87 books like The Widow of the South

By Robert Hicks,

Here are 87 books that The Widow of the South fans have personally recommended if you like The Widow of the South. 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 Cold Mountain

David L. Robbins Author Of War of the Rats

From my list on love and war and describing both battlefields.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve penned (so far) seventeen novels, most set during some historical conflict or other, all of them revolving around intense personal relationships (loyalty, love, betrayal, those sorts of profound truths). I tend to read the sorts of books I wish to write. I also teach creative writing at a university (VCU); I tell my students that if they want to really know what a character is made of, shoot at them or have them fall in love. In my own work, I do both.

David's book list on love and war and describing both battlefields

David L. Robbins Why did David love this book?

When Inman decides he’s had enough of the Civil War, he takes a very long walk home. Along his path, he encounters the detritus of the conflict in shattered land and people. Meanwhile, his love, Ada, tries to cobble together some remnants of her former life.

Maybe a book out of fashion these days because it’s set in the defeated South, and that I understand. However, it remains a masterclass in style, vision, plot, and insight. 

By Charles Frazier,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Cold Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1997, Charles Frazier’s debut novel Cold Mountain made publishing history when it sailed to the top of The New York Times best-seller list for sixty-one weeks, won numerous literary awards, including the National Book Award, and went on to sell over three million copies. Now, the beloved American epic returns, reissued by Grove Press to coincide with the publication of Frazier’s eagerly-anticipated second novel, Thirteen Moons. Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, a Confederate soldier named Inman decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains to Ada, the woman he loves.…

Book cover of The Invention of Wings

T.K. Thorne Author Of Noah's Wife

From my list on history’s remarkable women.

Why am I passionate about this?

T.K. Thorne became a police officer during the first decade of women policing in Birmingham, Alabama, retiring as a captain. Her background as a woman in a macho man’s world helped inform the writing of award-winning historical novels about completely unknown women in two of the world’s oldest and most famous stories—the tale of Noah’s flood and the burning of Sodom (Noah’s Wife and Angels at the Gate). An experienced speaker, T.K. shares the fascinating background research into the culture of those early civilizations, as well as the scientific discoveries behind the flood in the Mideast and first-hand information gained from her personal trips to the area.

T.K.'s book list on history’s remarkable women

T.K. Thorne Why did T.K. love this book?

This masterpiece is a story of the Grimké sisters, Sarah and Angelina—path-breakers in the abolitionist and women’s rights movements—interwoven with the story of Hetty, a young slave girl given to Sarah on her 11th birthday.

Hetty and Sarah find their way through the prejudice and barriers of a patriarchal society that views them as less than. Both learn to soar.

This book affected me deeply as a writer. Kidd is simply a master of words. But the story itself stripped away my naivety about what our society would look like had these women not taken on the patriarchal system. It is jolting to realize that the fight for women’s rights is not over, but ongoing.

We owe such a debt to those who struggled through the painful and sometimes deadly slings and arrows of culture to stand up for what was right. And we are not done.

By Sue Monk Kidd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees and the forthcoming novel The Book of Longings, a novel about two unforgettable American women.

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

Hetty "Handful" Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke's daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something…

Book cover of Lincoln in the Bardo

Sarah Porter Author Of Projections

From my list on unusual ghost stories for someone who loves spooky.

Why am I passionate about this?

The uncanny slips into the gaps between the objective world and the world of human experience with all its dreams, apprehensions, and intuitions. This intermediate space is the habitat of ghosts and also the zone where my mind does its wanderings. It's where my books come, and explorations of that space in other peoples' books draw me in, deeply and inescapably.

Sarah's book list on unusual ghost stories for someone who loves spooky

Sarah Porter Why did Sarah love this book?

I honestly think this is one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.

In writing about haunting, I always confront the question of what pins ghosts to the living world. I loved the poignancy of Saunders’s ghosts and the desperate denial of their own deaths that they cling to.

I have a special love of books written in a multiplicity of voices; the way Saunders writes his ghostly chorus is so virtuosic it took my breath away. 

By George Saunders,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Lincoln in the Bardo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017 A STORY OF LOVE AFTER DEATH 'A masterpiece' Zadie Smith 'Extraordinary' Daily Mail 'Breathtaking' Observer 'A tour de force' The Sunday Times The extraordinary first novel by the bestselling, Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns…

Book cover of Gone With the Wind

Lynn Shurr Author Of Lady Flora's Rescue

From my list on historical novels picked by a librarian.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reference librarian, I love doing research for myself and others. By reading a well-written historical novel, we can learn about the past and compare and contrast it to our present. All but the last of my choices have strong female characters who must overcome the customs of their time. The struggle goes on today. Let these books remind you of how far we have come and how far we have to go.

Lynn's book list on historical novels picked by a librarian

Lynn Shurr Why did Lynn love this book?

I know it is no longer PC to love this book, but Mitchell did do awesome historical homework concerning the antebellum and reconstruction eras in Georgia.

It is far more than the romance between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler; rather, it is a portrait of a woman who goes from being a spoiled belle to one who will do anything to save her heritage—at the cost of love. It is not a romance, for sure.

By Margaret Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Gone With the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the tempestuous romance between Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara is set amid the drama of the Civil War.

Book cover of March

Pamela Redford Russell Author Of The Woman Who Loved John Wilkes Booth: The Diary of Mary Surratt

From my list on portrayals of real people in historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to read and write historical fiction—seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling the past—revealing the thoughts and emotions of characters real and imagined through psychological insights. My mentor Fawn Brodie wrote non-fiction, specifically psychobiography. Her Thomas Jefferson: an Intimate History introduced the world to the enslaved Sally Hemings. The seeds of my first novel The Woman Who Loved John Wilkes Booth were sown in Fawn Brodie’s UCLA lecture hall. I can only imagine what her historical fiction might’ve been. Now I wait for novels from historians Imani Perry South to America and Isabel Wilkerson Caste. Meantime there are so many wonderful novelists writing history. 

Pamela's book list on portrayals of real people in historical fiction

Pamela Redford Russell Why did Pamela love this book?

When recommending Geraldine Brooks’ multi-layered and intricately crafted March, another book must always be mentioned. Louisa May Alcott’s Little WomenMarch is the Pulitzer Prize-winning historical fiction rooted in Alcott’s classic novel that’s been read and loved for centuries. The March of the title is Jo March’s father in Little Women. In real life, his name was Amos Bronson Alcott. And he was the father of Louisa May Alcott. Brooks tells March’s fictitious story masterfully and with great historical acumen. Her depictions of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson are truly historic. Geraldine Brooks is not a historian. Her husband Tony Horwitz was. In Brooks’ case it seems that to fall in love with a historian is to fall in love with history as well. March is the beautiful proof.

By Geraldine Brooks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the acclaimed YEAR OF WONDERS, a historical novel and love story set during a time of catastrophe, on the front lines of the American Civil War. Set during the American Civil War, MARCH tells the story of John March, known to us as the father away from his family of girls in LITTLE WOMEN, Louisa May Alcott's classic American novel. In Brooks' telling, March emerges as an abolitionist and idealistic chaplain on the front lines of a war that tests his faith in himself and in the Union cause when he learns that his side, too,…

Book cover of Shiloh

Terry Roberts Author Of That Bright Land

From my list on that will bring the American Civil War alive.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a native of the mountains of Western North Carolina. My direct ancestors include six generations of mountain farmers, as well as the bootleggers, preachers, and soldiers who appear in my novels. These generations include at least six family members who fought in the Civil War. I came to understand that the war itself began primarily over slavery, one of the most shameful and hideous aspects of our history. As a reader, I admire the complexity and power of these novels. As a writer, I sought to create a story of my own that offered a form of narrative healing to those, Black and white, who suffered through the horrific years of the war. 

Terry's book list on that will bring the American Civil War alive

Terry Roberts Why did Terry love this book?

Shiloh is an early novel by writer and historian, Shelby Foote, that recounts the story of this bloody battle through multiple perspectives—both Union and Confederate. Foote does a masterful job of portraying how the lives of the various narrators are interrelated, especially the lives of those in each of the armies. In addition, he illuminates just how crazed and violent the experience of the battle itself was—in contrast to the often quite rational, even humane men who fought it. The success of Shiloh also led to Foote writing his monumental three-volume The Civil War: A Narrative and playing a starring role in Ken Burns’ documentary on the war. 

By Shelby Foote,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This fictional re-creation of the battle of Shiloh in April 1862 is a stunning work of imaginative history, from Shelby Foote, beloved historian of the Civil War.  Shiloh conveys not only the bloody choreography of Union and Confederate troops through the woods near Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, but the inner movements of the combatants’ hearts and minds.  Through the eyes of officers and illiterate foot soldiers, heroes and cowards, Shiloh creates a dramatic mosaic of a critical moment in the making of America, complete to the haze of gunsmoke and the stunned expression in the eyes of dying men.
Shiloh, which…

Book cover of Lord of the Flies

David Hight Author Of An Unlikely Messiah

From my list on fiction that examine the human condition.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m just a guy, a normal guy who enjoys thinking and writing about things that can nudge humanity along towards peace. If everybody thought just a little bit about it, we’d have it.

David's book list on fiction that examine the human condition

David Hight Why did David love this book?

A classic shocker. When I first read this book sometime around 50 years ago, I was shocked at how quickly the characters reverted to a primal state.

Now, that I’m older and wiser, I’m still shocked. I’m shocked at how easily the characters went primal, because I think that is a sad reality, that for most people, civility is a thin veil easily torn by the right circumstance.

By William Golding,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Lord of the Flies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A plane crashes on a desert island and the only survivors, a group of schoolboys, assemble on the beach and wait to be rescued. By day they inhabit a land of bright fantastic birds and dark blue seas, but at night their dreams are haunted by the image of a terrifying beast. As the boys' delicate sense of order fades, so their childish dreams are transformed into something more primitive, and their behaviour starts to take on a murderous, savage significance.

First published in 1954, Lord of the Flies is one of the most celebrated and widely read of modern…

Book cover of Wuthering Heights

Polly Hall Author Of Myrrh

From my list on capturing the experience of adoption.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was adopted as a baby, so I have first-hand experience of the emotions and challenges this presents. I am passionate about shining light on this often misunderstood and complex family trauma through my writing. My memoir Blood and Blood, an emotive exploration of the search for my birth relatives, was shortlisted for the Mslexia Prize. My research extends to fiction and non-fiction, where the psychological effects of adoption are referenced or highlighted. I am always keen to chat with fellow care-experienced people. I hope you find the books on this list helpful.

Polly's book list on capturing the experience of adoption

Polly Hall Why did Polly love this book?

I have about five different editions of this amazing book. Heathcliff, Cathy, Thrushcross Grange…it’s all so bleak, gothic, and full of exclamation marks that you have to love its drama and tragedy set within the Yorkshire Moors.

At the heart of it, I love that Heathcliff (although exhibiting questionable behavior by today’s standards) is a foundling-done-good. I love a story where the discarded underdog ends up in a massive house on the moors with loads of money. Nevertheless, it is a tricky read, switching between narratives, but who hasn’t burst into song ‘a la Kate Bush’ upon hearing that title?

By Emily Bronte,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Wuthering Heights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great novels of the nineteenth century, Emily Bronte's haunting tale of passion and greed remains unsurpassed in its depiction of destructive love. Her tragically short life is brilliantly imagined in the major new movie, Emily, starring Emma Mackey in the title role.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition of Wuthering Heights features an afterword by David Pinching.

One wild, snowy night on the Yorkshire moors, a gentleman asks…

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 The Alienist

Emily Matchar Author Of In The Shadow Of The Greenbrier

From my list on historical fiction with mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love historical settings and detail – I love coming away from a novel feeling like I’ve also learned something about the world. But I also like lots and lots of plot and intensity. Historical fiction slash mystery novels hit the spot just right. Though my own work thus far is more on the historical fiction side, I do try to plot it like a mystery, with lots of questions, revelations, and discoveries to be made as you go along.  

Emily's book list on historical fiction with mysteries

Emily Matchar Why did Emily love this book?

I read this one in college, and it sparked my imagination for years and years. Set in 1890s New York, it combines the lowbrow pleasures of gory crime with lots of nifty historical settings and facts (the history of psychiatry! Early forensic science! Gilded Age politics!).

I read it on my bottom bunk in the dorms in about 8 hours, probably while I should have been studying. I’d love to recapture that intensity of pleasure in reading, but a job and two small children make it tricky. 

By Caleb Carr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The internationally bestselling historical thriller, now a major Netflix series starring Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning and Daniel Bruhl.

Some things never change.

New York City, 1896. Hypocrisy in high places is rife, police corruption commonplace, and a brutal killer is terrorising young male prostitutes.

Unfortunately for Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, the psychological profiling of murderers is a practice still in its infancy, struggling to make headway against the prejudices of those who prefer the mentally ill - and the 'alienists' who treat them - to be out of sight as well as out of mind.

But as the body count…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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