Some of the most colourful failed, while others founded family dynasties among the wealthiest in America, from the Astors and Rockefellers to the Roses and Trumps. From penniless Russian Jewish immigrants to society patricians, from penthouses to tenements, real estate and its manipulations - the buildings, the strategies, even the disasters…


Book cover of Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York

John Dalton Author Of Heaven Lake

From my list on that take you on extraordinary journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of two novels, and I currently teach fiction writing in the MFA program at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. I’ve long been fascinated with journeys both real and literary. In the early 1990’s I lived in Taiwan and traveled across China—from Guangzhou to the far northwestern desert province of Xinjiang, an extraordinary journey that informed my first novel. 

John's book list on that take you on extraordinary journeys

John Dalton Why did John love this book?

It’s 1764 on Manhattan Island, and a stranger from London arrives at a small town called New York. He expects to receive a thousand pounds. A cast of dynamic characters appear. There are intrigues and adventures. All writers try to be vibrant on the page—to write smart, vivid, witty descriptions and dialogue. And then you come upon a writer like Francis Spufford, who is able, somehow, do it a degree or two better than everyone else.   

By Francis Spufford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Best book of the century' Richard Osman
'Just wonderful' Jan Morris
'Dazzlingly written' Sunday Times
'Every bit as superb as everyone says' Sarah Perry

Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2016
Winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2017
Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2017
Shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2017
Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2017
Shortlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award 2017
Shortlisted for the British Book Awards Debut Novel of the Year 2017

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 NOVEL OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

New York, a small town…


Book cover of The Impossible Girl

Rob Bauer Author Of Theodora

From my list on historical fiction featuring women who aren’t queens.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a PhD in history and used to be a college professor. I decided to write historical fiction novels so that I could reach a larger audience than college students and share incredible stories from history with more people. The reason I created this list of books about women is because the farther back in history we look, the more invisible women seem to become. That’s why I wanted to tell Theodora’s story—it’s an amazing tale, first, but it also allowed me to share how different conditions were for women in the past. The other books I’ve recommended do the same.

Rob's book list on historical fiction featuring women who aren’t queens

Rob Bauer Why did Rob love this book?

I loved the originality of The Impossible Girl. Cora Lee is a resurrectionist—she steals bodies from cemeteries for medical dissection in 1850s New York City. This isn’t really a sympathetic activity, however. Would you love a grave robber? So, to add flavor, bodies with unusual physical traits bring in extra money, and Cora specializes in stealing these.

But she’s got a unique malady of her own—she has two hearts. And people want to kill her to cash in on her body. Now we have a reason to cheer for her.

The story has many twists as Cora learns who she can (and can’t) trust. Add to that some romance, the vibrant setting of 1850s New York City, and some twisted characters, and this is a fun book.

By Lydia Kang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.

Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she's carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens-dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.

Cora's specialty is not only profitable, it's a means to keep a finger on the pulse of those searching for her. She's…


Book cover of Murder in Manhattan

Vickie Carroll Author Of It's Only Murder

From my list on cozy mysteries about women at work.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a cozy-style mystery writer, I get to live in a world where I know that everything will work out as it should in the end. I look for this in the books that I read and recommend. Do they give the reader something interesting to ponder as they go along with the sleuth (amateur or “real detective)? My father was a police captain, and I grew up looking at things through the eyes of “the law”, I admit. Most people find comfort reading about a small town where nothing will go too wrong. The bad stuff and the bad people are kept at arm’s length, and all is well.

Vickie's book list on cozy mysteries about women at work

Vickie Carroll Why did Vickie love this book?

I was late coming to this author, but once I discovered her I knew I’d go back to her earlier books in the Lady Eleanor Swift series.

In this book, Lady Swift leaves England to see what Manhattan is all about. With her butler, Clifford, (and her dog Gladstone) in tow, she is soon ensconced in a high-end apartment and is giving and attending all of the parties with the rich and famous. But her society status is put on hold when she witnesses the doorman of her building killed in a hit and run.

This is soon followed by another murder connected to the doorman. She, of course, gets involved and is determined to right the wrong. The book is a perfect bit of escapism, written with humor. 

By Verity Bright,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Glitzy parties, sightseeing at the Statue of Liberty and strolls through Central Park with Gladstone the bulldog… Lady Eleanor Swift is loving her first trip to the city that never sleeps, until she witnesses a murder!

After crossing from England on the SS Celestiana, Lady Eleanor Swift sets up her home-away-from-home in a lavish apartment in New York City. She is soon the toast of the town, with no high-class soirée complete without her presence. Of course, she drags her butler Clifford and Gladstone the bulldog along to every party too.

But when she witnesses the charming doorman of her…


Book cover of The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene 1974-1984

Thomas Dyja Author Of New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation

From my list on how New York became New York.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took eight years to write New York, New York, New York, and reading hundreds and hundreds of books about all different aspects of New York past and present. There were lots of brilliant ones along the way, but these five changed how I think about New York, flipped assumptions, created entirely new maps and narratives.

Thomas' book list on how New York became New York

Thomas Dyja Why did Thomas love this book?

This is the primer for everything Downtown during arguably Downtown’s greatest era. The contributions are first-rate, by people who were on the scene, and it’s a handsome book to hold. If you’re interested in anything from Punk and Patti Smith to Haring, Basquiat, and Afrika Bambaataa, this is the place to start, without nostalgia, agenda, or hype.

By Marvin J. Taylor (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Downtown is more than just a location, it's an attitude--and in the 1970s and '80s, that attitude forever changed the face of America. This book charts the intricate web of influences that shaped the generation of experimental and outsider artists working in Downtown New York during the crucial decade from 1974 to 1984. Published in conjunction with the first major exhibition of downtown art (organized by New York University's Grey Art Gallery and Fales Library), The Downtown Book brings the Downtown art scene to life, exploring everything from Punk rock to performance art. The book probes trends that arose in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Manhattan, the paranormal, and New York City?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Manhattan, the paranormal, and New York City.

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