98 books like The Prince of Eden

By Marilyn Harris,

Here are 98 books that The Prince of Eden fans have personally recommended if you like The Prince of Eden. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Crescent Carnival

Jennifer Blake Author Of Challenge to Honor

From my list on exploring the fascination of Old New Orleans.

Why am I passionate about this?

Early in my career, I attended a writer’s conference in southern Louisiana. During a discussion of the best-selling Louisiana-based novels of Vermont-born author Francis Parkinson Keyes, a local historian said with great ire, “That woman came down here and picked our brains for her books!” As a follower of my state’s incredible past, I immediately saw the attraction. Since then, I’ve written more than 65 historical and contemporary novels, most set in New Orleans and broader Louisiana. Hours have been spent at the famed Historic New Orleans Collection, talking to people and walking the streets of the French Quarter—and, of course, collecting a library of famous Louisiana histories.

Jennifer's book list on exploring the fascination of Old New Orleans

Jennifer Blake Why did Jennifer love this book?

I came across this book as a young teen and was riveted by the colorful, behind-the-scenes depiction of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, as well as the intimate stories of three generations of star-crossed lovers.

The characters were so well drawn that they seemed real, as if they must have loved and grieved, lived and died, as given. I felt as if I had walked the streets of the city and could recognize the places described.

I was also impressed by the Author’s Note detailing Keyes’s exhaustive research; reading it allowed me to accept the story as being as true to its place and time as possible. Years later, I followed her fine example, adding an Author’s Note with research details to my own books.

By Frances Parkinson Keyes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Crescent Carnival as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first of Keyes' novels set in Louisiana was Crescent Carnival, which tells the story of three generations of two intertwined families. The Breckenridges are Protestants, while the Fontaines are Catholic Louisiana Creoles. The plot hinges on the way that pride and misfortune conspire with cultural and political differences to keep prospective lovers from marrying. The cycle of failure only ends when two people have the courage to defy the odds and accept their love for each other. Carnival celebrations and Mardi Gras parades form the backdrop of many scenes. Captures the social mores, Carnival season, and the French Quarter…


Book cover of The Vines of Yarrabee

Carrie Dalby Author Of Perilous Confessions

From my list on for historical gothic family saga fans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the feelings stories can evoke in readers since I cried over Bridge to Terabithia in middle school. From the time I was twelve, I’ve sought snapshots in time that ooze with a strong sense of place and flawed characters to capture my heart when reading. I’ve found well-researched historic Gothic family sagas to be the most consistent in delivering that raw emotional bond between the setting/characters and reader. As a writer, I strive to recreate what I crave when reading. The historic Gothic family sagas I’ve chosen represent an array of characters you will love—or love to hate—and cry over.

Carrie's book list on for historical gothic family saga fans

Carrie Dalby Why did Carrie love this book?

Dorothy Eden was well-known as a Gothic/Thriller Romance author fifty-plus years ago, but her family sagas are where her skills really shine. The Vines of Yarrabee had me scared to keep reading because I knew tragedy was coming, but I couldn’t stop reading because I was invested in the less-than-perfect characters—most of whom I was angry over for much of the story. These fictional humans are tucked in a rich setting I could see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. I learned a lot about Australia and its settlers in the 1800s, but it’s the people in the story that I still carry with me, several years after reading it.

By Dorothy Eden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SYNOPSIS: "Eugenia was a cultivated, aristocratic English woman who married Gilbert, the plantation and vineyard owner. But Eugenia had trouble adjusting to many aspects of plantation life that her husband takes in enthusiastic stride - the convict slave laborers, the ever-present danger of vengeful escapes, the suffocating summer heat, and the merciless winters. Both husband and wife find outside satisfaction - him from the attractive downstairs maid and Eugenia from the itinerant artist, who will alter the existence of all those at Yarrabee."


Book cover of Captains and the Kings

Carrie Dalby Author Of Perilous Confessions

From my list on for historical gothic family saga fans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the feelings stories can evoke in readers since I cried over Bridge to Terabithia in middle school. From the time I was twelve, I’ve sought snapshots in time that ooze with a strong sense of place and flawed characters to capture my heart when reading. I’ve found well-researched historic Gothic family sagas to be the most consistent in delivering that raw emotional bond between the setting/characters and reader. As a writer, I strive to recreate what I crave when reading. The historic Gothic family sagas I’ve chosen represent an array of characters you will love—or love to hate—and cry over.

Carrie's book list on for historical gothic family saga fans

Carrie Dalby Why did Carrie love this book?

Caldwell opened my eyes not only to aspects of American history I wasn’t familiar with, but current politics with this heavy saga. Captains and the Kings highlighted the plight of Irish immigrants in the mid-1800s and then widened the scope to show the follies of the social classes, political corruption, and greed into the new century. True events and historical figures are woven into this fictional tapestry with such skill that everything seems plausible. I ended the read fearful for our future, like I’d typically get from reading a dystopian novel. It’s an intense read needing tissues, a search engine for looking up historical tidbits you might not be familiar with, and possibly a dictionary. The book haunts me to this day—in a good, though horrific, way.


By Taylor Caldwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller: Sweeping from the 1850s through the early 1920s, this towering family saga examines the price of ambition and power.

Joseph Francis Xavier Armagh is twelve years old when he gets his first glimpse of the promised land of America through a dirty porthole in steerage on an Irish immigrant ship. His long voyage, dogged by tragedy, ends not in the great city of New York but in the bigoted, small town of Winfield, Pennsylvania, where his younger brother, Sean, and his infant sister, Regina, are sent to an orphanage. Joseph toils at whatever work will pay…


Book cover of The Thorn Birds

Cheri Krueger Author Of Thanks, Universe

From my list on strong women and the difficult choices mothers face.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote this book to give my mother an alternate life. She was a mother at age fifteen, mother of five by twenty-seven, and a grandmother by thirty-three. Being a parent defined her life, but she did not enjoy motherhood and was very frank on the subject. Thanks, Universe is my way of giving Mom her freedom and even though she never read anything I wrote, I like to think she would have approved of Pauline and the choices she made.

Cheri's book list on strong women and the difficult choices mothers face

Cheri Krueger Why did Cheri love this book?

I adore sweeping family sagas with strong women characters and with tragedy, romance, and heartache set in Australia, The Thorn Birds is a beautiful example of the genre.

Meggie is rebellious and headstrong and makes questionable choices, but we empathize and root for her. All the well-rounded characters each come with their own secrets that will keep you turning pages.

By Colleen McCullough,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Thorn Birds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A phenomenal worldwide bestseller since 1977 THE THORN BIRDS is a robust, romantic saga of three generations. It begins in the early years of this century when Paddy Cleary moves his wife and seven children to Drogheda, an Australian sheep station, owned by his autocratic and childless older sister. For more than half a century we follow their fates, particularly those of Meggie, the only Cleary daughter, and the one man she truly loves, Ralph de Bricassart - stunningly handsome, ambitious, and a priest. As background to the Cleary family's lives there is the land itself: relentless in its demands,…


Book cover of Drood

Julie Kusma Author Of The Many Worlds of Mr. A. Skouandy and Other Stories from Oakwood Sanatorium

From my list on with plot twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by the mind-body-spirit’s impact on our human experience. Especially the aspect of mind, because deep within us resides the shadow-self described by Carl Jung. Most of us spend our lives hiding this part, but it’s there, waiting to pounce. These are the stories I tell, and with my background in Health and Wellness and in Creative Writing, I write paranormal, supernatural, and horror stories containing the simple truths about our human experience. All are designed to bring out the shadow lurking within and expose it to the light. As a counterpoint to these dark tales, I write evocative poetry, uplifting children’s stories, and some educational books with my writing partner, Derek R. King.  

Julie's book list on with plot twists

Julie Kusma Why did Julie love this book?

First of all, Drood is a fantastic trip into the macabre. And, because I love to weave actual truths into my stories, either real-life experiences or real encounters, I am fascinated that Simmons based his novel on the last five years of Charles Dickens's life. Whether this is entirely speculation or otherwise, this novel draws on the character found in Dickens's last and unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Simmons does precisely what I hope to do with my stories; draw the reader into my world and leave them wondering what parts were based on unexpected truths. 

By Dan Simmons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens--at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world--hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever. Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research ...or something more terrifying?Just as…


Book cover of The Pure and the Impure

Holly Grout Author Of The Force of Beauty: Transforming French Ideas of Femininity in the Third Republic

From my list on sex and the city in modern France.

Why am I passionate about this?

Holly Grout is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Alabama. Her research interests include the cultural history of modern France, women and gender studies, and the history of beauty, fashion, celebrity, and consumer culture. Her current project, Playing Cleopatra: Inventing the Female Celebrity in Third Republic France, investigates many of the same themes around sexuality, female bodies, public decency, and spectacle. She chose these works in particular because they exemplify some of the best on sex and the city, and they address many of the same issues that Colette raised so long ago – suggesting that sex and the city was a turn-of-the-century fascination in Paris long before HBO turned it into an international cultural phenomenon.

Holly's book list on sex and the city in modern France

Holly Grout Why did Holly love this book?

Although best known to Anglophone readers for her novel Gigi (1944), Colette considered Ces Plaisirs (These Pleasures) later titled The Pure and the Impure, one of her best works. A titillating exploration into the erotic underground of early twentieth-century Paris, the novel’s semi-autobiographical characters pursue a range of sexual experiences and sensual pleasures. Traversing the capital city’s carnal playgrounds, from its fashionable opium dens to its commercial boudoirs, Colette troubles the complicated relationship between sex and love – presenting both as a worthy if ultimately futile human pursuit.

By Colette, Herma Briffault (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Colette herself considered The Pure and the Impure her best book, "the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography." This guided tour of the erotic netherworld with which Colette was so intimately acquainted begins in the darkness and languor of a fashionable opium den. It continues as a series of unforgettable encounters with men and, especially, women whose lives have been improbably and yet permanently transfigured by the strange power of desire. Lucid and lyrical, The Pure and the Impure stands out as one of modern literature's subtlest reckonings not only with the varieties of sexual experience, but…


Book cover of Delta of Venus

Tobsha Learner Author Of Quiver

From my list on for when familiarity sets in.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first book was Quiver, a collection of erotic short stories. I wrote it to immortalize the hedonism of Sydney in the 1990s, wanting to show a nonjudgmental, joyful side. The fact that it touched a lot of people compelled me to write two more collections Tremble and Yearn – each exploring different themes: Tremble is an erotic re-imagining of various root myths, whilst Yearn has more historical and fantastical elements. I interweave all the characters in the stories throughout the whole collections. Humor is also important to me when it comes to the ironies and emotions around sex, the other aspect is gender power play and all the sublime reversals that can encapsulate. 

Tobsha's book list on for when familiarity sets in

Tobsha Learner Why did Tobsha love this book?

As a teenager this collection of short stories blew my mind; it’s one of the first to really explore sexual pleasure from a female perspective and I loved the way it wove psychology, power, culture, and erotic play up seamlessly and provocatively. It was most likely an unconscious template for my own collections of erotic short stories, the perfect format for the pillow book (to be read out loud to one’s lover/husband/guilty pleasure). Nin, a friend of Henry Miller and a number of Paris-based groundbreaking artists and intellectuals in the 1920s, is the perfect conduit for the louche erotic experimentation of the era, and yet this book is still timeless and still delivers in terms of fantasy.  

By Anaïs Nin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As influential and revelatory in its day as Fifty Shades of Grey is now, Anais Nin's Delta of Venus is a groundbreaking anthology of erotic short stories, published in Penguin Modern Classics

In Delta of Venus Anais Nin conjures up a glittering cascade of sexual encounters. Creating her own 'language of the senses', she explores an area that was previously the domain of male writers and brings to it her own unique perceptions. Her vibrant and impassioned prose evokes the essence of female sexuality in a world where only love has meaning.

This edition includes a preface adapted from Anais…


Book cover of The Daisy Chain, or Aspirations

Jonatha Ceely Author Of Mina

From my list on understanding women in 19th century England.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some years ago, I believed that after I had read the “famous” 19th-century novelists Jane Austen at the beginning of the century, the Brontes, Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens more or less in the middle, and Henry James, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton at the end, I had “done” the century and was disappointed that there was no more of worth to entertain me. Wrong, of course. Maria Edgeworth (Anglo-Irish) was a revelation; Catherine Maria Sedgewick (American) opened my eyes to New England; Margaret Oliphant (Scottish) combined the “weird,” spiritual, and a ruthless realism about family dysfunction. So I'm still reading. The 19th-century novels of Great Britain and America are an avocation and a passion.

Jonatha's book list on understanding women in 19th century England

Jonatha Ceely Why did Jonatha love this book?

This novel was a big bestseller in 1856! I read it because I saw a reference to it as having religion as a strong theme and I thought it would be useful research for my book. While it turned out to be of little use for that, I found it fascinating for its picture of family life. I did not anticipate the subplot about the abuse of opium in infant care. Critics claim that the portrait of Ethel, the protagonist, made possible the later depictions of Jo March in Little Women and Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables. It’s a bit long-winded but a good read. And if you are looking at my list, you probably like long-winded 19th-century novels anyway.

By Charlotte Mary Yonge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these images, so they represent accurately the original artefact. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we feel they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.


Book cover of The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams, and the Making of Modern China

Bill Hayton Author Of The Invention of China

From my list on the emergence of modern China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent more than a decade exploring the historic roots of Asia’s modern political problems – and discovering the accidents and mistakes that got us where we are today. I spent 22 years with BBC News, including a year in Vietnam and another in Myanmar. I’ve written four books on East and Southeast Asia and I’m an Associate Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at the London-based thinktank, Chatham House. I love breaking down old stereotypes and showing readers that the past is much more interesting than a series of clichés about ‘us’ and ‘them’. Perhaps through that, we can recognise that our future depends on collaboration and cooperation.

Bill's book list on the emergence of modern China

Bill Hayton Why did Bill love this book?

A brilliant account of the two Opium Wars showing how they have been remembered in particular ways in order to make modern political points. Lovell shows us how political operators on both sides used the question of the opium trade to further their own interests. It exposes the nasty business of imperialism but also takes down a lot of myths about the wars. The book allows us to see the conflicts both in terms of what happened at the time, and how views over those events changed over the following century and a half. She explores the international history of opium and how it became linked with racist representations of Chinese overseas and how this continues to affect relations between peoples and governments today.

By Julia Lovell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A gripping read as well as an important one.' Rana Mitter, Guardian

In October 1839, Britain entered the first Opium War with China. Its brutality notwithstanding, the conflict was also threaded with tragicomedy: with Victorian hypocrisy, bureaucratic fumblings, military missteps, political opportunism and collaboration. Yet over the past hundred and seventy years, this strange tale of misunderstanding, incompetence and compromise has become the founding episode of modern Chinese nationalism.

Starting from this first conflict, The Opium War explores how China's national myths mould its interactions with the outside world, how public memory is spun to serve the present, and how…


Book cover of The Social Life of Opium in China

Erika Rappaport Author Of A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World

From my list on understanding tea and other Chinese things.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Los Angeles, the mecca of global consumer culture. I became a historian to escape from what I saw as this shallow, surface culture but through my work, I have returned to the mall. My work uses history to show how consumer desires are not natural. Instead, I ask why people consume particular things in particular places, and I show how they attribute meaning to the things they buy. I am not a specialist on China but while researching and writing on tea's global political economy and consumer culture I became fascinated by how China contributed to the making of global tastes, desires, and material culture. These books illuminate the history and cultural life of tea, opium, porcelain, and other things within and beyond China.

Erika's book list on understanding tea and other Chinese things

Erika Rappaport Why did Erika love this book?

We know a lot about how the Chinese state sought to ban, limit, and exclude opium from its borders, but this book uniquely delves into the multifaceted way that the demand for the drug emerged in the first place and then spread down the social scale to become a mass commodity. I especially loved the detailed way in which the author showed how consumers produced a variety of meanings surrounding opium and incorporated it into both elite and popular culture. Writing against so many myths, Yangwen shows us that for much of its history, opium was celebrated not demonized.

By Zheng Yangwen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Social Life of Opium in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a remarkable and broad-ranging narrative, Yangwen Zheng's book explores the history of opium consumption in China from 1483 to the late twentieth century. The story begins in the mid-Ming dynasty, when opium was sent as a gift by vassal states and used as an aphrodisiac in court. Over time, the Chinese people from different classes and regions began to use it for recreational purposes, so beginning a complex culture of opium consumption. The book traces this transformation over a period of five hundred years, asking who introduced opium to China, how it spread across all sections of society, embraced…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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