100 books like Valentine

By Elizabeth Wetmore,

Here are 100 books that Valentine fans have personally recommended if you like Valentine. 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 Educated: A Memoir

Christine Amoroso Author Of Bare Naked in Public: An earnest and humorous account of one modern American woman trying to have it all

From my list on memoirs that evoke inspiration empathy compassion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always believed that everyone has a story to tell. I have connected to people throughout my life because I chose to sit, listen, and share stories. I do this in my own neighborhood and on my travels worldwide. I do it with people I don’t have anything in common with and people I think I might not like. Every time, without exception, I learn something. Often, I am inspired. These experiences have tested and grown my compassion, empathy, kindness, and understanding capacity. I suppose this is why I love reading. It’s like meeting strangers and sharing stories. 

Christine's book list on memoirs that evoke inspiration empathy compassion

Christine Amoroso Why did Christine love this book?

The survivalist family drama, paranoia, and isolation seemed an impossible life for Tara Westover to escape. This memoir had a suspense and thriller aspect that I loved. I could not put it down.

Her ability to stand up to her parents and an abusive older brother without means showed true grit. She is an admirable and inspirational human being. I love stories where humans overcome great adversity.  

By Tara Westover,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE MULTI-MILLION COPY BESTSELLER

Selected as a book of the year by AMAZON, THE TIMES, SUNDAY TIMES, GUARDIAN, NEW YORK TIMES, ECONOMIST, NEW STATESMAN, VOGUE, IRISH TIMES, IRISH EXAMINER and RED MAGAZINE

'One of the best books I have ever read . . . unbelievably moving' Elizabeth Day
'An extraordinary story, beautifully told' Louise O'Neill
'A memoir to stand alongside the classics . . . compelling and joyous' Sunday Times

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the end of the world. She was never put in school, never taken to the doctor. She did not even have a birth certificate…


Book cover of The Lost Apothecary

Nathan Gower Author Of The Act of Disappearing

From my list on dual timeline novels with a satisfying twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love studying history and reading books informed by the past because of the ways such study elucidates and complicates my understanding of the present moment. I also think the best stories should entertain as well as teach; that is, books should be enrapturing and never didactic. I’m a professor of English at a liberal arts university in Kentucky, and every time I assign a short story, novel, play, or poem, I always do so with the conviction that reading the assigned text should enthrall my students as much as it teaches them about a particular literary movement or historical moment. 

Nathan's book list on dual timeline novels with a satisfying twist

Nathan Gower Why did Nathan love this book?

The books I love the most are those that deliver on the promise of a big “hook” but also delve deeper in unexpected ways, making me feel excited and satisfied.

Penner’s book is a perfect example. The promise of the complex mystery surrounding the “apothecary murders” is delicious, but how I felt about the characters emotionally was unexpected and kept me turning the pages.

By Sarah Penner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, Hello! magazine, Oprah.com, Bustle, Popsugar, Betches, Sweet July, and GoodReads!

March 2021 Indie Next Pick and #1 LibraryReads Pick

“A bold, edgy, accomplished debut!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised…


Book cover of Three Women

Catherine Evans Author Of All Grown Up

From my list on books about girls lured into inappropriate relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

Men have always been attracted to young women, who possess a glow that their mothers have possibly lost. Girls are more vulnerable and impressionable and are more likely to believe what they are told. Their passionate desire to be loved, combined with their conviction that no one understands them, makes them uniquely vulnerable to predators. But there is another side to the story. Girls do not passively wait to be seduced or exploited. They thrill in actively testing their own sexual power and often put themselves in physical and emotional danger with no understanding of the long-term consequences of relationships where the power dynamic leaves them exposed to exploitation and abuse.

Cathy's book list on books about girls lured into inappropriate relationships

Catherine Evans Why did Cathy love this book?

A nonfiction book that tells the story of three unrelated women and their unique but universal struggles; I loved it because of the author’s incredible talent for articulating the everyday lived experience of being female, the subtle and overt judgments, and the fact that women are held to different standards, even by other women.

"‘Even when women fight back, they must do it correctly. They must cry the right amount and look pretty but not hot." Many times while reading, I recognised myself, my sister, my mother, and my friends.

All three stories are highly engaging, but the truly compelling story is Maggie’s, a troubled girl from a difficult family who is preyed upon by her teacher, a married man with a family. The subsequent effect on her life is just devastating (remember, folks: this is nonfiction.)

By Lisa Taddeo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The International No. 1 Bestseller A BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club Pick 'Cuts to the heart of who we are' Sunday Times 'A book that begs discussion' Vanity Fair All Lina wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn't touch her? All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town? All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object…


Book cover of Mischling

Serena Burdick Author Of The Girls with No Names

From my list on powerful female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I devoured stories of the past. I wanted to live in a different century despite the fact that as a stubborn, loud, girl, I would not have been accepted because I understood these traits were not acceptable anyway. So, I learned to be quiet. It has taken me a long time to see myself as a powerful woman, to stop apologizing, to believe that when I speak up, people will listen. My goal in writing is to create characters worthy of our attention, characters who can empower us. We must imagine what we want before we can create it, and be vulnerable enough to believe in the power of that creation. 

Serena's book list on powerful female protagonists

Serena Burdick Why did Serena love this book?

Mischling is the story of twin sisters, Stasha and Pearl, who were sent to Auschwitz during WWII. The connection between these young girls, their strength and willpower, their ability to know what the other is thinking, to protect and care for one another, is astonishing. In this camp, these girls go through puberty, fall in love, and endure more than it seems possible for any child to survive. That they do so, is impressive, and when Pearl disappears, Stasha refuses to believe her sister is dead. When the war ends, and the camp is liberated, Stasha and a young boy navigate Poland’s war-torn land looking for Pearl. This book is intense, and painful, and yet the prose is so astounding, and done with such skill and care, it makes a topic that would seem impossible to stomach, not only bearable, but full of hope and beauty.

By Affinity Konar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood. As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele's Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain.

That winter, at a concert orchestrated by Mengele, Pearl disappears. Stasha grieves for her twin, but…


Book cover of The Giver of Stars

Julia Jarman Author Of The Widows' Wine Club

From my list on improbable friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like the widows in The Widows’ Wine Club, I’m getting on. Unlike them, I’ve been a writer for forty years, often hunched over a keyboard, ignoring people. Amazingly, though, I managed to have a happy marriage and make some great friends. Phew! Because I’ve needed friends, especially since my husband died. Looking back, I’m interested to see that I didn’t instantly take to some of my closest buddies. Circumstances threw us together, and we got to know and like and love each other. I explore this in my book. 

Julia's book list on improbable friendships

Julia Jarman Why did Julia love this book?

I love this book because it has everything, believable, engaging characters, a riveting plot, a vivid setting, and a cause. Larger-than-life Margery O’Hare and lady-like Alice are unlikely friends, but friends they become in this great story.

When I first saw photos of those "librarians on horseback," the wonderful women who responded to Eleanor Roosevelt’s call to take books to the rural poor of Kentucky in the depressed 1930s, I longed to know more. Jojo Moyes gives us lots more. There’s an array of well-drawn characters, but it’s Margery and Alice who drive the story forward, defying the odds to achieve their aims and find men who love and appreciate them.

Yes, it’s a love story, too, and a whodunnit? Perfect!

By Jojo Moyes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | A REESE WITHERSPOON X HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK

"A great narrative about personal strength and really captures how books bring communities together." -Reese Witherspoon

From the author of The Last Letter from Your Lover, now a major motion picture on Netflix, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond in Depression-era America


Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve, hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when…


Book cover of Night Wherever We Go

Rae Giana Rashad Author Of The Blueprint

From my list on reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m drawn to stories of women whose journeys shed light on human nature. These women are often found in cautionary tales within dystopian and historical fiction. Their stories not only remind us of the past but also hint at possibilities—different versions of the future. To capture this truth, I wrote a novel that delicately blends the past with the near future.

Rae's book list on reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy

Rae Giana Rashad Why did Rae love this book?

Night Wherever We Go is the visceral story of six enslaved women defying their oppressors on a Texas plantation, determined to protect themselves from forced pregnancies. These women are cunning and resourceful!

Told in a first-person-plural voice, Tracey Rose Peyton's narrative is a powerful portrayal of collective resistance. It sheds light on a dark chapter of American history with unflinching honesty.

By Tracey Rose Peyton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Night Wherever We Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A hugely impressive debut' SARAH WATERS

'A powerful and inspired achievement. This one is not to be missed' NATHAN HARRIS

'Extraordinary... I'm not sure I've recovered from the experience of reading it, or ever will, or ever should' ELIZABETH MCCRAKEN

'A haunting, powerful and utterly unforgettable read' RACHEL HENG

An intimate look at the domestic lives of enslaved women, NIGHT WHEREVER WE GO is an evocative meditation on resistance and autonomy, on love and transcendence and the bonds of female friendship in the darkest of circumstances.

On a struggling Texas plantation, six enslaved women slip from their sleeping quarters and…


Book cover of Book of the Little Axe

Lisa Boyle Author Of Signed, A Paddy

From my list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII).

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a history lover, but often find myself thinking about the untold stories. The people who were not writing the history books or commanding armies or ruling countries. I’ve always been more inspired by everyday people, especially women, who fought daily battles we know very little about. I find myself seeking out their stories. I love to imagine these women’s lives. What motivated them, what frightened them, what angered them. That’s what I’m most passionate about. Finding and telling their stories.

Lisa's book list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII)

Lisa Boyle Why did Lisa love this book?

Book of the Little Axe follows one woman at two ends of her life, spanning from the late 1700s to the early 1800s.

One thread follows who she will become—“Ma,” wife to an Apsáalooke man and mother to three children—and the woman she was before, “Rosa,” a daughter and sister in Trinidad. A third thread follows a man named Creadon’s diary.

This book explores so many important and complex topics like what it means to be family, what it means to belong, and what it means to accept yourself. I loved how deep Francis-Sharma dives into the feelings of shame and pride and fear that the characters feel.

I felt those same things and it made me physically ache for them.

By Lauren Francis-Sharma,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A BOOKLIST EDITOR'S CHOICE BOOK OF THE YEAR

Ambitious and masterfully-wrought, Lauren Francis-Sharma's Book of the Little Axe is an incredible journey, spanning decades and oceans from Trinidad to the American West during the tumultuous days of warring colonial powers and westward expansion.

In 1796 Trinidad, young Rosa Rendon quietly but purposefully rebels against the life others expect her to lead. Bright, competitive, and opinionated, Rosa sees no reason she should learn to cook and keep house, for it is obvious her talents lie in running the farm she, alone, views as her birthright. But when her homeland changes from…


Book cover of The Hundred Secret Senses

Lisa Boyle Author Of Signed, A Paddy

From my list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII).

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a history lover, but often find myself thinking about the untold stories. The people who were not writing the history books or commanding armies or ruling countries. I’ve always been more inspired by everyday people, especially women, who fought daily battles we know very little about. I find myself seeking out their stories. I love to imagine these women’s lives. What motivated them, what frightened them, what angered them. That’s what I’m most passionate about. Finding and telling their stories.

Lisa's book list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII)

Lisa Boyle Why did Lisa love this book?

Amy Tan is a master at telling stories that explore the complex dynamics of family relationships.

I’ve read a lot of her books, but The Hundred Secret Senses is my favorite because I adore Kwan, the main character’s half-sister from China. Kwan has a special secret that she can see and speak to ghosts, but Olivia always dismisses her as a little crazy and only pretends to believe her stories.

I love this book because it made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions and because it was so relatable.

We all have family members that we both love and can’t stand at the same time. This book goes back and forth between the 1990s and the 1800s.

If you love books about sisters, you need to read this one!

By Amy Tan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stunning reissue of an international bestseller, from the author of 'The Joy Luck Club' and 'The Bonesetter's Daughter'.

Olivia Yee is only five years old when Kwan, her older sister from China, comes to live with the family and turns her life upside down, bombarding her day and night with ghostly stories of strange ancestors from the world of Yin. Olivia just wants to lead a normal American life.

For the next thirty years, Olivia endures visits from Kwan and her ghosts, who appear in the living world to offer advice on everything from restaurants to Olivia's failed marriage. But…


Book cover of Into the Darkest Corner

Louise Stone Author Of S is for Stranger

From my list on to send shivers down your spine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love psychological thrillers because I have firsthand dealt with OCD and gaslighting. Therefore, I find the human mind fascinating, and how the line between sanity and insanity is changeable. I think as humans we want to feel safe and hence, we box things into categories but all these thrillers I have recommended force you to look outside of the boxes and they can be chillingly thought-provoking. I am obsessed with writing that gives the reader such graphic insight into a character’s thoughts and actions. If you want unputdownable books, these are the ones for you!

Louise's book list on to send shivers down your spine

Louise Stone Why did Louise love this book?

This book personally resonates with me as I suffer with OCD.

The character must overcome countless mental challenges now that she thinks she has met the man of her dreams. It is a brilliant portrayal of gaslighting, so accurate and chillingly on point. If you like books that are emotionally immersive and you can almost touch and breathe the characters, this is superb.

By Elizabeth Haynes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Catherine Bailey has been enjoying the single life long enough to know a catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But what begins as flattering attentiveness and passionate sex turns into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon learns there is a darker side to Lee. His increasingly erratic, controlling behaviour becomes frightening, but no one believes her when she shares her fears. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a…


Book cover of When Men Murder Women

Martin Daly Author Of Killing the Competition: Economic Inequality and Homicide

From my list on why people sometimes kill one another.

Why am I passionate about this?

When my late wife Margo Wilson suggested, over 40 years ago, that we should study homicides for what they might reveal about human motives and emotions, her idea seemed zany. But when we plunged into police investigative files and homicide databases, we quickly realized that we had struck gold, and homicide research became our passion. Our innovation was to approach the topic like epidemiologists, asking who is likely to kill whom and identifying the risk factors that are peculiar to particular victim-killer relationships. What do people really care about? Surveys and interviews elicit cheap talk; killing someone is drastic action.  

Martin's book list on why people sometimes kill one another

Martin Daly Why did Martin love this book?

Rebecca and Russell Dobash had studied men's violence against their female partners for decades and were already heroes of the women's movement when they began interviewing incarcerated killers in Britain. Two fine books have resulted, one focused on men who killed women, the other on men who killed men. It is the former, especially the section on intimate partner homicide, that I find most captivating. The Dobashes skilfully blend national statistics with the self-serving testimony of their interviewees, who minimize their lethal acts as things that "happened" rather than things that they did, and apparently believe themselves to be the victims. These insights are essential.    

By R. Emerson Dobash, Russell P. Dobash,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Men Murder Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the United States and Great Britain, 20-30% of all homicides involve the killing of a woman by a man, and it is far rarer when a woman is killed by another woman. Unfortunately, this is not a very well understood phenomenon. Most books on the topic discuss serial killings, but those only make up 2% of sexual murder-a sensationalist subset of a subset. There has never before been a comprehensive book that has covered the entire scope of homicide cases in which men
murder women.

Dobash and Dobash, two seasoned researchers and longtime collaborators in the study of violence…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in violence, Texas, and women?

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