10 books like The Mermaid of Black Conch

By Monique Roffey,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Mermaid of Black Conch. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Women Who Run with the Wolves

By Clarissa Pinkola Estés,

Book cover of Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

I never, never, never want to meet this author. This book had me crying on every page and at 520 pages it is a really long book. How dare she expose my soul warts and all to the world? That book set my soul free in a way that few other books have. If you want to face yourself and be yourself! Read this book.

Women Who Run with the Wolves

By Clarissa Pinkola Estés,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Women Who Run with the Wolves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published three years before the print edition of Women Who Run With the Wolves made publishing history, this original audio edition quickly became an underground bestseller. For its insights into the inner life of women, it established Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes as one of the most important voices of our time in the fields of Jungian psychology, myth, and women's mysteries.

Drawing from her work as a psychoanalyst and cantadora ("keeper of the old stories"), Dr. Estes uses myths and folktales to illustrate how societies systematically strip away the feminine spirit. Through an exploration into the nature of the…


Hamnet

By Maggie O'Farrell,

Book cover of Hamnet

While this is a story broadly about all the Shakespeares, Anne Shakespeare is a focal point. She’s a unique woman with an understanding of nature and an almost supernatural way about her. Her courage to live her life as she sees fit is by turns subtly and boldly expressed through O’Farrell’s masterful prose. I’ve always enjoyed stories about Shakespeare and his family, and this one was so beautifully written that I might even re-read it.

Hamnet

By Maggie O'Farrell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION - THE NO. 1 BESTSELLER 2021
'Richly sensuous... something special' The Sunday Times
'A thing of shimmering wonder' David Mitchell

TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART.

On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London.

Neither…


The Snow Child

By Eowyn Ivey,

Book cover of The Snow Child

I first came across the Russian folk story that this novel is based on when I was a child. "The Little Daughter of the Snow" was my absolute favourite story in Arthur Ransome’s Old Peter’s Russian Stories. 

In Eowin Ivey’s book, Mabel and Jack have lost their only child. They try to make a new life among the forests and snows of Alaska. They build a little girl of snow, which melts, but a real child, Faina, emerges from the woods and they take her in as their own. They love her desperately, but their nights are haunted by darkness and fears, dreams of dead babies, and their knowledge of the Russian fairy tale. Faina yearns to live in the snow, where she belongs. It’s a beautifully atmospheric book about enchantment, darkness, and love.

The Snow Child

By Eowyn Ivey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A bewitching tale of heartbreak and hope set in 1920s Alaska, Eowyn Ivey's THE SNOW CHILD was a top ten bestseller in hardback and paperback, and went on to be a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in…


Things in Jars

By Jess Kidd,

Book cover of Things in Jars

I loved this novel by Jess Kidd (and all her novels, natch) from the moment I started reading. Who wouldn’t love a Victorian-era set story of spectacle and sideshow, featuring lady detective Bridie Devine as she sets out to find a mysterious child who has disappeared? The child in question, Christabel, is rumored to be a Merrow, a kind of mermaid. Ruby Doyle, a dead man who may or may not be a hallucination (brought on by whatever it is that Bridie is constantly smoking) assists her in her investigations. The prose is charming, entertaining, and gripping. There is magic, folklore, and bags of personality.

Things in Jars

By Jess Kidd,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Things in Jars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may…


The Sealwoman's Gift

By Sally Magnusson,

Book cover of The Sealwoman's Gift

I love this book for many reasons. The Sealwoman is a passenger on the slave ship that takes our protagonist form her beloved homeland, and the ‘gift’ of the title is the story she tells of her shapeshifting roots. The voyage is hellish, and contains a terrifying birth scene among other unspeakable, unimaginable, only just survivable events. It’s based on a true story, which makes it all the more powerful, and it makes me wonder about the hidden truths in the folklore contained within it, especially the sealwoman’s story. 

The Sealwoman's Gift

By Sally Magnusson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sealwoman's Gift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A remarkable feat of imagination... I enjoyed and admired it in equal measure' Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent
'An extraordinarily immersive read, that emphasises the power of stories, examining themes of motherhood, identity, exile and freedom ... a journey that not only crosses continents, but encompasses tragedy and rich sensuality' Guardian
'A powerful tale of Barbary pirates ... richly imagined.' Sunday Times
'Engrossing' Sunday Express 'Fascinating ... a really, really good read' BBC R2 Book Club
'The best sort of historical novel.' Scotsman 'A lyrical tale' Stylist
'A poetic retelling of Icelandic history.' Daily Mail 'Compelling stuff' Good…


Until the Lions

By Karthika Naïr,

Book cover of Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata

As a writer of feminist myths, Kartika Nair’s exquisite poetic retelling of the Mahabharata from the women’s perspective felt like it was written for me. The title is from the African writer Chinua Achebe’s words, "Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter." Using formal poetry, free verse, and prose, Nair has created a palimpsest of the great Indian epic of kingship and warring dynasties which is several times the length of The Iliad and The Odyssey combined. Here the mothers, wives, sisters, and lovers of the protagonists tell their stories, providing a counterpoint to the much-quoted verse from the epic: "All that is found here can be found elsewhere, but what is not here can be found nowhere."

Until the Lions

By Karthika Naïr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The title of this book comes from the African proverb - "until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter". In this poetic reimagining, Nair writes, for the first time, the history of the women in the Mahabharata, the longest poem ever written and one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India.


Orkney

By Amy Sackville,

Book cover of Orkney

This exquisite novel begins with a university lecturer (Too old? Too deluded?) in love with student forty years his junior. She’s an ethereal, white-haired creature, but at first, their love seems mutual, and plausible. They honeymoon in Orkney, where selkie legends begin to encroach on his state of mind. He’s obsessed with her, and she’s obsessed with the sea. The reader is never quite sure if she’s a selkie or not, which resonates with me as I love books where ambiguity is an integral part of the narrative. 

Orkney

By Amy Sackville,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a remote island in Orkney, a curiously matched couple arrive on their honeymoon. He is an eminent literature professor; she was his pale, enigmatic star pupil. Alone beneath the shifting skies of this untethered landscape, the professor realises how little he knows about his new bride and yet, as the days go by and his mind turns obsessively upon the creature who has so beguiled him, she seems to slip ever further from his yearning grasp. Where does she come from? Why did she ask him to bring her north? What is it that constantly draws her to the…


Deep Water

By Lu Hersey,

Book cover of Deep Water

In this prize-winning novel for older teenagers, Hersey recreates a story of Selkie lore which, in terms of the magical element, remains largely faithful to the original folklore. Teenager Danni’s mother has disappeared, so her daughter sets out to find her. Danni finds herself in her mother’s small Cornish hometown, and soon discovers secrets about her family that are so surprising and hard to believe, they threaten to blow her world apart. What follows is an adventure that enthralls deeply, incorporating fantasy elements into a satisfyingly emotional, realistic story. Stylistically, the sea, selkies, the coastline, and the landscape play important parts, providing an atmospheric backdrop to this fast-moving thrill ride. 

Deep Water

By Lu Hersey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When her mum vanishes, Danni moves to a tiny Cornish fishing village with Dad - where the locals treat her like a monster. As the village's dark, disturbing past bubbles to the surface, Danni discovers that she's not who - or what - she thought she was. And the only way to save her family from a bitter curse is to embrace her incredible new gift.


The Bloody Chamber

By Angela Carter,

Book cover of The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories

Angela Carter’s collection of retold tales is considered a classic work of feminist fiction. The author disassembles well-known fairy tales, such as “Bluebeard,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” and churns them into subversive narratives that evoke an underlying current of female rage. In her titular story, “The Bloody Chamber," Carter brings the classic “Bluebeard” tale into the 1970s and expands the backstory of the main protagonist, giving her history and motivation for the choices she makes. The author doesn’t shy away from the violence of the original tale, wrapping it in the gothic style. While many retellings lose some of their original magic when they are modernized, Carter’s stories maintain an edge of the fantastical, while at the time making them gritty and discomfortingly real. 

The Bloody Chamber

By Angela Carter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With an introduction by Helen Simpson. From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires and werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.


The Robber Bride

By Margaret Atwood,

Book cover of The Robber Bride

Another book with a delicious cover. I have long since lent my copy out and it never made its way back to me, but I remember the distinctive image of a woman in a black mask. Fairy tales offer dark female characters with a complexity that lends itself to further exploration. Zenia is the Robber Bride of the title and you don’t have to know the fairy tale to guess the story. Three friends share their accounts of how Zenia betrayed them in different ways. The reader forms a vivid picture of Zenia, but also the individual narrators. And there is a thrilling contemporary element to the narrative that propels the story. 

The Robber Bride

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Zenia is beautiful, smart and greedy, by turns manipulative and vulnerable, needy and ruthless; a man's dream and a woman"s nightmare. She is also dead. Just to make sure Tony, Roz andd Charis are there for the funeral. But five years on, as the three women share an indulgent, sisterly lunch, the unthinkable happens; 'with waves of ill will flowing out of her like cosmic radiation', Zenia is back...


5 book lists we think you will like!

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