100 books like The Cloisters

By Katy Hays,

Here are 100 books that The Cloisters fans have personally recommended if you like The Cloisters. 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 Talented Mr. Ripley

Freddie Gillies Author Of Because All Fades

From my list on love and friendship set in Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

The best fiction explores complex relationships between friends and lovers. I’ve been fascinated by this for as long as I can remember because love and friendship are the cornerstones of human existence. As concepts, they give life meaning yet can also take it away. They bring us together but can also leave us estranged. The sun-soaked cities of Europe have for so long been playgrounds for young lovers and friends, enjoying both the best of life and the most melancholy. I love traveling Europe–the grandeur, the romance, the happy-sad sentiment of it all. It embodies the topic and makes for the most beautiful setting.

Freddie's book list on love and friendship set in Europe

Freddie Gillies Why did Freddie love this book?

Tom Ripley’s obsession with Dickie Greenleaf is so fascinating because it’s real but completely disturbing. I love this book because of Tom and Dickie, two characters who are loveable and hateable at the same time. The first half flew by on account of the setting–France, Italy, summer–it made me feel like I was there enjoying a European holiday with our protagonists. The second half turned everything on its head, and I was exhilarated and terrified all at once.

This story details love manifesting into a disturbing obsession, and this is a particularly interesting topic to explore. I loved the pace of the book (high, great plot) and the development of the characters. It is definitely one of my favorite stories about friendship with a beautiful European backdrop. 

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Talented Mr. Ripley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's here, in the first volume of Patricia Highsmith's five-book Ripley series, that we are introduced to the suave Tom Ripley, a young striver seeking to leave behind his past as an orphan bullied for being a "sissy." Newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante, and Ripley begins a deadly game. "Sinister and strangely alluring"…


Book cover of Fool Me Once

Annette Joseph Author Of The Killer Menu: A Delicious Tale of Food, Family and Murder

From my list on mystery books with a beautiful aesthetic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Annette Joseph, a writer and food stylist. I spend most of the year at our twelfth-century fortress in northern Tuscany. I have written six books, three cookbooks, and two memoirs about life in Italy. We run private retreats on the grounds. My book My Italian Guestbook is based on these retreats. Writing about everything around me in Italy gives me great pleasure.

Annette's book list on mystery books with a beautiful aesthetic

Annette Joseph Why did Annette love this book?

This novel involves family secrets.

When a husband from a wealthy family is shot in front of her, his wife goes on a tirade that has you invested in the story from the first page. Chocked with well-described characters, this story is driven by love and loss, from the cold and calculating mother-in-law to the sympathetic brother-in-law.

A wife’s journey to find her husband's killer will have you constantly guessing. This book is full of twists and turns, with a twist at the end that leaves you spinning.

By Harlan Coben,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fool Me Once as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

STOP PRESS NEWS! NOW A SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER, AND OPTIONED FOR FILM WITH JULIA ROBERTS TO STAR IN AND PRODUCE

If your husband was murdered
And you were a witness
How do you explain it when he appears on your nanny cam?
You thought you trusted him.
Now you can't even trust yourself.

Dark secrets and a terrifying hunt for the truth lie at the heart of this gripping new thriller by the 'master of the double twist', Harlan Coben.


Book cover of The Secret History

Robin Peguero Author Of One In The Chamber

From my list on friends guarding a killer secret.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a Spanish-speaking household, there was a saying: “Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.” That is, the company you keep says a lot about you. The sense of belonging that comes from being a part of a group is something we have chased since we were kids. I remember the close-knit friends’ group I joined in the eighth grade, and the core four of us are still best friends to this day (just about 25 years later!). I’m fascinated by what those strong bonds can make you do–including leading you to bend or break your moral compass. 

Robin's book list on friends guarding a killer secret

Robin Peguero Why did Robin love this book?

We’ve all been there: trying to impress a group of haughty, self-involved people because, deep down, we care oh so much about what they think.

That’s what I love about this book and, in particular, these characters. You hate them. You love to hate them. You find them off-putting and noxious. But you can’t stop reading about them. Because you, too, like our main character Richard, want a peek into their exclusive, wealthy world and to imagine what it would be like to be a part of it. 

By Donna Tartt,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Secret History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BESTSELLER THAT DEFINED AN AGE

'Everything, somehow, fit together; some sly and benevolent Providence was revealing itself by degrees and I felt myself trembling on the brink of a fabulous discovery, as though any morning it was all going to come together---my future, my past, the whole of my life---and I was going to sit up in bed like a thunderbolt and say oh! oh! oh!'

Under the influence of a charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at a New England college discover a way of thought and life a world away from their banal contemporaries.…


Book cover of The Housemaid

K.T. Carlisle Author Of Reasonable

From my list on murder mysteries and psychological thrillers that will keep you up at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed with murder mysteries and psychological thrillers for as long as I can remember. My father’s bookshelves were full of anthologies on serial killers, which piqued my curiosity at a very early age (probably too early, but we’re not here to judge my dad’s parenting skills, okay?). As I familiarized myself with the likes of Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and John Wayne Gacy, I became enthralled by the psychology behind what makes people commit heinous acts. Now as an author myself, these same stories fuel my inspiration and keep me motivated to write books that further explore the darker side of human nature. 

K.T.'s book list on murder mysteries and psychological thrillers that will keep you up at night

K.T. Carlisle Why did K.T. love this book?

 One of the most gripping stories I’ve read in a long time, this book sticks with you long after you put it down. I raced through it in less than six hours, unable to put it down until I reached the end, which, of course, I never saw coming.

From the vivid descriptions to the expertly crafted characters to the unrelenting suspense, I was blown away by this book and absolutely cannot wait to read more work by this author. What surprised me the most were the moments of comic relief which at times were enough to get me to laugh right out loud, even with all the dark drama going on. I can’t wait to dive into another of Freida’s fabulous stories! 

By Freida McFadden,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Housemaid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don't miss the New York Times and USA Today bestseller and addictive psychological thriller with a jaw-dropping twist that’s burning up Instagram and TikTok--Freida McFadden’s The Housemaid is perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, Lisa Jewell, and Verity.

Every day I clean the Winchesters’ beautiful house top to bottom. I collect their daughter from school. And I cook a delicious meal for the whole family before heading up to eat alone in my tiny room on the top floor.

I try to ignore how Nina makes a mess just to watch me clean it up. How she tells strange lies…


Book cover of The Resemblance

Joanna Margaret Author Of The Bequest

From my list on Dark Academia by women to read right now.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer whose passion for Dark Academia developed in the academic world, teaching and studying at universities, as well as working in libraries and archives across the U.S. and Europe. I hold a master’s degree and Ph.D. in History from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. The hallowed halls of historic universities provide an ideal backdrop to explore ruthless competition and the relentless drive for intellectual supremacy, which is integral to the Academy. It’s a happy coincidence to me that Dark Academia books have become so popular recently. Fun fact: The Bequest was written before I had ever heard the term! 

Joanna's book list on Dark Academia by women to read right now

Joanna Margaret Why did Joanna love this book?

I love a Dark Academia book that knows the world of academia intimately, and this thriller, which focuses on controversial Greek life at the University of Georgia, gets everything right.

Competition between students, peer pressure, department intrigues, and more come alive in this brilliant debut. This comes as no surprise, as Nossett, in addition to being an amazing writer, is herself a professor, and holds a PhD in German literature.

In addition to being a total page-turner, this enthralling novel highlights contemporary issues faced on college campuses, with an emphasis on ethical debates surrounding fraternities and sororities. Nossett’s characterization is excellent, and her determined, whip-smart, and yet imperfect protagonist, Detective Marlitt Kaplan, is one I rooted for, and you will, too.

By Lauren Nossett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lauren Nossett’s artfully written debut, The Resemblance is an exhilarating, atmospheric campus thriller reminiscent of If We Were Villains and The Likeness.

Never betray the brotherhood

On a chilly November morning at the University of Georgia, a fraternity brother steps off a busy crosswalk and is struck dead by an oncoming car. More than a dozen witnesses all agree on two things: the driver looked identical to the victim, and he was smiling.

Detective Marlitt Kaplan is first on the scene. An Athens native and the daughter of a UGA professor, she knows all its shameful histories, from the skull…


Book cover of Give Me Your Hand

Joanna Margaret Author Of The Bequest

From my list on Dark Academia by women to read right now.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer whose passion for Dark Academia developed in the academic world, teaching and studying at universities, as well as working in libraries and archives across the U.S. and Europe. I hold a master’s degree and Ph.D. in History from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. The hallowed halls of historic universities provide an ideal backdrop to explore ruthless competition and the relentless drive for intellectual supremacy, which is integral to the Academy. It’s a happy coincidence to me that Dark Academia books have become so popular recently. Fun fact: The Bequest was written before I had ever heard the term! 

Joanna's book list on Dark Academia by women to read right now

Joanna Margaret Why did Joanna love this book?

Megan Abbott has been called the queen of crime fiction, and it’s easy to see why.

This is my personal favorite of her books, set in the academic world—as usual, Abbott’s prose is vivid and dazzling, and she crafts deeply flawed but sympathetic characters. Her evocation of female friendships, highlighted here in the context of an elite scientific research lab, is second to none. This haunting tale of ambition and rivalry kept me up at night.

By Megan Abbott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Give Me Your Hand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Megan Abbott at her very best. Cool, crisp, chilling.' Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

You told each other everything. Then she told you too much.

Kit has risen to the top of her profession and is on the brink of achieving everything she wanted. She hasn't let anything stop her.

But now someone else is standing in her way - Diane. Best friends at seventeen, their shared ambition made them inseparable. Until the day Diane told Kit her secret - the worst thing she'd ever done, the worst thing Kit could imagine - and it blew…


Book cover of In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Robin Peguero Author Of One In The Chamber

From my list on friends guarding a killer secret.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a Spanish-speaking household, there was a saying: “Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.” That is, the company you keep says a lot about you. The sense of belonging that comes from being a part of a group is something we have chased since we were kids. I remember the close-knit friends’ group I joined in the eighth grade, and the core four of us are still best friends to this day (just about 25 years later!). I’m fascinated by what those strong bonds can make you do–including leading you to bend or break your moral compass. 

Robin's book list on friends guarding a killer secret

Robin Peguero Why did Robin love this book?

At heart, I might still be five years old because I love a good puzzle. This book features dual timelines that–piece by piece–build for you a portrait you don’t see coming.

Do you remember how satisfying it feels to snap a puzzle piece into its proper place? That’s how I felt discovering the web these friends were weaving–bit by bit, page by page–and when I got to the “big picture,” the ending, I was stunned, entertained, and ultimately gratified.

By Ashley Winstead,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In My Dreams I Hold a Knife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"[A] mordant debut novel....examines what it means to covet the lives of others, no matter the cost."-The New York Times

"Tense, twisty, and packed with shocks."-Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Survive The Night

Six friends.
One college reunion.
One unsolved murder.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to her southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see-confident, beautiful, indifferent. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather…


Book cover of The Housemaid's Secret

Annette Joseph Author Of The Killer Menu: A Delicious Tale of Food, Family and Murder

From my list on mystery books with a beautiful aesthetic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Annette Joseph, a writer and food stylist. I spend most of the year at our twelfth-century fortress in northern Tuscany. I have written six books, three cookbooks, and two memoirs about life in Italy. We run private retreats on the grounds. My book My Italian Guestbook is based on these retreats. Writing about everything around me in Italy gives me great pleasure.

Annette's book list on mystery books with a beautiful aesthetic

Annette Joseph Why did Annette love this book?

The follow-up to The Housemaid, sometimes a second book, can be the kiss of death. But in this case, Freida does not fall into that trap.

What happened to the housemaid after things fell apart in her world, and she narrowly escapes a frightening fate in the first book? She’s learned a few life lessons that propel her in this book.

I found the follow-up satisfying and well done. You will want to read both books. 

By Freida McFadden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE GOODREADS AWARD FOR BEST CRIME AND THRILLER 2023

As he continues showing me their incredible penthouse apartment, I have a terrible feeling about the woman behind closed doors. But I can't risk losing this job - not if I want to keep my darkest secret safe . . .

It's hard to find an employer who doesn't ask too many questions about my past. So I thank my lucky stars that the Garricks miraculously give me a job, cleaning their stunning penthouse with views across the city and preparing fancy meals in their shiny kitchen. I can…


Book cover of Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth

Laura Perry Author Of The Minoan Tarot

From my list on to make Tarot seem less intimidating.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began reading Tarot in high school – or at least, trying to. Like most people, I was pretty intimidated starting out. It took several teachers, a stack of books, and a lot of years before I understood that Tarot cards are simply repositories for symbols of the human experience. That’s how they continue to be so popular: they speak to something deep within us all. It was only natural that my art endeavors and my passion for the ancient Minoans would eventually dovetail with my love of Tarot. The end result was The Minoan Tarot, which I’m delighted to share with you along with these excellent Tarot books.

Laura's book list on to make Tarot seem less intimidating

Laura Perry Why did Laura love this book?

If you’ve ever thought about using the Tarot for personal development instead of just divination, but didn’t know where to start, Holistic Tarot is the resource for you. Tarot cards are no substitute for a good therapist, but in this book, Benebell Wen shows you how to use the cards to better understand your emotions and desires and to help you remove blockages to your creativity and satisfaction with life. This is a structured and methodical approach that will give you practical results.

By Benebell Wen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Designed for beginning as well as experienced tarot readers, Holistic Tarot offers a fresh and easy-to-follow approach to the use of the tarot deck for tapping into subconscious knowledge and creativity. The tarot deck has been used as a divination tool for more than two centuries; while the tarot is still most commonly thought of as "fortune telling," the true power of the tarot lies in its ability to channel a clear path for our deep intuition to shine through. Consulting the tarot can help clear creativity blockages, clarify ambitions, work through complex decisions, and make sense of emotions and…


Book cover of The Tarot: History, Symbolism, & Divination

Kirsten Weiss Author Of The Mysteries of Tarot: A Work of the Imagination

From my list on how to read Tarot.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I joined the Peace Corps in the early nineties, I wasn’t allowed to take much luggage. I decided to bring a Tarot deck, figuring I’d finally have time to learn it while parked in an Estonian forest. That Tarot deck opened up a world of Renaissance mysticism and magic, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Tarot cards and readings feature prominently in many of my cozy mystery novels, not the least of which are the Tea and Tarot mysteries. Now my imaginary Tarot reader from that series, Hyperion Night, has recently written his own Tarot guidebook, The Mysteries of Tarot.

Kirsten's book list on how to read Tarot

Kirsten Weiss Why did Kirsten love this book?

Robert Place is my favorite Tarot historian and artist.

What I love about this book is that he writes it in such a way that his discussion of the history of the cards makes it easier to understand and remember their symbolism (always useful when you’re trying to read Tarot). It also has detailed descriptions of different spreads.

But to my mind, it’s just a fun, interesting read, and a book I’ve turned to many a time for research and reading purposes.

By Robert Place,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Tarot is one of the few books that cuts through conventional misperceptions to explore the Tarot deck as it really developed in the Middle Ages and Renaissance Europe-not, as some would suggest, in the far reaches of Egyp-tian antiquity. Mining the Hermetic, alchemical, and Neoplatonic influences behind the evolution of the deck, author Robert M. Place provides a historically grounded and compelling portrait of the Tarot's true origins, without overlooking the deck's mystical dimensions.

Indeed, Place uncommonly weds reliable historiography with a practical understanding of the intuitive help and divinatory guidance that the cards can bring. He presents techniques…


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