The best books about family secrets

Who picked these books? Meet our 192 experts.

192 authors created a book list connected to family secrets, and here are their favorite family secret books.
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What type of family secret book?


Royal Wedding

By Meg Cabot,

Book cover of Royal Wedding

Stacy Juba Author Of Fooling Around With Cinderella

From the list on chick lit to bring a smile to your face.

Who am I?

I’m the author of the Storybook Valley chick-lit series, which includes Fooling Around With Cinderella and Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty. I love reading and writing lighthearted novels about young women finding their Prince Charming—and also themselves. Setting is also important to me as a writer. To create my Storybook Valley novels I spied on Cinderellas at amusement parks and discreetly watched employees head off into off-limits areas. I watched hours of YouTube interviews with former Disney World princesses, behind-the-scenes videos with other amusement park employees, and listened to podcast interviews with managers of theme parks. All the novels I chose had well-developed settings that were an integral part of the book.  

Stacy's book list on chick lit to bring a smile to your face

Discover why each book is one of Stacy's favorite books.

Why did Stacy love this book?

I had never read the Princess Diaries books but was a fan of the movies. I had also read some of Meg Cabot’s adult novels. When I heard that Meg was releasing an adult installment of her popular princess series, I had to read it. Royal Wedding follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan her fairytale wedding. This book was also unique as it connected to a series of middle grade novels about Mia’s younger half-sister. (From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess) I wound up buying my daughter the whole series for her Easter basket during the first part of the pandemic as I thought it might cheer her up. It did!

By Meg Cabot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Meg Cabot, the Number One New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first New Adult instalment, featuring the now grown-up Princess Mia!
Royal Wedding follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding - but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.
For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community centre, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements,…

The Darlings

By Cristina Alger,

Book cover of The Darlings

Jillian Medoff Author Of When We Were Bright and Beautiful

From the list on very rich families with very dark secrets.

Who am I?

According to Entertainment Weekly, I’m a “bestselling author who has made a name for [myself] with uncannily insightful takes on the dark side of family institutions.” But really, I’m just a novelist who has always been fascinated by the myriad ways we play out our unresolved issues from childhood, again and again, over the course of our lives. Although my books are very different from each other, they all focus on the interrelationships among family members (traditional families, work families, etc.). In my most recent novel, When We Were Bright and Beautiful, I look at how wealth, privilege, and power can corrupt even the most loving relationships.

Jillian's book list on very rich families with very dark secrets

Discover why each book is one of Jillian's favorite books.

Why did Jillian love this book?

From the first scene of The Darlings, Christina Alger plunges you into the lives of the fabulously wealthy. The daughter of a Wall Street financier, Alger grew up in this world, and her experience and insight make the book sing. The Darlings is fast-paced and compulsively readable, and the characters are well-drawn and authentic. This novel includes everything I love: financial crimes, shocking scandals, lots of details, and terrific storytelling. 

By Cristina Alger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Cristina Alger's debut novel offers a fresh and modern glimpse into New York's high society. I was hooked from page one' Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada

From the author of The Banker's Wife and Girls Like Us comes an explosive drama about family, greed and high society scandal.

The Darlings of New York are untouchable. But no one is safe from a scandal this big.

When Carter Darling's business partner commits suicide, it triggers a huge financial investigation.

The allegations are serious. The danger of it exposing their private lives is equally threatening.

In times of crisis,…

It Will Just Be Us

By Jo Kaplan,

Book cover of It Will Just Be Us

Paulette Kennedy Author Of Parting the Veil

From the list on haunted houses where setting is a character.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by haunted houses and the lore behind them ever since childhood. I spent my summers walking our neighborhood cemetery and devouring novels by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Shirley Jackson. It was only natural, then, that my debut novel had to be a haunted house story—my own love letter to the genre. Having lived in a haunted house myself, the experiences I had within those walls did little to discourage my fascination with the paranormal. While I may have left my ghosts behind me, you can still sense their lingering presence inside Parting the Veil.

Paulette's book list on haunted houses where setting is a character

Discover why each book is one of Paulette's favorite books.

Why did Paulette love this book?

There’s no place like home, especially when it’s Wakefield Manor, where ghosts and memories are trapped in an endless loop. When the introverted, quirky protagonist Sam (who reminded me of my favorite Shirley Jackson character—Merricat Blackwood) is forced to welcome her estranged, pregnant sister back to the decaying family manor, Sam’s already-frayed nerves are pushed to the limit. But when her sister’s arrival becomes the catalyst for disturbing visions of a faceless boy with a penchant for cruelty, Sam seeks answers in the claustrophobic halls of her ancestral home. Who is this monstrous, cruel boy? What does he want? Seething with tumultuous family dynamics and a plot as complex as it is unsettling, the atmosphere of It Will Just Be Us had me enraptured from the very first pages and didn’t let go until the gasp-inducing ending. 

By Jo Kaplan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It Will Just Be Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A terrifying new gothic horror novel about two sisters and a haunted house that never sleeps, perfect for fans of Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

They say there's a door in Wakefield that never opens...

Sam Wakefield's ancestral home, a decaying mansion built on the edge of a swamp, isn't a place for children. Its labyrinthine halls, built by her mad ancestors, are filled with echoes of the past: ghosts and memories knotted together as one. In the presence of phantoms, it's all Sam can do to disentangle past from present in her daily life.


Book cover of The House We Grew Up in

Virginia Franken Author Of Half Sisters

From the list on suspense in a suburban setting.

Who am I?

I was born in the suburbs to the east of London and moved to California for adventure, only to end up living in the suburbs to the east of Los Angeles. Perhaps it’s because life is ultimately cyclical, or maybe I’m fated to live life inside a white picket fence. I suspect the real reason I’m here is because I secretly love it. Renegade sprinkler settings, trash day meltdowns, neighbor drama. For a writer, it’s all rich pickings. So far, the burbs have been where I’ve set all my novels and it’s also been fertile soil for the authors below.

Virginia's book list on suspense in a suburban setting

Discover why each book is one of Virginia's favorite books.

Why did Virginia love this book?

In England, we have the Queen who opens Parliament and then we have the Queen of Domestic Suspense and that is Lisa Jewell. Lisa has written a slew of phenomenal novels but The House We Grew Up In always comes first to mind whenever I think of her work. The quality of descriptive detail in this book means that years after I first read it, I can still picture every room inside the Bird house and recall every twist and turn in Lorelei Bird’s journey as she transitions from a normal mother in a messy home to a toothless hoarder living out of a depilated den. A fascinating read packed around secrets and lies and an examination of family dynamics. All that glitters isn’t foil-wrapped gold in this one.

By Lisa Jewell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The House We Grew Up in as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the #1 bestselling author of The Night She Disappeared, The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone


When a tragedy breaks a family apart, what can bring it back together?

The Birds seem to be the perfect family: mother, father, four children, a picture-book cottage in the country.

But one Easter weekend, something happens - something so unexpected, so devastating, that no one can bring themselves to talk about it.

The family shatters, seemingly for good.

Until, years later, they are forced to return to the house they grew…

Are We There Yet?

By Kathleen West,

Book cover of Are We There Yet?

Rebecca Prenevost Author Of Starting in 5th

From the list on fiction portraying realistic parenting dilemmas.

Who am I?

I'm a mom of two daughters who is fascinated with reading nonfiction parenting books and listening to parenting-related podcasts. My absolute favorite, though, is when fiction authors take a dense parenting topic and turn it into a relatable and engaging story so that readers can explore the same important issues and challenges in a more enjoyable way.

Rebecca's book list on fiction portraying realistic parenting dilemmas

Discover why each book is one of Rebecca's favorite books.

Why did Rebecca love this book?

West has authored three books that I’d consider parenting fiction, but this one is my favorite. The main storyline follows a mom as she struggles to parent her teenager through his impulsive decisions and public failures. It also explores how a child’s behaviors or actions can often feel like a reflection on their parents. West is an expert in writing multiple POV novels, so readers get to understand these issues from every angle. 

By Kathleen West,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Are We There Yet? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A breezy yet affecting read filled with struggle and hope."—People
A Good Day LA Pick

Among fake Instagram pages, long-buried family secrets, and the horrors of middle school, one suburban mom searches to find herself.
Alice Sullivan feels like she’s finally found her groove in middle age, but it only takes one moment for her perfectly curated life to unravel. On the same day she learns her daughter is struggling in second grade, a call from her son’s school accusing him of bullying throws Alice into a tailspin.  

When it comes to light that the incident is part of a…

The Faraday Girls

By Monica McInerney,

Book cover of The Faraday Girls

Helen McKenna Author Of The Beach House

From the list on an ensemble cast of characters.

Who am I?

As a lifelong bookworm, I have always loved curling up with a book, especially one that takes me on an emotional journey through the characters within. I especially love stories with an ensemble cast of characters linked through one common thread and always knew my first novel would be of this format. A fascination with the stories that lie beneath the surface of everyday life keeps me constantly inspired to create new characters that can bring comfort and familiarity to readers but still explore important life lessons in a gentle way.

Helen's book list on an ensemble cast of characters

Discover why each book is one of Helen's favorite books.

Why did Helen love this book?

I love how perfectly The Faraday Girls captures the dynamics of being part of a big family, in all its messy glory. It is a story that is hilariously funny in some parts and quite dark in others, but ultimately the strength of family ties is what shines through. Being part of a big family myself, there is a wonderful familiarity about The Faraday Girls that kept me engaged right until the last page.

By Monica McInerney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

BONUS: This edition contains excerpts from Monica McInerney's Lola's Secret, At Home with the Templetons, Family Baggage, The Alphabet Sisters, Greetings from Somewhere Else, and Upside Down Inside Out.

From internationally bestselling author Monica McInerney comes a captivating and charming new novel of family secrets, the loyalty of sisters, and the power of redemption.

As a child, Maggie Faraday grew up in a lively, unconventional household with her young mother, four very different aunts, and eccentric grandfather. With her mother often away, her aunts took turns looking after her–until, just weeks before Maggie’s sixth birthday, a shocking event changed everything.…

Murder on Memory Lake

By J.D. Griffo,

Book cover of Murder on Memory Lake

Susan McCormick Author Of The Fog Ladies

From the list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters.

Who am I?

I am a doctor, an award-winning writer, and lifelong lover of mysteries. Many mysteries feature smart characters. I prefer those with wise characters, who can teach me something about a life well-lived. Or not. Sometimes the mistakes are more instructive and more fun. Stories with older characters offer a plethora of life experience and wisdom, and usually poignancy and humor as well. From my life as a doctor and my daily visits to my mother’s retirement community dinner table, I see seniors who are strong, wise, vital, and often overlooked. I love stories that give voice to this robust and rich generation who have so much to offer.

Susan's book list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters

Discover why each book is one of Susan's favorite books.

Why did Susan love this book?

A widow with a new lease on life thanks to her secretly wealthy aunt becomes involved in a murder.

Multigenerational, with the Italian grandma, her newbie journalist granddaughter, plus an ex-nun sister and an ex-sister-in-law.

This story involves food, jokes, and family love, albeit with much more brashness and outspokenness than any of the other books I listed, and also a lot more Italian, though the book is set in New Jersey.

By J.D. Griffo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder on Memory Lake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Alberta Scaglione, her golden years are turning out much more differently than she expected—and much more deadly . . .
Alberta Scaglione’ s spinster aunt had some secrets—like the fortune she squirreled away and a secret lake house in Tranquility, New Jersey. More surprising: she’s left it all to Alberta. Alberta, a widow, is no spring chicken and she’s gotten used to disappointment. So having a beautiful view, surrounded by hydrangeas, honeysuckle, and her cat, Lola, sounds blissful after years of yelling and bickering and cooking countless lasagnas.
But Tranquility isn’t as peaceful as it sounds. There’s a body…

Book cover of The Last House on Needless Street

Amy McLellan Author Of Remember Me

From the list on crime fiction that explore how our brains work.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by the brain, which, despite all our medical advances, remains a mysterious black box of humbling power and complexity. When I started researching prosopagnosia (face blindness) for Remember Me, I was surprised to find it’s a much-underdiagnosed condition. Those born with it often don’t realise “it’s a thing” until later in life, when the diagnosis explains many difficulties they encounter in daily life. My main character Sarah develops social anxiety as a result yet many people develop coping techniques and live full professional and personal lives. I currently live in Mauritius with my author husband, Adam Hamdy, and our three children.  

Amy's book list on crime fiction that explore how our brains work

Discover why each book is one of Amy's favorite books.

Why did Amy love this book?

This book completely rocked me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for ages afterwards. I can’t talk about it without giving away a huge twist but it started out being one thing and then became something else entirely as the reality of the situation was slowly revealed. It’s horrifying, beautiful, violent and tender all at the same time. The why is the twist. I want to say more but I can’t…fans of this book need a secret group so we can discuss without giving away spoilers!! The author’s note at the end explains the research she undertook during the writing process, and sheds light on yet another fascinating yet perplexing and troubling aspect of our inner mental life.  

By Catriona Ward,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Last House on Needless Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The real. I've read it and was blown away. It's a true nerve-shredder that keeps its mind-blowing secrets to the very end." ―Stephen King

Winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel!
A World Fantasy Award Finalist!
An Indie Next Pick! A LibraryReads Top 10 Pick!
A Library Journal Editors' Pick! STARRED reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly!
Named one of the "50 Best Horror Books of All Time" by Esquire!

"Brilliant....[a] deeply frightening deconstruction of the illusion of the self." ―The New York Times

Catriona Ward's The Last House on Needless Street is a shocking…

Hope and Glory

By Jendella Benson,

Book cover of Hope and Glory

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn Author Of Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?

From the list on that pay homage to south London.

Who am I?

Having grown up and gone to school in south London, it will always have a special place in my heart. Call me biased, but I think it’s the best place in the capital. Hands down. I love that it’s home to many Afro-Caribbean families and how its cultural presence can be felt by just walking down any street. From the bustling markets selling plantain, yams, and hard dough bread to the throng of aunties wearing brightly-coloured, patterned lace as they make their way to church. With south London being so atmospheric, I knew I had to include it as a setting in my novel. It will always be my first home.  

Lizzie's book list on that pay homage to south London

Discover why each book is one of Lizzie's favorite books.

Why did Lizzie love this book?

Hope and Glory has to be one of the most relatable books I’ve ever read, and not just because it’s set in my old stomping ground, Peckham. It follows Hope, a twenty-something British Nigerian who, after returning to London for her dad’s funeral, discovers a life-shattering family secret. What I loved about this book was that I felt as though the author was writing a love letter to those individuals who didn’t have it easy growing up and whose stories are not often told in mainstream fiction. I feel as though Hope and Glory will provide a sigh of relief for so many readers; I, for one, certainly felt seen. Beautifully observed, heartfelt and authentic, I felt a xylophone of emotions while reading this exquisite novel, but in the end, very hopeful.

By Jendella Benson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'So deliciously South London.' - Yomi Adegoke, author of SLAY IN YOUR LANE

'A sweeping, rich tale that explores family, secrets, loss, love and redemption within the context of a tessellation of cultures - written with a beautiful texture, Benson pulls you in to a deftly-woven story with tautly-written sentences, and before you know it you find yourself in too deep to get out, too deep to want to get out, wanting to know more.'
- Bolu Babalola, author of LOVE IN COLOUR

'Jendella Benson has drawn such a compelling world that Hope and Glory, the book and the characters…

The Crooked Sixpence

By Jennifer Bell, Karl James Mountford,

Book cover of The Crooked Sixpence

Sinéad O'Hart Author Of The Starspun Web

From the list on middle grade to sweep you into another world.

Who am I?

All my books (I hope!) sweep the reader into another world – it’s one of my favourite themes in the books I love to read, as well as write. When I was about seven, I first read some of the books which would shape my life, including Elidor by Alan Garner and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l’Engle, which brought me right out of my own life and into worlds as varied as the frightening interstellar realm of Camazotz and the battlefields of Elidor. I’ve been trying to capture that sense of ‘being swept away’ in my own work ever since.

Sinéad's book list on middle grade to sweep you into another world

Discover why each book is one of Sinéad's favorite books.

Why did Sinéad love this book?

Bell’s Uncommoners series is set in a richly-imagined magical world where everyday objects have extraordinary powers – and when darkness closes in, Seb and Ivy Sparrow must race to uncover an Uncommon mystery before it’s too late. Featuring a talking bicycle bell, police officers armed with toilet brushes, and the incredible city of Londinium, these books will fling you straight into a thrilling adventure.

By Jennifer Bell, Karl James Mountford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Welcome to a world where nothing is quite as it seems . . .

Dive head first into the world of Lundinor in this magical adventure story for anyone with a Hogwarts-shaped hole in their life.

When their grandmother Sylvie is rushed to hospital, Ivy Sparrow and her annoying big brother Seb cannot imagine what adventure lies in store. Returning to Sylvie's house, they find it has been ransacked by unknown intruders - before a mysterious feather scratches an ominous message onto the kitchen wall. A very strange policeman turns up on the scene, determined to apprehend them . .…

Book cover of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa

Martin Fletcher Author Of Promised Land: A Novel of Israel

From the list on the refugee experience.

Who am I?

In my work as a news reporter and war correspondent, I met people on the worst day of their lives. I always wondered: What now? How will they get on with life? My own parents faced that dreadful dilemma. Penniless refugees, their families murdered in the Holocaust, unemployed in London, how on earth did they find the strength to carry on? One day at a time, they just did what they had to do. That is the subject of my fiction, always trying to answer that existential question: How do we live with trauma, and still find love and happiness?

Martin's book list on the refugee experience

Discover why each book is one of Martin's favorite books.

Why did Martin love this book?

A beautifully intertwined story of the decline of a man and the parallel decline of a nation, Zimbabwe, which pivots into an entirely new story: the author’s dying Christian British father was actually a Polish Jew, born Kazimierz Goldfarb, whose family was killed in Treblinka concentration camp.

Godwin’s story is ultimately inspiring and uplifting as he comes to terms with his family’s past while building his own future in his new country.

By Peter Godwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When a Crocodile Eats the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Peter Godwin, an award-winning writer, is on assignment in Zululand when he is summoned by his mother to Zimbabwe, his birthplace. His father is seriously ill; she fears he is dying. Godwin finds his country, once a post-colonial success story, descending into a vortex of violence and racial hatred.

His father recovers, but over the next few years Godwin travels regularly between his family life in Manhattan and the increasing chaos of Zimbabwe, with its rampant inflation and land seizures making famine a very real prospect. It is against this backdrop that Godwin discovers a fifty-year-old family secret, one which…

Beware the Woman

By Megan Abbott,

Book cover of Beware the Woman

Polly Stewart Author Of The Good Ones

From the list on fast-paced mysteries with a strong sense of place.

Who am I?

I’m the author of the novel The Good Ones, published by Harper Books earlier this year. I grew up in a beautiful and somewhat isolated part of the country, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and it’s still my favorite place to set my fiction. When I began writing crime fiction, I knew I wanted to balance telling compelling stories with creating a sense of place and interesting characters to inhabit it, and I’ve learned so much from these writers about how to do that. 

Polly's book list on fast-paced mysteries with a strong sense of place

Discover why each book is one of Polly's favorite books.

Why did Polly love this book?

If I’d written this list a year ago, I probably couldn’t have found a way to include Megan Abbott, even though she’s one of my favorite writers.

Though setting is important to her work, it’s rarely given the place-based specificity we find in her newest novel, Beware the Woman, set in the wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’ve vacationed in the UP and it truly is a wild place, the perfect background for this story of a pregnant woman spending an increasingly creepy week with the husband and father-in-law she’s not sure she can trust.

The woods that crowd around the family’s remote home seem threatening at first, but then come to offer the promise of escape from a domestic environment with its own set of perils. As in all these novels, setting is more than a scenic backdrop. It’s the world the reader lives in, and a crucial element…

By Megan Abbott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

By the "master of thinly veiled secrets often kept by women who rage underneath their delicate exteriors" (Kirkus Reviews), Beware the Woman is Megan Abbott at the height of her game.

Honey, I just want you to have everything you ever wanted. That’s what Jacy’s mom always told her. And Jacy felt like she finally did. Newly married and with a baby on the way, Jacy and her new husband, Jed, embark on their first road trip together to visit his father, Dr. Ash, in Michigan’s far-flung Upper Peninsula. The moment they arrive at the cottage snug within the lush…

The Tiger's Wife

By Téa Obreht,

Book cover of The Tiger's Wife

Eugenia Cheng Author Of X + Y: A Mathematician's Manifesto for Rethinking Gender

From the list on beyond romance, motherhood, or emulating men.

Who am I?

I have been thinking a lot about what feminism means for me. In this interview, I said, "I wish more authors would write about strong women, beyond the strength and importance of motherhood, but not just emulating traditional male behavior." I feel that this is the kind of strong woman I am, as a woman forging a non-traditional path in mathematics. I have been on something of a mission to find books like this, and particularly ones written by women. I find such books frustratingly rare, so I wanted to recommend a few that I have found. There is more to being a woman than falling in love and having children.

Eugenia's book list on beyond romance, motherhood, or emulating men

Discover why each book is one of Eugenia's favorite books.

Why did Eugenia love this book?

This is a gorgeous, poetic, magical book, with a strong female character with a mission that is not about falling in love and having children. Although there are love stories in the book, they are unusual ones (as shown by the title) and that is not the main narrative arc of the central protagonist. I long for books where women do something other than fall in love, have children, or emulate men.

By Téa Obreht,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011! 'Having sifted through everything I have heard about the tiger and his wife, I can tell you that this much is fact: in April of 1941, without declaration or warning, the German bombs started falling over the city and did not stop for three days. The tiger did not know that they were bombs...' A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall. But for one boy, the…

The Tenth Muse

By Catherine Chung,

Book cover of The Tenth Muse

Charlie McGill Author Of Our Hideous Progeny

From the list on history about women in science.

Who am I?

I’ve always adored science, and spent my teenage years searching for female role models in the sci-fi and popular science books I loved. I started out at university studying Aerospace Engineering, but upon discovering a severe allergy to lab reports, transferred to a Frankensteinian degree of my own making entitled, “Narratives of Science in Fiction and History,” which examined the interactions of science fiction and scientific history. Fascinated by nineteenth-century paleontology in particular, and wanting to learn more about women’s involvement in science during this period, I proposed as my final year project a joint creative writing/research project which would eventually become my first novel, Our Hideous Progeny.  

Charlie's book list on history about women in science

Discover why each book is one of Charlie's favorite books.

Why did Charlie love this book?

Although this book centers a fictional scientist rather than a real one, the emotions and passion that the protagonist, Katherine, experiences feel all too real.

As a lifelong fan of mathematics, I’ve often felt that math is one of the most maligned branches of science, so I adored the way that Chung portrays Katherine’s love for the subject and the beauty of a good equation. (You can really tell that she herself has experience in the field!)

I also loved the way that Chung delved into the difficulties Katherine experiences as a woman of color in science in the decades after WWII, from outright racism and misogyny to the kind of constant, low-grade doubt and lack of support that can make being a minority in STEM so difficult. 

By Catherine Chung,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A young woman's battle for acceptance in a male-dominated world; her misadventures in love; and her torturous journey to track down her real parents in Germany' Mail on Sunday Best New Fiction

'What had seemed to be a Hidden Figures-style female-genius-in-a-male-world narrative turns into a thrilling back-to-my-roots mystery' Daily Telegraph

From childhood, Katherine knows she is different, and that her parents are not who they seem to be. But as she grows up and becomes a mathematician, she faces the most human of problems - who is she? What is the cost of love, and what is the cost of…

Book cover of Little Fires Everywhere

Jaclyn Paul Author Of She's Not Home

From the list on plumbing the gnarly depths of motherhood.

Who am I?

As a writer, reader, and human, I’m drawn to complex stories about motherhood. It’s something we can choose, or something that can be forced upon us. Our relationships with our own mothers shape our entire lives. For my book She’s Not Home, I spent a lot of time deepening Sheryl, the mother’s, character. Early versions of the manuscript received criticism for her being too easily villainize. Too two-dimensional. Readers wanted a complex, heartbreaking character. I went to a very painful place to give Sheryl a richer voice. Here are a few books I love that also face the pain and complexity of motherhood and mothering head-on.

Jaclyn's book list on plumbing the gnarly depths of motherhood

Discover why each book is one of Jaclyn's favorite books.

Why did Jaclyn love this book?

Gosh, I can’t even tell you all the mothering-related reasons I love this book without giving away spoilers.

Suffice it to say, Little Fires has at least two complex mother characters with a lot to say about our responsibilities to our children and ourselves. I thought of Elena Richardson a lot when writing Sheryl’s character in my book.

Even when we sacrifice most of ourselves to do everything “right” as mothers, the end result can still be calamity and loss. It doesn’t get much gnarlier than that.

By Celeste Ng,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Little Fires Everywhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller!

"Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." -Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and A Slow Fire Burning

"To say I love this book is an understatement. It's a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears." -Reese Witherspoon

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Our Missing Hearts comes a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their…

City of Vengeance

By D. V. Bishop,

Book cover of City of Vengeance

Adele Jordan Author Of The Gentlewoman Spy

From the list on exciting adventure in the Renaissance.

Who am I?

As a ghostwriter, I’m asked to turn my hand to many genres. Yet the one I keep returning to is Renaissance Adventure. Having always been a fan of adventure, in films, TV, or books, for my English Degree at Exeter University, I dedicated my dissertation to the genre, and the fascination shows no sign of fading. I love all these books, but there is one difference between these and my series. That is the heroes here are all men. Bring on more adventure in this era with women! I hope you enjoy the books on this list – they are a fantastic way to spend your evenings with your pulse racing.

Adele's book list on exciting adventure in the Renaissance

Discover why each book is one of Adele's favorite books.

Why did Adele love this book?

I recently had the pleasure of meeting D V Bishop at CrimeFest in Bristol, and his passion for his stories truly comes through in person.

After picking it up for a friend whose favorite place in the world is Florence, where the book is set, I couldn’t resist reading it myself, and oh, I am glad I did. Three books into the series, and it’s hard to put down. Cesare Aldo is a hero that is mysterious and resilient – a man trying to hide his sexuality in a world where it’s a crime – as he investigates murders in Renaissance Florence.

Like Samson, Bishop masters drawing the reader into becoming attached to the hero, with the book unputdownable. 

By D. V. Bishop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2021 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize and longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger 2021.

City of Vengeance is an explosive debut novel in an historical thriller series by D. V. Bishop, set in Renaissance Florence.

'An impressive and immersive debut set in a beautifully realized sixteenth-century Florence' - Antonia Hodgson

'A first-class historical thriller . . . Bishop's spirited and richly detailed story is a tour-de-force' - David Baldacci

Florence. Winter, 1536. A prominent Jewish moneylender is murdered in his home, a death with wide implications in a city powered by immense wealth.

Cesare Aldo, a former…

Half Past

By Victoria Helen Stone,

Book cover of Half Past

Megan Hart Author Of After All I've Done

From the list on when you don’t want to guess what’s going on.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved books about the bad choices good people make, or the good choices bad people make. I like twists and turns and ugly crying and serious “wtf” moments. Books that are like punches to the gut make me swoon. Dig up the dirt. Find the worms. Gnash your teeth, rend your garments, regret your choices and find new ways to love. Those are my favorite stories to read, but also to write. I write romance (Megan Hart), thrillers (Mina Hardy), and horror (Megan E. Hart), but to me, those different genres are all similar. Lots of screaming!

Megan's book list on when you don’t want to guess what’s going on

Discover why each book is one of Megan's favorite books.

Why did Megan love this book?

Strong women don’t get that way because their lives have been easy, and I’m a sucker for stories about women facing the worst and getting through it. It doesn’t even have to be with grace and dignity! Half Past has a shattering premise – the utter rejection of a mother to her daughter. The book is a family mystery heavy with heartache, and I devoured it. While there’s grief and angst, the book also describes the journey of a woman who thinks she’s faced her lowest point – and how she manages to rise above it all. The book also had a really clever use of actual, simple science that I appreciated because it was so real and yet led to a horrifying reveal!

By Victoria Helen Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At forty-five, Hannah Smith is at a crossroads. That's her spin on it. The reality is she's divorced, jobless, and moving back to her family home in Iowa to keep an eye on her mother, who's slipping into dementia. Her return stirs up the same unnerving sense of disconnect Hannah has felt since childhood-always the odd girl out, the loner outshone by her two older sisters. Hannah knew the feelings of hurt would come back. But she never expected fear. Because when her mother looks into her eyes and whispers, "You're not my daughter," Hannah is beginning to believe it's…

The Kingdom of Liars

By Nick Martell,

Book cover of The Kingdom of Liars

M. J. Kuhn Author Of Among Thieves

From the list on where no one is 'the good guy'.

Who am I?

I love a book where the good guys are pure-hearted and the bad guys are evil, but there's something so fascinating about a story where the lines of good and evil blur and bend. I firmly believe that everyone is the hero in their own story… and everyone is the villain in at least one other person’s story. My Tales of Thamorr duology features multiple heists and hijinks, and every member of our crew has plans to betray their fellows. My goal in writing stories where no one is the ‘good guy’ is to create a reading experience where you want to root for everyone and no one at the same time.

M. J.'s book list on where no one is 'the good guy'

Discover why each book is one of M. J.'s favorite books.

Why did M. J. love this book?

The main character in The Kingdom of Liars is the son of a traitor. He lives a life scamming and scraping to get by, and he’s not the most likable of people, on the whole. (I say this with love).

The story is filled with political maneuvering, double dealings, and self-serving characters you’ll find yourself rooting for… even if you also kind of hate them. This book also has one of the cooler magic systems I’ve seen in a while: the price for using magic is memory, so with every bit of magic you wield, you lose a bit more of yourself.

It’s a fascinating tale that is the first book in a trilogy!

By Nick Martell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Michael Kingman has been an outsider for as long as he remembers. The court which executed his father also exiled him and his family. They branded him a traitor, and the nobles who had been his friends turned their backs, prepared to let the legendary Kingman family die on Hollow's city streets.

Only they survived.

And it should come as no surprise to Hollow Court, or the King, that they've been searching for the truth ever since.
History is written by the winners, truth buried beneath lies until it's Forgotten. Justice seems impossible in a city where the price of…

The Rest of the Story

By Sarah Dessen,

Book cover of The Rest of the Story

Ginger Scott Author Of The Hard Count

From the list on a “clear eyes, full hearts” kind of feeling.

Who am I?

I was born into a household that loved sports. My brother was a track star, and I was his Tomboy little sister who eagerly took his old shirts and jackets and wore them proudly. I played hard myself, and even dabbled in sports reporting as a journalist. I’ve always found the stories behind the sport to be the richest part, though. I love the characters—real or fiction. Every person on a field, on the court, on the ice, in the water, has a story to tell. I think that same sense goes for small towns too, and so I gravitate to books that blend the two. Now, if you can throw in a love story, I say that’s a trifecta!

Ginger's book list on a “clear eyes, full hearts” kind of feeling

Discover why each book is one of Ginger's favorite books.

Why did Ginger love this book?

This book isn’t about sports. But it has that small-town vibe that fills a craving you might have. More than that, this book is about knowing yourself and finding that one person who fits with the jagged pieces of your own puzzle. Dessen is a queen of young adult swoon, but what I think she does to perfection is capture the emotions surrounding friendship. This book hits the very core of why everyone needs that one person.

By Sarah Dessen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From number one New York Times bestselling author Sarah Dessen comes a big-hearted novel about a girl who reconnects with a part of her family she hasn't seen since she was a little girl - and falls in love, all over the course of a magical summer.

Emma Saylor doesn't remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever.

Now it's just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable . . . until Emma…

The Other Woman

By N.L. Hinkens,

Book cover of The Other Woman

Erica R. Stinson Author Of Shelter

From the list on mystery, suspense, and thrillers.

Who am I?

As a suspense and thriller author in my own right since 2015, I have also read very many books that are much like the ones that I write. I am most comfortable here and I, too, like to write books with these crazy, think-outside-the-box types of twists when it comes to plotting. Honing my craft, as I am in the middle of five different book projects right now for future release, I am hoping to make a name for myself and become as memorable to my readers as my favorite authors are to me.

Erica's book list on mystery, suspense, and thrillers

Discover why each book is one of Erica's favorite books.

Why did Erica love this book?

This is one of my new favorite authors, of who I have read many more of her books recently. I like books like this that contain twists and turns and endings that you don’t see coming. Most of her books are in the domestic thriller or psychological suspense thriller categories. These are the type of books that I read(and write) most.

By N.L. Hinkens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Not all secrets are what they seem.

When Bridget spots an elegantly dressed woman leaving her husband’s office late one night, she fears the worst. Her marriage is already strained but things are about to take an even more shocking turn when her family is suddenly torn apart by a horrific crime they all become entangled in.

Her trust is shattered, her husband is on the run, and her son is hiding a dark secret. Bridget’s life has become a dangerous lie and the clock is ticking as the police close in on a killer. But who can she trust…