100 books like The Naïve and Sentimental Lover

By John le Carré,

Here are 100 books that The Naïve and Sentimental Lover fans have personally recommended if you like The Naïve and Sentimental Lover. 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 Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour

Richard Scholar Author Of Émigrés: French Words That Turned English

From my list on just how much English owes French.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been struck, as a learner of French at school and later a university professor of French, by how much English borrows from French language and culture. Imagine English without naïveté and caprice. You might say it would lose its raison d’être My first book was the history of a single French phrase, the je-ne-sais-quoi, which names a ‘certain something’ in people or things that we struggle to explain. Working on that phrase alerted me to the role that French words, and foreign words more generally, play in English. The books on this list helped me to explore this topic—and more besides—as I was writing Émigrés.

Richard's book list on just how much English owes French

Richard Scholar Why did Richard love this book?

This is cultural history with a difference and of a difference. It teaches you a lot about the reputation for fashionable culture that France enjoyed for centuries all over the world and continues to enjoy to this day. How much of all that is already packed into the book’s subtitle! The rest of the book is just as accessible and lively and unwilling ever to take itself too seriously. 

By Joan DeJean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What makes fashionistas willing to pay a small fortune for a particular designer accessory? Why does a special occasion only become really special when a champagne cork pops? Why are diamonds the status symbol gemstone, instantly signifying wealth, power, and even emotional commitment? Writing with great elan, one of the foremost authorities on seventeenth-century French culture provides the answer to these and other fascinating questions in her account of how, at one glittering moment in history, the French under Louis XIV set the standards of sophistication, style, and glamour that still rule our lives today. Joan DeJean takes us back…


Book cover of Marriage A-La-Mode

Richard Scholar Author Of Émigrés: French Words That Turned English

From my list on just how much English owes French.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been struck, as a learner of French at school and later a university professor of French, by how much English borrows from French language and culture. Imagine English without naïveté and caprice. You might say it would lose its raison d’être My first book was the history of a single French phrase, the je-ne-sais-quoi, which names a ‘certain something’ in people or things that we struggle to explain. Working on that phrase alerted me to the role that French words, and foreign words more generally, play in English. The books on this list helped me to explore this topic—and more besides—as I was writing Émigrés.

Richard's book list on just how much English owes French

Richard Scholar Why did Richard love this book?

This is a sparklingly funny play. I love its contemporary freshness, its fleetness of foot, and its irreverence. It satirizes the fashion for all things French among London’s social climbers. It sugars the pill of all that satire by bringing a fast-paced plot to a comic ending of marriage and reconciliation. It taught me that writers in seventeenth-century England like the play’s author, John Dryden, were importing words and ideas from France as they sought to trace a middle way between a servile mimicry of French culture and an insular rejection of it. 

By John Dryden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marriage A-La-Mode as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dryden's audiences in 1671, both aristocratic and middle-class, would have been quick to respond to the themes of disputed royal succession, Francophilia and loyalty among subjects in his most successful tragicomedy. In the tragic plot, written in verse, young Leonidas has to struggle to assert his place as the rightful heir to the throne of Sicily and to the hand of the usurper's daughter. In the comic plot, written in prose, two fashionable couples (much more at home in London drawing-rooms than at the Sicilian court) play at switching partners in the 'modern' style. The introduction of this edition argues…


Book cover of The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare

Richard Scholar Author Of Émigrés: French Words That Turned English

From my list on just how much English owes French.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been struck, as a learner of French at school and later a university professor of French, by how much English borrows from French language and culture. Imagine English without naïveté and caprice. You might say it would lose its raison d’être My first book was the history of a single French phrase, the je-ne-sais-quoi, which names a ‘certain something’ in people or things that we struggle to explain. Working on that phrase alerted me to the role that French words, and foreign words more generally, play in English. The books on this list helped me to explore this topic—and more besides—as I was writing Émigrés.

Richard's book list on just how much English owes French

Richard Scholar Why did Richard love this book?

This is a brilliant essay in literary criticism. It traces English ambivalence towards French language and culture in the centuries that followed the Norman Conquest. It does so by delving into major literary texts—by Chaucer and Shakespeare among others—that explore that ambivalence for what it is: the symptom of a fetish. I like the way Williams writes and I find her inspiring in her desire to remain faithful to the complexity of the texts she studies and their attitudes.

By Deanne Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What was the impact of the Norman Conquest on the culture of medieval and early modern England? Deanne Williams answers this question by contending that not only French language and literature, but the idea of Frenchness itself, produced England's literary and cultural identity. Examining a variety of English representations of, and responses to, France and 'the French' in the work of Chaucer, Caxton, Skelton, Shakespeare and others, this book shows how English literature emerged out of a simultaneous engagement with, and resistance to, the pervasive presence of French language and culture in England that was the legacy of the Norman…


Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

Book cover of Empire in the Sand

Shane Joseph Author Of Empire in the Sand

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a writer for more than twenty years and have favored pursuing “truth in fiction” rather than “money in formula.” I also spent over thirty years in the corporate world and was exposed to many situations reminiscent of those described in my fiction and in these recommended books. While I support enterprise, “enlightened capitalism” is preferable to the bare-knuckle type we have today, and which seems to resurface whenever regulation weakens. I also find writing novels closer to my lived experience connects me intimately with readers who are looking for socio-political, realist literature.

Shane's book list on exposing corporate, political, and personal corruption

What is my book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis.

His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election. Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian beekeeper living on Vancouver Island hold the key to Avery’s recovery, a man holding secrets that put lives in jeopardy? Avery races across the country to find out, with crooked bosses, politicians, and assassins on his tail. Joseph spins a cautionary tale of corporate and political greed that is endemic to our times.

Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

What is this book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis. His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election.

Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian bee keeper living on Vancouver Island hold…


Book cover of Ennui

Richard Scholar Author Of Émigrés: French Words That Turned English

From my list on just how much English owes French.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been struck, as a learner of French at school and later a university professor of French, by how much English borrows from French language and culture. Imagine English without naïveté and caprice. You might say it would lose its raison d’être My first book was the history of a single French phrase, the je-ne-sais-quoi, which names a ‘certain something’ in people or things that we struggle to explain. Working on that phrase alerted me to the role that French words, and foreign words more generally, play in English. The books on this list helped me to explore this topic—and more besides—as I was writing Émigrés.

Richard's book list on just how much English owes French

Richard Scholar Why did Richard love this book?

Ennui is a hidden gem of a novel. I admire the way it deftly weaves together personal lives and political histories on either side of the Irish Sea. I have come to feel strongly that the author, Maria Edgeworth, is unjustly overlooked by literary history in favour of Jane Austen. Yet Austen drew inspiration from her older contemporary. In this novel, Edgeworth draws on French words and ideas to tell the tale of an over-entitled English lounge lizard who is cured of his fashionable affliction—the ennui of the title—by his travels and travails in Ireland. The result is a cosmopolitan novel crackling with invention and implication.

By Maria Edgeworth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ennui


Book cover of For All She Knows

Rebecca Prenevost Author Of Starting in 5th

From my list on fiction portraying realistic parenting dilemmas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a mom of two daughters who is fascinated with reading nonfiction parenting books and listening to parenting-related podcasts. My absolute favorite, though, is when fiction authors take a dense parenting topic and turn it into a relatable and engaging story so that readers can explore the same important issues and challenges in a more enjoyable way.

Rebecca's book list on fiction portraying realistic parenting dilemmas

Rebecca Prenevost Why did Rebecca love this book?

This novel exemplifies parenting fiction in my mind. It takes a concept I could’ve read about in a nonfiction parenting book (how to handle teenage drinking) and slides it into a compelling narrative that realistically depicts all the potential complexities and nuances in the parenting decisions and how they might play out, including several factors and consequences related to teen alcohol use and parent-sponsored parties that I would’ve never thought of myself.  

By Jamie Beck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For All She Knows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two mothers face the consequences of their choices in a gripping novel about friendship, family, and forgiveness by Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Jamie Beck.

Grace first met Mimi when she blew into their sons' toddler playgroup like a warm bay breeze that loosened Grace's tight spaces. Despite differing approaches to life and parenting, the fast friends raised their kids together while cementing a sisterlike bond that neither believed could be broken. But when a string of ill-fated decisions results in a teen party with a tragic outcome for Grace's son, the friendship is ripped apart and…


Book cover of The Love Hypothesis

Elle Rivers Author Of Contractual Obligations

From my list on romance books with main characters that hook you from page one.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Elle Rivers, and I’ve been a romance reader and writer for over ten years. I started reading when I was in high school because I was a lonely kid who loved watching people fall in love. I love the romance genre because it always has a happy ending, and reading about characters overcoming their struggles reminds me that I can also face any hard moments in life. I try to write the same kinds of characters in my books. They’re all a piece of me, and I am so excited that others can read them, too. 

Elle's book list on romance books with main characters that hook you from page one

Elle Rivers Why did Elle love this book?

This novel is about a PH.D. candidate, Olive, who fake-dates a professor to make her best friend feel better about falling in love with her ex-boyfriend. It’s a wild premise, but I love suspending my own beliefs and falling into a romance novel.

This is another one of those single point-of-view books where the main character is incredibly dense, and we KNOW her fake boyfriend, Adam, is so in love with her.

There are also hints of sexism in the STEM field, which is very realistic, and this story touches on it exactly how a romance novel should, with a few moments of despair and a happy ending. 

By Ali Hazelwood,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Love Hypothesis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Instant New York Times Bestseller and TikTok Sensation!

As seen on THE VIEW!

A BuzzFeed Best Summer Read of 2021

When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman's carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn't believe in lasting romantic relationships--but her best friend does, and that's what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So,…


Book cover of The Housekeeper and the Professor

Mark Hummel Author Of Man, Underground

From my list on unlikely friendships or unexpected pairings.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two instincts drive this list, one “writerly” and one about being human: 1) all good fiction maximizes various kinds of tension, particularly between people, and unusual or unexpected character pairings offer rich tensions; 2) I think we live in times when we are in desperate need of human kindness and must recognize that people from very different backgrounds can come together in their humanity. I love novels with complex characters and in books, as in life, I like to see people grow and change, and a big part of change is letting other people into your life.

Mark's book list on unlikely friendships or unexpected pairings

Mark Hummel Why did Mark love this book?

I am fascinated with “made families,” those connections of strangers who pass into such intimate friendships that they become de facto, chosen families.

While the core premise of The Housekeeper and the Professor will seize your imagination—the “professor” has suffered a traumatic brain injury that leaves him with only 8 minutes of short-term memory—it is the beauty of the friendship that emerges between him, the “housekeeper” hired to care for him, and her ten-year-old son that will stay with you.

In the present-tense living of having to reintroduce themselves anew to this math genius every morning, all the characters learn the value of a moment, and together they experience the “curious equations that can create a family.”

This thin, lovely, uplifting novel helped me re-learn the potency of fleeting moments and the enduring lessons of unexpected love.

By Yoko Ogawa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is one of those books written in such lucid, unpretentious language that reading it is like looking into a deep pool of clear water...Dive into Yoko Ogawa's world and you find yourself tugged by forces more felt than seen' New York Times

Each morning, the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to one another. The Professor may not remember what he had for breakfast, but his mind is still alive with elegant mathematical equations from the past. He devises clever maths riddles - based on her shoe size or her birthday - and the numbers reveal a sheltering and…


Book cover of You Have a Match

E.A. Neeves Author Of After You Vanished

From my list on slowburn mysteries for young adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

Most people know the slowburn romance. A spark flickers at deliberate pace until finally passion ignites. But what about the slowburn mystery? As a reader and a writer, I’m drawn to mysteries that twine as a well-drawn character, usually an amateur sleuth, gets pulled into investigating some eerie event. These mysteries begin with a straightforward query, and as the sleuth digs, the mystery grows. The pace leaves room for well-developed subplots—often, in my favorites, a slowburn romance, too. I love a book where I can settle into the world while the story gathers steam. And in the end, when that slow flame finally blazes… Oh, it’s so worth the wait. 

E.A.'s book list on slowburn mysteries for young adults

E.A. Neeves Why did E.A. love this book?

Family secrets make great slowburn mysteries.

In You Have A Match, Abby accidentally uncovers a big one: she has a secret, full-blooded, slightly older sister. The burning question of “What happened to make my parents give my sister up for adoption?” carries the book. Abby is somehow both sure of herself and awkward, and I really felt her desperation to find out what happened in her parents’ past.

The chemistry (or lack thereof) between Abby and her secret sister Savannah is palpable and makes for many tense and amusing moments. I laughed. I wondered. I wanted to go to summer camp. And I did not predict the ending.   

By Emma Lord,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Have a Match as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it's mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie... although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.

But she didn't know she's a younger sister.

When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it's hard to believe they're from the same planet, never mind the same parents - especially considering Savannah, queen of…


Book cover of The Lucky Dress

Victoria Browne Author Of Gut Feeling

From my list on vacation reads about love and friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

Romance and chick-lit books hooked me as a young adult. It was this genre that inspired me to write. Since publishing my first book Gut Feeling in 2012 I’ve since written three chick-lit novels and a holiday rom-com screenplay. The fiction world of perfectly unperfect romance never fails.   

Victoria's book list on vacation reads about love and friendship

Victoria Browne Why did Victoria love this book?

I enjoy a book that is easy to read and makes me laugh. The Lucky Dress is a story most of us can relate to, with heartache and triumphs. We see the main character deal with a no-good ex and follow her life where we meet her friends and family. She grows as a woman, though not without some bumps along the way.

By Aimee Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We all have our lucky dress… Emi Harrison hasn’t been feeling particularly lucky lately. Ever since her ex-fiancée, Jack Cabot, successfully shattered her heart into a million pieces. She’s managed to avoid him for a whole year, but all that’s about to change at her brother Evan’s wedding… She will have to face Jack, Jack’s sister, Jack’s parents, and Jack’s new girlfriend: a mean girl that just won’t quit. What could possibly go wrong? With her lucky dress on, all bets are off, and maybe Emi will find her happily-ever-after at last? Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans…


Book cover of The Giver of Stars

Julia Jarman Author Of The Widows' Wine Club

From my list on improbable friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like the widows in The Widows’ Wine Club, I’m getting on. Unlike them, I’ve been a writer for forty years, often hunched over a keyboard, ignoring people. Amazingly, though, I managed to have a happy marriage and make some great friends. Phew! Because I’ve needed friends, especially since my husband died. Looking back, I’m interested to see that I didn’t instantly take to some of my closest buddies. Circumstances threw us together, and we got to know and like and love each other. I explore this in my book. 

Julia's book list on improbable friendships

Julia Jarman Why did Julia love this book?

I love this book because it has everything, believable, engaging characters, a riveting plot, a vivid setting, and a cause. Larger-than-life Margery O’Hare and lady-like Alice are unlikely friends, but friends they become in this great story.

When I first saw photos of those "librarians on horseback," the wonderful women who responded to Eleanor Roosevelt’s call to take books to the rural poor of Kentucky in the depressed 1930s, I longed to know more. Jojo Moyes gives us lots more. There’s an array of well-drawn characters, but it’s Margery and Alice who drive the story forward, defying the odds to achieve their aims and find men who love and appreciate them.

Yes, it’s a love story, too, and a whodunnit? Perfect!

By Jojo Moyes,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Giver of Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | A REESE WITHERSPOON X HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK

"A great narrative about personal strength and really captures how books bring communities together." -Reese Witherspoon

From the author of The Last Letter from Your Lover, now a major motion picture on Netflix, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond in Depression-era America


Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve, hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when…


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