100 books like Under the Whispering Door

By TJ Klune,

Here are 100 books that Under the Whispering Door fans have personally recommended if you like Under the Whispering Door. 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 The Book Thief

Mark A. Biggs Author Of Love Letters From Dresden

From my list on stories that help shape who we are.

Why am I passionate about this?

Storytelling wields the power to transcend time and place, connecting us through shared experiences and emotions. It shapes our understanding of the world and ignites the imagination, making it an essential part of the human journey. As a psychologist, I understand how the stories we tell about ourselves are crucial in defining who we are and that books and good people can help shape our character. The books I've chosen celebrate the human spirit and our ability to face adversity, adapt, and ultimately choose our destiny. As Stephen Covey wisely stated, “Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.”

Mark's book list on stories that help shape who we are

Mark A. Biggs Why did Mark love this book?

This book by Markus Zusak is frequently named one of the best WW2 books. I like it because it’s a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of hope in dark times. It’s a haunting and beautifully written novel set in Nazi Germany.

Narrated by Death, the story follows Liesel, a young girl sent to live with a foster family. As she navigates a tumultuous world filled with fear and cruelty, Liesel finds comfort in books and words. I loved the premise of stealing forbidden books and sharing their stories with others. Through Liesel’s experiences, I explored the themes of love, loss, and the power of storytelling in the face of adversity.

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

32 authors picked The Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Life affirming, triumphant and tragic . . . masterfully told. . . but also a wonderful page-turner' Guardian
'Brilliant and hugely ambitious' New York Times
'Extraordinary' Telegraph
___

HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT…


Book cover of Keturah and Lord Death

Maria Vale Author Of Molly Molloy and the Angel of Death

From my list on stories of death personified.

Why am I passionate about this?

The 14th century had it all: the 100 Years' War, near-constant famines, and, of course, the Black Plague. As a medievalist studying the art of the time, I was struck by the representations of Death that emerged from this near-perfect storm of misery. Yes, Death was often portrayed accompanied by demons and devils, lumped willy-nilly with evil. But it was more often portrayed in the Danse Macabre as a skeletal partner, leading everyone—Pope and Emperor, Lord and Laborer—on a merry dance. I know it was meant as a warning, but I found the Danse Macabre to be oddly comforting, a vision of an ultimate democracy, with Death the final partner and companion to us all.

Maria's book list on stories of death personified

Maria Vale Why did Maria love this book?

Leavitt’s story is a fairytale and like all good fairytales, there is a handsome prince except this one is played by Lord Death himself.

I love Keturah. She is brave enough not to be afraid and big-hearted enough to see beyond Death’s terrifying purpose to the underlying sadness of the feared and hated outsider. Through the course of the book, she also comes to appreciate the meaning he brings to life.

“It was Death who…made her see the sun in the blue sky and hear the trees in a spring wind. He made her see how much she loved her friends…Made her love the breath in her lungs. She knew she had never been truly alive as when she met him. Never so happy and content with her lot until she was touched by the sorrow of him.”

By Martine Leavitt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Keturah and Lord Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

National Book Award Finalist

A young woman makes a bargain with Death himself-and only true love can set her free-in this spellbinding YA fantasy romance for fans of Robin McKinley.

For most of her sixteen years, beautiful Keturah Reeves has mesmerized the villagers with her gift for storytelling. But when she becomes hopelessly lost in the king's forest, her strength all but diminished, she must spin the most important of tale of life. With her fate hanging in the balance, she charms Death himself-a handsome, melancholy, and stern lord-with a story of a love so true that he agrees to…


Book cover of Reaper Man

Maria Vale Author Of Molly Molloy and the Angel of Death

From my list on stories of death personified.

Why am I passionate about this?

The 14th century had it all: the 100 Years' War, near-constant famines, and, of course, the Black Plague. As a medievalist studying the art of the time, I was struck by the representations of Death that emerged from this near-perfect storm of misery. Yes, Death was often portrayed accompanied by demons and devils, lumped willy-nilly with evil. But it was more often portrayed in the Danse Macabre as a skeletal partner, leading everyone—Pope and Emperor, Lord and Laborer—on a merry dance. I know it was meant as a warning, but I found the Danse Macabre to be oddly comforting, a vision of an ultimate democracy, with Death the final partner and companion to us all.

Maria's book list on stories of death personified

Maria Vale Why did Maria love this book?

We all know what happens when Death takes a holiday, but what happens when Death is given notice? 

Dismissed from the only job he’s ever known, Death must decide how to spend the time he has left. Taking on the random name “Bill Door,” he offers his talents scything hay, “one blade at a time, one time, one blade.” Death is a recurring character in Discworld and has the casually brutal forbearance of someone who has seen it all.

Seen, but not experienced and it is the dawning comprehension that I love most about Reaper Man: “[Death] wondered if he’d ever felt wind and sunlight before. Yes, he’d felt them, he must have done. But he’d never experienced them like this; the way wind pushed at you, the way the sun made you hot. The way you could feel Time passing. Carrying you with it.”

By Terry Pratchett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the "Discworld" humorous fantasy series. Death is missing. Dead Rights activist Reg Shoe suddenly has more work than he'd ever dreamed of, and newly-deceased wizard Windle Poons wakes up in his coffin to find that he has come back as a corpse.


Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

Book cover of Ballad for Jasmine Town

Molly Ringle Author Of Sage and King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Editor Sociolinguist HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Good witch

Molly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A human child raised by the fae is an uncommon thing. But Rafi was such a child.

Now grown, half-fae but mortal, he lingers on the edge of human society in Miryoku, a nearby town sharing a border with fae territory. He doesn’t want to join the human world properly; he just wants to play music with a local cover band and avoid the cruelest members of his fae family.

Then, he meets Roxana, and his world shifts. She’s a human metalworking witch, up for a friendly fling with Rafi before she and her twelve-year-old daughter move away from Miryoku…

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

What is this book about?

A law-abiding metalworking witch and a form-shifting half-fae musician embark on a secret romance, but soon become caught in escalating tensions between fae and humans that threaten their hometown. The second story after the popular Lava Red Feather Blue comes alive in Ballad for Jasmine Town.

The town of Miryoku has ocean views, fragrant jasmine vines, and a thriving arts scene, including a popular nineties cover band. It also sits on the verge, sharing a border with fae territory, a realm of both enchantments and dangers.

Rafi has been unusual all his life: a human born to a fae mother,…


Book cover of Eating Stars

Siri Caldwell Author Of The Mermaid Hypothesis

From my list on LGBTQ+ stories about feeling lost, then found.

Why am I passionate about this?

Every time I write a romance novel, I find myself returning to the same themes: seeing people for who they are beneath the surface, respecting others despite differences, and choosing to love those who might seem a little odd. Whether they’re angels, mermaids, or plain old humans, my characters lead lives where, despite marginalization and alienation, love and a sense of belonging are possible. My Christmas novella, Mistletoe Mishap, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Siri's book list on LGBTQ+ stories about feeling lost, then found

Siri Caldwell Why did Siri love this book?

I love romance novels with characters who care about others who are different than themselves. In this one, an extraterrestrial crash-lands on Earth and is rescued by a human man. They’re both emotionally lost, devastated by the deaths of their respective spouses, but as the man nurses the alien back to health, they both regain the will to live. The way they protect each other, despite barely being able to communicate, is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

By Angel Martinez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Flee. Scatter. Take your mates and your offspring and run.

A new Science Fiction Romance from Angel Martinez

The escape pods fall to Earth one by one over the course of weeks, a mysterious and diverse alien diaspora, each pod containing a different alien race and leaving the world's governments scrambling to deal with this unexpected immigration. Serge Kosygin, still grieving and isolated after his husband's death, watches events with gray disinterest until one day he witnesses a pod crash for himself while driving home. Two of the alien visitors have died, but one survives, badly injured, and Serge is…


Book cover of The Last True Poets of the Sea

Siri Caldwell Author Of The Mermaid Hypothesis

From my list on LGBTQ+ stories about feeling lost, then found.

Why am I passionate about this?

Every time I write a romance novel, I find myself returning to the same themes: seeing people for who they are beneath the surface, respecting others despite differences, and choosing to love those who might seem a little odd. Whether they’re angels, mermaids, or plain old humans, my characters lead lives where, despite marginalization and alienation, love and a sense of belonging are possible. My Christmas novella, Mistletoe Mishap, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Siri's book list on LGBTQ+ stories about feeling lost, then found

Siri Caldwell Why did Siri love this book?

I typically don’t read YA, but I’d just finished writing a book about searching for an ancient shipwreck, so I thought, why not see what someone else did with this idea? And I’m so glad I did. Otherwise I would have missed out on this compelling inner journey of a teenager who tries on adult responsibility and explores who she wants to be: someone who flees, breaks down, acts out, steps up, reaches for meaningful connection, or (and) loves.

By Julia Drake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last True Poets of the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The Larkin family isn't just lucky -- they persevere. At least that's what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn't drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer. But wrecks seem to run in the family: Tall, funny, musical Violet can't stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.

Shipped back to Lyric while…


Book cover of Toward Amnesia

Siri Caldwell Author Of The Mermaid Hypothesis

From my list on LGBTQ+ stories about feeling lost, then found.

Why am I passionate about this?

Every time I write a romance novel, I find myself returning to the same themes: seeing people for who they are beneath the surface, respecting others despite differences, and choosing to love those who might seem a little odd. Whether they’re angels, mermaids, or plain old humans, my characters lead lives where, despite marginalization and alienation, love and a sense of belonging are possible. My Christmas novella, Mistletoe Mishap, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Siri's book list on LGBTQ+ stories about feeling lost, then found

Siri Caldwell Why did Siri love this book?

Escape often gets a bad rap—staying and fighting or enduring your circumstances are seen as more noble—but there are times when choosing to leave a demoralizing, unhealthy environment to make a fresh start is what you need to do to save your soul. In this book, a woman tries to disappear—and finds herself. If you appreciate books where unassuming sentences land like devastating little bombs, read this.

By Sarah Van Arsdale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Devastated after her lesbian lover leaves her, a research scientist clears out her home and moves across the country, where she adopts an alien persona and practices "amnesia exercises" in order to wipe out the memories of her past. A first novel.


Book cover of Hush

Siri Caldwell Author Of The Mermaid Hypothesis

From my list on LGBTQ+ stories about feeling lost, then found.

Why am I passionate about this?

Every time I write a romance novel, I find myself returning to the same themes: seeing people for who they are beneath the surface, respecting others despite differences, and choosing to love those who might seem a little odd. Whether they’re angels, mermaids, or plain old humans, my characters lead lives where, despite marginalization and alienation, love and a sense of belonging are possible. My Christmas novella, Mistletoe Mishap, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Siri's book list on LGBTQ+ stories about feeling lost, then found

Siri Caldwell Why did Siri love this book?

In this emotional tour de force, a judge falls in love with the federal marshal who protects him during a terrorism-related trial. He’s kind, caring, and ethical; he’s intelligent, hardworking, and competent; and he knows all too well that in many people’s eyes, none of that matters. That betrayal feels painfully familiar; his spectacular vindication, cathartic.

By Tal Bauer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A federal judge running from the truth.
A U.S. marshal running from his past.
A trial that can plunge the world into war.

Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for twenty-five long years, he's climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, U.S. Marshal assigned to his D.C. courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can't erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.

But a devastating terrorist attack in the heart of DC,…


Book cover of Death: The High Cost Of Living

Maria Vale Author Of Molly Molloy and the Angel of Death

From my list on stories of death personified.

Why am I passionate about this?

The 14th century had it all: the 100 Years' War, near-constant famines, and, of course, the Black Plague. As a medievalist studying the art of the time, I was struck by the representations of Death that emerged from this near-perfect storm of misery. Yes, Death was often portrayed accompanied by demons and devils, lumped willy-nilly with evil. But it was more often portrayed in the Danse Macabre as a skeletal partner, leading everyone—Pope and Emperor, Lord and Laborer—on a merry dance. I know it was meant as a warning, but I found the Danse Macabre to be oddly comforting, a vision of an ultimate democracy, with Death the final partner and companion to us all.

Maria's book list on stories of death personified

Maria Vale Why did Maria love this book?

The older sister of Dream, Death of the Endless manifests as a perky goth girl, a fan of Mary Poppins.

The most powerful of the Endless, she is also the warmest and most caring. For one day out of every century, Death consigns herself to take on the form of a mortal fated to die in order to remember the value of the gift she is taking. This is the setting of The High Cost of Living, my favorite of the Sandman comics featuring Death. "It always ends," Death says when her day is over. "That's what gives it meaning."

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean, Mark Buckingham , Chris Bachalo

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Written by Neil Gaiman; Art by Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham, and Dave McKean From the pages of Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN comes the young, pale, perky, and genuinely likable Death. One day in every century, Death walks the Earth to better understand those to whom she will be the final visitor. Today is that day. As a young mortal girl named Didi, Death befriends a teenager and helps a 250-year old homeless woman find her missing heart. What follows is a sincere musing on love, life and (of course) death.


Book cover of Red, White & Royal Blue

Nancy Herkness Author Of Royal Caleva: Gabriel

From my list on modern-day royalty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of twenty romance books, but I started as a reader. I have read thousands of romance novels in my life, which I humbly submit makes me something of an authority. In fact, I started writing romance novels because I wanted to offer readers the elements that I loved about my favorite books: sympathetic, fully-realized characters, sharp dialogue, deep emotion, and good writing. I have focused on modern-day royals because I am writing a series featuring a royal family. I have been reading extensively to see what other authors are doing in that subgenre…and because it’s fun to don an imaginary tiara!

Nancy's book list on modern-day royalty

Nancy Herkness Why did Nancy love this book?

American snark meets cutting British wit: I loved the texts/emails/calls between Alex, the American president’s son, and Henry, the British prince. The contrast between the two characters was riveting: the brash, ambitious young politico versus the cultured, smooth, royal prince with decades of tradition bred into his bones. Let’s face it: power is seductive, and these two enemies-to-lovers move in the highest-powered circles on Earth.

What gives this love story extra depth is the struggle of these highly visible men to deal with being gay/bisexual both in private and on the public stage. Prince Henry’s pain at having to suppress his true sexuality almost broke my heart. Thank goodness it’s a romance, so they find a way to be happy together in the end! 

By Casey McQuiston,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Red, White & Royal Blue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* Instant NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestseller *
* GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD WINNER for BEST DEBUT and BEST ROMANCE of 2019 *
* BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR* for VOGUE, NPR, VANITY FAIR, and more! *

What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius--his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when…


Book cover of The Charm Offensive

Sylvia Barry Author Of Lessons in Timing

From my list on grumpy/sunshine romance with a healthy side of yearning.

Why are we passionate about this?

Sylvia Barry is our invention, a solitary witch who writes queer romance from her lighthouse keep. As a pair of co-authors, one of us grew up with the dry humor of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, and the other grew up with fanfiction and romance tropes. We came together to write quirky, queer romances that are playful and ironic but also deal with deeper themes of self-discovery, trauma healing, and community. Rivals-to-lovers and grumpy/sunshine are our favorite tropes to write, especially in dual (or more!) POV, because the Yearning is always juicy, and we play off each other’s energy as we write our opposing characters.

Sylvia's book list on grumpy/sunshine romance with a healthy side of yearning

Sylvia Barry Why did Sylvia love this book?

We love a deconstructed fairytale, and even better if it’s RE-constructed right afterward! 

Who doesn’t love an anxious Prince Charming who falls directly off his horse? Let alone his slobby yet sexily competent True Love. This book was a heartwarming character study of the two leads, as well as a swoony romance that scratched all the reality TV itches we had. We loved the tropes, the wit, and the earnestness of a happily ever after that truly believes in itself, no matter how fantastical the odds.

By Alison Cochrun,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A MOST ANTICIPATED ROM-COM SELECTED BY * BUZZFEED * LGBTQ READS * BUSTLE * THE NERD DAILY * ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT * FROLIC MEDIA * AND MORE!

A BEST BOOK PICK BY * HARPER' S BAZAAR * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

"The Charm Offensive will sweep you off your feet." -PopSugar

In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy-reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch-an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it's no wonder then that he's spent his career crafting…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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