The best books about inheritances

Who picked these books? Meet our 91 experts.

91 authors created a book list connected to inheritances, and here are their favorite inheritance books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission

What type of inheritance book?


Book cover of The Right Hand of Evil

John Black Author Of Moroi

From the list on sinister happenings featuring regular people.

Who am I?

As a child, I was fascinated by science fiction books. Later on, I’ve started reading horror as well and used to get engrossed in the books of Stephen King. As a software engineer, I’m passionate about technology, the latest innovations, and the science behind anything. However, I find a hint of supernatural equally fascinating, and such elements find their way in my books.

John's book list on sinister happenings featuring regular people

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

Why did John love this book?

This book stayed in my head for a long time, I think I read it back in high school. I was fascinated by the occult happening in Louisiana. It was my first encounter with this kind of folklore, voodoo, and black magic. It sends me the same vibes as King Diamond’s Voodoo concept album.

I found the ancient curse theme intriguing and the origin of the evil within the Conway house fascinating. All in all, I remember how the convoluted and twisted plot kept the pages turning quickly.

By John Saul,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the Conways move into their ancestral home in Louisiana after the death of an estranged aunt, it is with the promise of a new beginning. But the house has a life of its own. Abandoned for the last forty years, surrounded by thick trees and a stifling sense of melancholy, the sprawling Victorian house seems to swallow up the sunlight. Deep within the cold cellar and etched into the very walls is a long, dark history of the Conway name--a grim bloodline poisoned by suicide, strange disappearances, voodoo rituals, and rumors of murder. But the family knows nothing of…

The Great Offshore Grounds

By Vanessa Veselka,

Book cover of The Great Offshore Grounds

C.B. Bernard Author Of Small Animals Caught in Traps

From the list on how dark things can get for people.

Who am I?

I wrote a novel whose characters fight to survive depression, grief, loss, and abuse. Though it’s got a sense of humor, it gets dark. People ask, why read a book like that when real life is dark enough? Because we don’t just read to escape from the world—we read to understand it. Fiction can help explain the awful things we might witness or experience or hear about. It can also help us feel less alone in our own sadness and grief. Without darkness, light is meaningless. Without pain, we have no use for hope. Who wants to live in a world without hope? 

C.B.'s book list on how dark things can get for people

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

Why did C.B. love this book?

I could recommend this book for the writing, which is remarkable—layered and incisive and beautiful—or for the plotting, which is dense and chaotic in all the best ways, even as Veselka displays the patience of a confident master. Or for the multitude of richly drawn, intriguing characters and how they move around the country and one another. As they wander from Alaska to Seattle to New England in search of a family secret—and in search of themselves—Veselka brings readers along on their quest as she slowly reveals the mystery of a dysfunctional family dynamic and the systems that create so many others like it.  

By Vanessa Veselka,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD NOMINEE • A wildly original, cross-country novel that subverts a long tradition of family narratives and casts new light on the mythologies—national, individual, and collective—that drive and define us.

On the day of their estranged father’s wedding, half sisters Cheyenne and Livy set off to claim their inheritance. It’s been years since the two have seen each other. Cheyenne is newly back in Seattle, crashing with Livy after a failed marriage and a series of personal and professional dead ends. Livy works refinishing boats, her resentment against her freeloading sister growing as she tamps down dreams of…

Elric of Melniboné

By Michael Moorcock,

Book cover of Elric of Melniboné

JR Konkol Author Of Citadel of the Fallen

From the list on fantasy to draw you into a dark, dangerous world.

Who am I?

I came of age in the early 80s, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not very far from where Gary Gygax and others invented Dungeons and Dragons. I grew up playing role-playing games. When other kids were running around, we were gathered around huge tables, rolling dice, and having fun. But that wasn’t enough. I went on to invent my own games, and build my own worlds. Over the decades, we wove rich tapestries of adventures together into intricate stories that beg to be told. So, seeing no other option, I became an author.

JR's book list on fantasy to draw you into a dark, dangerous world

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

Why did JR love this book?

This was the first fantasy series I read, and it changed my life. Elric of Melniboné is a glorious blend of Grimdark and Sword and Sorcery, that starts a satisfying series, which, in and of itself, is the cornerstone of a larger collection of fantasy works.

So many works have borrowed from Elric, you really owe it to yourself to read the original. The books are short, and read quite quickly. There is incredible pathos within the story arc, and a deep, dark creativity to the worldbuilding.

By Michael Moorcock,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Michael Moorcock comes the first book in his famous Elric of Melniboné series, brought to vivid new life with stunning illustrations.

In one of the most well-known and well-loved fantasy epics of the 20th century, Elric is the brooding, albino emperor of the dying Kingdom of Melnibone. With Melnibone’s years of grandeur and decadence long since passed, Elric’s amoral cousin Yrkoon sets his eyes on the throne. Elric, realizing he is his country’s best hope, must face his nefarious cousin in an epic battle for the right to rule.

Elric of Melnibone is…


By Rebekah Weatherspoon,

Book cover of Xeni

'Nathan Burgoine Author Of Faux Ho Ho

From the list on queer audiobooks to walk your dog by.

Who am I?

As someone who’s never been allowed to drive, but gets motion-sick reading in a bus or car, I’ve been a lover of audiobooks since I had my Walkman and a backpack full of audiobook cassettes. As a queer man, I’m always looking for more immersive stories about people like me. Finding queer voices and queer narratives is so important to me as a way to offset how queer people don’t have an inherited continuance of our culture as most marginalized people do; books are a way to fill that gap. I do own a rescued husky, and there’s nothing like an engrossing audiobook to get me through those minus-forty Canadian winter walks with a dog.

'Nathan's book list on queer audiobooks to walk your dog by

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

Why did 'Nathan love this book?

You can’t go wrong with any Rebekah Weatherspoon book frankly, but Xeni has a special place in my heart because of the leads: Xeni, a witchy bi lead with a very complicated family bumping into a favourite romantic trope: the marriage of convenience (only, it’s very much not convenient, thank you); and Mason, a burly, bearded, bi bear who, I cannot express this clearly enough, is so instantly cuddle-worthy. That these bisexual characters are thrown into this marriage by someone they both loved as part of her will just adds to the trope joy. Beyond that, there’s so much steamy sex-positivity in this book, alongside Weatherspoon’s always brilliant supportive friend groups and mix of chosen and biological family that I found myself taking the dog for extra walks just to keep listening. 

By Rebekah Weatherspoon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


She just wanted to claim her inheritance. What she got was a husband…

Xeni Everly-Wilkins has ten days to clean out her recently departed aunt’s massive colonial in Upstate New York. With the feud between her mom and her sisters still raging even in death, she knows this will be no easy task, but when the will is read Xeni quickly discovers the decades old drama between the former R&B singers…

The Raven Heir

By Stephanie Burgis,

Book cover of The Raven Heir

Maggie Freeman Author Of Castles

From the list on the magic of castles.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of historical novels and primary literacy books, and a poet. I was born in Trinidad and live in London. So why am I writing about the magic of castles? I’ve loved visiting them since I was a child, when I’d run round them and imagine what had happened there. Back home, I’d immerse myself in reading legends and fairy stories—at bedtime, lying in my top bunk, I'd make up stories to entertain my sister in her bottom bunk. So it was natural to move on to writing fictionthe novel I’ve just completed is about King Canute. I’ve written primary literacy books for Collins, Oxford, and Ransom.

Maggie's book list on the magic of castles

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

Why did Maggie love this book?

This is fantasy right up to date: for 8 to 12-year-olds, it was published in 2021. Its castle setting immediately defines it as fantasy: "Beyond the castle’s moat, the deep, dark forest was shot through with trails of sunlight, tracing golden paths of possibility…. The dark-haired girl… sat, bare feet dangling against stone, on the windowsill of her tower bedroom." It’s a vivid picture, instantly engaging us in a world where family is very important. The heroine, Cordelia, is one of three triplets. Their task is to use their magical powers to find and mend the Raven Crown so that the parched land beyond the forest can be healed of the fighting that rampages across it, and people and the natural world live in peacethemes I feel very much in sympathy with.

By Stephanie Burgis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cordelia and her triplets Rosalind and Giles have lived safely in the castle at the centre of the forest all their lives, protected by the spells their mother has woven. The only time Cordelia feels truly free is when she turns into a dragonfly or a blackbird and can fly beyond the great stone walls. But then one day the outside world comes to them. Two rival dukes and their soldiers have come for the triplets - because whoever is the eldest is the heir to the throne.

But their mother knows that since the Raven Crown was broken, no…

A Skinful of Shadows

By Frances Hardinge,

Book cover of A Skinful of Shadows

Ceinwen Langley Author Of The Misadventures of an Amateur Naturalist

From the list on to cozy up with a cup of tea and a warm blanket.

Who am I?

I’ve been in love with cozy, low-stakes fantasy ever since my mother first handed me a copy of The Hobbit—so for most of my life. I love the focus on place and small comforts, the humble (and often unwilling!) heroes, the slower pace that builds to an emotional crescendo (as well as an action-packed one!), and the way these stories always leave me feeling warm, like I’ve just shared a coffee with a loved one. It should come as no surprise, then, that these are the kinds of stories I love writing best.  

Ceinwen's book list on to cozy up with a cup of tea and a warm blanket

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

Why did Ceinwen love this book?

I’ve spent much of my adult life searching for media that gives me the same feeling as sitting down to my favourite Halloween movies as a kid. The gorgeous, autumnal crunch of Hocus Pocus, the spooky-but-not-scary atmosphere of Tim Burton’s 90’s offerings, the magic and adventure of Willow and The Dark Crystal. It was a big, specific ask, and yet I found it so perfectly in Frances Hardinge. 

My favourite of her books (so far) is A Skinful of Shadows. A twisting, turning, spooky adventure about a girl harboring the spirit of an abused circus bear who must save herself, her doofus brother, and said bear from being hollowed out and used as hosts by their horde of ghoulish ancestors. It’s cozy, clever, spectral perfection.

By Frances Hardinge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Skinful of Shadows is a dark YA historical fantasy set in the early part of the English Civil War. Makepeace is an illegitimate daughter of the aristocratic Fellmotte family, and as such, she shares their unique hereditary gift: the capacity to be possessed by ghosts. Reluctant to accept her appointed destiny as vessel for a coterie of her ancestors, she escapes. As she flees the pursuing Fellmottes across war-torn England, she accumulates a motley crew of her own allies, including outcasts, misfits, criminals, and one extremely angry dead bear. From Costa Book of the Year winner Frances Hardinge comes…

Of Cages and Crowns

By Brianna Joy Crump,

Book cover of Of Cages and Crowns

H.J. Nelson Author Of The Last She

From the list on reads according to your favorite Taylor Swift song.

Who am I?

I’m a Sci-Fi and Fantasy author who loves all things young adult! I always listen to Taylor Swift when I write, because I love how her songs are full of nostalgia, romance, humanity, and a lust for adventure—just like my books. If you couldn’t make it to the Era’s tour, no fear, check out some of these books below! 

H.J.'s book list on reads according to your favorite Taylor Swift song

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

Why did H.J. love this book?

If your favorite song is “Look What We Made You Do” try Of Cages and Crowns by Brianna Crump.

Think Hunger Games but with more romance, and very much the vibe of “I got my but you’ll all get yours.” There’s revenge, survival, romance, and revenge and a rebellion brewing in the background, but I was surprised at how much this book surprised me.

Every time I thought I knew what was coming next, some new secret or shocking twist surprised me.

By Brianna Joy Crump,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For goddess-touched girls, there is only one destiny: the Culling

From the moment Monroe Benson is born with a mark on her hand and the ability to summon fire from her fingertips, her life will never be her own. She’s goddess-touched, which means she’s destined to participate in the Culling, an age-old competition to determine the next queen of Erydia. For most of her seventeen years, her family has managed to keep Monroe―and her powers―hidden. But now, as Queen Viera calls for the Culling to start, and war looms on the horizon, Monroe can no longer hide. She must face…

Book cover of The Schirmer Inheritance

Garrett Epps Author Of Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America

From the list on legal novels that you can't put down.

Who am I?

Garrett Epps is the author of two published novels and five works of non-fiction about the U.S. Constitution. He graduated from Duke Law School in 1991; since then he has taught Constitutional Law at the American University, the University of Baltimore, Boston College, Duke University, and the University of Oregon. For ten years he was Supreme Court Correspondent for The Atlantic, and covered from close up cases involving the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, and the Trump Administration’s immigration policies. He is now Legal Affairs Editor of The Washington Monthly, and at work on a novel about crime and justice during the years of Southern segregation. 

Garrett's book list on legal novels that you can't put down

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

Why did Garrett love this book?

A World War II bomber pilot returns home thoroughly determined to have no more excitement in his life. He settles down in a quiet wills-and-trusts practice. In a dusty file about an unclaimed estate, he sees that a missing heir may be living in Europe. Searching for this heir, he is pulled into Cold War politics, kidnaped, and dragged into Communist Albania, where his fate becomes an international incident. The law overtakes George in a thoroughly believable way; it is an example of why readers fear the law, which may at any moment demand that we sacrifice our comfort, our place in society, and even our very lives.

By Eric Ambler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A masterful contribution to the literature of international dirty work." - The New Yorker
George Cary, former WWII bomber pilot and newly minted lawyer, reviews the files on the Schneider Johnson case, to make sure nothing has been overlooked. What George discovers connects a deserter from Napoleon's defeated army to a guerrilla fighter in post-war Greece, and leads him into a dangerous situation where his own survival will depend more on what he learned in the army than anything he learned in law school.

Bleak House

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of Bleak House

Don Trowden Author Of Young Again

From the list on written in the present tense.

Who am I?

I’ve studied the art of fiction for many years and was fortunate to have great teachers along the way who knew how to analyze novels to help anyone interested in writing fiction to better see how they work. I also enjoy editing fiction written by other novelists, as this invariably leads to a better understanding of what is possible through the written word. I worked for many years as a bookseller and within the publishing industry. As a bookseller, I set a goal of reading at least one novel from every author in the classics section, and managed to do that.

Don's book list on written in the present tense

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

Why did Don love this book?

The omniscient narrator in this classic novel speaks to the reader in a dispassionate present-tense voice that helps reinforce the satirical tone and immediacy of the novel. Dickens, who grew up in a debtor’s prison and included his bleak observations of life in a debtor’s prison in many of his great novels, used his fiction to shine a light on the social injustices of Victorian life. Bleak House shines much of that light on the punitive legal system (sound like today?), which Dickens exposed in some of his other novels as well. In thinking about the many theatrical and film adaptations made of this novel, we can see how much easier that work was due to the present tense writing, which creates the immediacy and suspense found in many great films.

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Esther, at fourteen, has never known love. Determined to live well, earn some love and overcome the shadow of her birth, she takes her first steps into an unknown world. A family curse, a manipulating lawyer, poverty and secrets threaten to destroy Esther's world. Are the walls of Bleak House strong enough to protect her and her new friends from such powerful forces? The reader will be caught up in an unfolding mystery, full of surprises. Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is: Who is Nemo?

Book cover of The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire

Oyungerel Tsedevdamba Author Of The Green Eyed Lama

From the list on banned or forbidden stories to be told.

Who am I?

I'm a Mongolian woman deeply interested and engaged in politics, human rights and history. Until I reached 25, my country was a communist state and I wasn't allowed to learn many things including foreign language other than Russian. Life, school, and books surrounding me had not only legal but also very strong ideological restrictions dictated by communism. As the most attractive melodies were ‘banned music’ and most beautiful love songs were ‘banned songs’, I grew up hungry to learn the true stories hidden behind all the bans. Later, I decided to write historic fiction on the important stories that were not taught to us in schools but necessary for Mongolians and the world to understand. 

Oyungerel's book list on banned or forbidden stories to be told

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

Why did Oyungerel love this book?

I couldn’t put it down when I read it, maybe because I am a woman. The most famous 13th century tale about Genghis Khan and his creation of Mongolia doesn’t mention women’s involvement in the creation of Mongolia. Jack Weatherford, a famous writer and historian, noticed a line in the Secret History of the Mongols which might have indicated a censorship in the story. He further explores the censored parts of the Secret History only to find fascinating and active involvement of women in Mongolian history. Anyone who is interested in history, truth, and women’s empowerment will find this book amazing. Jack writes so well and his books are always a fast read.  

By Jack Weatherford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret History of the Mongol Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A fascinating romp through the feminine side of the infamous Khan clan” (Booklist) by the author featured in Echoes of the Empire: Beyond Genghis Khan

“Enticing . . . hard to put down.”—Associated Press

The Mongol queens of the thirteenth century ruled the largest empire the world has ever known. The daughters of the Silk Route turned their father’s conquests into the first truly international empire, fostering trade, education, and religion throughout their territories and creating an economic system that stretched from the Pacific to the Mediterranean.

Yet sometime near the end of the century, censors cut a section about…

The Dark Unwinding

By Sharon Cameron,

Book cover of The Dark Unwinding

Laurel Wanrow Author Of The Unraveling

From the list on determined heroines who won’t be crossed.

Who am I?

I grew up camping and hiking, and spent my career teaching others about nature. I feel my best in the outdoors. Nature connections thread through my stories, to the point my kids joke my heroines are all geeky me. Well, true…or the geek I wish I was: one with secret magic to protect our earth. Folks know nature needs help, but my volunteer group still runs into roadblocks putting in native plant gardens. While I—and my characters—fight for protecting wild spaces, I appreciate that everyone’s fight is different and my keeper stories are those with determined characters—IRL or on the page—who turn the tables to succeed.

Laurel's book list on determined heroines who won’t be crossed

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

Why did Laurel love this book?

An orphan with no home or money of her own, Katharine is her aunt’s pawn, sent to do all her dirty work. As the story opens in 1852, it’s to undertake the unthinkable—have her child-like Uncle Tulman committed to an asylum. While this novel doesn’t employ ‘magic’, I love Victorian-era stories and this one had numerous intriguing threads: Katharine’s innocent, genius uncle created fantastical mechanical inventions, many characters to root for who didn’t quite ‘fit’ the society’s norms, and a maze of a house with mysterious, suspicious happenings. I could see no way for poor Katharine to save her uncle and his protective community, so the story twists thrilled me.

By Sharon Cameron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the award-winning author of Rook comes a delicious and twisty tale, filled with spine-tingling intrigue, juicy romance, and dangerous family secrets.

When a rumor that her uncle is squandering away the family fortune surfaces, Katharine Tulman is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of childlike rules, who is employing a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London. Katharine becomes torn between protecting her own livelihood and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply…

Simply Irresistible

By Jill Shalvis,

Book cover of Simply Irresistible

Gracie Cooper Author Of Loving Whiskey

From the list on sigh, giggle, blush and swoon.

Who am I?

I read my first romance novel at fourteen. I know, I know, too young to probably read any of these novels. As I grew older, my library expanded beyond Regency Romance and I entered the Contemporary genre. I found my happy place among the modern world. I related more. Who wouldn’t? And yet, my personal life was nothing like the romance novels I read. It was a tragedy. A complete train wreck. Being the single friend among the group was awkward and sometimes lonely. Between my fanciful love of romance novels and the dreaded dating era I experienced, I came up with the concept of The Martini Girl Bar and wrote my first novel. 

Gracie's book list on sigh, giggle, blush and swoon

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

Why did Gracie love this book?

This was the first rom-com book I read and it made me giggle, sigh, and swoon. I was hooked on the series afterward and I could not consume the books fast enough. Jill Shalvis has a way of creating relatable characters which you end up cheering for at the end. In fact, the MC, Maddie, from the first chapter tugs at your heartstrings and you can’t help but hope she finishes her bag of potato chips before anything else happens. Well unless it happens to be Jax. Their meet-cute is comically on point. Not to mention the nosy busy bee elder, who loves to post everything on “the” Facebook. You can’t help but chuckle at every page turn and hope Maddie finds the courage within her and go after what she wants. 

By Jill Shalvis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first enchanting novel in the Lucky Harbor series from New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis, laced with her trademark gift for humour, warmth and romance. Fans of Susan Andersen, Bella Andre, Rachel Gibson, Carly Phillips, and Susan Mallery will fall head over heels for the Lucky Harbor series.

Maddie Moore's whole life needs a makeover. In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother - a ramshackle…

Book cover of The Death of Mrs. Westaway

M.E. Hilliard Author Of The Unkindness of Ravens

From the list on creepy old houses for a dark and stormy night.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a sucker for any story set in a creepy old house. Hint at a ghost and I can’t grab the book off the shelf fast enough! My obsession started as a kid in the library. Now, as a librarian, I read any haunted house book that comes my way, and as a writer, all my books include a mysterious old manor, because I love them so. A touch of gothic, a dash of horror, and a mystery to unravel—the creepy old house book has it all. And if some of those strange noises remain unexplained? That’s okay with me!

M.E.'s book list on creepy old houses for a dark and stormy night

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

Why did M.E. love this book?

I’ve always loved a plot that sends a penniless young woman off to an old house in the countryside on a mysterious mission that will hopefully result in an inheritance. This is a contemporary take on that with a twist—our protagonist, Hal, is a tarot card reader on the run from some loan sharks. She receives a letter saying she’s inherited money from a woman she doesn’t believe she’s related to, so she sets off for Cornwall to con her way into the cash. Hal arrives to find a creepy old family manor complete with creepy old housekeeper, and newfound “relatives” that are keeping even more secrets than she is. She has to solve a decades-old mystery to scoop the cash and stay alive. 

By Ruth Ware,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'I read this in two lightning-quick sittings...I absolutely adored it' Lisa Jewell, bestselling author of The Family Upstairs


When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she's inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers.

There's just one problem - Hal's real grandparents died more than twenty years ago.

Hal desperately needs the cash and makes a choice that will change her life for ever. She knows that her skills as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way…

The Mysteries of Udolpho

By Ann Radcliffe, Bonamy Dobree (editor),

Book cover of The Mysteries of Udolpho

Steve Fenton Author Of The Vanishing Room

From the list on classic Gothic that are still amazing today.

Who am I?

As my debut novel demonstrated, I’m a massive fan of Gothic literature. Compelling stories are found in many genres, but rarely with such atmosphere and style. The freedom and enjoyment of writing in this category are unparalleled, offering an excuse to use language your editor would prefer to eliminate from contemporary fiction.

Steve's book list on classic Gothic that are still amazing today

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

Why did Steve love this book?

Gothic novels took the romance genre and added elements of death, inheritance, gloomy locations, and supernatural twists. Ann Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho is the canonical example of this style.

The book features a detailed rendering of the many locations featured in the book, one of which is the oppressive castle named in the title. Radcliffe conjures entire moods in this story, and you'll be whisked along in the footsteps of Emily St. Aubert as she's spirited away by the villainous Montoni.

The book also features in Jane Austen's Northanger Abby, as Catherine and Isabella both read it.

By Ann Radcliffe, Bonamy Dobree (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

`Her present life appeared like the dream of a distempered imagination, or like one of those frightful fictions, in which the wild genius of the poets sometimes delighted. Rreflections brought only regret, and anticipation terror.'

Such is the state of mind in which Emily St. Aubuert - the orphaned heroine of Ann Radcliffe's 1794 gothic Classic, The Mysteries of Udolpho - finds herself after Count Montoni, her evil guardian, imprisions her in his gloomy medieval fortress in the Appenines. Terror is the order of the day inside the walls of Udolpho, as Emily struggles against Montoni's rapacious schemes and the…

Flowers in the Attic

By V.C. Andrews,

Book cover of Flowers in the Attic

Abigail Burdess Author Of Mother's Day

From the list on terrifying female villains.

Who am I?

I started out as a sketch writer, (writing for TV sketch shows like Tracy Ullman’s Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look) but I’ve always been drawn to big, exciting thrillers and high-concept speculative fiction. Sketch writing is kind of high-concept fiction in micro. Ultimately, these stories are all about vanquishing evil. These female villains embody the protagonist’s worst fears, and in doing so, the story contains and defeats those fears. Since I have a lot of fears, I don’t imagine I’ll get bored of this type of story any time soon. There’s nothing like a truly amazing villain to keep you reading deep into the three o’clock dark.

Abigail's book list on terrifying female villains

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

Why did Abigail love this book?

In my school, a dog-eared copy of the completely messed-up and horrifying Flowers In The Attic was passed around as contraband. We were not allowed to read it, which, of course, added to the appeal.

Many people find the character of “the grandmother” of the kids locked up in the attic pretty terrifying. But for me, Corinne, their weak and stupid mother, is the true villain of the story.

The slow betrayal she indulges in, as her children lose out to her desire for social acceptance and the high life is utterly heartbreaking.

If you like a very sick story about how the sins of one generation get visited upon the next, you will love Flowers in the Attic.

By V.C. Andrews,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Flowers in the Attic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The haunting young adult gothic romance classic that launched Virginia Andrews' incredible best-selling career.

Up in the attic, four secrets are hidden. Four blonde, beautiful, innocent little secrets, struggling to stay alive...

Chris, Cathy, Cory and Carrie have perfect lives - until a tragic accident changes everything. Now they must wait, hidden from view in their grandparents' attic, as their mother tries to figure out what to do next. But as days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the siblings endure unspeakable horrors and face the terrifying realisation that they might not be let out of the attic after…

Book cover of Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire

Nicholas Morton Author Of The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East

From the list on the Mongol conquest of Western Eurasia.

Who am I?

I am an associate professor at Nottingham Trent University and my interest in the Mongols first began many years ago during my MA at Royal Holloway University. I had always been interested in the historic relationships between nomadic and agricultural societies, but what I found fascinating about the Mongols was the sheer speed and range of their expansion—how could they have conquered the greater part of the Asia within only a few decades? Exploring how the Mongols grappled with the realities of ruling such a vast imperium remains a very thought-provoking issue, so too is the question of how the peoples they overthrew accommodated themselves to Mongol rule. 

Nicholas' book list on the Mongol conquest of Western Eurasia

Discover why each book is one of Nicholas' favorite books.

Why did Nicholas love this book?

The governance and administration of the Mongol Empire was an unimaginably complex exercise. Faced with endless factional rivalries as well as the need to erect and enforce the empire’s authority over a vast span of territory, the challenge of ruling the empire was truly formidable. In Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire, Anne Broadbridge examines the central role played by leading women in shaping Mongol society and its armies, thereby drawing out the sinews of power driving this vast imperium.    

By Anne F. Broadbridge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How did women contribute to the rise of the Mongol Empire while Mongol men were conquering Eurasia? This book positions women in their rightful place in the otherwise well-known story of Chinggis Khan (commonly known as Genghis Khan) and his conquests and empire. Examining the best known women of Mongol society, such as Chinggis Khan's mother, Hoe'elun, and senior wife, Boerte, as well as those who were less famous but equally influential, including his daughters and his conquered wives, we see the systematic and essential participation of women in empire, politics and war. Anne F. Broadbridge also proposes a new…

The Inheritance

By R. Franklin James,

Book cover of The Inheritance

Michelle Corbier Author Of Murder is Revealing

From the list on mystery for mature Black women.

Who am I?

Like myself, each of these novels involved older professional Black women protagonists. Each of these authors presented multidimensional women experiencing circumstances that surpass culture and ethnicity. As women age, not only do we take on new roles, but we physically and emotionally change. I appreciate books with relatable characters coping with issues I experience—menopause, aging parents, an empty nest. Reading mysteries with fictional characters dealing with situations I experience makes me feel less isolated. 

Michelle's book list on mystery for mature Black women

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

Why did Michelle love this book?

Hudson and Lowell Legacy Consultants is a genealogy business formed by Johanna Hudson. The first line of the novel reads, “... clients don’t consider… that genealogy outcomes can be disappointingly unpredictable.” This statement is a prelude to the conflict weaving throughout the novel as the protagonist becomes embroiled in murder. Johanna makes a career move to pursue a new business opportunity. I left clinical medicine to have more time for writing. It was a difficult choice because I enjoyed taking care of people.

By R. Franklin James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A 30 year-old genealogist is forced to face the pain of her own past while discovering that her talents can be used to solve more than her clients' ancestor family lines -- including blackmail and murder.

Genealogist Johanna Hudson discovers that the intersection of unintended consequences and murder is unavoidable, and her determination to find an heir puts her in the path of a killer who is just as determined to stop her.

Book cover of The Librarian of Crooked Lane

Nellie H. Steele Author Of Death of a Duchess

From the list on historical fiction with a dash of magic.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved history, whether ancient or “modern.” Past societies and how humanity has changed over the years has always fascinated me. As a young mystery reader, I began with Nancy Drew and then quickly graduated to Victoria Holt. I’m not sure there’s a gothic fiction reader out there who won’t be familiar with that name. The stories are a wonderful blend of mystery, history, and a dash of the supernatural. Decades later, I’d write my fourth series, Duchess of Blackmoore Mysteries, in true gothic Victorian style.

Nellie's book list on historical fiction with a dash of magic

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

Why did Nellie love this book?

Another entry by C.J. Archer (can you tell I like this author?) and another great blending of genres.  Set in turn of the century England but including the existence of magic, the world-building is sure to immerse you and keep you reading on to the next book. Again, the “mystery” built in is not your typical, which makes the reading all the more intriguing.

By C.J. Archer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A librarian with a mysterious past, a war hero with a secret, and the heist of a magic painting. THE LIBRARIAN OF CROOKED LANE is an intriguing new fantasy from C.J. Archer, the USA Today bestselling author of the Glass and Steele series.

Librarian Sylvia Ashe knows nothing about her past, having grown up without a father and a mother who refused to discuss him. When she stumbles upon a diary that suggests she’s descended from magicians, she’s skeptical. After all, magicians are special, and she’s just an ordinary girl who loves books. She seeks the truth from a member…

Book cover of The Keeper of Lost Things

Nan Fischer Author Of The Book Of Silver Linings

From the list on magic and ghosts that inspire readers.

Who am I?

I spent my 20s and early 30s searching for my voice, passion, and romantic love. I moved every year to a different city, had many jobs (from carrot cake baker to sport autobiography co-author, to writing a Star Wars trilogy of Middle Grade novels for LucasFilm) and dated the flotsam and jetsam of the boyfriend world. It was only when I discovered my raison d’être, writing young adult and adult fiction, that I gained the confidence to pursue my dream of being a fiction author, ask for what I needed in relationships, and define my own version of happily ever after. I believe anything is possible!

Nan's book list on magic and ghosts that inspire readers

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

Why did Nan love this book?

I love books of discovery, people who are lost and figure out a way to find their voices, and characters who become the silver linings for others and in doing so find love and a meaningful life.

This is a quirky story about one woman’s quest to return lost treasures to their rightful owners, with the help of an irritable ghost. Each character in this charming novel is fully developed, and every plot thread expertly woven. It’s perfect for readers searching for a heart-warming read and a dusting of magic!

By Ruth Hogan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs Queen Takes the Train, and The Silver Linings Playbook.

Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.

Bone china cup and saucer—Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost…

Fortune and Glory

By Janet Evanovich,

Book cover of Fortune and Glory

Lois Winston Author Of Guilty as Framed

From the list on cozy & amateur sleuth mysteries when you need a laugh.

Who am I?

I started out my writing career in romance and romantic suspense but discovered my humor gene when I wrote my first chick lit novel. Who knew I could write humor? Certainly not me! I bungle every joke I’ve ever tried to tell. But suddenly humor was flowing from my fingertips onto my computer screen. Seeing this new side to my writing, my agent suggested I try my hand at a humorous cozy mystery. Suddenly I found my true calling. I left the world of romance behind and settled into the world of murder and mayhem, complete with a large dollop of laughter.

Lois' book list on cozy & amateur sleuth mysteries when you need a laugh

Discover why each book is one of Lois' favorite books.

Why did Lois love this book?

Technically, Stephanie Plum isn’t an amateur sleuth because she works as a bounty hunter, but since she was never trained and tends to succeed despite her bungling and ineptitude, I consider her an amateur sleuth. Besides, when you’re sorely in need of a good laugh to release some endorphins, you can’t go wrong spending a few hours with Stephanie and her colorful cohorts. This twenty-seventh outing in the long-running series is one of the best when it comes not only to the humor, but it offers up a well-plotted story, and lots of red herrings. Plus, there’s plenty of Grandma Masur in this one. What more could you ask for?

By Janet Evanovich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From “the most popular mystery writer alive” (The New York Times), the twenty-seventh thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series isn’t just the biggest case of Stephanie Plum’s career. It’s the adventure of a lifetime.

When Stephanie’s beloved Grandma Mazur’s new husband died on their wedding night, the only thing he left her was a beat-up old easy chair…and the keys to a life-changing fortune.

But as Stephanie and Grandma Mazur search for Jimmy Rosolli’s treasure, they discover that they’re not the only ones on the hunt. Two dangerous enemies from the past stand in their way—along…