100 books like The Darlings

By Cristina Alger,

Here are 100 books that The Darlings fans have personally recommended if you like The Darlings. 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 Bonfire of the Vanities

David Hagerty Author Of They Tell Me You Are Wicked

From my list on political crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Chicago in the waning days of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s machine, which politicized everything from schools to loading zones. Everyone—whether they were civil servants or small business owners—had to pledge loyalty to Da Boss, Hizzoner, or suffer the consequences. As a result, I’ve always gravitated to crime stories with a political element, one showing the effects of big conflicts on regular people. And I’ve written about the same. 

David's book list on political crime fiction

David Hagerty Why did David love this book?

A social satire that perfectly captured the greed and arrogance of the 1980s. Sherman Helmsly is a master of the universe, a rich bond trader with a penthouse in New York, and a randy mistress—until he accidentally runs over a black boy in the Bronx. The result is a political scandal that reaches from the mayor’s office to the tabloids, with many memorable characters and acute parodies of the era. Those who lived in or followed the scandals of the city at the time—from Tawana Brawley to Ivan Boesky—will recognize several real people and stories in this fiction.

By Tom Wolfe,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Bonfire of the Vanities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An exhilarating satire of Eighties excess that captures the effervescent spirit of New York, from one of the greatest writers of modern American prose

Sherman McCoy is a WASP, bond trader and self-appointed 'Master of the Universe'. He has a fashionable wife, a Park Avenue apartment and a Southern mistress. His spectacular fall begins the moment he is involved in a hit-and-run accident in the Bronx. Prosecutors, newspaper hacks, politicians and clergy close in on him, determined to bring him down.

Exuberant, scandalous and exceptionally discerning, The Bonfire of the Vanities was Tom Wolfe's first venture into fiction and cemented…


Book cover of The Snakes

Jillian Medoff Author Of When We Were Bright and Beautiful

From my list on very rich families with very dark secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

According to Entertainment Weekly, I’m a “bestselling author who has made a name for [myself] with uncannily insightful takes on the dark side of family institutions.” But really, I’m just a novelist who has always been fascinated by the myriad ways we play out our unresolved issues from childhood, again and again, over the course of our lives. Although my books are very different from each other, they all focus on the interrelationships among family members (traditional families, work families, etc.). In my most recent novel, When We Were Bright and Beautiful, I look at how wealth, privilege, and power can corrupt even the most loving relationships.

Jillian's book list on very rich families with very dark secrets

Jillian Medoff Why did Jillian love this book?

A dark psychological thriller, The Snakes is a study of greed, and how feelings of deprivation and jealousy can infect a family and destroy each of its members slowly and painfully, from the inside out. The novel is a slow-burn character portrait (versus, say, plot-driven adventure), but Sadie Jones does a terrific job of pulling you into the story and ratcheting up the tension. In the novel, a recently married couple rents out their London apartment to escape for a few months. Driving through France, they visit the wife’s brother at a hotel he runs. When their parents make a surprise visit, the story—and the family—unravels brilliantly until the final delicious, electrifying ending.

By Sadie Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Read the all-consuming story of a family whose worst sins come back to bite them from the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of The Outcast

'A menacing beautifully written novel' Guardian

'Unsettling, thought-provoking' Heat

Bea and Dan, recently married, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea's dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic.

When Alex and Bea's parents make a surprise visit, Dan can't understand…


Book cover of The Emperor's Children

Jillian Medoff Author Of When We Were Bright and Beautiful

From my list on very rich families with very dark secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

According to Entertainment Weekly, I’m a “bestselling author who has made a name for [myself] with uncannily insightful takes on the dark side of family institutions.” But really, I’m just a novelist who has always been fascinated by the myriad ways we play out our unresolved issues from childhood, again and again, over the course of our lives. Although my books are very different from each other, they all focus on the interrelationships among family members (traditional families, work families, etc.). In my most recent novel, When We Were Bright and Beautiful, I look at how wealth, privilege, and power can corrupt even the most loving relationships.

Jillian's book list on very rich families with very dark secrets

Jillian Medoff Why did Jillian love this book?

The Emperor’s Children is a brilliant novel about three college friends making their way in the world, each representing a different social stratum. Marina Thwaite, an “It” girl from a wealthy, intellectual, and well-known family is the epitome of class and privilege. But then her idealistic, ambitious cousin arrives, and life gets complicated. A story of ambition, illusions, delusions, and self-invention, The Emperor’s Children is a dazzling novel.  

By Claire Messud,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With an introduction by Neel Mukherjee.

In Manhattan, just after the century's turn, three thirty-year-old friends, Danielle, Marina and Julius, are seeking their fortunes. But the arrival of Marina's young cousin Bootie - fresh from the provinces and keen, too, to make his mark - forces them to confront their own desires and expectations.

The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud is an American classic: a sweeping portrait of one of the most fascinating cities in the world, and a haunting illustration of how the events of a single day can change everything, for ever.


Book cover of Very Cold People

Jillian Medoff Author Of When We Were Bright and Beautiful

From my list on very rich families with very dark secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

According to Entertainment Weekly, I’m a “bestselling author who has made a name for [myself] with uncannily insightful takes on the dark side of family institutions.” But really, I’m just a novelist who has always been fascinated by the myriad ways we play out our unresolved issues from childhood, again and again, over the course of our lives. Although my books are very different from each other, they all focus on the interrelationships among family members (traditional families, work families, etc.). In my most recent novel, When We Were Bright and Beautiful, I look at how wealth, privilege, and power can corrupt even the most loving relationships.

Jillian's book list on very rich families with very dark secrets

Jillian Medoff Why did Jillian love this book?

Very Cold People is an atmospheric, sharply observed coming-of-age novel set in an old money town called Waitsfield, outside Boston. Ruthie, the narrator, is not wealthy at all, and her story is one of slights, deprivation, and wanting. Everyone is hiding something, including Ruthie and her family, and Sarah Manguso ratchets up the tension as the book unfolds, and their secrets are revealed. 

By Sarah Manguso,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The masterly debut novel from “an exquisitely astute writer” (The Boston Globe), about growing up in—and out of—the suffocating constraints of small-town America.
 
“Compact and beautiful . . . This novel bordering on a novella punches above its weight.”—The New York Times

“Very Cold People reminded me of My Brilliant Friend.”—The New Yorker

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New Yorker, NPR, Good Housekeeping

“My parents didn’t belong in Waitsfield, but they moved there anyway.”

For Ruthie, the frozen town of Waitsfield, Massachusetts, is all she has ever known.

Once home to the country’s oldest and most…


Book cover of The Noh Family

Sarah Suk Author Of The Space between Here & Now

From my list on YA that take you on a journey through South Korea.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid growing up in Canada, many of my classmates didn’t know about Korea. They’d guess I was Chinese or Japanese, and when I’d tell them I’m Korean, they’d say, “What’s that?” Things have changed since then and now Korea is well-known all around the world, and that’s reflected in our bookshelves too. I’m delighted to see that there are more books out there today that reflect my culture and heritage, in a wide range of genres, age groups, and settings! Speaking of setting, here are some young adult novels that take place in South Korea that I enjoyed, and I hope you will too.

Sarah's book list on YA that take you on a journey through South Korea

Sarah Suk Why did Sarah love this book?

We love a good drama in this house and The Noh Family delivers!

When Chloe takes a 23-and-Me test and discovers that she has extended family in Seoul, she flies across the world to meet them for the very first time… only to find out they’re one of the richest families in South Korea. The glitz and glamour and the twists and turns in this book make for an incredibly compelling read. A great page turner.

By Grace K. Shim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Noh Family 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?

When her friends gift her a 23andMe test as a gag, high school senior Chloe Chang doesn't think much of trying it out. She doesn't believe anything will come of it - she's an only child, her mother is an orphan, and her father died in Seoul before she was even born, and before her mother moved to Oklahoma. It's been just Chloe and her mum her whole life. But the DNA test reveals something Chloe never expected - she's got a whole extended family from her father's side half a world away in Korea.

Turns out her father's family…


Book cover of The Majesties

Laura Elizabeth Woollett Author Of The Love of a Bad Man

From my list on badly behaved women.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my reading and writing, I’m drawn to complex characters, who embody the unpleasant impulses and mixed motivations we all have. I especially love well-drawn antiheroines, as women tend to be judged more harshly for being badly behaved, in life. All my books revolve around women who fit this description, from the wives and girlfriends of notorious serial killers in The Love of a Bad Man to the inner-circle of Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple in Beautiful Revolutionary to Paulina Novak, the reckless, alcoholic murder victim at the heart of The Newcomer. To me, fiction is a playground for exploring the extremes of human thought and behaviour. 

Laura's book list on badly behaved women

Laura Elizabeth Woollett Why did Laura love this book?

Originally published as Under Your Wings in Australia, The Majesties could just easily be titled My Sister, the Mass-Murderer. It has one of my favourite openings of all time: beginning in a hospital, where Chinese-Indonesian fashion designer Gwendolyn lies comatose, the sole survivor of her sister Estella’s mass-poisoning of their 300-strong family dynasty. Though it has been compared to Crazy Rich Asians with its globe-trotting plot (taking place in Jakarta, Paris, and Melbourne, among other settings), The Majesties is a more sombre read, exploring corruption and racial tension in the upper echelons of Indonesian society. 

By Tiffany Tsao,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Best Books to Read in August - The Independent

Gwendolyn and Estella are as close as sisters can be. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor after Estella poisons their entire family.

As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to such a brutal act.

Journeying from the luxurious world of Indonesia's rich and powerful, to the spectacular shows of Paris Fashion Week, and the melting pot of Melbourne's student scene, The Majesties is a haunting novel about the dark secrets that can build a family…


Book cover of Behold the Dreamers

Addison Armstrong Author Of The Light of Luna Park

From my list on New York City past to present.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up thinking I liked reading about NYC more than I’d like living there. It was too hectic and loud for a bookworm like me, I thought, too dirty and dangerous. Then my husband was accepted to Cornell’s MD/PhD program, and we moved to Manhattan. Immediately, I found that while the city is as dirty as I’d feared (and it smells), its advantages far outweigh the rest. I can’t get enough of the parks, museums, food, diversity, or the history, much of which drives The Light of Luna Park. So, without further ado, here are my five favorite books that take place in New York from the 1800s to today.

Addison's book list on New York City past to present

Addison Armstrong Why did Addison love this book?

Behold the Dreamers follows Cameroonian immigrants Jende and Neni Jonga as they build their lives in New York City. We see the many cities within the city through Jende and Neni's home in Harlem, their work for a family in the Upper East Side and the Hamptons, their friends in the Bronx, and Jende's boss' career on Wall Street. Mbue explores home, belonging, family, and identity as it warps or stays the same across racial, national, and economic divides. This human book is joyful and depressing and universal and intimate and personal and political. 

By Imbolo Mbue,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Behold the Dreamers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy

New York Times Bestseller • Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award • Longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award • An ALA Notable Book

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY 
NPR • The New York Times Book Review • San Francisco Chronicle • The Guardian • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Chicago Public Library • BookPage • Refinery29 • Kirkus…


Book cover of A Woman Is No Man

Sam Dagher Author Of Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family's Lust for Power Destroyed Syria

From my list on people of the Levant region.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sam Dagher is a Lebanese-American journalist and author with more than 15 years of experience reporting on the Middle East and its people. He has lived in Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus and worked throughout the region. Sam has been committed to telling the region’s stories from the ground up and in the process shedding new light on the root causes of war, extremism, and migration.

Sam's book list on people of the Levant region

Sam Dagher Why did Sam love this book?

In a 2019 interview with NPR, Etaf Rum—the daughter of Palestinian immigrants who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York—said one of her struggles in writing the book was the fear that she was in a way confirming stereotypes about Arabs and Middle Easterners, including “oppression, domestic abuse, and terrorism.” Thankfully Rum overcame these struggles to deliver a courageous, beautiful, and incredibly authentic debut novel that follows the lives of three generations of Palestinian-American women trying to find their voices and identities within the confines of patriarchal and conservative milieus. In a way, the struggles of Rum and her characters mirror the battles that young people throughout the Middle East have been waging against tyranny and oppression since the start of the Arab Spring in 2010.

By Etaf Rum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Woman Is No Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A The Millions Most Anticipated Book of 2019

"Sometimes heroism is loud and dramatic. Other times, it is daring to listen to that quiet voice within and having the courage to follow it. In this story, we see inside the lives of three generations of Palestinian women living in America, struggling and suffering to hear that voice. Etaf Rum has done a great service by sharing these voices with us." -Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times Bestselling Author of SECRET DAUGHTER and THE GOLDEN SON

Three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the…


Book cover of The Other Family

V.P. Morris Author Of ShadowCast

From my list on thrillers with morally gray female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by people’s motives whether that be in real life or written on the page. That’s what drew me to write in the thriller genre to begin with because at the core, it's about finding out why people do things. But sometimes this genre portrays female characters as either innocent damsels or evil femme fatales, neither of which captures that women are a mix of good and bad like all other people. That’s why I try to write my female protagonists in my novels, short stories, and fictional podcasts, in a way that makes them conflicted humans and causes them to experience both downfalls and triumphs. 

V.P.'s book list on thrillers with morally gray female protagonists

V.P. Morris Why did V.P. love this book?

This novel is exactly what I look for in a thriller.

It’s fast-paced, filled with twists, and full of complex female characters.

The Howell Family is forced to move from California to Brooklyn for the husband’s job. Wife and mother, Nora is tasked with setting up their new home and getting her two teen daughters settled into their new schools.

However, she discovers their new Brownstone was the site of a grisly murder of an entire family in the 1990s. Soon one of the daughters notices someone stalking her and their house causing the family to fear the killer has returned.

But Nora isn’t the helpless stay-at-home mother everyone thinks she is as she goes through great lengths including hiding a dark past to keep her family safe. 

By Wendy Corsi Staub,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of PopSugar's Most Anticipated Books!

One of Bibliofile's Most Anticipated Mystery/Thriller Books!

“Great psychological suspense with a wallop of a twist.” —Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author

New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub makes her trade paperback debut with a fast-paced thriller in the vein of Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs and Megan Collins’ The Winter Sister. Here, a family making a fresh start moves into a house which was the site of an unsolved triple homicide—and are watched by an unknown person...

The watcher sees who you are...and knows what you did. 

It’s the…


Book cover of The Better Sister

Adam Mitzner Author Of A Conflict of Interest

From my list on to read after you’ve binged Law & Order.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come by my love of legal thrillers honestly – when I’m not writing them, I’m living them as a full-time practicing lawyer. The cases in my real-life legal practice are far less exciting than those experienced by the lawyers in my books (or the books I’ve recommended here), but the throughline that connects them is that in reality and in fiction, the stakes are very high, the people involved have a motivation for what they’ve done, and the outcome is always in doubt until that last page. 

Adam's book list on to read after you’ve binged Law & Order

Adam Mitzner Why did Adam love this book?

I first met Alafair Burke after my first book was accepted for publication (at a book reading she was giving) and she was extremely generous with her time and advice about being a crime-fiction writer. I’ve read most of her books, but this is my favorite, combining first-rate knowledge of the legal system with long-hidden family secrets and resentments. 

By Alafair Burke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bestselling author of The Ex and The Wife
*The Girl She Was, available to pre-order now*
'Highly addictive' KARIN SLAUGHTER 'A major talent' HARLAN COBEN

Keep your enemies close and your sister closer...

For a while, it seemed like both Taylor sisters had found happiness. Chloe landed a coveted publishing job in New York City. Nicky got married to a promising young attorney named Adam McIntosh and became a mother to a baby boy named Ethan.

But now, fourteen years later, it is Chloe who is married to Adam. When he is murdered at the couple's beach house, she has…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in family secrets, financial crises, and the upper class?

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