100 books like The Moonflower Vine

By Jetta Carleton,

Here are 100 books that The Moonflower Vine fans have personally recommended if you like The Moonflower Vine. 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 Emigrants

Rose Osterman Kleidon Author Of 1836: Year of Escape

From my list on immigration in the 1800s.

Why am I passionate about this?

By chance, I was entrusted with rare historical documents about the immigrant generations in our family, which inspired this novel and grounded it in reality. Who wouldn’t wonder why they came? Besides, I have always been fascinated by pre-modern times and how steam power changed everything and dragged us along, kicking and screaming. And, even though they arrived in America in 1836, I grew up on the farm where they lived, so I heard tales of their amazing journey. It may be 186 years on, but it’s time to tell their story, which, it turns out, is a story for us all.  

Rose's book list on immigration in the 1800s

Rose Osterman Kleidon Why did Rose love this book?

The first of Moberg’s 4-volume saga of Swedish immigrants, this book is so thoroughly researched that he invented a term, calling them “documentary novels.” The family in the story are farmers from a poor, remote parish in Sweden whose lives are constricted by both the church and the state. This reflects the painful realities of Europe in 1850, where almost everyone was poor, rural, oppressed, and completely unprepared for the journey ahead of them. Whether you read Moberg’s Emigrant Novels for the intense personal drama or for more understanding of why people leave their homelands, you will find these stories deeply emotional and insightful.

By Vilhelm Moberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Considered one of Sweden's greatest 20th-century writers, Vilhelm Moberg created the characters Karl Oskar and Kristina Nilsson to portray the joys and tragedies of daily life for early Swedish immigrants in America. His consistently faithful depiction of these humble people's lives is a major strength of the Emigrant Novels.

Moberg's extensive research in the papers of Swedish emigrants in archival collections enabled him to incorporate many details of pioneer life. First published between 1949 and 1959 in Swedish, these four books were considered a single work by Moberg, who intended that they be read as documentary novels. These reprint editions…


Book cover of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

Cameron Alam Author Of Anangokaa

From my list on women discovering personal truth in the wilderness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood, when I first witnessed Mary and Collin grow hale and hearty by breathing in fresh air from the moor while sinking their hands into the soil of The Secret Garden, I have been drawn toward stories featuring the healing power of nature. And when I discovered Karana, resilient and resourceful,  fending for herself on The Island of the Blue Dolphins, I realized nature could be as violent a mentor as she could be nurturing, less a wellspring for the thirsty than a fiery forge for the spirited. The mystifying interplay of this gentle/fierce duality and its effect on the lives of characters continues to intrigue me and influences my writing. 

Cameron's book list on women discovering personal truth in the wilderness

Cameron Alam Why did Cameron love this book?

Sometimes it takes dust, drought, and desperation for us to realize what we’re capable of changing. Landscape has the power to alter us and for Rachel it both whittles away and fortifies. The wrath of nature is a tangible presence in her story, though we come to realize the hostile land and searing sky pale in comparison to the silent destruction wrought by the person in whom she has placed her life’s trust. Weisgarber’s ability to slow time down to the painful passing of seconds draws me in every time. 

By Ann Weisgarber,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Personal History of Rachel DuPree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a Major Motion Picture Starring Emmy Award Winner and Oscar Nominee Viola Davis; "An eye-opening look at the little-explored area of a black frontier woman in the American West." --Chicago Sun-Times

Praised by Alice Walker and many other bestselling writers, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree is an award-winning debut novel with incredible heart about life on the prairie as it's rarely been seen. Reminiscent of The Color Purple, as well as the frontier novels of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Willa Cather, it opens a window on the little-known history of African American homesteaders and gives voice…


Book cover of Morkan's Quarry

Steve Wiegenstein Author Of Slant of Light

From my list on set in the Midwest.

Why am I passionate about this?

History and historical fiction are my abiding passions, and as a child of the Missouri Ozarks, I’ve always been drawn to depictions of Midwestern and rural life in particular. I have studied 19th-century utopian communities for many years and have always been fascinated by the powerful appeal of such communities, and the internal dynamics that always seem to arise within them. My novel series follows the rise and decline of one such community, using it as a microcosm for American culture in general. What might seem like a byway of American history is to me a powerful source of insight.

Steve's book list on set in the Midwest

Steve Wiegenstein Why did Steve love this book?

The Civil War west of the Mississippi doesn’t get much attention in historical fiction, but it’s an incredibly rich period, with storylines and characters to fill a hundred books. Morkan’s Quarry is one of my favorites from that period. It’s set in Springfield, Missouri, the site of one of the war’s first major battles. Michael Morkan operates a rock quarry just outside of town, and rock quarries have one product on hand that is highly prized during wartime – gunpowder. Michael and his son Leighton soon learn how thin the veneer of civilization is once a war is underway. The Civil War in Missouri was characterized by day-to-day savagery, private violence, and disrespect for the “rules” of warfare, and Morkan’s Quarry captures that spirit all too well. 

By Steve Yates,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Morkan's Quarry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1861, the Civil War severs Michael Morkan from everything he loves and all that defines him--from his son, Leighton; from his love, Cora Slade; and from the quarry he owns in Springfield, Missouri. Forced to give his black powder to the Missouri State Guard, he finds himself indelibly labeled a rebel traitor and is imprisoned in St. Louis. Back in the Ozarks, Leighton joins the Federal Home Guards in hopes of paroling his father. When Leighton finally frees him, the two are pitched in a last gambit for their quarry and for the legacy of the name Morkan.


Book cover of The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton

Susan Garzon Author Of Reading the Knots

From my list on women slogging through turbulent times.

Why am I passionate about this?

Foreign cultures have always intrigued me. I am a Midwesterner who lived for several years in Latin America, teaching English and later doing field work in anthropology. As a young woman, I lived through a violent coup d’état in Chile, and I drew on that experience when I later wrote about political upheaval in Guatemala. A Ph.D. in anthropology gave me the opportunity to spend time in Guatemala and Mexico, some of it in Mayan towns. My love of historical fiction stems from my desire to enter and understand other worlds, and I am grateful to authors who spin their magic to bring far-off places and times to life. 

Susan's book list on women slogging through turbulent times

Susan Garzon Why did Susan love this book?

I love Lidie Newton. She is a newlywed who accompanies her abolitionist husband from Illinois to Kansas Territory, at a time when the territory is mired in partisan rage and violence. Lidie narrates the story, and her straightforward, often insightful accounts pulled me in immediately. I was right there with her as she forged her way through numerous exploits, some humorous, others heart-breaking. The story is populated with characters who are both colorful and believable, and I came away with a heightened understanding of the role played by events in Kansas and Missouri during the frightening months leading up to the Civil War.

By Jane Smiley,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lidie joins the pioneering Westward migration into America's heartland. It is harsher, more violent and more disorientating then Lidie could ever have imagined. They find themselves on a faultline - forces crash against each other, soon to erupt into the he American Civil War.


Book cover of Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

Emma Bland Smith Author Of Odin, Dog Hero of the Fires

From my list on children’s books about dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a librarian and author living in San Francisco. Like many children, I grew up on dog books. I read and re-read Lassie Come Home and The Incredible Journey. James Herriot’s memoirs—many of which feature dogs—were my bedtime stories. Today, I often write about animals as a way to build empathy in child readers and teach the values of loyalty, kindness, and friendship. (My picture books include stories about dogs, alligators, wolves, and ducks!) Although I love a good cry over a book, I have chosen mostly happy books for this list of picture and middle-grade books about dogs. I hope the animal-loving child readers in your life enjoy them!

Emma's book list on children’s books about dogs

Emma Bland Smith Why did Emma love this book?

This is a photo-illustrated version of Jon Katz’s bestselling memoir life with dogs on a picturesque upstate New York farm. I fell immediately for this charming picture book, where each dog has their own important job. Border collie Rose herds sheep. Second border collie Izzy (a rescue with a sad-then-happy history) is a therapy dog who visits hospitals and nursing homes. Tough-looking Frieda guards the farm. But what is Lenore’s job (goes the refrain)? We finally learn that the essential job of fun-loving black lab Lenore is simply to bring love and joy to everyone. This book is basically the equivalent of a warm cup of tea and a quilt on a blustery day.

By Jon Katz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Welcome to Bedlam Farm! Meet Rose, Izzy, Frieda, and Lenore, four dogs that work hard on the farm doing various jobs. They're good friends now, but it wasn't always this way. Just as each dog has a different role on the farm, each has a unique story.

Filled with his captivating photographs, bestselling author Jon Katz's heartwarming account of his dogs' lives on Bedlam Farm is unforgettable.


Book cover of Christmas Day in the Morning

Joni Hilton Author Of A Little Christmas Prayer

From my list on classic Christmas books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written dozens of plays and books, always with heart and humor. If you love Christmas, you know that it can also be a frenzied time, so we all need to curl up on a cozy night and read Christmas stories to bring back the magic and generosity of this special holiday. I like well-told tales that reaffirm the love we know is so important, stories that will mean just as much a hundred years from now. And surprise endings are always a delight!

Joni's book list on classic Christmas books

Joni Hilton Why did Joni love this book?

This touching tale, set on a farm, captures the timeless desire we all have to give the perfect gift to those we love. Rob learns the true meaning of love as he gives of himself, and finds a way to surprise his father. Buck has a beautiful way of showing rather than telling, and pulls us in with hope and vulnerability. A gift of love is the best gift of all, and Christmas is the perfect time to share this tender family story.

By Pearl S. Bucks, Mark Buehner (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christmas Day in the Morning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

The true joy of Christmas is to love and to awaken love.

"Christmas Day in the Morning is as gorgeous as the day it celebrates. And unlike so many other presents, the real gift isn't the book itself, it's the simple, pure message. If you give anything this year, give love."
--Jason F. Wright, New York Times best-selling author of Christmas Jars

In this adaptation of "Christmas Day in the Morning" Rob looks back on his boyhood and remembers giving an unusual gift of self a gift that filled him with Christmas joy. Now, fifty years later, Rob realizes he…


Book cover of The Dogs of Bedlam Farm: An Adventure with Sixteen Sheep, Three Dogs, Two Donkeys, and Me

Michael Konik Author Of Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventures

From my list on inspiring dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Michael Konik is the author of 13 books of fiction, poetry, and journalism, including Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventure, an LA Times best-seller and the inspiration for the Animal Planet series Ella & Me. Surrounded by dogs since toddler age, Konik is currently the owner of Benji, a Golden Doodle, and Billie, a magnificent mutt.

Michael's book list on inspiring dogs

Michael Konik Why did Michael love this book?

Enlightening and touching, whimsical and wise, this story of one man's transition to country living is populated by a menagerie of farm animals and a challenging border collie named Orson. It's said that there are no bad dogs, only bad dog trainers. This books reminds us that the dogs who share our lives serve as mirrors, reflecting our best and worst qualities, gently teaching us we can be better humans if we're willing to be more like dogs.

By Jon Katz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Dogs are blameless, devoid of calculation, neither blessed nor cursed with human motives. They can’t really be held responsible for what they do. But we can.”
–from The Dogs of Bedlam Farm

When Jon Katz adopted a border collie named Orson, his whole world changed. Gone were the two yellow Labs he wrote about in A Dog Year, as was the mountaintop cabin they loved. Katz moved into an old farmhouse on forty-two acres of pasture and woods with a menagerie: a ram named Nesbitt, fifteen ewes, a lonely donkey named Carol, a baby donkey named Fanny, and three border…


Book cover of All the Places to Love

PeggySue Wells Author Of The 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make: A Biblical Guide for Navigating Family Life on Your Own

From my list on being a single mom and staying sane.

Why am I passionate about this?

“Eminently quotable, PeggySue Wells is a tonic — warm like your favorite blanket, bracing like a stiff drink.”

History buff and tropical island votary, PeggySue parasails, skydives, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. The bestselling author of 30 books including the What To Do series, The Slave Across the Street, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, Chasing Sunrise, and The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make, PeggySue’s most challenging and rewarding adventure was solo parenting seven children. With one in four homes single mom-led, PeggySue teamed with Pam Farrel to offer practical help and tangible tips to moms navigating parenting solo.

PeggySue's book list on being a single mom and staying sane

PeggySue Wells Why did PeggySue love this book?

No matter how young or old, everyone needs a timeless picture book about the best of hearth and home. The illustrations by Mike Wimmer are breathtaking and inviting. Patricia MacLachlan’s carefully chosen words reflect the relationship glue that creates connecting and belonging within families. No matter how old you are, All the Places to Love is a touch point for the heart.

By Patricia MacLachlan, Michael Wimmer (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All the Places to Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young boy describes the favorite places that he shares with his family on his grandparents' farm and in the nearby countryside


Book cover of How I Live Now

Catherine Austen Author Of All Good Children

From my list on understated siblings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the youngest of five, and my siblings are what shaped me and my world. Growing up, I never felt alone, except climbing the stairs to bed half an hour before anyone else (such an injustice!). We played cards and games and had noisy discussions throughout my childhood and youth, and we still do. I wouldn’t be me without siblings. It’s the relationship that most fascinates me. There are siblings in all the books I’ve written and probably in all the books I’ll ever write. It’s not a theme I look for when I read, but I recognize the feeling when I encounter it and it feels like home.

Catherine's book list on understated siblings

Catherine Austen Why did Catherine love this book?

I just read this book—it’s been in my TBR pile since 2004and it’s why I chose the theme of siblings. I loved the voice of this novel, the narrator’s young outsider perspective, her humour and heartDaisy is such an unexpected character to tell a war story through. But what I loved most about the book is the sibling vibe in the house of her cousins. Edmond, Piper, Osbert, and Isaaceach of them is who she/he is because of their siblings. You could remove one from the plot (well, not Edmond!) but the others wouldn’t be themselves anymore. We feel that through Daisy’s thin bones: these people belong to each other, and maybe she could belong there too. 

By Meg Rosoff,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked How I Live Now 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?

How I Live Now is an original and poignant book by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now is the powerful and engaging story of Daisy, the precocious New Yorker and her English cousin Edmond, torn apart as war breaks out in London, from the multi award-winning Meg Rosoff. How I Live Now has been adapted for the big screen by Kevin Macdonald, starring Saoirse Ronan as Daisy and releases in 2013.

Fifteen-year-old Daisy thinks she knows all about love. Her mother died giving birth to her, and now her dad has sent her away for the summer, to live in…


Book cover of Turkey Trouble

Dian Curtis Regan Author Of Fangsgiving

From my list on gather-round-and-share stories for Thanksgiving.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of many books for young readers, ranging from picture books to YA novels and novellas. Where did this book come from? After Scholastic published My Zombie Valentine, it did so well, they asked me to write another "funny/scary" title for Christmas, so I wrote The Vampire Who Came for Christmas. Then they asked me to write another holiday book for the next year, and this time, they gave me a title: Home for the Howlidays. Then, they asked me to write one more funny/scary story, but this time, for Thanksgiving. And again, they gave me the title: Fangsgiving. The books have become known as the Holiday Monster Series.

Dian's book list on gather-round-and-share stories for Thanksgiving

Dian Curtis Regan Why did Dian love this book?

Turkey has a problem. Thanksgiving is on the way. Maybe if Turkey wears a disguise, the farmer won't recognize him. He'll make the farmer think he's one of the horses. Great idea–until Cow figures it out. So, Turkey disguises himself as a cow. Another great idea—until Pig figures it out. Finally, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise. This story made me laugh out loud, and I'm sure it will have the same effect on young readers. Funny illustrations by Lee Harper add to the silliness.

By Wendi Silvano, Lee Harper (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Turkey is in trouble. Bad trouble. The kind of trouble where it's almost Thanksgiving...and you're the main course. But Turkey has an idea-what if he doesn't look like a turkey? What if he looks like another animal instead?

After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise to make this Thanksgiving the best ever!

Wendi Silvano's comical story is perfectly matched by Lee Harper's watercolors.


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