10 books like The French Lieutenant's Woman

By John Fowles,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The French Lieutenant's Woman. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Cold Mountain

By Charles Frazier,

Book cover of Cold Mountain

Harper Ford Author Of Divorced Not Dead

From the list on beautifully sad love stories.

Who am I?

I write romcoms as Harper Ford, yet I also write historical fiction as Rebecca Mascull and Mollie Walton. You’ll probably notice that all of my choices are either historical fiction or writers from the past. I just love an old-timey love story! My romcoms are funny (or at least they’re trying to be). But funnily enough, it’s the tragic, heart-rending love stories that stick in my mind when I think about romance in books. I hope you enjoy these novels as much as I have. But don’t forget to have a box of tissues to wipe away the inevitable tears…there aren’t many laughs to be had here! But hopefully a transcendent reading experience instead.

Harper's book list on beautifully sad love stories

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Why did Harper love this book?

Cold Mountain tells the tale of two people separated and ultimately drawn inexorably together by the American Civil War in the 1860s.

We follow Inman, a wounded soldier, as he abandons the battlefield to make his way across the war-torn country to Cold Mountain, where his love Ada lives. She is trying to scratch a living from her dead father’s farm in terrible conditions.

The whole story is written in exquisite style, with the narrative moving forward as one stays still while the other slowly moves towards their joint goal of being together once more. Get those tissues ready for a good cry…you’re gonna need them…

By Charles Frazier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1997, Charles Frazier’s debut novel Cold Mountain made publishing history when it sailed to the top of The New York Times best-seller list for sixty-one weeks, won numerous literary awards, including the National Book Award, and went on to sell over three million copies. Now, the beloved American epic returns, reissued by Grove Press to coincide with the publication of Frazier’s eagerly-anticipated second novel, Thirteen Moons. Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, a Confederate soldier named Inman decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains to Ada, the woman he loves.…


Home Before Morning

By Lynda Van Devanter,

Book cover of Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam

Robert J. Begiebing Author Of The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin

From the list on British and American historical fiction, 1850-1960.

Who am I?

I’m the author of ten books, including fiction, memoir, collected journalism, and criticism. My novels are historical fiction, hence my decision to make my recommendations within that genre, mostly. My own historical novels comprise a tetralogy beginning with The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin and ending with The Turner Erotica, so the series takes the reader roughly from 1648 to 1900. The second book chronologically in the series, Rebecca Wentworth’s Distraction, won the 2003 Langum Prize for historical fiction. Retired now, I was the founding director of the MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction at Southern New Hampshire University.

Robert's book list on British and American historical fiction, 1850-1960

Discover why each book is one of Robert's favorite books.

Why did Robert love this book?

I’m going to jump historical genres slightly and recommend Lynda Van Devanter’s Vietnam memoir which reads like historical fiction and is every bit as engaging as the great novels and memoirs of the Vietnam War written by such men as Robert Stone, Larry Heinemann, Michael Herr, Tim O’Brien, Philip Caputo, and Karl Marlantes. As an Army nurse, Devanter gave it her all to save others. This book is her effort to learn to live with what she witnessed in Vietnam, to get the truth down as honestly as she can by using all the narrative techniques of the novelist. Of the great books written about that horrific time in our country’s (and Vietnam’s) history, this one grabbed me from start to finish like no other. A powerful voice is telling us what we too readily forget now—that war is a criminal activity, no matter how justified or how much the…

By Lynda Van Devanter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Home Before Morning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lynda Van Devanter was the girl next door, the cheerleader who went to Catholic schools, enjoyed sports, and got along well with her four sisters and parents. After high school she attended nursing school and then did something that would shatter her secure world for the rest of her life: in 1969, she joined the army and was shipped to Vietnam. When she arrived in Vietnam her idealistic view of the war vanished quickly. She worked long and arduous hours in cramped, ill-equipped, understaffed operating rooms. She saw friends die. Witnessing a war close-up, operating on soldiers and civilians whose…


Regeneration

By Pat Barker,

Book cover of Regeneration

Benjamin Markovits Author Of Imposture

From the list on historical fiction about famous writers.

Who am I?

When I was fourteen years old, my family moved from Texas to London for a year, and I started going to a little second-hand book shop around the corner. It was run by a long-haired Canadian, who always smoked a pipe. There were only three or four aisles, plus a cluttered backroom. You could pick up a 19th-century edition of the complete works of Shelley, with uncut pages, for two pounds. One volume led to another, in the same way that one friendship can lead to another, or introduce you to a new circle of people. Twenty-odd years later, I decided to write a novel about some of these writers.  

Benjamin's book list on historical fiction about famous writers

Discover why each book is one of Benjamin's favorite books.

Why did Benjamin love this book?

When I was seventeen, I endlessly reread Robert Graves’s classic memoir Goodbye to All That.

It was the combination of his very low-key description of an ordinary middle-class English childhood with his equally matter-of-fact account of the horrors of the First World War that drew me. Pat Barker’s novel covers the aftermath of that experience, as poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen recover from “shell-shock” (or what we would now call post-traumatic stress disorder) at Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh, under the pioneering care of psychiatrist W. H. R. Rivers.

How do you find meaning in ordinary life after suffering through so much meaningless destruction? But it’s also a novel about literary friendship, as Sassoon and Owen deal with their experiences by encouraging each other’s poetry – and Rivers himself tries to understand their trauma by writing about them. 

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Regeneration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Calls to mind such early moderns as Hemingway and Fitzgerald...Some of the most powerful antiwar literature in modern English fiction."-The Boston Globe

The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy-a Booker Prize nominee and one of Entertainment Weekly's 100 All-Time Greatest Novels.

In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back…


Ninety-Three

By Victor Hugo,

Book cover of Ninety-Three

Joy Sheridan Author Of Charity Amour

From the list on the French Revolution.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by the Regency Period, and because of this fascination, I explored its historical context in full. That includes, of course, the French Revolution and its repercussions in England and globally. I am also obsessed with the literary concept of the heroine, and wanted to create characters who in some ways synthesized Moll Flanders and Jane Eyre, bridging the gap between 18th and 19th Century expression.

Joy's book list on the French Revolution

Discover why each book is one of Joy's favorite books.

Why did Joy love this book?

A total feeling for the pulse of the Revolution, and a focus on its core in that fatal year – the end of the Monarchy, the ushering-in of the Reign of terror. Its reverberations spread everywhere. It gave me such a strong sense of the decadence of the ancien régime, and the fury of the populace that aroused.  

By Victor Hugo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ninety-Three as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ninety-Three (1874) is the final novel of Victor Hugo. As a work of historical fiction, the story is set during the period of conflict between the newly formed French Republic and the Royalists who sought to reverse the gains of the revolution. Praised for its morality and honest depiction of the horrors of war, Ninety-Three influenced such wide-ranging political thinkers as Joseph Stalin and Ayn Rand. "The soldiers forced cautiously. Everything was in full bloom; they were surrounded by a quivering wall of branches, whose leaves diffused a delicious freshness. Here and there sunbeams pierced these green shades." Advancing through…


A Tale of Two Cities

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of A Tale of Two Cities

Carl J. Griffin Author Of The Politics of Hunger: Protest, Poverty and Policy in England, C. 1750-C. 1840

From the list on explaining the politics behind hunger.

Who am I?

I’m driven to understand the lives and mentalities of poor workers at the time of the Industrial Revolution. It’s a subject on which a great has been written but I’ve always been surprised that, in a British context, the subject of hunger has been largely ignored. The great joy of being a historical scholar is that freedom to follow your nose in the archive, to trust your instinct, and to uncover untold stories of the forgotten. Their experiences of hunger might relate to a now seemingly distant world, but such hunger histories are also amazingly prescient in our new age of food banks and famines. 

Carl's book list on explaining the politics behind hunger

Discover why each book is one of Carl's favorite books.

Why did Carl love this book?

"Hunger stared down from the smokeless chimneys, and started up from the filthy street that had no offal, among its refuse, of anything to eat." In these few short words Charles Dickens artfully summed up the experience – and landscapes – of abject urban poverty. Set in Paris and London during the period of the first French Revolution, it is perhaps more convoluted and less effective in terms of characterization than his best novels, but it pulls no punches. Although it’s a historical novel, and a romance at that, it’s as close as we can get to feeling what it must have been like to be hungry at that moment in which our modern world – and its social problems – was made.

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked A Tale of Two Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sydney Carton is a lawyer who has wasted his abilities and his life. Now he has to make a difficult choice about what is really important to him, which could be a matter of life or death. The French Revolution is running its violent course; lives are ruined as a new France is created. How did the gentle Doctor Manette and his daughter Lucie become caught up in France's struggles? What is the real identity of the handsome Charles Darnay, who wins Lucie's hand in marriage? And why does the shadow of La Bastille Prison hang over them all? The…


Soul Catcher

By Michael C. White,

Book cover of Soul Catcher

Robert J. Begiebing Author Of The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin

From the list on British and American historical fiction, 1850-1960.

Who am I?

I’m the author of ten books, including fiction, memoir, collected journalism, and criticism. My novels are historical fiction, hence my decision to make my recommendations within that genre, mostly. My own historical novels comprise a tetralogy beginning with The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin and ending with The Turner Erotica, so the series takes the reader roughly from 1648 to 1900. The second book chronologically in the series, Rebecca Wentworth’s Distraction, won the 2003 Langum Prize for historical fiction. Retired now, I was the founding director of the MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction at Southern New Hampshire University.

Robert's book list on British and American historical fiction, 1850-1960

Discover why each book is one of Robert's favorite books.

Why did Robert love this book?

This historical novel is set just before the American Civil War. What singles it out is not the theme—the struggle of an African American slave and mother, Rosetta, for her freedom. More unusual is White’s courageous depiction of the full yet flawed humanity of her slave (“soul”) catcher, Augustus Cain, as Rosetta flees her inhumane conditions in Virginia enroute to Boston. Cain is one of the best at what he does, but the journey both characters endure also brings both toward mutual compassion and redemption. Though published in 2007, the book fits perfectly into, and helps to amplify further, our current awakening to our historical racism and the vast suffering white Americans have inflicted on their Black brothers and sisters. 

By Michael C. White,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Augustus Cain is a man with his back against the wall. A war-scarred wanderer, he faces a past he wants to forget, a present without prospect or fortune, and an uncertain future marred by the loss of his most prized possession - his horse - which he has carelessly gambled away. But he is not without skill - he has an uncanny, if unwelcome, ability to track the most elusive runaway slaves. And to repay a debt and keep his horse, he must head north from Virginia and retrieve a runaway named Rosetta. When he eventually runs Rosetta to ground…


The Scarlet Pimpernel

By Baroness Emmuska Orczy,

Book cover of The Scarlet Pimpernel

Tracy Grant Author Of The Seven Dials Affair

From the list on unraveling the secrets at the heart of a marriage.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by stories about married couples, especially when there are secrets in the marriage. My series The Rannoch Fraser Mysteries follows Mélanie and Malcolm Rannoch, whose marriage began when Mélanie, a French agent, married British agent Malcolm to spy on him during the Napoleonic Wars. As the Rannochs investigate mysteries, they grapple with personal and political betrayals and the secrets between them. 

Tracy's book list on unraveling the secrets at the heart of a marriage

Discover why each book is one of Tracy's favorite books.

Why did Tracy love this book?

This book was a huge influence on the development of my own series.

I love the combination of spy story, action adventure, and a couple with layers of deception between them. Percy and Marguerite are married but neither fully knows who the other is. And for all the swashbuckling adventure, that tension is at the heart of the story. 

By Baroness Emmuska Orczy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics.

"Vaguely she began to wonder ... which of these worldly men round her was the mysterious 'Scarlet Pimpernel,' who held the threads of such daring plots, and the fate of valuable lives in his hands."

In the early days of the bloody French Revolution, fleeing aristocrats are being captured and sent to the guillotine. But the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel - along with his band of English gentlemen - is outwitting the revolutionaries. Known only by his calling card, he arrives in disguise and smuggles the nobles out of…


The French Revolution

By Thomas Carlyle,

Book cover of The French Revolution: A History

Joy Sheridan Author Of Charity Amour

From the list on the French Revolution.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by the Regency Period, and because of this fascination, I explored its historical context in full. That includes, of course, the French Revolution and its repercussions in England and globally. I am also obsessed with the literary concept of the heroine, and wanted to create characters who in some ways synthesized Moll Flanders and Jane Eyre, bridging the gap between 18th and 19th Century expression.

Joy's book list on the French Revolution

Discover why each book is one of Joy's favorite books.

Why did Joy love this book?

Essential historical background work for anyone wanting to read French Revolution-based fiction. I am especially attracted to this work because, although non-fiction, it has emotion, and a sense of first-person involvement. I was also very much grabbed by the legend of the first manuscript having been destroyed by fire, and the work having to be re-written – true literary heroism, and an example to us all. 

By Thomas Carlyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The French Revolution: A History was written by the Scottish essayist, philosopher, and historian Thomas Carlyle. The three-volume work, first published in 1837 (with a revised edition in print by 1857), charts the course of the French Revolution from 1789 to the height of the Reign of Terror (1793–94) and culminates in 1795. A massive undertaking which draws together a wide variety of sources, Carlyle's history—despite the unusual style in which it is written—is considered to be an authoritative account of the early course of the Revolution.


Circling the Sun

By Paula McLain,

Book cover of Circling the Sun

JoAnneh Nagler Author Of Stay with Me, Wisconsin

From the list on sensual fiction (that doesn’t leave out the good stuff).

Who am I?

I love realm of the sensual. I sometimes call it The Magic Kingdom—the experience that sets us apart from our childhoods and teenage years. Intimacy—not just with people or lovers, but with the stuff we love as adults—is a compelling quest. For me, it lives in writing, cooking, singing, painting, befriending, loving—the things that lift my life out of the ordinary into time-stopping moments. Sharing it my writing, especially in my new fiction (Stay with Me, Wisconsin and my upcoming novel The Seven Mile Bridge) has been an experience of helping us all get our hands and hearts and skin into the things we love and then abide there as long as life allows us.

Joanneh's book list on sensual fiction (that doesn’t leave out the good stuff)

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Why did Joanneh love this book?

Circling the Sun is based on the true story of Beryl Markham, a young Englishwoman who became the first person to fly across the Atlantic from England to North America.

We follow her adventures through Kenya as she’s abandoned by her mother, learns how to raise and race horses with her father, then becomes a pilot flying across the Kenyan plains.

The story’s central arc is her sensual awakening to men, her stumblings and fallings, her love for explorer Denis Finch Hatton, and the ways she struggles to make peace with her desire and her individualist, fiercely independent womanhood.

Set in the 1920s and 1930s, this is a truly literary and arousing tale. I love sensuality that doesn’t have to struggle too hard to find its physical touch—and this book does that. It’s a viscerally-told journey—in life and in love, in the arc we all must face as independent women…

By Paula McLain,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Circling the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller

As a young girl, Beryl Markham was brought to Kenya from Britain by parents dreaming of a new life. For her mother, the dream quickly turned sour, and she returned home; Beryl was brought up by her father, who switched between indulgence and heavy-handed authority, allowing her first to run wild on their farm, then incarcerating her in the classroom. The scourge of governesses and serial absconder from boarding school, by the age of sixteen Beryl had been catapulted into a disastrous marriage - but it was in facing up to this reality that she…


Book cover of The Secret History of Us

Ashley Nikole Author Of Fallout

From the list on suspense novels with emotionally intelligent characters.

Who am I?

I love studying the ins/outs of humanity and our interactions, but especially, EI (emotional intelligence). A lot of emphasis is put on being “smart” and analytical (think IQ), but EI is largely ignored. Relationships thrive (and die) on EI! In the novels I write, I explore the emotional side of relationships and how, if we pay attention to this other side of intelligence, beautiful interactions happen. Typically, I don’t find riveting EI in books—and so when I do, I gobble the book up once, then twice, and possibly a third time, then tell everyone I know to GO READ THAT BOOK!

Ashley's book list on suspense novels with emotionally intelligent characters

Discover why each book is one of Ashley's favorite books.

Why did Ashley love this book?

I’ve always been deeply fascinated with any amnesia-related plot. A teenager who survives a near-death experience and cannot remember the last several years of her life? And, despite this being YA novel, as an older reader, I could not put this book down. It kept me guessing, constantly deducing as everything unfolded, and though the main characters are young, their emotional processes are so raw and beautiful. I’ve reread this one many a time. For any Nancy Drew gamers out there, The Secret History of Us is like a ND game/Nicholas Sparks’ novel hybrid.

By Jessi Kirby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Jessi Kirby's books just keep getting better and better, and The Secret History of Us is her best yet. It beautifully touches on all the most important things in life-love, family, friendship, memory, and bacon. I loved it."-Morgan Matson, New York Times bestselling author of The Unexpected Everything In this gorgeously written, emotional novel that fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy, a teenage girl must piece together the parts of her life she doesn't remember after a severe collision leaves her with no memory of the past four years. When Olivia awakes in a hospital bed following a near-fatal car…


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Interested in love triangle, the French Revolution, and France?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about love triangle, the French Revolution, and France.

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