100 books like The Muse

By Jessie Burton,

Here are 100 books that The Muse fans have personally recommended if you like The Muse. 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 Girl with a Pearl Earring

Rebecca D'Harlingue Author Of The Map Colorist

From my list on 17th-century women.

Who am I?

I find the seventeenth century fascinating, and both of my novels are set in that period. The century was a time of great flux, and I am especially interested in exploring the kinds of things that women might have done, even though their accomplishments weren’t recorded. There is a wonderful article by novelist Rachel Kadish called “Writing the Lives of Forgotten Women,” in which she refers to Hilary Mantel’s comments that people whose lives are not recorded fall through the sieve of history. Kadish says that, “Lives have run through the sieve, but we can catch them with our hands.” These novels all attempt to do that.

Rebecca's book list on 17th-century women

Rebecca D'Harlingue Why did Rebecca love this book?

This book was a phenomenon when it came out, and with good reason.

Chevalier’s words paint a picture of the life of a young girl, Griet, who is working in the house of the artist, Johannes Vermeer in 1660s Delft. In the novel, Griet is the model for the famous painting. The relationship between artist and model, and what they do, and don’t, mean to each other, is complex and intriguing.

The way that Chevalier depicts the restrained interactions between the two seems to mimic Vermeer’s restrained yet visually detailed style.

By Tracy Chevalier,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Girl with a Pearl Earring as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of A Single Thread and At the Edge of the Orchard

Translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film, starring Scarlett Johanson and Colin Firth

Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . .…


Book cover of The Weeping Woman: A Novel

Lynn Bushell Author Of Painted Ladies

From my list on artists and their muses.

Who am I?

As an art historian and painter, I was inevitably drawn to the theme of artists and their muses when I started writing historical fiction. Female, passive, disempowered, and doomed sums up the fate of most muses. History is littered with their corpses - Rossetti’s model Lizzie Siddal committed suicide, Rodin’s model Camille Claudel went mad, Edie Sedgwick, made famous by Warhol, died of an overdose. The title ‘muse’ might offer immortality, but their lives were often hell on earth.  My books set out to understand what drove these women, some of whom were artists in their own right, to make such huge sacrifices. 

Lynn's book list on artists and their muses

Lynn Bushell Why did Lynn love this book?

We all know that Picasso wasn't very nice to his muses – nothing unusual there. He was arrogant and with a massive sense of entitlement. Dora Maar had good reason to weep. She was an artist herself – a successful painter & photographer, gaining commissions historically awarded to men and creating a radical new image of the modern woman  that's until she met Picasso. When she started to cause trouble he had her put away. It's extraordinary how many muses ended up in asylums. Unlike Rodin's muse she did get out, however. In Valdes' novel the story doesn't exactly end happily but in reality she did go on working, as a photographer, up till her death at eighty-nine. Good for you, Dora.

By Zoe Valdes, David Frye (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the prestigious Azorin Prize for Fiction, the best-selling novel about love, sacrifice, and Picasso's mistress, Dora Maar.

A writer resembling Zoe Valdes a Cuban exile living in Paris with her husband and young daughter is preparing a novel on the life of Dora Maar, one of the most promising artists in the Surrealist movement until she met Pablo Picasso. The middle-aged Picasso was already the god of the art world's avant-garde. Dora became his lover, muse, and ultimately, his victim. She became The Weeping Woman captured in his famous portrait, the mistress he betrayed with other mistress-muses, and…


Book cover of The Artist’s Muse

Lynn Bushell Author Of Painted Ladies

From my list on artists and their muses.

Who am I?

As an art historian and painter, I was inevitably drawn to the theme of artists and their muses when I started writing historical fiction. Female, passive, disempowered, and doomed sums up the fate of most muses. History is littered with their corpses - Rossetti’s model Lizzie Siddal committed suicide, Rodin’s model Camille Claudel went mad, Edie Sedgwick, made famous by Warhol, died of an overdose. The title ‘muse’ might offer immortality, but their lives were often hell on earth.  My books set out to understand what drove these women, some of whom were artists in their own right, to make such huge sacrifices. 

Lynn's book list on artists and their muses

Lynn Bushell Why did Lynn love this book?

How much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice, the book asks its heroine. It's time the victims had their say and it's a question Kerry Postle tackles head-on. Wally Neuzel was a model to both Gustave Klimt and Egon Schiele, giants of the Neue Sachlichkeit in Vienna in the early 1900s, artists who in today's terms, got away with murder. The novel highlights the delicate position a girl was in if she chose to model for an artist albeit a famous one. It might secure her a place in history, but models were regarded as little better than prostitutes, rejected (once they'd had their way with them, of course) by the very bourgeoisie who bought the paintings and often by the artists themselves. 

By Kerry Postle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

‘The author tells an evocative story that is both illuminating and engrossing at the same time.’ Allie Burns, author of The Lido Girls

‘Lush and evocative.’ Rosemary Smith

‘The writing elevates this beyond many historical novels.’ Joseph Morgan Vienna 1907

Wally Neuzil must find a way to feed her family. Having failed in many vocations, Wally has one last shot: esteemed artist Gustav Klimt needs a muse, and Wally could be the girl he’s been waiting for. But Wally soon discovers that there is much more to her role than just sitting looking pretty. And while she had hoped to…


Book cover of Tulip Fever

Lynn Bushell Author Of Painted Ladies

From my list on artists and their muses.

Who am I?

As an art historian and painter, I was inevitably drawn to the theme of artists and their muses when I started writing historical fiction. Female, passive, disempowered, and doomed sums up the fate of most muses. History is littered with their corpses - Rossetti’s model Lizzie Siddal committed suicide, Rodin’s model Camille Claudel went mad, Edie Sedgwick, made famous by Warhol, died of an overdose. The title ‘muse’ might offer immortality, but their lives were often hell on earth.  My books set out to understand what drove these women, some of whom were artists in their own right, to make such huge sacrifices. 

Lynn's book list on artists and their muses

Lynn Bushell Why did Lynn love this book?

The muse occupies a slightly different role in Deborah Moggach's novel in that she spends a large part of the book supposedly already dead. Muses often exerted a posthumous influence on their artists, usually reflecting a legacy of guilt on the artist's part for his mistreatment or neglect. (Rossetti is a case in point. He had all his poems buried with his muse Lizzie Siddal, only to request permission to exhume them years later.) The painter, in this case, Jan van Loos, remains true, spending his life painting portraits of his muse Sophia and their love. Perhaps to be a muse, even a dead one, wasn't all bad.         

By Deborah Moggach,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A gorgeous novel' Mail on Sunday

From the bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel comes a thrilling story of power, lust and deception...

Seventeenth-century Amsterdam - a city in the grip of tulip fever.

Sophia's husband Cornelis is one of the lucky ones grown rich from this exotic new flower. To celebrate, he commissions a talented young artist to paint him with his beautiful bride. But as the portrait grows, so does the passion between Sophia and the painter; and ambitions, desires and dreams breed an intricate deception and a reckless gamble.

Now a major film starring Oscar…


Book cover of Our Trespasses: A Paranormal Thriller

Lynelle Clark Author Of Love at War: A Love Story

From my list on provoking plotlines.

Who am I?

I am a very realistic person, curious by nature, who loves a good thrill. A good twist—no matter the genre—that has all the above recommendations captures my attention. A feel-good chick flick or book does nothing for my curious side but adds a twist or two and you have me hooked. Love at war is that kind of book. It has a few twists that touch on important topics and leave you with a few thoughts to think about afterward. Life is not only marshmallows and sprinklers. Life is real and I like my books like that, too. Therefore, I call myself a multi-genre author. I don’t want to be bound by one genre.

Lynelle's book list on provoking plotlines

Lynelle Clark Why did Lynelle love this book?

There are many negatives about this book that told me to stay away. For me, the subject that deserved to be highlighted is forgiveness. The way the author weaved it into this story was perfect. The topic does not fit with the genre, and though paranormal and suspenseful, forgiveness ties it over for me.

Our Trespasses’ negative was the paranormal side of the book. I’m not a big fan of the genre but once my interest was piqued, I really enjoyed the book. In the end, it wasn’t that big negative, but it made me hesitant to read at first.

By Michael Cordell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Deliver us from evil...

Drowning in a meaningless existence flipping burgers, Matthew Davis suddenly collapses from a powerful psychic connection he shares with his twin brother, Jake. The pain is violent and immediate, and Matt knows exactly what it means… hundreds of miles away, Jake has been viciously killed. But instead of severing their connection, the murder intensifies it and Matt begins to suffer the agony of Jake’s afterlife.

Hell bent on solving Jake’s murder in order to break the connection, Matt travels to his troubled hometown of Hatchett, Nebraska, where an old lover and savage new enemies expose the…


Book cover of Texas Roads

Lynelle Clark Author Of Love at War: A Love Story

From my list on provoking plotlines.

Who am I?

I am a very realistic person, curious by nature, who loves a good thrill. A good twist—no matter the genre—that has all the above recommendations captures my attention. A feel-good chick flick or book does nothing for my curious side but adds a twist or two and you have me hooked. Love at war is that kind of book. It has a few twists that touch on important topics and leave you with a few thoughts to think about afterward. Life is not only marshmallows and sprinklers. Life is real and I like my books like that, too. Therefore, I call myself a multi-genre author. I don’t want to be bound by one genre.

Lynelle's book list on provoking plotlines

Lynelle Clark Why did Lynelle love this book?

This was an unforgettable series that captured so much of the heart. The characters were incredibly real with the main characters playing an integral part throughout the series. All seven books are worthy of your time. It’s emotionally crafty and gut-wrenching at times with a powerful message weaved into the story. 

By Cathy Bryant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From this bestselling page-turner series of stand-alone novels comes a dramatic romance of one woman's search for home and the Texas rancher who teaches her what home really means.A disillusioned heiress wants nothing more than a place to call home. With lovable-but-quirky town folks, quaint country charm, and loads of business potential, Miller's Creek seems like the perfect place to start over. But Dani's dreams of finding home are crushed when malicious rumors and a devastating secret propel her down a road she never expected to travel.Though a Texas politician questions the arrival of this city gal in the hometown…


Book cover of Gated

Lynelle Clark Author Of Love at War: A Love Story

From my list on provoking plotlines.

Who am I?

I am a very realistic person, curious by nature, who loves a good thrill. A good twist—no matter the genre—that has all the above recommendations captures my attention. A feel-good chick flick or book does nothing for my curious side but adds a twist or two and you have me hooked. Love at war is that kind of book. It has a few twists that touch on important topics and leave you with a few thoughts to think about afterward. Life is not only marshmallows and sprinklers. Life is real and I like my books like that, too. Therefore, I call myself a multi-genre author. I don’t want to be bound by one genre.

Lynelle's book list on provoking plotlines

Lynelle Clark Why did Lynelle love this book?

An eerie and sinister plot draws you in from the start. The three-part book gives you a historic overview of the origins of the town it plays off. Building up to a climax that had me up till late to learn the outcome. At first, I thought it was the epilogue that the author cleverly put in front to give you a taste of what's to come as the story unfolds, I realized my mistake and, in the end, was surprised that it ended in an unsettling end. 

By Matt Drabble,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Matt Drabble is a name that will one day be as widely recognized as Stephen King & Dean Koontz" - READERS FAVORITE From an award winning & best selling author with a highest Amazon Horror Author Ranking of 5th. "Gated" is the Readers Favorite 2015 Gold Medal Winner for Horror. It is also a UK & US Horror Chart Top 10 best seller & the 2014 Full Moon Awards Horror Book of the year. Michael and Emily are a happy and contented English couple, a writer and a school teacher. Their lives are complete when Emily falls pregnant, however their…


Book cover of A Thistle in the Mist

Lynelle Clark Author Of Love at War: A Love Story

From my list on provoking plotlines.

Who am I?

I am a very realistic person, curious by nature, who loves a good thrill. A good twist—no matter the genre—that has all the above recommendations captures my attention. A feel-good chick flick or book does nothing for my curious side but adds a twist or two and you have me hooked. Love at war is that kind of book. It has a few twists that touch on important topics and leave you with a few thoughts to think about afterward. Life is not only marshmallows and sprinklers. Life is real and I like my books like that, too. Therefore, I call myself a multi-genre author. I don’t want to be bound by one genre.

Lynelle's book list on provoking plotlines

Lynelle Clark Why did Lynelle love this book?

I absolutely loved this book based on true events. Don’t be fooled by the name either. This is intense as it gets. A historical thriller slash romance that made you wonder how much the heroin can endure. Believe me, you are in for a ride. 

So much heartache poured from the pages, and you keep on reading in the hopes that love will conquer, and the evil will be stopped. Every character's persona was well developed and got under your skin as you became part of their lives and struggles. One of my favorites and a book I would read again.

By Megan Denby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Thistle in the Mist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meara isn’t thinking about Death when she kisses her mother good-bye, but hours later she is as her fingers slide into the back of Mother’s shattered skull. Meara thinks her world has ended. She has no idea… Ebullient and feisty, Meara MacDonald lives an idyllic life on the mist-enfolded Isle of Skye, dreaming of the day she will wed her heart, the gallant Duncan MacLeod. Fate, however, has other plans and when Aunt Deirdre and Uncle Sloan arrive, Meara’s family is taken, one-by-one, for reasons she discovers are both personal and nefarious. Unable to rein in her spirit or her…


Book cover of The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau

Kristin Cashore Author Of Winterkeep

From my list on mysteries—and solutions—you never saw coming.

Who am I?

As a reader and writer, I work with a pretty broad definition of “mystery.” You’ll find my own novels in the fantasy section of the bookstore, but my books are mysteries too — and romances, and tales of adventure, and intimate character studies, and reflections on our reality, no matter how fantastical the worlds in which they take place. I love melding genres! So when I think of my favorite mysteries, I try not to limit myself to the mystery section of the bookstore. Few things make me happier than discovering partway through a book that a mystery has been building that I didn’t even notice.

Kristin's book list on mysteries—and solutions—you never saw coming

Kristin Cashore Why did Kristin love this book?

I’m going to guess that most adults don’t encounter many picture books, except in the context of introducing them to children. I would like to humbly suggest that if your reading habits don’t extend to picture books, you may be missing out. It’s an art form I adore, and one of my favorites is this book about a mysterious painter in Paris whose paintings contain scenes that come alive. I love Agee’s palette and the perspectives he chose for this story — and no matter how many times I read this book, I’m still thrilled by the twist at the end. It’s the sort of mysterious story that delights, while opening your imagination to bigger things.

By Jon Agee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau 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?

Art imitates life in this hilarious, absurdist picture book--one of Jon Agee's most beloved titles, now back in print.

"Outrageous!" the judges cried. "Ridiculous!" Who would dare enter a portrait of a duck in the Grand Contest of Art? But when Felix Clouseau's painting quacks, he is hailed as a genius. Suddenly everyone wants a Clousseau masterpiece, and the unknown painter becomes an overnight sensation. That's when the trouble begins.


Book cover of The Stroke of Winter

Barbara Ellen Brink Author Of Roadkill

From my list on mysteries set on the banks of Lake Superior.

Who am I?

I’m a Minnesota writer who loves to read and write books set in places I’ve spent time in. The Upper Peninsula is a favorite vacation destination. It has so much history to unearth, quaint towns and woods to explore, and giant mosquitoes to avoid. I’ve traveled along Lake Superior in all seasons. Lake Superior covers 31,700 square miles and holds more water than all the other Great Lakes combined, so there's a lot to see and enjoy. After my first visit to the U.P., I began to write the Double Barrel Mysteries series. Set in the tiny fictional town of Port Scuttlebutt, Lake Superior isn’t just a backdrop, but part of the story.

Barbara's book list on mysteries set on the banks of Lake Superior

Barbara Ellen Brink Why did Barbara love this book?

I really enjoyed this story even though it isn’t exactly the kind of mystery I normally choose. At the center is a rather eerie vein of darkness, but the beautiful winter scenes of Minnesota, neighbors who care about one another, and a budding romance, tend to lessen the impact. It’s rather a heartwarming story with a ghoulish murder mystery attached.

A woman returns to her hometown to open a bed-and-breakfast in the old mansion that has been in her family for generations. One wing of the house is blocked off and she wants to open it up for her personal living quarters. Cue scary noises and sudden chilly drafts.

This story is also set by Lake Superior in winter, and you get an authentic taste of Northern Minnesota Nice, but inside, the house has a sinister presence that needs Tess to know what happened fifty years ago.

By Wendy Webb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

She's restoring the old family home on the hill. And unearthing something evil.

In the tourist town of Wharton, on the coast of Lake Superior, Tess Bell is renovating her old family home into a bed-and-breakfast during the icy dead of winter...

As the house's restoration commences, a shuttered art studio is revealed. Inside are paintings Tess's late grandfather, beloved and celebrated artist Sebastian Bell, hid away for generations. But these appear to be the works of a twisted mind, almost unrecognizable as paintings she and others familiar with his art would expect. The sinister canvases raise disturbing questions for…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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