100 books like The House of Special Purpose

By John Boyne,

Here are 100 books that The House of Special Purpose fans have personally recommended if you like The House of Special Purpose. 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 Thirteenth Tale

Linda Kay Silva Author Of Nothing Fair About It

From my list on novels about life changing experiences and adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of creative writing who knows when readers stop feeling, they stop reading. We all want to feel, to live vicariously. To experience the unimaginable. I’ve lived large. I’ve raced on the back of an ostrich, rode an elephant through the jungles of Thailand, raced catamarans in the Caribbean, and danced with the Shaka Zulu in Africa. The best books are those that feel like memories…that touch us…that make us feel.

Linda's book list on novels about life changing experiences and adventures

Linda Kay Silva Why did Linda love this book?

The twists in this book pull you in and keep you from putting it down. I love when I get surprised and think “I never saw that coming!”

Well-developed characters, outstanding description, Setterfield draws book lovers (and bookstore lovers) right into the heart of the story. I couldn’t put it down. It was the only novel in our book club that received a unanimous 10/10

By Diane Setterfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Simply brilliant' Kate Mosse, international bestselling author of Labyrinth


Everybody has a story...

Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten.

It was once home to the March family: fascinating, manipulative Isabelle; brutal, dangerous Charlie; and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But the house hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart...

Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield's past, and its mysterious connection to the enigmatic writer Vida Winter. Vida's history is mesmering - a tale of ghosts, governesses, and gothic strangeness. But as Margaret succumbs to the power…

Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

MJ Mumford Author Of TimeBlink

From my list on time travel books that don’t fit the sci-fi mold.

Why am I passionate about this?

At one time, whenever I heard "science fiction," my mind would jump to spaceships, aliens, and dystopian worlds. So, when it came to categorizing my time travel novel, I was surprised to learn that I’d unwittingly penned a sci-fi book. I initially resisted this classification since my story has more of a domestic thriller vibe, and the characters only travel a few years, not centuries, through time. However, I’ve since accepted that time travel is science fiction. The books on my list prove that sci-fi doesn’t necessarily mean hardcore science. It can have a more universal appeal, exploring themes of love, loss, and destiny without a time machine or extraterrestrial in sight.

MJ's book list on time travel books that don’t fit the sci-fi mold

MJ Mumford Why did MJ love this book?

A modern classic, this beautifully crafted fusion of romance and speculative fiction has endured as my top pick among time travel novels. The story follows Henry DeTamble, who involuntarily travels through time, and Clare, his wife, who must cope with Henry's unpredictable absences and reappearances.

I adored this book for so many reasons, but it was its moving portrayal of Henry and Clare's resilience in the face of uncontrollable circumstances that captured my heart so completely.

Furthermore, I appreciated the author's nuanced treatment of the time travel component, foregoing complex scientific explanations to maintain the story's focus on the fundamental human conditions of love, commitment, and hope.

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked The Time Traveler's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a series on HBO starring Rose Leslie and Theo James!

The iconic time travel love story and mega-bestselling first novel from Audrey Niffenegger is "a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time" (Chicago Tribune).

Henry DeTamble is a dashing, adventurous librarian who is at the mercy of his random time time-traveling abilities. Clare Abshire is an artist whose life moves through a natural sequential course. This is the celebrated and timeless tale of their love. Henry and Clare's passionate affair is built and endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap…

Book cover of The Chalk Man

Alice Hunter Author Of The Serial Killer's Sister

From my list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games.

Why am I passionate about this?

After completing a psychology degree, I became an interventions facilitator in a prison and worked with offenders who'd committed serious violent crimes. It was while I was in this role that my fascination for criminal psychology grew. Once I left the profession, I put my experiences to good use in fiction, going on to write The Serial Killer series of three psychological thrillers. With the most recent, The Serial Killer’s Sister, I incorporated my love of puzzles and games into a twisted story of a serial killer who uses a childhood game known to his sister as ‘The Hunt’ to track her down and torment her.

Alice's book list on psychological/crime that feature disturbing games

Alice Hunter Why did Alice love this book?

With a creepy cover and an endorsement from Stephen King, this novel immediately grabbed my attention.

I’d say this was a psychological thriller with a crime element and a dose of horror and that mix really drew me into this book and kept me trapped within its pages. Together with the nostalgic 80s thread, this read is down as one of my all-time favourites.

The seemingly innocent chalk stick figures the kids leave for each other like a secret game only they can decode, begin to appear on their own with a more sinister message. A bone-chilling read!

By C. J. Tudor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Chalk Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?




It was only meant to be a game . . .

None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.

Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own?

Was it the terrible accident?

Or when they found the first body?



Book cover of The Bone Garden

Erica R. Stinson Author Of Shelter

From my list on mystery, suspense, and thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a suspense and thriller author in my own right since 2015, I have also read very many books that are much like the ones that I write. I am most comfortable here and I, too, like to write books with these crazy, think-outside-the-box types of twists when it comes to plotting. Honing my craft, as I am in the middle of five different book projects right now for future release, I am hoping to make a name for myself and become as memorable to my readers as my favorite authors are to me.

Erica's book list on mystery, suspense, and thrillers

Erica R. Stinson Why did Erica love this book?

I am a longtime fan of Tess and her Rizzoli and Isles books, the firsts by her that I read some years ago. But I also really liked some of her standalone novels and The Bone Garden checked all my boxes for captivating, thriller, page-turning, edge-of-your-seat reading. To date, this remains of my very favorite books and I have re-read it a few times as a result.

By Tess Gerritsen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Bone Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Unknown bones, untold secrets, and unsolved crimes from the distant past cast ominous shadows on the present in the dazzling new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

Present day: Julia Hamill has made a horrifying discovery on the grounds of her new home in rural Massachusetts: a skull buried in the rocky soil–human, female, and, according to the trained eye of Boston medical examiner Maura Isles, scarred with the unmistakable marks of murder. But whoever this nameless woman was, and whatever befell her, is knowledge lost to another time.

Boston, 1830: In order to pay for his…

Book cover of The Memoirs of Princess Dashkova

Susan Broomhall Author Of The Identities of Catherine de’ Medici

From my list on women and power in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm Professor and Director of the Gender and Women’s History Research Centre at the Australian Catholic University. I've always been interested in the power of ideologies about gender to shape people’s lives, and in the experiences of women in times past. I started off exploring these topics in early modern Europe and then looked at how women, and ideas about gender, shaped the ways European peoples engaged in the world at this period. This has helped me to see the very significant ways that the lives of women and men are always shaped by gender ideologies across the globe and across time, and the innovative ways that people respond to the challenges and opportunities that they encounter.

Susan's book list on women and power in history

Susan Broomhall Why did Susan love this book?

The eighteenth-century Russian princess Ekaterina Dashkova deserves your attention. This well-travelled woman was a friend of Catherine the Great, an author and playwright, wrote one of the earliest autobiographies known in Russia, held public office as President of the Academy of Sciences, and was instrumental in establishing the Russian Academy, of which she then became Director. 

Her entertaining memoirs take us into the inner circle of the Empress’ world, offer an entrée into the literary salons of Europe, and allow us to listen in on her scientific and intellectual exchanges with Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, and Diderot. Long accessible only in French, the language of Russian aristocratic society, this English edition opens up her world to new readers.

By Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova (1743-1810), Russian princess, playwright, author, President of the Academy of Sciences, and founder and Director of the Russian Academy, was one of the first women in Europe to hold public office. Her memoir, among the earliest examples of autobiography in Russia, is part of what has become a long and powerful tradition of autobiographical writing by Russian women. It offers a rare glimpse into the life of a strong and outspoken public figure who was well recognized in much of her own time for her potent intellect but who died in isolation and has largely been forgotten…

Book cover of A Thousand Heartbeats

Tayler Marie Brooks Author Of Tangled Suspects

From my list on keeping you up or to let your imagination roam.

Why am I passionate about this?

Unlike most authors, who only write one genre, I write mystery/suspense, thriller, fantasy, and dystopian. I love plotting and naming stories. I studied Criminal Justice & Legal Studies in college and absolutely loved it. I've also been reading these genres since I was little. I certainly never thought I’d be a writer, but the ideas kept coming so I guess the writing chose me. As a self-published writer, I get to make every decision concerning my books and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write my books, design the covers, make the trailers, market the books, and everything else. I enjoy using my writing to point to the things I believe are important.

Tayler's book list on keeping you up or to let your imagination roam

Tayler Marie Brooks Why did Tayler love this book?

This book was absolutely breathtaking. Even though it was twice the size of most books, I flew through it. I couldn’t put it down.

This book paints a wonderful picture of what forgiveness is all about. Lennox killed Annika’s mother. Annika struggled with what he’d done for a while but after being trapped in the cave with him, she realized how much he struggled with his sin. It was during this time, she realized she loved him.

The story was so sweet, pure, and still action-packed. It was a beautiful combination of all my favorite things.

By Kiera Cass,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Thousand Heartbeats 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?

#1 New York Times bestselling author of The Selection series Kiera Cass is back with her most epic novel yet - a sweeping enemies-to-lovers standalone romance.

'Love has a sound. It sounds like a thousand heartbeats happening at the same time.'

Annika has lived a life of comfort and luxury as the Princess of Kadier-but now, after the death of her mother, she's weighted under the looming threat of a loveless marriage arranged by her cold father.

Far outside the palace walls, on the outskirts of the land Annika's family has long ruled over, Lennox is waiting for his moment.…

Book cover of The Elizabethan Image: An Introduction to English Portraiture, 1558-1603

Elizabeth Goldring Author Of Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist

From my list on Tudor art and architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the Tudors since childhood – in spite of, or perhaps because of, the fact that I grew up in the American Midwest, where Tudor artefacts were few and far between. A family holiday to England, when I was fourteen, sparked the beginning of a life-long love affair, which I have been lucky enough to turn into a career focused on all things Tudor. After receiving my PhD from Yale University, I took up a post-doctoral fellowship in England, at Warwick University, with which I have been affiliated ever since. I am currently an Honorary Reader at Warwick and working on a new book, on Hans Holbein.

Elizabeth's book list on Tudor art and architecture

Elizabeth Goldring Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Strong is the undisputed doyen of Elizabethan painting. As Assistant Keeper (1959-67) and Director (1967-73) of the National Portrait Gallery and then Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum (1973-87), he devoted the better part of thirty years to groundbreaking exhibitions and publications on the Tudor court. His writings, more than anyone else’s, are what led me to Tudor art. This book distills the essence of Strong’s many seminal works from a long and distinguished career, but adds glorious new colour photography and generous nods to the art historians who have come after him. Strong wears his learning lightly, making this an ideal gateway text for anyone seeking a way into the world of Elizabethan painting and portraiture.

By Roy Strong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fifty years after his seminal Tate gallery London exhibition, 'The Elizabethan Image', leading authority Roy Strong returns with fresh eyes to the subject closest to his heart, The Virgin Queen, her court and our first Elizabethan age

From celebrated portraits of the Queen and paintings of knights and courtiers, to works depicting an aspiring 'middle class', Strong presents a detailed and authoritative examination of one of the most fascinating periods of British art. Enriching previous perceptions and ways of seeing the Elizabethans in their world, he reveals an age parallel in many ways to our own-a country aspiring professionally and…

Book cover of A Passion for Government: The Life of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough

Judith Lissauer Cromwell Author Of Florence Nightingale, Feminist

From my list on biographies of women who made a difference.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been captivated by stories about powerful women. After a corporate career as one of the first female executives in the international world of Wall Street, while raising two children as a single working parent, I returned to academia. I am a magna cum laude graduate of Smith College, hold a doctorate in modern European history, with academic distinction, from New York University. I wanted to ascertain whether the mostly male writers of history were correct in attributing the success of exceptional women to the bedroom. Meticulous research yielded a different narrative, one I delight in sharing.

Judith's book list on biographies of women who made a difference

Judith Lissauer Cromwell Why did Judith love this book?

Beautiful, intelligent, ambitious, and self-confident, headstrong Sarah sought to parlay her friendship with Princess Anne into political power when Anne became queen.  But Anne disagreed with Sarah’s strident Whiggism, and resented her attempts at manipulation.  Sarah’s persistence in pestering Anne about politics, her arrogance, and her inability to admit either another opinion than her own, or take responsibility for her mistakes, combined with her uncontrollable temper to kill the friendship and with it, Sarah’s political ambitions. 

By Frances Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, was a woman with a `passion for government': a compulsion to wield power not only in her own family but in public affairs as well. She was the favourite of Queen Anne, the devoted wife and political associate of the Queen's most powerful subject, the passionate ally or bitter enemy of most of the leading public figures of her day, and in her widowhood the effective head of one of England's great families. Despite her stormy relationship
with the architect Vanbrugh, she played a major role in the building of Blenheim Palace, one of England's most…

Book cover of The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan

David Flath Author Of The Japanese Economy

From my list on captivating Japanese history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a retired economics professor from the US who studied Japan for most of my 46-year career and have lived in Kyoto since 2008. I first visited Kyoto in 1981, naively hoping to revel in the splendors of the Heian era, and was disappointed to find that the physical manifestations of medieval Japan as evoked in The Tale of Genji had vanished. But the persisting legacy of that ancient age is still evident to the trained observer. Japan today embodies its past. It's not enough to know that Japan today is a prosperous country. Curious people also want to know how it got that way. The roots lie deep in the past. 

David's book list on captivating Japanese history

David Flath Why did David love this book?

This is essential background for any reader of the Tale of Genji, the famous novel written by Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century. In a breezy style that pulls the reader along, Morris describes how the court nobles of Heian—the original name for  Kyoto—had created a distinctive high culture inspired by borrowings from China but uniquely Japanese. We learn about a polygamous society in which males among the court nobles competed for the affection of high-born females through poetry and aesthetics. Political ambitions were channeled into the pursuit of higher social rank rather than into government works and policies. That last sentence could describe Japanese politics of today. Readers of this book will learn that even in the eleventh century, Japan already had a sophisticated culture, government, and style of life. The nation’s economic development has roots that extend at least that far into the past. 

By Ivan Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ivan Morris’s definitive and widely acclaimed portrait of the ceremonious and melancholy world of ancient Japan.

Using The Tale of Genji and other major literary works from Japan’s Heian period as a frame of reference, The World of the Shining Prince recreates an era when women set the cultural tone. Focusing on the world of the emperor’s court—a world deeply admired by Virginia Woolf, among others—renowned scholar of Japanese history and literature Ivan Morris explores the politics, society, religious life, and superstitions of the period.

Offering readers detailed portrayals of the daily lives of courtiers, the cult of beauty they…

Book cover of American Royals

Stacy Juba Author Of Fooling Around With Cinderella

From my list on chick lit to bring a smile to your face.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of the Storybook Valley chick-lit series, which includes Fooling Around With Cinderella and Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty. I love reading and writing lighthearted novels about young women finding their Prince Charming—and also themselves. Setting is also important to me as a writer. To create my Storybook Valley novels I spied on Cinderellas at amusement parks and discreetly watched employees head off into off-limits areas. I watched hours of YouTube interviews with former Disney World princesses, behind-the-scenes videos with other amusement park employees, and listened to podcast interviews with managers of theme parks. All the novels I chose had well-developed settings that were an integral part of the book.  

Stacy's book list on chick lit to bring a smile to your face

Stacy Juba Why did Stacy love this book?

I stumbled onto this book on Amazon and the hook intrigued me: What if America had a royal family instead of a president? This alternate reality story set in the present day follows Princess Beatrice and her two siblings. As Beatrice gets closer to becoming queen, she feels the intense pressure and it affects her friendships, family relationships, and her love life. I’ve also read the second book in the series, which had some surprising plot twists. While this is actually a young adult novel, adults will enjoy it also. It’s a bit soapier than the other novels on my list, but a tantalizing read.

By Katharine McGee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Royals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING SERIES * What if America had a royal family? If you can't get enough of Harry and Meghan or Kate and William, meet American princesses Beatrice and Samantha. Crazy Rich Asians meets The Crown. Perfect for fans of Red, White, and Royal Blue and The Royal We!

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown.
Two girls vying for the prince's heart.
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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