10 books like The Moonflower Vine

By Jetta Carleton,

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

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The Emigrants

By Vilhelm Moberg,

Book cover of The Emigrants: The Emigrant Novels: Book I

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.

The Emigrants

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…

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

By Ann Weisgarber,

Book cover of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

This powerful, unflinching book brought me closer to the homesteading experience in South Dakota than I ever thought possible. Rachel’s struggles as a Black homesteader in 1917 and her fierce devotion to her family echoed with me long after I finished the book, and it was particularly meaningful to read about the complicated racial dynamics of that place and time. Rachel is an unforgettable character, and Weisgarber’s descriptive passages are magnificent.

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

By Ann Weisgarber,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…

Morkan's Quarry

By Steve Yates,

Book cover of Morkan's Quarry

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. 

Morkan's Quarry

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.

The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton

By Jane Smiley,

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

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.

The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton

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.

Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

By Jon Katz,

Book cover of Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

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.

Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

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.

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.


Christmas Day in the Morning

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

Book cover of Christmas Day in the Morning

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.

Christmas Day in the Morning

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.

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…

The Dogs of Bedlam Farm

By Jon Katz,

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

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.

The Dogs of Bedlam Farm

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…

How Kind!

By Mary Murphy,

Book cover of How Kind!

This charming story showcases kindness pared down to its most basic: Kindness feels great to both the giver and the receiver, and it’s easily passed from one person (or, in this case, animal) to another.  Hen is kind to Pig, who in turn is kind to Rabbit, and so on, until the circle is complete. The simple, repetitive text and joyful, brightly-colored illustrations make me smile—and make this book an ideal choice for sharing with very young children.

How Kind!

By Mary Murphy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What goes around comes around in this farmyard tale about the contagiousness of kindness.

Hen gives Pig an unexpected present. "How kind!" says Pig. Pig is so touched, in fact, that he decides to do something kind too. So Pig gives Rabbit a gift. "How kind!" says Rabbit, who does something kind for Cow, who is kind to Cat, who wants to be kind in turn. Where will all of this kindness lead?


The Farmer

By Ximo Abadia,

Book cover of The Farmer

First published in French and illustrated with wonderfully vivid art, this is a story of a farmer who works hard mowing, raking, digging, watering in his fields. He rejoices when things begin to grow, but a drought threatens all his hard work. The farmer is not alone, though, in his efforts, and the art shows the farm animals helping, followed by rain falling and bringing his fields to colorful and joyful abundance. Hard work matters, and so do friends.

The Farmer

By Ximo Abadia,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A farmer's hard work is rewarded in this eco-friendly and elegantly illustrated picture book.

A New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Book of the Year!

In the town, everyone is sleeping. But not Paul.

Paul mows. Paul rakes. Paul sows. Paul draws water. And soon Paul has beautiful plants and flowers growing all around him. But one day, the water dries up. The sun beats down. Paul despairs. But thanks to his animal friends, and a bit of rain, help is on the way . . .

Filled with vivid illustrations of Paul's hard work, the brilliant blooms…

The Midnight Fox

By Betsy Cromer Byars,

Book cover of The Midnight Fox

I loved Betsy Byars’s books growing up. Being English, these American childhoods were so fascinatingly different! The Midnight Fox is a funny, bittersweet story of city boy Tom falling in love with the wildlife of the forest – and most of all with the beautiful midnight fox and her cub. But by making them more familiar with humans, he ends up attracting them closer to the farm and putting them in danger – it’s such a heartbreaking, beautiful book.

The Midnight Fox

By Betsy Cromer Byars,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Midnight Fox is an atmospheric and heartfelt story, and one of Betsy Byars' best-loved classics.

And then, this afternoon,' Uncle Fred said to me, 'you and I'll go after the fox.'

Tom, a town boy, is horrified when his parents tell him he has to stay on Aunt Millie's farm while they are away. He finds country life every bit as strange and uncomfortable as he feared. But soon, he discovers a rare black fox with green eyes, living with her cubs in the forest. Suddenly, the summer is full of excitement. That is, until Uncle Fred decides to…

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Interested in farms, Missouri, and midwest?

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