74 books like The Second Mrs. Astor

By Shana Abe,

Here are 74 books that The Second Mrs. Astor fans have personally recommended if you like The Second Mrs. Astor. 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 Me: Elton John

Ian Gittins Author Of The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star

From my list on rock biographies that go the extra mile.

Why am I passionate about this?

After years as a London-based music journalist for publications such as Melody Maker, Q, and The Guardian, I turned to ghostwriting rock autobiographies and discovered how much more satisfying it is to tell someone’s full, unadulterated life story rather than to feed on carefully cultivated scraps gleaned from half-hour interviews. I never imagined anybody would be as lewdly transparent as my first memoir subject, Nikki Sixx, but many others have run him close—not least Judas Priest singer Rob Halford, in 2020’s appositely named Confess. Its follow-up, Biblical, is imminent. Does it go the extra mile? I don’t think it will disappoint…

Ian's book list on rock biographies that go the extra mile

Ian Gittins Why did Ian love this book?

Autobiographies by genuine A-listers can prove disappointing experiences, as the superstars in question tread delicately lest they puncture their carefully cultivated public images. Not so Sir Elton John, who in Me worked closely with Guardian writer Alexis Petridis to deliver a racy, rambunctious, scurrilous account of his serial misdoings. Everyone had always known that Elton John was doing crazy shit. Nobody had grasped that he was doing quite as much as this.

By Elton John,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his first and only official autobiography, music icon Elton John reveals the truth about his extraordinary life. Me is the joyously funny, honest and moving story of the most enduringly successful singer/songwriter of all time.

The Sunday Times bestseller with a new chapter bringing the story up to date.

'The rock memoir of the decade' - Daily Mail
'The rock star's gloriously entertaining and candid memoir is a gift to the reader' - Sunday Times
______________

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed…


Book cover of Laugh Out Loud: 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now...Before We Forget

Stevie Turner Author Of Waiting in the Wings

From my list on memoirs and biographies for the mature reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always had an interest in reading factual information about other people’s lives. I am a realist, and prefer reading non-fiction that is true. I am especially interested in reading inspirational stories from people that have overcome adversity, illness, or discrimination.

Stevie's book list on memoirs and biographies for the mature reader

Stevie Turner Why did Stevie love this book?

We all need a laugh from time to time, and this book is pleasant light-hearted reading. ‘Ladies of a certain age’ look back with amusement and sometimes embarrassment at their younger selves. All women of a certain age can identify with this group of authors and the silly things we did during our youth way back when there was no internet or mobile phones and we had to actually talk to people face to face!

By Allia Zobel Nolan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Remember ironing your hair? Rolling it in soda cans to straighten it? Lacquering it with enough spray that it could ward off bullets? Ever slather on cement-colored lipstick so heavy, you looked like a zombie princess? Remember hot pants and platform heels? The danger of patent-leather shoes? Were you a secretary, nurse, or teacher, but only, as our mothers urged us, until you found “Mr. Right.” In her new book, LAUGH OUT LOUD: 40 WOMEN HUMORISTS CELEBRATE THEN AND NOW…BEFORE WE FORGET, Allia Zobel Nolan and 40 funny ladies from the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop chronicle these blips in time…


Book cover of Dave Allen

Stevie Turner Author Of Waiting in the Wings

From my list on memoirs and biographies for the mature reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always had an interest in reading factual information about other people’s lives. I am a realist, and prefer reading non-fiction that is true. I am especially interested in reading inspirational stories from people that have overcome adversity, illness, or discrimination.

Stevie's book list on memoirs and biographies for the mature reader

Stevie Turner Why did Stevie love this book?

I was drawn to this book because I had always loved Dave Allen's humour.  

Through Ms. Soutar's book I learned of his early life in Ireland and how his attendance at strict Catholic schools run by nuns helped to shape his later stand-up comedy routines. Not everybody enjoys Dave's kind of irreverent humour, but for me he was a comedy legend.

By Carolyn Soutar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The image of Dave Allen is seared into our minds. He sits on a tall chair with a glass of J&B, smoking his Gauloises, a fingertip missing as he tells the most hilarious, rambling stories. But what of the man behind the image? Carolyn Soutar's biography is the most revealing account of the famously private comedian, whose career began in the sixties but who remained influential to a whole new generation of comics in the 21st century. Having worked with him as his stage manager, Soutar was able to see how he behaved both on and off screen. She discusses…


Book cover of Too Close to the Sun: The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton

Stevie Turner Author Of Waiting in the Wings

From my list on memoirs and biographies for the mature reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always had an interest in reading factual information about other people’s lives. I am a realist, and prefer reading non-fiction that is true. I am especially interested in reading inspirational stories from people that have overcome adversity, illness, or discrimination.

Stevie's book list on memoirs and biographies for the mature reader

Stevie Turner Why did Stevie love this book?

I enjoyed Too Close to the Sun by Sara Wheeler. This book focused on the free spirit and playboy that was Denys George Finch Hatton, portrayed by Robert Redford in the film Out of Africa. Denys was from an upper-class family and lived an unconventional life according to his own rules. He is buried in the Ngong Hills, Nairobi, where he loved to spend his time hunting. He is a perfect example of doing what you want to do and not having to worry about money.

By Sara Wheeler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Too Close to the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Conservationist, scholar, soldier, white hunter and fabled lover - Denys Finch Hatton was an aristocrat of leonine nonchalance. After a dazzling career at Eton and Oxford, he sailed in 1910 for British East Africa - still then the land of the pioneer. Sara Wheeler reveals the truth behind his love affairs with the glamorous aviatrix Beryl Markham, and - famously - with Karen Blixen, a romance immortalised in her memoir Out of Africa.

'No one who ever met him', his Times obituary concluded, 'whether man or woman, old or young, white or black, failed to come under his spell'.


Book cover of The Moonshiner's Daughter: A Southern Coming-of-Age Saga of Family and Loyalty

Lynda Rees Author Of Gold Lust Conspiracy

From my list on historical fiction with a touch of conspiracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Lynda Rees, The Murder Guru, multi-award-winning author of historical fiction, contemporary mystery, suspense, romance, middle-grade mysteries, and children’s fiction. I love all things historical, especially American history. I am part-Cherokee, a coal miner’s daughter born in the Appalachian Mountains, and I grew up in northern Kentucky when Newport prospered as a gambling, prostitution, and sin mecca under the Cleveland Mob. My fascination with history’s effect on today’s lives works its way into my written pages. Having traveled the world negotiating with heads of industry and foreign governments during a corporate career in marketing and global transportation, this workaholic adventurer has succumbed to my passion for writing.

Lynda's book list on historical fiction with a touch of conspiracy

Lynda Rees Why did Lynda love this book?

I found this coming-of-age story a satisfying tale of evolving self-discovery in an unlikely situation and in a less-traveled setting. Thrilling twists and turns kept me enthralled from page one to the end. The setting was vivid and colorful, and I fell in love with the well-defined, colorful characters. I highly recommend it.

By Donna Everhart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you fell in love with 1960s North Carolina when reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Donna Everhart’s The Moonshiner’s Daughter will transport you right back. Everhart’s sensitive and expert storytelling will capture you in this Southern coming-of-age novel!
 
Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, The Moonshiner’s Daughter evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past . . .
 
Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that…


Book cover of The Nurse's Secret: A Thrilling Historical Novel of the Dark Side of Gilded Age New York City

Addison Armstrong Author Of The Light of Luna Park

From my list on New York City past to present.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up thinking I liked reading about NYC more than I’d like living there. It was too hectic and loud for a bookworm like me, I thought, too dirty and dangerous. Then my husband was accepted to Cornell’s MD/PhD program, and we moved to Manhattan. Immediately, I found that while the city is as dirty as I’d feared (and it smells), its advantages far outweigh the rest. I can’t get enough of the parks, museums, food, diversity, or the history, much of which drives The Light of Luna Park. So, without further ado, here are my five favorite books that take place in New York from the 1800s to today.

Addison's book list on New York City past to present

Addison Armstrong Why did Addison love this book?

The best characters are the ones with scandalous pasts, and Una Kelly certainly fits into that category. Though she applies to the Bellevue Training School for Nurses in the 1880s to avoid being implicated in a theft, she ends up uncovering far worse crimes happening under the doctors’ noses. Skenandore has done her research here, and you’ll be transported into the Bellevue Hospital of the 1880s with an almost alarming sense of reality. Despite richly detailed descriptions of grimy tenement living, the gore of 19th-century medicine, and all the seedy aspects of New York’s past, The Nurse’s Secret leaves the reader with hope rather than despair. 

By Amanda Skenandore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Nurse's Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The unflinching, spellbinding new book from the acclaimed author of The Second Life of Mirielle West. Based on the little-known story of America’s first nursing school, a young female grifter in 1880s New York evades the police by conning her way into Bellevue Hospital’s training school for nurses, while a spate of murders continues to follow her as she tries to leave the gritty streets of the city behind…

“A spellbinding story, a vividly drawn setting, and characters that leap off the pages. This is historical fiction at its finest!” —Sara Ackerman, USA Today bestselling author of The Codebreaker’s Secret…


Book cover of The Second Life of Mirielle West

Molly O'Keefe Author Of The Sunshine Girls

From my list on historical fiction NOT set during World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved historical novels since my mom first read Anne of Green Gables to me as a kid. They are the novels I reach for first and love the most. The creative glimpse into other times and lives is, to me, the most exciting reading experience. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do. My latest book – The Sunshine Girls is a dual narrative timeline, set in the current day and the 1960s-1980s. 

Molly's book list on historical fiction NOT set during World War II

Molly O'Keefe Why did Molly love this book?

Amanda Skenandore’s beautiful and insightful novel about a silent film star who was sent to live in a Louisiana Leper Colony in the 1920s. The book is rich and full of surprising historical details. While it might seem like a downer – it is funny and heartwarming, with a beautiful coming-of-age story and romance at its heart.  Absolutely fascinating.

By Amanda Skenandore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Second Life of Mirielle West as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The glamorous world of a silent film star’s wife abruptly crumbles when she’s forcibly quarantined at the Carville Lepers Home in this page-turning story of courage, resilience, and reinvention set in 1920s Louisiana and Los Angeles. Based on little-known history, this timely book will strike a chord with readers of Fiona Davis, Tracey Lange, and Marie Benedict.
 
Based on the true story of America’s only leper colony, The Second Life of Mirielle West brings vividly to life the Louisiana institution known as Carville, where thousands of people were stripped of their civil rights, branded as lepers, and forcibly quarantined throughout…


Book cover of Gilded Girl

Lynda Rees Author Of Gold Lust Conspiracy

From my list on historical fiction with a touch of conspiracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Lynda Rees, The Murder Guru, multi-award-winning author of historical fiction, contemporary mystery, suspense, romance, middle-grade mysteries, and children’s fiction. I love all things historical, especially American history. I am part-Cherokee, a coal miner’s daughter born in the Appalachian Mountains, and I grew up in northern Kentucky when Newport prospered as a gambling, prostitution, and sin mecca under the Cleveland Mob. My fascination with history’s effect on today’s lives works its way into my written pages. Having traveled the world negotiating with heads of industry and foreign governments during a corporate career in marketing and global transportation, this workaholic adventurer has succumbed to my passion for writing.

Lynda's book list on historical fiction with a touch of conspiracy

Lynda Rees Why did Lynda love this book?

Pamela Kelley makes historical fiction come to life on the page in this rags-to-riches story that empowers women during an unheard-of time, as Eliza Chapman, a lady’s maid, learns her father is actually one of the richest men in NYC, and this changes her whole world.

By Pamela Kelley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A rags-to-riches saga set in the Gilded Age.
 
While I have enjoyed everything I have read from Pamela Kelley, this book moves to the top of my list from her. I love historical fiction and she really makes it comes to life. - Goodreads review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
"The Gilded Girl" is a modern historical romance that was captivating! It is a from rags to riches story that empowers women which was unheard of during this time period. Pamela Kelly's best book in my opinion." - Amazon review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
When Eliza Chapman, a London ladies maid, learns that her real father is…


Book cover of Survive the Night

Amy Christine Parker Author Of Flight 171

From my list on young adult thrillers where escape isn't an option.

Why am I passionate about this?

Locked room thrillers are what I like to read and write best. Out of my four published novels, two include locked rooms. Gated takes place in a community with an apocalyptic bunker and Flight 171 takes place on a plane. The characters must face their antagonists head-on because there is no escape. I love that these settings challenge me to dig deep into character and plot inventively. Exposing my characters’ darkest secrets as they face their foes becomes part of the fun. The books I chose for this list all have excellent “locked rooms” and speak to the girl in me who gobbled up Murder on the Orient Express and became instantly obsessed. 

Amy's book list on young adult thrillers where escape isn't an option

Amy Christine Parker Why did Amy love this book?

The coolly creepy cover of Survive the Night compelled me to pick it up, but I was hooked by the set up: four teen girls at an all-night rave in an abandoned section of New York City’s underground subway system where someone or something is hunting them. It hits all my worst fears: being trapped underground, total darkness, and tunnels filling up with water. Casey, the main character was fresh from rehab, vulnerable, and unsure of where she fits in and her unease with herself and her friends added such a delicious tension to the story. She goes to the rave out of peer pressure but quickly realizes this is a big mistake. This book is an off-the-rails ride with unexpected twists and the sort of scares that made me keep the lights on while I read.  

By Danielle Vega,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Just back from rehab, Casey regrets letting her friends Shana, Julie, and Aya talk her into coming to Survive the Night, an all-night, underground rave in a New York City subway tunnel. Surrounded by frightening drugs and menacing strangers, Casey doesn't think Survive the Night could get any worse...until she comes across Julie's mutilated body in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Casey thought she was just off with some guy - no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music. And by the time they get back to the…


Book cover of Marjorie Morningstar

Stephanie Newman Author Of Barbarians at the PTA

From my list on mom culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a practicing clinical psychologist, teacher of psychotherapy theory and technique, and author (Barbarians at the PTA, Madmen on the Couch, Money Talks) who writes about the psychopathology of daily life for various online and print publications, I am a participant in/observer of mom culture. I love a juicy mother-child story. 

Stephanie's book list on mom culture

Stephanie Newman Why did Stephanie love this book?

One of my favorite novels is Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar, a coming of age story of Marjorie and Mrs Morgenster, a/k/a the original helicopter mom.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning author was male but managed to get into the head of both teenage girl and indomitable mother–and the results are funny and poignant. There’s all kinds of bonus detail about 1930s-1940s NYC: college, dating, and theater scenes.

As someone who is fascinated by mom culture, I like to recommend mother-daughter stories that illustrate how parenting styles and family relationships have changed over time. While it all started with Marmee, Louisa May Alcott (Jo’s) idealized supermom, I have a fondness for the ambivalently modern struggles between Mrs. Morgenstern and Marjorie, the female leads in Herman Wouk’s classic novel, Marjorie Morningstar. 

This is a coming of age story that has it all: beautiful and ambitious heroine, handsome love interest, colorful best friend, and the…

By Herman Wouk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I read it and I thought, 'Oh, God, this is me.'" - Scarlet Johansson

Now hailed as a "proto-feminist classic" (Vulture), Pulitzer Prize winner Herman Wouk's powerful coming-of-age novel about an ambitious young woman pursuing her artistic dreams in New York City has been a perennial favourite since it was first a bestseller in the 1950s.

Sixteen-year-old Marjorie Morgenstern lives a quiet life in New York City. Her mother hopes for a glittering marriage to a good man, but Marjorie has other ideas.

When she falls desperately in love with Noel Airman, a musician as reckless as he is talented,…


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