68 books like The Bondwoman's Narrative

By Hannah Crafts,

Here are 68 books that The Bondwoman's Narrative fans have personally recommended if you like The Bondwoman's Narrative. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol

Megan Marshall Author Of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

From my list on women’s writing on women’s lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the grown-up little girl who loved to read. I loved novels and children’s biographies—Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie, Annie Oakley. I imagined that if I could learn to write books that inspired readers and moved them to tears like my favorite books, I would have accomplished a great good. My first biography, The Peabody Sisters, took twenty years and won awards for historical writing. My second biography, Margaret Fuller, won the Pulitzer. But what matters more than all the prizes is when people tell me they cried at the end of my books. I hope you, too, will read them and weep over lives lived fully and well.    

Megan's book list on women’s writing on women’s lives

Megan Marshall Why did Megan love this book?

Nell Painter’s biography of Sojourner Truth breaks new ground in a different way. Sojourner Truth is famous, an iconic freedom fighter and advocate for Black and female suffrage. We all know her demand for recognition, “Ain’t I a woman?” Or do we? Painter’s research reveals a much more complicated woman and investigates why history has reduced a fascinating life story to that one simple question, which might never have been asked, at least in those precise words. Read this book to find out the true story of Sojourner Truth.  

By Nell Irvin Painter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sojourner Truth first gained prominence at an 1851 Akron, Ohio, women's rights conference, saying, "Dat man over dar say dat woman needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches. . . . Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles . . . and ar'n't I a woman?"

Sojourner Truth: ex-slave and fiery abolitionist, figure of imposing physique, riveting preacher and spellbinding singer who dazzled listeners with her wit and originality. Straight-talking and unsentimental, Truth became a national symbol for strong black women--indeed, for all strong women. Like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, she is regarded as…


Book cover of Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom

Helen Lundström Erwin Author Of Sour Milk in Sheep's Wool

From my list on historical fiction on women who changed history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to write stories about people who lived during pivotal times in history. I’m intrigued by what people were thinking and why they thought that way. People, just like us now, were a product of their time and circumstance. They had strong opinions about the issues of the day, and debated fiercely. It’s these conversations and opinions that help me make the past come alive. Being born and raised in Sweden, and having been a New Yorker for thirty years, I was awarded the 2021 Swedish Women’s Educational Association (SWEA) New York’s Scholarship for the artistic promotion of Swedish culture and history in New York.

Helen's book list on historical fiction on women who changed history

Helen Lundström Erwin Why did Helen love this book?

This non-fiction book is giving Harriet Tubman the recognition she deserves. She was a hero in the true sense, who lived a life of service to others, and truly helped change the world. We have all heard of her, but few know who she really was, how much she did, and how incredibly brave she was.

Sometimes when I’m having a hard time, I think of how much she did all by herself, literally walking alone into enemy territory to save others, and leading an army of men. I could never compare myself to her, but thinking of her inspires me and gives me courage. 

By Catherine Clinton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the most important and enduring figures in the history of 19th century America, the legendary conductor on the Underground Railroad whose courageous exploits have been described in countless books for young readers, is here revealed for the first time as a singular and complex character, a woman who defied simple categorisation. |In this, the first major biography of Harriet Tubman in more than 100 years, we see the heroine of children's books and biopics with a new clarity and richness of detail.| - Time


Book cover of Complete Writings

Bettye Kearse Author Of The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President's Black Family

From my list on notable enslaved women.

Why am I passionate about this?

According to the eight generations of my family’s oral historians, I am a descendant of an enslaved cook and her enslaver, and half-brother, President James Madison. I am also a writer and a retired pediatrician. My essays, personal narrative, and commentaries have appeared in the Boston Herald, River Teeth, TIME, and the New York Times Magazine.

Bettye's book list on notable enslaved women

Bettye Kearse Why did Bettye love this book?

In 1761, the slave ship Phillis departed from Africa and headed toward America. Among the human cargo was a young girl. Judging by her missing incisors, she was seven or eight years old. Soon after the ship’s arrival in Boston, John and Susann Wheatley purchased the girl and named her after the ship that had delivered her to them. Mrs. Wheatley taught their servant to read and write and introduced her to classical and English literature, including revered poets. Around 1765, Phillis began writing poetry, and her first poem, “On Messrs. Hussey and Coffin,” published in 1767, when she was only about fourteen years old, rendered her the first black person in America to publish a poem. Carretta’s collection of Wheatley’s work includes a fascinating, thoroughly researched introduction.

By Phillis Wheatley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The extraordinary writings of Phillis Wheatley, a slave girl turned published poet

In 1761, a young girl arrived in Boston on a slave ship, sold to the Wheatley family, and given the name Phillis Wheatley. Struck by Phillis' extraordinary precociousness, the Wheatleys provided her with an education that was unusual for a woman of the time and astonishing for a slave. After studying English and classical literature, geography, the Bible, and Latin, Phillis published her first poem in 1767 at the age of 14, winning much public attention and considerable fame. When Boston publishers who doubted its authenticity rejected an…


Book cover of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

William Clare Roberts Author Of Marx's Inferno: The Political Theory of Capital

From my list on understanding how power works.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a teacher, a student, and a reader by trade (that is, a university professor), and I spend most of my time trying to understand social and political power: why some people have it, and others don’t, how it circulates and changes (gradually or suddenly), why it sometimes oppresses us and sometimes liberates, how it can be created and destroyed. I mostly do this by reading and teaching the history of political theory, which I am lucky enough to do at McGill University, in conversation and cooperation with some wonderful colleagues.

William's book list on understanding how power works

William Clare Roberts Why did William love this book?

I think everyone should read at least one slave narrative, and Jacobs’s is a gem of both exquisite storytelling and powerful testimony.

Jacobs tells her own story but also the story of a whole town and a whole society, and she paints a devastating portrait of the rot at the heart of the Old South, the sham that slave power made of all human relations that came into contact with it.

By Harriet Jacobs,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true story of an individual's struggle for self-identity, self-preservation, and freedom, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl remains among the few extant slave narratives written by a woman. This autobiographical account chronicles the remarkable odyssey of Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897) whose dauntless spirit and faith carried her from a life of servitude and degradation in North Carolina to liberty and reunion with her children in the North.
Written and published in 1861 after Jacobs' harrowing escape from a vile and predatory master, the memoir delivers a powerful and unflinching portrayal of the abuses and hypocrisy of the master-slave…


Book cover of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

Kathleen DuVal Author Of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

From my list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professional historian and life-long lover of early American history. My fascination with the American Revolution began during the bicentennial in 1976, when my family traveled across the country for celebrations in Williamsburg and Philadelphia. That history, though, seemed disconnected to the place I grew up—Arkansas—so when I went to graduate school in history, I researched in French and Spanish archives to learn about their eighteenth-century interactions with Arkansas’s Native nations, the Osages and Quapaws. Now I teach early American history and Native American history at UNC-Chapel Hill and have written several books on how Native American, European, and African people interacted across North America.

Kathleen's book list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers

Kathleen DuVal Why did Kathleen love this book?

Annette Gordon-Reed’s book introduces readers to the enslaved family of a Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson.

What I love about this book is that it upends the traditional picture of Jefferson while neither vilifying nor excusing him. It’s a full picture of a complicated man and the fascinating people who were part of his life. After all, the historian’s task is not to make heroes or villains but to show the full complexity of human beings.

At the center of the story is Sally Hemings, the half-sister of Jefferson’s wife and the mother of some of Jefferson’s children. The book also shows how a careful historian can interpret and evaluate different kinds of evidence, including documents, oral history, and DNA.

By Annette Gordon-Reed,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This epic work-named a best book of the year by the Washington Post, Time, the Los Angeles Times, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a notable book by the New York Times-tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826.


Book cover of North Carolina Legends

Jennifer Bean Bower Author Of Winston & Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem

From my list on North Carolina murders, mysteries, and legends.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jennifer Bean Bower is an award-winning writer and native Tar Heel. A passionate student of North Carolina history, Bower seeks to document the lesser-known people, places, and events of her state's past. She is the author of four books: North Carolina Aviatrix Viola Gentry: The Flying Cashier; Animal Adventures in North Carolina; Winston & Salem: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem; and Moravians in North Carolina.

Jennifer's book list on North Carolina murders, mysteries, and legends

Jennifer Bean Bower Why did Jennifer love this book?

Richard Walser, in his book North Carolina Legends, covers forty-eight of the state’s legends in this easy-to-read and enjoyable book. From the mountains to the coast, Walser describes how Joe Baldwin lost his head while trying to save two trains from crashing into one another at Maco Station and why a particular spot in Chatham County is thought to be the devil’s tramping ground. Walser’s short tales are the perfect read at a sleepover or during a night around the campfire. They are without a doubt tales that will be enjoyed time and time again.

By Richard Walser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

North Carolina is a place where history has been enriched by legends and folklore. The 48 colorful Tar Heel tales in this volume include such well-known stories as "Virginia Dare and the White Doe" and "Old Dan Tucker" and such lesser known yarns as "The Portrait of Theodosia Burr" and "Bladenboro's Vamire Beast." Striking drawings by Bill Ballard, one for each tale, bring North Carolina's mythical past to life.


Book cover of A Barefoot Tide

Myra Johnson Author Of The Soft Whisper of Roses

From my list on Christian true-to-life women dealing with life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a native of Texas who loves bluebonnets, big skies, and barbecue! With 25+ books in print, I write about imperfect characters who discover their inner strength as they lean on God and learn to trust each other and themselves. I’m fascinated by the dynamics of personalities and relationships, as well as the backstories that made the individuals who they are now. If you’re looking for stories of true-to-life characters growing deeper in faith while dealing with all the messiness human relationships entail, here are some novels you may enjoy.

Myra's book list on Christian true-to-life women dealing with life

Myra Johnson Why did Myra love this book?

Grace Greene writes the ultimate “beach read”—endearing characters, descriptions that put you right there at oceanside, and a poignant blend of emotion and humor. I love how Lilliane, the heroine, discovers courage she never thought she had. A temporary job as a live-in caregiver begins merely as a way to earn money for much-needed home repairs. But her stay in Emerald Isle, NC, becomes a life-changer, not only for her but for the elderly gentleman who soon becomes both friend and mentor. It’s a book about stepping out of your comfort zone and opening your heart to new possibilities no matter your age. And if this novel stirs your heart as it did mine, you won’t want to miss the sequel, A Dancing Tide.

By Grace Greene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Grace Greene, USA Today Bestselling author, and author of Beach Rental, The Memory of Butterflies, and The Wildflower House Series, brings us A Barefoot Tide ~ a standalone novel set along the crystal coast of North Carolina, in the small town of Emerald Isle. From rural Virginia to coastal Carolina ~ Lilliane Moore leaves the forests and rolling hills of her rural Virginia hometown, Cub Creek, to accept a temporary job as a companion to an elderly man who lives at the beach. It’s a risky move that’s out of character for her, but her thirties are passing quickly—she feels…


Book cover of The Yellow Wife

Kimberly Garret Brown Author Of Cora's Kitchen

From my list on celebrate the global resoluteness of Black women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been drawn to stories where I see aspects of myself in the characters since I was an adolescent and found comfort in the pages of Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. As a Black woman, I find validation and encouragement in novels where other Black women navigate life's obstacles to reach the desires of their hearts. It makes my life feel more manageable, knowing that I am not alone in the face of fear, loneliness, and self-doubt or more challenging social issues like racism, sexism, and classism. These stories give me hope and insight as I journey toward living life to its fullest. 

Kimberly's book list on celebrate the global resoluteness of Black women

Kimberly Garret Brown Why did Kimberly love this book?

Though I felt too raw after George Floyd’s death in the summer of 2020 to read about the shattered dreams of an enslaved woman, there was something about Pheby Brown’s story that I found intriguing.

I had spent the last few weeks reading various novels about wives. Enslaved at birth, Pheby is promised her freedom on her 18th birthday but instead is forced to become the mistress to the jailer at a place where slaves are broken, tortured, and sold every day.

I loved how Phebe’s ability to create these beautiful designs with her sewing enabled her to protect her heart and those she loved. I was inspired by her strength and perseverance in the face of the brutality of slavery.

By Sadeqa Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Best Book of the Year by NPR and Christian Science Monitor

Called “wholly engrossing” by New York Times bestselling author Kathleen Grissom, this “fully immersive” (Lisa Wingate, #1 bestselling author of Before We Were Yours) story follows an enslaved woman forced to barter love and freedom while living in the most infamous slave jail in Virginia.

Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Delores Brown has lived a relatively sheltered life. Shielded by her mother’s position as the estate’s medicine woman and cherished by the Master’s sister, she is set apart from the others on the plantation,…


Book cover of The Known World

Xolani Kacela Author Of Stop Anxiety In Its Tracks

From my list on a deep understanding of human nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for helping people realize they are only limited by their imagination. By dreaming wildly and acting on one’s dreams, a person can achieve highly unlikely outcomes. People are born to be free and pursue the things in life that make them happy and fulfilled. However, people need education, training, and mentoring. I am driven to do each of these to help others live fulfilling and purposeful lives. My expertise arises from my formal training and applied life lessons acquired from modeling highly-gifted teachers and friends.

Xolani's book list on a deep understanding of human nature

Xolani Kacela Why did Xolani love this book?

This book is so special in its depiction of human beings striving for survival.

It is the only book that shows African American as slaveholders. The charm is the clarity with which Jones writes. His gift is the ability to say complex things simply. He made me strive to be a better writer. His story helped me feel deeply in ways I had not previously known I could feel.

By Edward P. Jones,

Why should I read it?

4 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 The House Girl

Julianna Boyer Author Of Sunni: The Life and Love of King Tutankhamun's Wife

From my list on historical fiction about lesser-known characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for Historical Fiction. It started when I was 12 years old. Before that, I never liked any kind of history. Then, in school, we started learning about King Tut, and I was fascinated. I started having frequent dreams that he would sit and tell me stories about our life together and he believed that I was his wife, Sunni. Into adulthood, I still had these dreams, so I decided to write about the stories that he would tell. Along with exhaustive research, I learned who Sunni (Anukshanamun) was. My book is based on facts mixed with my dreams.

Julianna's book list on historical fiction about lesser-known characters

Julianna Boyer Why did Julianna love this book?

Lu Ann Bell was a painter in the 1850s who became well known for painting servants. It was actually her housemaid that did the paintings. I liked how the story depicts a lawyer in 2004 that tries to help the housemaids' descendants get what is rightfully hers.

Our history is full of talented people that were taken advantage of because of their status or race. I loved the fact that there are still people today that are trying to right the wrongs of yesterday.

By Tara Conklin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The House Girl, the historical fiction debut by Tara Conklin, is an unforgettable story of love, history, and a search for justice, set in modern-day New York and 1852 Virginia. Weaving together the story of an escaped slave in the pre-Civil War South and a determined junior lawyer, The House Girl follows Lina Sparrow as she looks for an appropriate lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking compensation for families of slaves. In her research, she learns about Lu Anne Bell, a renowned prewar artist whose famous works might have actually been painted by her slave, Josephine. Featuring two remarkable, unforgettable…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Virginia, multiracial people, and North Carolina?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Virginia, multiracial people, and North Carolina.

Virginia Explore 105 books about Virginia
Multiracial People Explore 69 books about multiracial people
North Carolina Explore 123 books about North Carolina