10 books like The Painted Veil

By W. Somerset Maugham,

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

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A Gentleman in Moscow

By Amor Towles,

Book cover of A Gentleman in Moscow

This delightful novel was the first book I read after moving into a new apartment. It’s about a Russian aristocrat in the 1920s who is sentenced to live the rest of his days in a small attic room in the Hotel Metropol, and how he makes a life for himself there. Just by enjoying the story so much I actually found myself being more amused by, rather than wary of, the quirks of my own new neighbors. Gentle curiosity is a powerful weapon for surviving the unknown and this book helped sharpen mine.

A Gentleman in Moscow

By Amor Towles,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked A Gentleman in Moscow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The mega-bestseller with more than 2 million readers, soon to be a major television series

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway and Rules of Civility, a beautifully transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and…


Hamnet

By Maggie O'Farrell,

Book cover of Hamnet

In Hamnet, set in the late 16th century, I can “see” the town, the room, the farm, the children, the kittens, even the furniture. Agnes' role as a healer, a free soul, a caring mother, makes her an unforgettable heroine. The terrible transposing of the illness from one twin to the other is something O'Farrell makes one believe could happen. Add to that the desperate plight of Agnes' son in a world that, despite her reputation as a healer, has no remedy for most illnesses and especially the plague. The grief she feels enters your psyche and is made more terrible by her having to experience it alone. That Hamlet could be based on Hamnet, is Hamnet, is Shakespeare's son too, is to me entirely credible.

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…


Guernica

By Dave Boling,

Book cover of Guernica

You don’t have to know much about the Spanish civil war to have heard of Guernica. If you’ve ever seen Picasso’s work depicting the bombing, this book creates the story of the people of the town going about their everyday lives just before the painting’s horror. As a reader, you know what is coming but are helpless to do anything but care for characters who are oblivious to the destruction coming their way. 

As an author, I found inspiration in this novel for my own portrayal of the civil war in Spain. The trick is to let ordinary people tell the story for you.

Guernica

By Dave Boling,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An extraordinary epic of love, family, and war set in the Basque town of Guernica before, during, and after its destruction by the German Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War.

In 1935, Miguel Navarro finds himself in conflict with the Spanish Civil Guard and flees the Basque fishing village of Lekeitio to make a new start in Guernica, the centre of Basque culture and tradition. Once there, he finds more than just a new life - he finds someone to live for. Miren Ansotegui is the charismatic and graceful dancer he meets and the two discover a love they believe…


The Power and the Glory

By Graham Greene,

Book cover of The Power and the Glory

Graham Greene creates a completely convincing scene in just a few words, deftly transporting the reader into a different world. His characters are credible, and tension underlies every word he writes. The Power and the Glory is a master class in demonstrating how a writer can ‘show’ not ‘tell’ the reader what is happening in the world of the book. Although the novel doesn’t fall into the conventional crime genre, Greene writes about people’s ability to treat others with both inhumanity and humanity, exploring the depths and also the best of human potential. 

The Power and the Glory

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During an anti-clerical purge in Mexico, a priest is hunted like a hare. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the little worldly priest is nevertheless impelled towards his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.


Outlander

By Diana Gabaldon,

Book cover of Outlander

Outlander is an adventure of epic proportion, from the 1940s WWII war-torn battlefield where the story begins, to the bloodstained 18th-century Scottish battlefield of Culloden. 

Like clansman Jamie, whose red arm hairs stood on end when he made love to Claire in the grass, so did the little hairs on the back of my neck stand on end with this talented author’s vividly described scenes. Page after page aroused the adventurer in me, sending me on a wild and unimaginable journey into the unknown. My heart was synchronized with the passionate relationship between the former British combat nurse and her Scottish lover, each bound by the double-ended cord tying them to the century that threatened to keep them apart. 

It is a masterpiece of storytelling!

Outlander

By Diana Gabaldon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The first book in Diana Gabaldon’s acclaimed Outlander saga, the basis for the Starz original series.

One of the top ten best-loved novels in America, as seen on PBS’s The Great American Read!
 
Unrivaled storytelling. Unforgettable characters. Rich historical detail. These are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and…


The North Water

By Ian McGuire,

Book cover of The North Water

I am particularly drawn to stories about early adventures at sea. 

Life on a whaling ship was difficult and bred all manner of contemptible acts by the crew. When the journey was ill-fated, like the one in this book, it pointed the spotlight directly on the tainted core of ship life. 

This book introduced the greedy side of the 1800s whaling industry and told the story surrounding the doomed whaling ship and the ship’s drug-addicted surgeon. It presented the raw side of humanity and what lengths desperate men resort to in order to survive. It was shades of whaling seamen Herman Melville and John Rumell’s experiences surviving with savages. 

The story was riveting and begged the question: Who are the real savages?

The North Water

By Ian McGuire,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016
A NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN NOTABLE BOOK 2016

A ship sets sail with a killer on board . . .
1859. A man joins a whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. Having left the British Army with his reputation in tatters, Patrick Sumner has little option but to accept the position of ship's surgeon on this ill-fated voyage. But when, deep into the journey, a cabin boy is discovered brutally killed, Sumner finds himself forced to act. Soon he will face an evil even greater than he had encountered at the…


Typee

By Herman Melville,

Book cover of Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life

Typee is Herman Melville’s account of his sojourn on the Marquesan Island of Nuku Hiva in the 1800s. It nearly replicated my distant relative’s story, making it a must-read.

Melville was a young sailor with an adventurous spirit. Disenchanted with his hard life on a whaling ship he deserted and escaped to Nuku Hiva’s Bay of Taipaivi where he was captured by a cannibal tribe. For four months, he lived and survived among savages. 

After Melville returned to civilization he later wrote Typee – the story that forever changed how I view savages. A century-plus later, I stepped freely off a boat onto Nuku Hiva’s distant shore. Visions of the impetuous and foolhardy sailor relative whose footprints I was about to trace made my scalp tighten with anticipation.  

Typee

By Herman Melville,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Melville, Herman, Typee


Fatu Hiva

By Thor Heyerdahl,

Book cover of Fatu Hiva

Norwegian-born Thor Hyerdahl was disenchanted with the civilized world and desired a more primitive lifestyle. In 1938, he took a bride and set out for the wild and remote Marquesan Island of Fatu Hiva—minus all worldly possessions. 

The couple stepped headlong into the unknown—most notably the natives. But the once-hostile natives had abandoned their savage ways, allowing for a peaceful co-existence. A year later, the extreme hazards of island living won out over idealism, forcing the Hyerdahls to return to civilization.

Hyerdahl’s notion that he could shed his civilized cloak to live bare-skinned in paradise was foolhardy. Like Herman Melville, Hyerdahl survived to tell his amazing story. Other daring adventurers, like my branded relative, were less fortunate.

Fatu Hiva

By Thor Heyerdahl,

Why should I read it?

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


The Ghost Map

By Steven Johnson,

Book cover of The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--And How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

Johnson’s exploration of a public health crisis and science in the making was one of the references I used in writing my own book. In August 1854, hundreds of people in the impoverished Golden Square neighborhood of London fell violently ill. Many died. By mapping the movements of the victims, Dr. John Snow traced the source of the infection to the Broad Street pump, a public water source that had been contaminated with Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera. Johnson’s account shows how a normally benign microbe was rendered deadly in a crowded mass of people who ended up drinking their own sewage—at a time before the existence of microbes was known. 

The Ghost Map

By Steven Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A National Bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, and an Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year

It's the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure-garbage removal, clean water, sewers-necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action-and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time.

In a triumph of…


The Secret Garden

By Claire Freedman, Shaw Davidson (illustrator),

Book cover of The Secret Garden

This book is special to me as it was the first book that really fired up my desire to write! I was a little girl and the edition my parents brought me came with a cute skeleton key necklace which I still have. I like to think that my obsession with mysterious gardens, vintage things, and skeleton keys all come from having read this beautiful book. 

The Secret Garden

By Claire Freedman, Shaw Davidson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rediscover the magical story of Mary Lennox, who arrives in the wild and windswept Yorkshire a sickly and miserable girl - until she discovers a forgotten, Secret Garden.

As Mary works hard to bring the garden back to life, its magic begins to work on her too . . .

This classic and beloved story has been beautifully retold by Claire Freedman and brought to glorious visual life by new illustration talent Shaw Davidson


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