19 books directly related to forgiveness 📚

All 19 forgiveness books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

By David W. Blight,

Book cover of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Why this book?

This book was, for me, like a light bulb that suddenly illuminated a dark terrain: a brilliant analysis of how American memories of the Civil War often bear so little relationship to what really happened in the actual war. Historian David Blight not only dissects myths, like the “Lost Cause”, he also explores the powerful pressures that compelled many Americans, especially white Americans, to pledge allegiance to a reconciliation between the sections. As he observes, that drive to reunify was often accompanied by amnesia about how slavery drove the sections apart and how the long history of black enslavement left a lasting scar on American life.


Forgiving the Unforgivable

By Beverly Flanigan,

Book cover of Forgiving the Unforgivable

Why this book?

This is my favorite book on the challenging task of why and how to forgive “unforgivable” offenses. Beverly Flanagan was involved in the Stanford Forgiveness Project and is an expert on the subject of forgiveness. I liked this book because it honors the depth of the pain of wounded persons, including from spousal infidelity, in a way that I seldom see in the “forgiveness” literature. My copy is highlighted on nearly every page. Highly recommended for those who still feel stuck in the mire of pain after a wayward partner’s affair or were deserted by an unremorseful, straying spouse. She offers no clichés or trite solutions. Good for both religious and non-religious readers.


A Certain Slant of Light

By Laura Whitcomb,

Book cover of A Certain Slant of Light

Why this book?

Helen has been haunting the English classroom for 130 years and has never, not once, been seen. And then she feels his eyes on her. Seeing her, really seeing her like she hasn’t been seen in decades. Without wanting to be, Helen is drawn to him. That he has a body and she doesn’t is nothing in the face of their growing love, and the two form a bond that defies death. Let me tell you this book had me in tears. I read it years ago and still think of it with deep affection. I even wrote a song about it when I was far younger and far less self-conscious than I am now!


Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict

By Donna Hicks,

Book cover of Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict

Why this book?

The author provides evidence that treating one another with dignity, encourages people to become more connected and more capable of creating meaningful and collaborative relationships. Drawing on her extensive experience in international conflict resolution along with insights from evolutionary biology, psychology, and neuroscience, she explains what the elements of dignity are and how violating them triggers defensiveness. Defensiveness makes cooperation and collaboration unlikely in any situation often leading to resistance, aggression, sabotage and even violence.


Potato Pants!

By Laurie Keller,

Book cover of Potato Pants!

Why this book?

I adore Potato Pants! It’s laugh-out-loud funny, has hilarious illustrations, entertaining asides, and is the best example I’ve ever seen of effortlessly and humorously modeling how to make amends when you’ve gotten something wrong. Having a potato as the main character is brilliant, and the way he instantly assumes the eggplant has negative intentions is extraordinarily relatable. I wish I’d had this book when I was teaching elementary school. My students and I would have had a good laugh, followed by a good conversation.


Forgiving What You Can't Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That's Beautiful Again

By Lysa TerKeurst,

Book cover of Forgiving What You Can't Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That's Beautiful Again

Why this book?

In The Prince and the Prodigal, Joseph has suffered a huge injustice from the people who should have loved him the most. Lysa’s book deals with the subject of familial hurt and pain, and though Joseph’s situation was not exactly the same, the principles of forgiving those who have wronged us even when we can’t forget what they did is the same.

Everyone experiences hurt or pain from another person. Unfortunately, the ones who hurt us the most tend to be the ones we love the most. I’ve read other books on forgiveness because it’s a subject I’ve had to deal with most of my adult life. When I picked up Lysa’s book on forgiving what you can’t forget, I did a lot of underlining because her words resonated with deep places in my own heart. 

One underlined place says, “Destructive choices always affect more people than just the one who makes them.” 

Joseph lived with the destructive choices his brothers, particularly Judah, made against him. Judah suffered his own consequences for those choices, but Joseph had the most to forgive. 


For All She Knows

By Jamie Beck,

Book cover of For All She Knows

Why this book?

This novel exemplifies parenting fiction in my mind. It takes a concept I could’ve read about in a nonfiction parenting book (how to handle teenage drinking) and slides it into a compelling narrative that realistically depicts all the potential complexities and nuances in the parenting decisions and how they might play out, including several factors and consequences related to teen alcohol use and parent-sponsored parties that I would’ve never thought of myself.  


Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything

By Iyanla Vanzant,

Book cover of Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything

Why this book?

Much of the pain experienced in toxic relationships stems from lack of forgiveness–forgiveness of our partners as well as ourselves. In this book, Iyanla Vanzant comes to the rescue with simple yet powerful strategies that help readers gain clarity and free themselves from the toxicity of unforgiveness. The book contains a 21-day workbook and a CD with guided meditation exercises for every day of your forgiveness journey. I experienced increased inner peace and freedom within days of sharing this journey with Vanzant.


The Choice: Embrace the Possible

By Edith Eva Eger,

Book cover of The Choice: Embrace the Possible

Why this book?

The details were different, but the outcome was the same. Dr. Eger is a Jewish Holocaust survivor; I am a woman raised in a Christian family in Virginia. She danced for Josef Mengele on the night he sent her mother to the gas chamber; I spent my youth tiptoeing around a mother whose nerves were shot before her thirtieth birthday. Dr. Eger’s mother was murdered; my mother, despite her intelligence, beauty, and talents, chose to end her life before her fiftieth birthday. Despite the differences in our stories, Dr. Eger and I have one very important thing in common. Despite the fact that we were both victimized, we did not want to remain in a victim consciousness, and we chose not to do so. 

The Choice chronicles a sadly familiar story. She and her family were among the hundreds of thousands of European Jews imprisoned, tortured, raped, and killed in concentration camps. In Dr. Eger’s case, it was Auschwitz. Her family perished; she survived. Dr. Eger’s courage and willingness to share her truth reduced the bite of mine. Her triumph made my triumph possible. If she could reach a place of thriveness, then so could I. Like Dr. Eger, I too believe that after all the blame and punishments have been meted out, for others as well as for ourselves, the only viable choice we have left is forgiveness. 


The Knowing: 11 Lessons to Understand the Quiet Urges of Your Soul

By Serena Dyer Pisoni, Saje Dyer,

Book cover of The Knowing: 11 Lessons to Understand the Quiet Urges of Your Soul

Why this book?

This powerful book will return you to the remembrance of how to trust your own intuition and get into a most miraculous and co-creative space with the Divine. Filled with personal stories of growing up with their father, the late renowned spiritual teacher Dr. Wayne Dyer and their mother, Marcelene, The Knowing is a trusted ally in opening yourself up to remembering the spiritual wisdom within you. The book also clearly shares 11 lessons to understand the quiet urges of your soul, which provide a comprehensive pathway to reconnect to the power you’ve always had, but now know how to unlock.


Thief of Corinth

By Tessa Afshar,

Book cover of Thief of Corinth

Why this book?

Although this novel isn’t about a historical biblical woman, both the setting and the premise bring the latter half of the New Testament to vibrant life. In Corinth of the first century, a girl thief is befriended by a Jewish teacher named Paul, leading us into a fast-paced story of action and intrigue. Afshar’s novels brim with authentic historical detail as well as great empathy for what it meant to be a woman in this time in history. Turning the last page of the story, I felt like I’d lived and breathed alongside this long-ago woman.


Romanov

By Nadine Brandes,

Book cover of Romanov

Why this book?

I love the movie and musical adaptations of Anastasia, so it’s no wonder I love this magical family saga from Nadine Brandes. Brandes effortlessly weaves magic into the tale we thought we knew about Anastasia Romanov. And yes, there is both magic and romance.

With the leader of the Bolshevik army after her, Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov is given a mission to smuggle an ancient spell that might be her family’s only salvation into exile in Siberia. Nastya has barely dabbled in magic, but her only chances of saving herself and her family are to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome Bolshevik soldier who seems to be different. This story does contain violence, but overall is another read I both love and could recommend to anyone.


Story of a Girl

By Sara Zarr,

Book cover of Story of a Girl

Why this book?

In a heartfelt story of redemption, Deanna Lambert was labeled the school slut after her father caught her having car sex with a high school boy. Unforgiven and dejected in a smothering, gossip-fueled small town, Deanna faces the people she least wants to face in a moving attempt to outlive her past, with no help offered by her dysfunctional parents and a sister overwhelmed with young motherhood. I loved the gorgeous realism of this book, fueled by the deep intimacy Zarr creates with her sincere, frank-hearted, narrator.


The Power of Forgiveness

By Eva Mozes Kor,

Book cover of The Power of Forgiveness

Why this book?

Eva Mozes Kor was ten years old when she was sent to Auschwitz. As a survivor, she became an eloquent – and controversial – activist on behalf of forgiveness.  Her book tells the gripping story of how she freed herself from the burden of hatred.  Not everyone will agree with her stance, but everyone will be challenged and moved by it.


God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation

By Joseph Sebarenzi, Laura Mullane,

Book cover of God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation

Why this book?

The author, a Tutsi genocide survivor, was once a young Rwandan politician who deeply admired Paul Kagame and seemed destined for prominent public office. Instead, from his position as parliamentary speaker, he watched as his hero steadily emasculated the judiciary, undermined the country’s Hutu president – a symbol of ethnic reconciliation - and sabotaged parliamentary democracy itself,  eventually fleeing the country when his own life was threatened. His book not only offers great insights into the workings of village life in a tiny African country traumatized by its violent past, it’s a step-by-step analysis of how a dictatorship takes cynical, relentless hold.


Sweetbriar Cottage

By Denise Hunter,

Book cover of Sweetbriar Cottage

Why this book?

love realistic romantic passion with an accent mark on true-to-life spiritual lessons, and believe it or not, that’s not necessarily an easy find in the Christian market. So when I judged Denise in an American Christian Fiction Writers contest, I knew she was definitely an author for me.


When We Believed in Mermaids

By Barbara O'Neal,

Book cover of When We Believed in Mermaids

Why this book?

I liked the premise of this one: Kit’s sister Josie was supposedly killed in a terrorist attack, but one night she sees her on a TV news report in faraway New Zealand.

We might all wonder what we would do if the chance to find and reunite with a lost loved one arose. Questions must be asked and answered: Why did she leave? How could she let us grieve all this time? What happens if I find her?


The One-In-A-Million Boy

By Monica Wood,

Book cover of The One-In-A-Million Boy

Why this book?

I’m recommending this because it will break your heart, and everyone needs that experience now and again with a book. It tells the story of a unique and unlikely love that blossoms slowly between a 104-year-old woman (whom you will learn to adore) and a young boy scout who calls to her house to fulfill one of his tasks. There’s a tragic twist early on that introduces us to the boy’s parents, and there are some lovely subsequent turns in this most magical tale. It’s the first Monica Wood book that I read, but I must hunt her down and read more. 


Virgin River

By Robyn Carr,

Book cover of Virgin River

Why this book?

I’d be terribly remiss if I didn’t hit on the ultimate small-town series. If you haven’t fallen in love with Virgin River yet, what are you waiting for? The charm of the locale and the townspeople elevate Carr’s mega-hit saga from sweet romance to sweeping, irresistible drama for fans of various genres.