67 books like The Thread Collectors

By Shaunna J. Edwards, Alyson Richman,

Here are 67 books that The Thread Collectors fans have personally recommended if you like The Thread Collectors. 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 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 Mary Jane

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?

Mary Jane is a kind of a quiet novel. It lulls you into a false security with its lyrical prose and fantastic 1970s historical details about a teenage girl coming of age in Baltimore. She gets a job as a babysitter for a respectable neighborhood doctor – but the doctor is a psychiatrist hired to help a famous musician get sober. This book is funny and tender and sharp all at once. And it reminded me of my childhood.

By Jessica Anya Blau,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The best book of the summer." -- InStyle

"I LOVED this novel....If you have ever sung along to a hit on the radio, in any decade, then you will devour Mary Jane at 45 rpm." -Nick Hornby

Almost Famous meets Daisy Jones & The Six in this "delightful" (New York Times Book Review) novel about a fourteen-year-old girl's coming of age in 1970s Baltimore, caught between her straight-laced family and the progressive family she nannies for-who happen to be secretly hiding a famous rock star and his movie star wife for the summer.

In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves…


Book cover of Such a Pretty Girl

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?

NYC in the ’70s gets the spotlight with all of its grit and glitter in this extremely thoughtful and thought-provoking novel about a mother and daughter. It’s not just rich in fascinating detail about the time and setting, it’s a nuanced look at women’s sexuality and the price of fame and family obligations.

By T. Greenwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid, Jodi Picoult, and Emma Cline, this vividly lyrical, evocative novel from the award-winning author transports readers to the gritty atmosphere of 1970s New York City as the precarious lines between girl and woman, art and obscenity, fetish and fame flicker and ignite for a young girl on the brink of stardom and a mother on the verge of collapse.

“A gorgeously written, emotionally resonant novel about mothers and daughters.” —Jillian Cantor, USA Today bestselling author

In 1970s New York, her innocence is seductive.
Four decades later, it’s a crime...

Living peacefully in Vermont,…


Book cover of When We Lost Our Heads

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?

Heather O’Neill is one of my favorite authors. She lives in the nuanced and gritty places in relationships. She also sets her novels in really exciting and different time periods. I could pick any of her books, but her latest is so delicious. When We Lost our Heads is set during the turn of the 19th century in Montreal. It’s about two women from different economic realities and families – who forge a very unlikely, volatile, destructive, and important relationship. It is funny and dark and the time and setting are vital and exciting. 

By Heather O'Neill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Every decent friendship comes with a drop of hatred. But that hatred is like honey in the tea. It makes it addictive.”

Charismatic Marie Antoine is the daughter of the richest man in 19th century Montreal. She has everything she wants, except for a best friend—until clever, scheming Sadie Arnett moves to the neighborhood. Immediately united by their passion and intensity, Marie and Sadie attract and repel each other in ways that thrill them both. Their games soon become tinged with risk, even violence. Forced to separate by the adults around them, they spend years engaged in acts of alternating…


Book cover of The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine

Clare Hunter Author Of Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle

From my list on needlework that will surprise and move you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have sewn since I was a child, taught by my mother to keep me out of mischief. From having the best-dressed dolls in the neighbourhood I graduated to making my own, sometimes outlandish, forms of fashion and then became a banner maker and community textile artist. Sewing is in my DNA and I love the tactile, rhythmic soothe of it. But I have long been curious about how, in the many books are published about needlework, very few ever mention why people sew. This is what fascinates me, the stories of sewing, because it is through its purpose that we discover the spirit that lies within it. 

Clare's book list on needlework that will surprise and move you

Clare Hunter Why did Clare love this book?

I read this book in the early 1980s when it was first published and it changed my view of sewing and made me understand its cultural importance and how its value has been diminished over the centuries. It is a seminal landmark feminist book, the first to ever explore why sewing is perceived as just women’s work. Parker debates the nature of women’s embroidery through time, the dutiful and the radical, the artistic and the unacknowledged and if it hadn’t been for this book I would never have become fascinated about people who sew not simply to decorate clothes or their homes but to campaign, celebrate, conserve their stories and make their mark.    

By Rozsika Parker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rozsika Parker's re-evaluation of the reciprocal relationship between women and embroidery has brought stitchery out from the private world of female domesticity into the fine arts, created a major breakthrough in art history and criticism, and fostered the emergence of today's dynamic and expanding crafts movements.

The Subversive Stitch is now available again with a new Introduction that brings the book up to date with exploration of the stitched art of Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin, as well as the work of new young female and male embroiderers. Rozsika Parker uses household accounts, women's magazines, letters, novels and the works…


Book cover of Felbrigg: The Story of a House

Lindsay Allason-Jones Author Of Roman Woman: Everyday Life in Hadrian's Britain

From my list on how people in different periods or cultures lived their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an archaeologist, mostly working in the Roman period. Until I retired in 2011, I was the Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies and Reader in Roman Material Culture at Newcastle University, having previously been the Director of Archaeological Museums for the University. My working life started by specialising in identifying those small items which come out of every excavation, but more and more I became interested in what those artefacts told us about the people who lived on the site. Reading books about peoples’ lives in other cultures and periods provides insight into those people of the past for whom we have little documentary evidence.

Lindsay's book list on how people in different periods or cultures lived their lives

Lindsay Allason-Jones Why did Lindsay love this book?

Although this is the story of a house from the early 17th century to the 1960s, it offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the four families who lived there in turn as they won and lost fortunes, married well and badly, and survived the events of history.

By R W Ketton-Cremer,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Lob

Aoife Greenham Author Of Big Dance

From my list on children's books about grief and death.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author and illustrator of children's picturebooks, having completed my MA at the Cambridge School of Art. I am endlessly fascinated with the picture book as a rich medium for children to safely and slowly approach topics that might be challenging for them. Picture books can be such a versatile, interesting place for curiosity and confidence to thrive, while also creating a lovely time for closeness between parent/carer and child. As we grapple with the long-term effects of the pandemic, I feel that children will need stories more than ever, to help them make sense of their experiences.

Aoife's book list on children's books about grief and death

Aoife Greenham Why did Aoife love this book?

Lob is a gentle, magical, and affirming chapter book. The story centres around Lucy, her relationship with her Grandad, and their belief in the mythical garden helper Lob. In Lucy's devotion to her grandad, and her love of nature, we come to see how grief can be slowly approached and lived with. The illustrations are beautifully observed by Smy, who is a master of showing emotion through posture and environment. I love this story for the way that it weaves grief, love, and magic together in an accessible and respectful way for children and grown-up readers.

By Linda Newbery,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

He's older than anyone can tell. Older than the trees. Older than anybody. For as long as she can remember, Lucy has wanted to catch a glimpse of the mysterious green man who lives in Grandpa Will's garden: Lob. You have to be very special to see him; that's what Grandpa says. Lucy's parents think Lob's just imaginary, but Lucy knows he exists. And she can't believe it when she finally spots Lob in the gooseberry bushes. But Lucy's world is about to be shattered by a terrible event. What will happen to Lob now - and will she ever…


Book cover of May Morris: Art & Life New Perspectives

Jan Marsh Author Of The Collected Letters of Jane Morris

From my list on William Morris and his family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a lifelong admiration for William Morris’s eloquent writings on political optimism. And how these fit with the personal life of his wife Janey and daughter May. This began with my biography of the two women, published by the feminist Pandora Press and continuing through to editing Jane Morris’s Collected Letters. Admiration is also critical engagement rather than simple fandom. We need to think, act, and endeavor to promote how we might live better lives in the world. I love the task of relating individual lives in the context of their time. Biography involves historical imagination to fill the gaps in recorded information and conceive how those in the past thought, felt and behaved.   

Jan's book list on William Morris and his family

Jan Marsh Why did Jan love this book?

May Morris, daughter of the more famous William, was a renowned designer and craftswoman. She shared her father’s political ideals and took them forward through the textile arts of the Arts & Crafts Movement. 

Edited by embroidery artist and historian Lynne Hulse, this book brings together a wide range of new essays on facets of May Morris’s life and career. It complements the lavishly illustrated exhibition catalogue May Morris: Arts & Crafts Designer. Together these two titles provide all currently available details of May’s work, all too often overshadowed by that of her father.

By Lynn Hulse,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Awakening

Stephanie Kepke Author Of Feel No Evil

From my list on flawed, yet sympathetic characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

In second grade my teacher told me I should be a writer—I haven’t wavered in my path since. I was a voracious reader as a child and regularly snatched books off my mom’s night table. My love for flawed characters grew with each book I devoured. I felt a connection with these characters, which fueled my dream to become a writer. When I was twenty-one years old and studying writing, I wrote in my journal, “I want to write books that make people cry.” I love to explore the gray areas in life, and I’m honored that readers have told me my books do make them cry (and laugh). 

Stephanie's book list on flawed, yet sympathetic characters

Stephanie Kepke Why did Stephanie love this book?

I love this book because Edna Pontellier is perhaps the original flawed yet sympathetic heroine—a character ahead of her time and a symbol of the growing stirrings of feminism.

I underlined many passages in my dog-eared copy from college (my professor was the editor), including the line, “Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman,” a contrast with the other mothers summering on Grand Isle who doted on their children. She’s not what a woman and mother was supposed to be in 1899—she’s in love with a man other than her husband; she eschews the trappings of motherhood; and ultimately she escapes in the most heartbreaking way.

This book was so explosive at the time, that it was pulled from shelves and didn’t enjoy success and a rightful place in the literary cannon until it was reissued in 1966. There’s a reason it’s had a treasured place on my bookshelf for nearly…

By Kate Chopin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

e Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and on the Louisiana Gulf coast at the end of the 19th century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating a mixed reaction from contemporary readers and critics.The novel's…


Book cover of A Free Man of Color

Eleanor Kuhns Author Of Murder on Principle

From my list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love the mysteriousness of the past. Learning dates or the importance of battles does not yield understanding. Skillfully written historical fiction can make a reader live history—in a twelfth-century abbey or nursing in WWI. The characters I find the most gripping are outsiders: a Black man always in danger of capture and slavery, and investigating the murders of the marginalized; a monk, once a crusader, who sees human frailties clearly; or a Victorian lady, restless under the constraints of her time, who marries beneath her. Why murder mysteries? Because, although murder is forbidden in almost every culture and every religion, we still kill each other. 

Eleanor's book list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary

Eleanor Kuhns Why did Eleanor love this book?

Benjamin January is a rarity in New Orleans 1830s; a free Black man. He is free because his mother is a place, the mistress of a wealthy white planter. Ben is educated and smart, but the casual racism of the times means he makes a living as a musician instead of a surgeon.

Despite his papers, he is always afraid of being kidnapped and sold into slavery, and that fear casts a shadow over his life.

When a beautiful quadroon is murdered, and no one cares, Ben’s sense of justice inspires him to investigate, despite risking his own freedom.

I love the exotic setting and reread every few years. I marvel at the way Hambly threads the mystery through this unusual culture.

By Barbara Hambly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Free Man of Color as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This lush and haunting novel tells of a city steeped in decadent pleasures and of a man, proud and defiant, caught in a web of murder and betrayal.

It is 1833. In the midst of Mardi Gras, Benjamin January, a Creole physician and music teacher, is playing piano at the Salle d'Orléans when the evening's festivities are interrupted--by murder.

The ravishing Angelique Crozat, a notorious octoroon who travels in the city's finest company, has been strangled to death. With the authorities reluctant to become involved, Ben begins his own inquiry, which will take him through the seamy haunts of riverboatmen…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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