100 books like The House of the Spirits

By Isabel Allende,

Here are 100 books that The House of the Spirits fans have personally recommended if you like The House of the Spirits. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Jane Eyre

Anne Brooke Author Of Where You Hurt The Most

From my list on couples working through a challenging relationship.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’m fascinated by relationships, what makes them work and what might make them fail. And I’ve always been gripped by the power of two people who try to love each other, no matter how different they may be or what obstacles they face. I honestly believe that two people in love are far more than the sum of their parts and can create something magical that wouldn’t have been there without them. So, yes, I’m a romantic at heart but, even in these cynical times, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I hope you love the books on this list as much as I do.

Anne's book list on couples working through a challenging relationship

Anne Brooke Why did Anne love this book?

I love this book because it’s about two people who society would never have expected to fall in love.

Jane and Mr Rochester are so far away from each other on the social scale that at the time it was written it was almost impossible to imagine they could ever get married. I also love that Jane is no beauty and is described as plain, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to love.

I also find it moving that both she and Mr Rochester have to overcome huge emotional challenges in order to be together at all. Finally, I have a soft spot for this book as my own paternal grandmother was a governess who married the ‘lord of the manor’ as Jane does here!

By Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…

Book cover of The Mists of Avalon

Helen Fulton Author Of A Companion to Arthurian Literature

From my list on sensible stories about King Arthur.

Who am I?

I came to the Arthurian legends through the medium of medieval Welsh literature, a subject that had intrigued and challenged me since I was an undergraduate. I found the language impenetrable and yet beautiful, while the literature it encoded was fascinatingly unlike the literary traditions of England and France. I wanted to connect with a version of Arthur that preceded the romance traditions of France and England and bears witness to a much older culture and social organisation. Though I've learned to love other versions of Arthur, and indeed I teach the Arthurian legends as part of my academic work, the stark drama of the Welsh poems and tales continues to intrigue me.

Helen's book list on sensible stories about King Arthur

Helen Fulton Why did Helen love this book?

Before the appearance of ‘franchise’ novels set in an Arthurian world, and even before the genre of ‘fantasy writing’ had established itself, the American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley published one of the most remarkable novels about Arthurian Britain and its cast of characters.

Well researched and deeply imbued with the colours of a powerfully-imagined world, the novel refocuses the events of Arthur’s life from the point of view of the women who surround him, especially Morgaine (Morgan le Fay) and Igraine, Arthur’s mother.

This was the first feminist retelling of the Arthurian story, one in which Arthur was no longer the focus of the action, and when I first read the novel I found the audacity of this inversion captivating. 

By Marion Zimmer Bradley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here is the tragic tale of the rise and fall of Camelot - but seen through the eyes of Camelot's women: The devout Gwenhwyfar, Arthur's Queen; Vivane, High priestess of Avalon and the Lady of the Lake; above all, Morgaine, possessor of the sight, the wise, the wise-woman fated to bring ruin on them all...

Book cover of Circe

S.G. Slade Author Of Touch of a Witch

From my list on spellbinding novels with threads of magic woven in their core.

Who am I?

I’m a British writer with a passion for the stories of history, both real and imagined. I have always been fascinated by tales and relics of the past, old ruins, ancient buildings, mythology, and the uncanny power of the natural world. All these things connect us to the ghosts of the past. So, I write historical fantasy novels based in the England I explored growing up, but brushed with the shadow of the supernatural, magic, witchcraft, and seductive illusion. I also write straight historical fiction under the name Samantha Grosser.

S.G.'s book list on spellbinding novels with threads of magic woven in their core

S.G. Slade Why did S.G. love this book?

I read this book when I was in hospital having surgery a few years ago, and it utterly transported me away from pain and anxiety to another world.

I’ve always loved Greek myth, and I love a book that makes you question things you thought you knew, bringing another side of the story to the fore. For thousands of years, we’ve taken Odysseus’s side on his long journey home from Troy. But who was the witch Circe, and how did she come to be alone on her island in the first place?

Questions of power and justice, love and betrayal, are woven through the text, and these are the themes that never fail to stir me. Written in beautiful prose, I’ve read it twice and recommended it to everyone I know.

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…

Radio Free Olympia

By Jeffrey Dunn,

Book cover of Radio Free Olympia

Jeffrey Dunn Author Of Radio Free Olympia

New book alert!

Who am I?

I’ve always been a child of the woods. I preferred to leave my home and wade a creek or explore a hillside. Nothing compared to the sight of a black snake or the feel of a mud puppy. School was a torture until an English teacher introduced me to Richard Brautigan and then read my first serious story to the class. Since then, this dyslexic nature lover has become a dream fisher and history miner with a Ph.D. in English Literature and Cultural Studies. Retired from forty-one years of teaching, I now write and publish cultural fiction.

Jeffrey's book list on where imagination and nature run free

What is my book about?

Embark on a riveting journey into Washington State’s untamed Olympic Peninsula, where the threads of folklore legends and historical icons are woven into a complex ecological tapestry.

Follow the enigmatic Petr as he fearlessly employs his pirate radio transmitter to broadcast the forgotten and untamed voices that echo through the wilderness. Venture deeper and encounter Baie, the founder of Wildsisters, a cranberry-infused roadhouse that offers solace to lost and wayward women. When a newborn is kidnapped, Baie and her community must unite to recover what has been stolen. Yet, their quest for justice extends beyond the realm of human characters—it must also be served for the fragile flora, the diverse fauna, and the very essence of the natural world.

Radio Free Olympia

By Jeffrey Dunn,

What is this book about?

Unleash the Power of the Wilderness in Radio Free Olympia

Discover the captivating allure of Washington's untamed Olympic Peninsula in Radio Free Olympia, an extraordinary literary masterpiece that immerses readers in a mesmerizing realm of visionaries, folklore legends, and historical icons. With an enchanting blend of magical realism and cultural fiction, the brilliant wordsmith Jeffrey Dunn artfully intertwines multiple narratives, crafting an intricate ecological tapestry that resonates deeply within the soul.

Embark on a riveting journey alongside the enigmatic Petr, a foundling whose path leads him deep into the heart of the majestic mountain rainforest. Armed with nothing but a…

Book cover of Beloved

Eric Schlich Author Of Eli Harpo's Adventure to the Afterlife

From my list on dysfunctional family novels about mythmaking.

Who am I?

I’m a debut novelist who loves a good family drama. I’m a fiction professor at the University of Memphis, where I teach a course on the dysfunctional family novel featuring books on this list. I’m also an atheist, a bisexual, and a father to a one-year-old—all of which influenced my book. In addition to the novel, I’ve written a story collection called Quantum Convention. My stories have aired on Public Radio International’s Selected Shorts and appeared in American Short Fiction, Gulf Coast, and Electric Literature, among other journals. I also have a new essay up at Lit Hub about channeling my bisexuality through queer characters.

Eric's book list on dysfunctional family novels about mythmaking

Eric Schlich Why did Eric love this book?

This book would have to go on my list of top five novels ever. It’s a work of pure genius that I can re-read over and over.

Morrison’s magical realist rendering of Margaret Garner’s history—a slave’s murder of her child to free her from slavery—enters myth with Beloved’s reincarnation. The novel is about the aftermath of trauma, and the exorcism of Beloved shows Sethe overcoming the shame of the murder through the support of the Black community.

In Paul D’s words: “You are your best thing.” I also have a soft spot in my heart for Denver.

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Toni Morrison was a giant of her times and ours... Beloved is a heart-breaking testimony to the ongoing ravages of slavery, and should be read by all' Margaret Atwood, New York Times

Discover this beautiful gift edition of Toni Morrison's prize-winning contemporary classic Beloved

It is the mid-1800s and as slavery looks to be coming to an end, Sethe is haunted by the violent trauma it wrought on her former enslaved life at Sweet Home, Kentucky. Her dead baby daughter, whose tombstone bears the single word, Beloved, returns as a spectre to punish her mother, but also to elicit her…

Book cover of Cutting for Stone

M.H. Sargent Author Of Seven Days From Sunday

From my list on take you to a place you’ve never been with memorable characters.

Who am I?

I had been a long-time screenwriter in March of 2003 when the US invaded Iraq with overwhelming air power, and the TV news showed footage of the “shock and awe.” But I remember thinking, what is it like for the Iraqi people? Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, your country is at war. What is your life now like? Seeking to focus on an ordinary Iraqi family caught up in the war, I soon realized it was too layered for a spec screenplay and wrote it as a novel. It was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. 

M.H.'s book list on take you to a place you’ve never been with memorable characters

M.H. Sargent Why did M.H. love this book?

I love how this book blends historical facts with wonderful, real characters spanning decades.

It starts in 1950s Ethiopia with the birth of twin boys, orphaned at birth. As they grow and mature, there is a deep love for each other, but also betrayal and hurt that kept me turning the pages to find out what happens next.

The author is a doctor, and I love how he shared his knowledge, taking me inside a working hospital in Ethiopia and New York. I read this novel in 2010, and it was the first time I learned about the true predicament of pre-teen Ethiopian girls suffering from bladder/vagina fistulas stemming from giving birth before they are fully grown. Their suffering and being shunned for their condition is something I have never forgotten. 

By Abraham Verghese,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Cutting for Stone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

My brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954. We took our first breaths in the thick air of Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia. Bound by birth, we were driven apart by bitter betrayal. No surgeon can heal the would that divides two brothers. Where silk and steel fail, story must succeed. To begin at the beginning...

Book cover of Anna Karenina

Jerry McGill Author Of The Color of Family

From my list on reminding you yours isn't the only crazy family.

Who am I?

I have no expertise on anything, but I do feel like I have had a lot of experience being around families and observing complex family dynamics. It’s funny because I would say I have never actually had the “family” experience myself. I grew up with just a mother and a younger sister. That’s it. I barely knew my father, barely knew my grandfather, sort of knew my grandmother. Barely knew my uncles. I found myself looking at other families with awe. Not with envy, but more with curiosity. And as someone who has had his own issues with my sole sibling, I am forever intrigued by that dynamic as well.   

Jerry's book list on reminding you yours isn't the only crazy family

Jerry McGill Why did Jerry love this book?

I mean, hello! The opening sentence “All happy families are alike…” is probably my favorite opening sentence of all time. This book is what I place in the “epic story telling” category for its breadth and scope of time. In many ways it is the story of two separate families and it hits on several themes I have come to crave and demand from art. Tolstoy looks at class, cultural and societal norms, and the emotional toll of familial expectations. It is a book so dense with interesting, flawed characters and it is one of the rare works I come back again to read every few years.  

By Leo Tolstoy,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Anna Karenina as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1872 the mistress of a neighbouring landowner threw herself under a train at a station near Tolstoy's home. This gave Tolstoy the starting point he needed for composing what many believe to be the greatest novel ever written.

In writing Anna Karenina he moved away from the vast historical sweep of War and Peace to tell, with extraordinary understanding, the story of an aristocratic woman who brings ruin on herself. Anna's tragedy is interwoven with not only the courtship and marriage of Kitty and Levin but also the lives of many other characters. Rich in incident, powerful in characterization,…

Book cover of The Glass Palace

Ron Emmons Author Of Teak Lord

From my list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia.

Who am I?

During 30 years living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I have developed a deep appreciation of Northern Thai culture and a fascination with its 700-year history. Though the region escaped being colonised as were nearby Laos (by the French) and Burma (by the Brits), a teak boom in the late 19th century came close to pulling it under the colonial yoke as Western trading companies muscled in. Teak Lord explores the frequently fragile relationships between circumspect Asians and adventurous Westerners, against a background of shifting borders and impenetrable jungle.

Ron's book list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia

Ron Emmons Why did Ron love this book?

Amitav Ghosh is one of my favourite historical novelists and his ability to bring his characters to life draws readers into the web of this epic tale. The story begins in Burma in the shadow of the "Glass Palace" in Mandalay, from where King Thibaw has recently been exiled by the British. It then spans an entire century, following the lives of several characters, particularly Rajkumar, who begins as a food-stall assistant and after many years working in the teak forests, he manages to buy a timber yard of his own. If you enjoy this novel, don’t miss the Ibis Trilogy, about the opium trade in China and India.

By Amitav Ghosh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The International Bestseller from the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author

'An absorbing story of a world in transition' JM Coetzee

'A Doctor Zhivago for the Far East' The Independent

Rajkumar is only another boy, helping on a market stall in the dusty square outside the royal palace, when the British force the Burmese King, Queen and all the Court into exile. He is rescued by the far-seeing Chinese merchant, and with him builds up a logging business in upper Burma. But haunted by his vision of the Royal Family, he journeys to the obscure town in India where they have…

Book cover of A Christmas Carol

Andi Brooks Author Of Ghost Stories For Christmas Volume One

From my list on ghostly Christmas stories.

Who am I?

I am an Anglo Irish writer who is as filled with a wide-eyed wonder of the magic of Christmas in my middle age as I was as a small child. Alongside my lifelong love of Christmas and its traditions, I have enjoyed an equally long love of ghost stories. Combining these two passions, I am the editor of the Ghost Stories For Christmas anthologies of classic Christmas ghost stories, the first of which was published in 2022. I am also the writer of Ghostly Tales of Japan, a collection of original stories set throughout Japanese history.

Andi's book list on ghostly Christmas stories

Andi Brooks Why did Andi love this book?

Out of all of the books I have read, I have read A Christmas Carol more times than any other. An instant phenomenon when it was first published in 1843, it has never been out of print. It is the embodiment of not just a Christmas ghost story, but of a story that encapsulates the very essence of the spirit of Christmas in the popular imagination in a way that no other story ever has. Although I had always loved watching the 1951 classic film Scrooge with the wonderful Alastar Sim in the title role, I didn’t read the book until I was in my teens, when I came across a lovely copy of a 1950 edition in a charity shop. Since then, I have read, and shed a tear over, A Christmas Carol every Christmas – I won't embarrass myself by revealing exactly how many times that is, but…

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked A Christmas Carol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Tom Baker reads Charles Dickens' timeless seasonal story.

Charles Dickens' story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by the three ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, has become one of the timeless classics of English literature. First published in 1843, it introduces us not only to Scrooge himself, but also to the memorable characters of underpaid desk clerk Bob Cratchit and his poor family, the poorest amongst whom is the ailing and crippled Tiny Tim.

In this captivating recording, Tom Baker delivers a tour-de-force performance as he narrates the story. The listener…

Book cover of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Sophie Overett Author Of The Rabbits

From my list on strange and unusual families.

Who am I?

Growing up in the sub-tropics of Brisbane, there was a magic in the heat. It was one that spoke to me from a really young age, and I’d daydream about finding portals to secret worlds in the stutter of a sprinkler’s spray, or the ooze of a monster in mid-afternoon sweat. There was no way I couldn’t find a story in the oppressive swelter of year-round summers, and in my head, I’d cast roles for my family and my friends. Over the years, that bred into a love of writing and reading stories about strange families finding their own sorts of magic with each other and their environments, and the ways that little taste of the uncanny can reveal and conceal in equal measure. 

Sophie's book list on strange and unusual families

Sophie Overett Why did Sophie love this book?

Okay, this is a little bit of a cheat, as there’s no magical realism exactly in Karen Joy Fowler’s novel, but there’s certainly the uncanny. This story of two sisters separated during childhood trying to find each other in adulthood is wry and funny, but also immensely heartfelt and dramatic, and the twist at the halfway mark (which I won’t spoil for you!) makes this one a personal favourite. 

By Karen Joy Fowler,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club introduces a middle-class American family that is ordinary in every way but one in this novel that won the PEN/Faulkner Award and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.
Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she explains. “I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion...she was my twin, my funhouse…

Book cover of The Red Tent

Anna Bliss Author Of Bonfire Night

From my list on historical stories with interfaith love stories.

Who am I?

After graduating with a BA in English, I moved to England to pursue a master’s in Literature and Visual Culture. My focus was on women artists working in London during the Blitz and I wrote my dissertation on Lee Miller, who went on to photograph (and doggedly publish) the liberation of German concentration camps. Later I worked in arts administration and marketing, and didn’t start writing my debut novel until I was thirty-five. My work is inspired by my favorite authors from the 1940s: Elizabeth Bowen, Patrick Hamilton, and Penelope Fitzgerald. I’m also drawn to historical fiction about ordinary people in difficult social conditions, especially when there’s a love story involved.

Anna's book list on historical stories with interfaith love stories

Anna Bliss Why did Anna love this book?

The Red Tent is about sisterhood and the ways aunties and mothers and daughters support each other.

It’s stunning visually; I read this book almost twenty years ago and can still conjure up the rangy desert and the dusky interior of the eponymous tent. Diamant offers a unique perspective on what was arguably the first Jewish/Gentile love affair, between the Bible’s Dinah, the only named daughter of the patriarch Jacob, and the Prince of Shechem.

It was the first Jewish historical fiction book I ever read and will always have special a place in my heart.

By Anita Diamant,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Red Tent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Red Tent Anita Diamant brings the fascinating biblical character of Dinah to vivid life.

'Intensely moving . . . feminist . . . a riveting tale of love' - Observer

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her fate is merely hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the verses of the Book of Genesis that recount the life of Jacob and his infamous dozen sons. Anita Diamant's The Red Tent is an extraordinary and engrossing tale of ancient womanhood and family honour. Told in Dinah's voice, it opens with the story of her mothers -…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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