83 books like The Invention of Wings

By Sue Monk Kidd,

Here are 83 books that The Invention of Wings fans have personally recommended if you like The Invention of Wings. 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 Cold Mountain

David L. Robbins Author Of War of the Rats

From my list on love and war and describing both battlefields.

Who am I?

I’ve penned (so far) seventeen novels, most set during some historical conflict or other, all of them revolving around intense personal relationships (loyalty, love, betrayal, those sorts of profound truths). I tend to read the sorts of books I wish to write. I also teach creative writing at a university (VCU); I tell my students that if they want to really know what a character is made of, shoot at them or have them fall in love. In my own work, I do both.

David's book list on love and war and describing both battlefields

David L. Robbins Why did David love this book?

When Inman decides he’s had enough of the Civil War, he takes a very long walk home. Along his path, he encounters the detritus of the conflict in shattered land and people. Meanwhile, his love, Ada, tries to cobble together some remnants of her former life.

Maybe a book out of fashion these days because it’s set in the defeated South, and that I understand. However, it remains a masterclass in style, vision, plot, and insight. 

By Charles Frazier,

Why should I read it?

10 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.…


Book cover of The Kitchen House

Diane C. McPhail Author Of The Abolitionist's Daughter

From my list on little-known Civil War era history.

Who am I?

Diane C. McPhail is the award-winning author of The Abolitionist’s Daughter, her debut novel based on family history and little-known impediments to Southern Abolitionism and anti-slavery. Her yet-to-be-titled second novel, a historical 1900 Chicago & New Orleans psychological mystery, is due for release in the spring of 2022. As an experienced therapist, Diane has a passionate interest in the complex, sometimes conflicting, qualities of character and culture, and how those intricacies complicate the plot. Diane holds an M.F.A., M.A., and Doctor of Ministry.

Diane's book list on little-known Civil War era history

Diane C. McPhail Why did Diane love this book?

In this bestseller, Grissom offers an intricate view of little-known history. I am intrigued by stories that open a window onto aspects of life in history that, for one reason or another, are unfamiliar. Grissom’s story of an Irish indentured servant struggling to bridge the gap between race and class is just such a revelation. These issues remain timeless and powerful.

By Kathleen Grissom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of the highly anticipated Glory Over Everything, established herself as a remarkable new talent with The Kitchen House, now a contemporary classic. In this gripping novel, a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate at a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War.

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook,…


Book cover of After Alice Fell

Diane C. McPhail Author Of The Abolitionist's Daughter

From my list on little-known Civil War era history.

Who am I?

Diane C. McPhail is the award-winning author of The Abolitionist’s Daughter, her debut novel based on family history and little-known impediments to Southern Abolitionism and anti-slavery. Her yet-to-be-titled second novel, a historical 1900 Chicago & New Orleans psychological mystery, is due for release in the spring of 2022. As an experienced therapist, Diane has a passionate interest in the complex, sometimes conflicting, qualities of character and culture, and how those intricacies complicate the plot. Diane holds an M.F.A., M.A., and Doctor of Ministry.

Diane's book list on little-known Civil War era history

Diane C. McPhail Why did Diane love this book?

This riveting American Gothic novel, set in 1865, follows a widowed Civil War Army nurse home to New Hampshire after her bloody stint of tending the wounded and sick, only to find that her beloved, but unstable, sister is dead in a fall from the roof of the asylum. The cause is ruled a suicide, but she is not convinced and determines to find the truth at all costs. The period is synchronic with that of The Abolitionist’s Daughter and the depth of research fascinated me. Blakemore’s writing and extensive attention to sensual detail is exceptional. Since I have my own yet-to-be-titled historical mystery due for release in the Spring of 2022, I loved delving into this twisting page-turner with a woman of determination in an equivalent period of history.

By Kim Taylor Blakemore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After Alice Fell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Until she discovers the truth of her sister's death, no one will rest in peace.

New Hampshire, 1865. Marion Abbott is summoned to Brawders House asylum to collect the body of her sister, Alice. She'd been found dead after falling four stories from a steep-pitched roof. Officially: an accident. Confidentially: suicide. But Marion believes a third option: murder.

Returning to her family home to stay with her brother and his second wife, the recently widowed Marion is expected to quiet her feelings of guilt and grief-to let go of the dead and embrace the living. But that's not easy in…


The Road from Belhaven

By Margot Livesey,

Book cover of The Road from Belhaven

Margot Livesey Author Of The Road from Belhaven

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Reader Secret orphan Professor Scottish Novelist

Margot's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The Road from Belhaven is set in 1880s Scotland. Growing up in the care of her grandparents on Belhaven Farm, Lizzie Craig discovers as a small girl that she can see the future. But she soon realises that she must keep her gift a secret. While she can sometimes glimpse the future, she can never change it.

Nor can Lizzie change the feelings that come when a young man named Louis, visiting Belhaven for the harvest, begins to court her. Why have the adults around her never told her that the touch of a hand can change everything? When she follows Louis to Glasgow, she begins to learn the limits of his devotion and the complexities of her own affections.

The Road from Belhaven

By Margot Livesey,

What is this book about?

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy, a novel about a young woman whose gift of second sight complicates her coming of age in late-nineteenth-century Scotland

Growing up in the care of her grandparents on Belhaven Farm, Lizzie Craig discovers as a small child that she can see into the future. But her gift is selective—she doesn’t, for instance, see that she has an older sister who will come to join the family. As her “pictures” foretell various incidents and accidents, she begins to realize a painful truth: she may glimpse the future, but…


Book cover of News of the World

John Hough Jr. Author Of The Sweetest Days

From my list on love stories that are even better than the movie.

Who am I?

Genre fiction and Robert Louis Stevenson aside, I can’t imagine loving a novel that has no strong thread, or threads, of love running through it. Fiction is written to entertain, it is true, but fiction’s higher aim is to put us in touch with our own humanity—our capacity to love, and to feel loss. We write to make people feel, and a powerful evocation of love will do that. I wouldn’t write a novel with no romantic love at its center, but I work hard too at love between siblings, friends, children, and parents. 

John's book list on love stories that are even better than the movie

John Hough Jr. Why did John love this book?

Another adventure novel that will keep you turning pages. The grizzled Captain Kidd, veteran of the War of 1812, finds himself obligated to take Joanna, an 11-year-old white girl who was captured when a baby and raised by Kiowas from Kansas to her family in Texas. The journey is long and hazardous, and by the time it is over, the old man and the frightened feral girl who spoke no English are devoted to each other. 

By Paulette Jiles,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked News of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust. In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his…


Book cover of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War

Evie Yoder Miller Author Of Shadows

From my list on the intertwinings of war, conscience, and religion.

Who am I?

The main reason I care about the relationship of war, conscience, and religion is because I believe strongly in the separation of church and state. A country’s methods of pursuing its best interests, include the use of power and warfare. Religions, however, make central: love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. People need to develop a conscience about what principle matters most. In the Civil War, the old tenet, an “eye for an eye,” was used to justify killing others for reasons of advantage or revenge. But I want to be involved instead in creating peace and justice for all.

Evie's book list on the intertwinings of war, conscience, and religion

Evie Yoder Miller Why did Evie love this book?

Death is everywhere in war: on the battlefield, in a disease-ridden hospital, or in childbirth on the home front. Drew Gilpin Faust’s non-fiction book, This Republic of Suffering, brings eye-popping numeric data to the prevalence of death in war. But she never stops at the surface level of how many deaths, or how many unidentified soldiers or improper burials occur during the Civil War. I was caught up entirely as Faust’s words, riveting and respectful of all the pain and loss, showed how death became an ennobling transformation for many people, either in the cause of racial standing or of Union/secessionist preservation.

By Drew Gilpin Faust,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked This Republic of Suffering as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • An "extraordinary ... profoundly moving" history (The New York Times Book Review) of the American Civil War that reveals the ways that death on such a scale changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation.

More than 600,000 soldiers lost their lives in the American Civil War. An equivalent proportion of today's population would be six million. In This Republic of Suffering, Drew Gilpin Faust describes how the survivors managed on a practical level and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the unprecedented carnage with its belief…


Book cover of Lincoln in the Bardo

Alison L. McLennan Author Of The Secret Story of a Mormon Turned Madam

From my list on existential and experimental historical fiction.

Who am I?

My imagination opened a portal into the past. And then I found myself spending years researching, reading, and traveling to historical sites across the western United States. Upon visiting historical places, I sometimes become overwhelmed by a visceral sense that is difficult to describe but has compelled me to write about people and places whose stories and spirits are lost and forgotten. An anecdote about a madam in a local museum stirred around in my consciousness for many years before I started writing Ophelia’s War as my MFA thesis. 

Alison's book list on existential and experimental historical fiction

Alison L. McLennan Why did Alison love this book?

I loved this novel because it was haunting, historical, and existential with an experimental format that blew my mind almost like an intense meditation session.

While some people may find the experimental format jarring, it transported me to a surreal disorienting dimension similar to a dream or bardo state. If you’re not familiar with the Bardo, it’s worth researching.

The word Bardo in the title is what originally attracted me to the novel because of my interest in Buddhism. Yet the bardo in this novel reminded me more of Dante’s Inferno!

The technique used at the beginning to establish the time and setting was ingenious, yet I did wonder if it was entirely fiction or pulled from the historical record. It seems people either really love this novel or have some synapses blown. In my case, it was both. 

By George Saunders,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Lincoln in the Bardo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017 A STORY OF LOVE AFTER DEATH 'A masterpiece' Zadie Smith 'Extraordinary' Daily Mail 'Breathtaking' Observer 'A tour de force' The Sunday Times The extraordinary first novel by the bestselling, Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns…


Book cover of The Widow of the South

Carolyn P. Schriber Author Of Damned Yankee

From my list on what historians don’t tell you on the American Civil War.

Who am I?

I’ve experimented with many careers during my adult life. I’ve been a nanny, high school Latin teacher, noontime talk-show hostess, computer instructor, college history professor, and president of a four-state charitable organization. But nothing has so occupied my passion as exploring and writing stories about America’s Civil War. Becoming an author was a career choice I made after I retired at the age of 65. I began with a small collection of letters written by my great uncle shortly before his death on a Civil War battlefield. My continuing inspiration comes from the enthusiasm of my readers who want to learn more than their history books offer. 

Carolyn's book list on what historians don’t tell you on the American Civil War

Carolyn P. Schriber Why did Carolyn love this book?

Beyond the usual five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—a sixth stage of heavy responsibility may develop when someone dies in the service of a great cause. As the Battle of Franklin played out in the yard of her Carnton Plantation, Carrie MccGavock felt that sense of obligation to the 9000 soldiers who died in that battle. It is in that sense that Carrie called herself the “Widow of the South.” She disinterred over 1000 anonymous bodies, identified them, reburied them in her own cemetery, and sought to give their families a sense of closure. This moving novel, based on a true story, reminds us that the Civil War was more than maps and casualty statistics. It is a story of heartbreak and devotion.

By Robert Hicks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tennessee, 1864. On a late autumn day, near a little town called Franklin, 10,000 men will soon lie dead or dying in a battle that will change many lives for ever. None will be more changed than Carrie McGavock, who finds her home taken over by the Confederate army and turned into a field hospital. Taking charge, she finds the courage to face up to the horrors around her and, in doing so, finds a cause.

Out on the battlefield, a tired young Southern soldier drops his guns and charges forward into Yankee territory, holding only the flag of his…


Book cover of March

Pamela Redford Russell Author Of The Woman Who Loved John Wilkes Booth: The Diary of Mary Surratt

From my list on portrayals of real people in historical fiction.

Who am I?

I love to read and write historical fiction—seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling the past—revealing the thoughts and emotions of characters real and imagined through psychological insights. My mentor Fawn Brodie wrote non-fiction, specifically psychobiography. Her Thomas Jefferson: an Intimate History introduced the world to the enslaved Sally Hemings. The seeds of my first novel The Woman Who Loved John Wilkes Booth were sown in Fawn Brodie’s UCLA lecture hall. I can only imagine what her historical fiction might’ve been. Now I wait for novels from historians Imani Perry South to America and Isabel Wilkerson Caste. Meantime there are so many wonderful novelists writing history. 

Pamela's book list on portrayals of real people in historical fiction

Pamela Redford Russell Why did Pamela love this book?

When recommending Geraldine Brooks’ multi-layered and intricately crafted March, another book must always be mentioned. Louisa May Alcott’s Little WomenMarch is the Pulitzer Prize-winning historical fiction rooted in Alcott’s classic novel that’s been read and loved for centuries. The March of the title is Jo March’s father in Little Women. In real life, his name was Amos Bronson Alcott. And he was the father of Louisa May Alcott. Brooks tells March’s fictitious story masterfully and with great historical acumen. Her depictions of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson are truly historic. Geraldine Brooks is not a historian. Her husband Tony Horwitz was. In Brooks’ case it seems that to fall in love with a historian is to fall in love with history as well. March is the beautiful proof.

By Geraldine Brooks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the acclaimed YEAR OF WONDERS, a historical novel and love story set during a time of catastrophe, on the front lines of the American Civil War. Set during the American Civil War, MARCH tells the story of John March, known to us as the father away from his family of girls in LITTLE WOMEN, Louisa May Alcott's classic American novel. In Brooks' telling, March emerges as an abolitionist and idealistic chaplain on the front lines of a war that tests his faith in himself and in the Union cause when he learns that his side, too,…


Book cover of The Clan of the Cave Bear

T.K. Thorne Author Of Noah's Wife

From my list on history’s remarkable women.

Who am I?

T.K. Thorne became a police officer during the first decade of women policing in Birmingham, Alabama, retiring as a captain. Her background as a woman in a macho man’s world helped inform the writing of award-winning historical novels about completely unknown women in two of the world’s oldest and most famous stories—the tale of Noah’s flood and the burning of Sodom (Noah’s Wife and Angels at the Gate). An experienced speaker, T.K. shares the fascinating background research into the culture of those early civilizations, as well as the scientific discoveries behind the flood in the Mideast and first-hand information gained from her personal trips to the area.

T.K.'s book list on history’s remarkable women

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

Ayla’s amazing story of survival in ancient times no doubt influenced me in writing my own book, although I didn’t realize it until I was deep into telling my own story.

Both Ayla and Na’amah were, in a way we find difficult to grasp today, intimately connected to nature. Their very survival turned on that deep understanding. Both women were considered “different,” a feeling that resonated with me.  

I was particularly drawn to the premise that explored how two distinct, but related tribes of humans could have evolved with different innate characteristics and capacities (one relying more on instincts and the other on problem solving).

Not to mention how fascinating that Auel imagined a course of evolution that modern anthropology is only recently vindicating!

By Jean M. Auel,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Clan of the Cave Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love.

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear.

A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by…


Book cover of Euphoria

Muna Shehadi Author Of The First Wife

From my list on knocking you off your ass-umptions.

Who am I?

People either love or hate surprises, but in a book, done well, they’re always welcome—whether we race to the last page to find them or they hip-check us along the way. I started my career writing comedy romance—comfort reads but with few surprises. Now in my novels, I make sure to give readers plenty they don’t expect, whether it’s a character who isn’t what s/he seems, a contradictory situation gradually made clear, or a jaw-dropping twist. Pulling off a successful surprise is one of my favorite parts of writing—therefore my love of books that take me somewhere I didn't expect.

Muna's book list on knocking you off your ass-umptions

Muna Shehadi Why did Muna love this book?

This book surprised me on all counts. I’m not crazy about historical fiction because real lives are seldom as beautifully crafted as fictional ones and often make for dull novels. I knew nothing about Margaret Mead and cared less about archeology. Plus jungles... ew. I’d make a dismal explorer! But this book gripped me with fantastic settings and characters, and a sexy love triangle juiced it up. The story also challenged my so-far unexamined ideas about the Western study of societies and civilizations and left me thinking some good deep thoughts long after I finished. A brilliant book that tries to do a lot of things and manages all of them.

By Lily King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times Top Ten Bestseller

From the author of Writers & Lovers, Euphoria is Lily King's gripping novel inspired by the true story of a woman who changed the way we understand our world.

'Pretty much perfect' - Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Rodham

In 1933 three young, gifted anthropologists are thrown together in the jungle of New Guinea. They are Nell Stone, fascinating, magnetic and famous for her controversial work studying South Pacific tribes, her intelligent and aggressive husband Fen, and Andrew Bankson, who stumbles into the lives of this strange couple and becomes totally enthralled. Within months…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in South Carolina, abolitionism, and women's rights?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about South Carolina, abolitionism, and women's rights.

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