The most recommended books about New England

Who picked these books? Meet our 113 experts.

113 authors created a book list connected to New England, and here are their favorite New England books.
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What type of New England book?


A Song of Years

By Bess Streeter Aldrich, Anne Reeve Aldrich,

Book cover of A Song of Years

Laura Frantz Author Of A Heart Adrift

From the list on about home.

Who am I?

Having moved almost twenty times in my life, I have a passion for home – finding home, creating home, and enjoying home no matter where you land. My personal space is filled with books, my favorites being about homecomings and safe places of peace and restoration. Home fills me with joy and is a theme in each of the historical novels I write. Everyone should have the haven of a home, both here and now and eternally. 

Laura's book list on about home

Why did Laura love this book?

Song of Years captures all of the struggle and angst of carving out a home from pure, unspoiled Iowa prairie by those bold pioneers who risked everything to do so. While reading, I became the heroine, Abby Deal, as she sacrificed and struggled to wrest a life and create a home from the frontier that challenged her and her family at every turn. Realistic, even epic, this 1939 novel is on my keeper shelf. 

By Bess Streeter Aldrich, Anne Reeve Aldrich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The state of Iowa was still young and wild when Wayne Lockwood came to it from New England in 1851. He claimed a quarter-section about a hundred miles west of Dubuque and quickly came to appreciate widely scattered neighbors like Jeremiah Martin, whose seven daughters would have chased the gloom from any bachelor's heart. Sabina, Emily, Celia, Melinda, Phoebe Lou, Jeanie, and Suzanne are timeless in their appeal-too spirited to be preoccupied with sermons, sickness, and sudden death. However, the feasts, weddings, and holiday celebrations in Song of Years are shadowed by all the rigors and perils of frontier living.…


By Gretchen Felker-Martin,

Book cover of Manhunt

Richard S. Sargent Author Of The Horror Movie Night Cookbook: 60 Deliciously Deadly Recipes Inspired by Iconic Slashers, Zombie Films, Psychological Thrillers, Sci-Fi Spooks, and More

From the list on delicious horror stories to devour in one sitting.

Who am I?

I've been a student of horror since my mother first sat me down in front of the TV to watch the old monster movies with her. It's a genre for the outsiders, the underdogs, which I've certainly felt at several points throughout my life. Good horror is both an escape and a vessel to affect change in the world. Many people in my life believe horror is just boobs and blood, so I feel like it's my job to educate them. This is why I started hosting my horror movie nights, which later developed into my first cookbook. Horror is a major part of my life and I hope it gets the appreciation it deserves.

Richard's book list on delicious horror stories to devour in one sitting

Why did Richard love this book?

Described by many, including myself, as a modern horror masterpiece, Felker-Martin creates a grotesque post-apocalyptic world in which transmen and transwomen are on a gendered journey of survival.

While at first glance it may seem a bit on the nose, I couldn't put it down. The horror aspects are handled brilliantly and the characters are as flawed as they are strong. It is shocking, fun, and full of heart, an honest and inspirational tale of a band of outsiders coming together to not just fight for survival but to thrive in a world where everything and everyone seems to be against them.

By Gretchen Felker-Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beth and Fran spend their days traveling the ravaged New England coast, hunting feral men and harvesting their organs in a gruesome effort to ensure they'll never face the same fate.

Robbie lives by his gun and one hard-learned motto: other people aren't safe.

After a brutal accident entwines the three of them, this found family of survivors must navigate murderous TERFs, a sociopathic billionaire bunker brat, and awkward relationship dynamics-all while outrunning packs of feral men, and their own demons.

Manhunt is a timely, powerful response to every gender-based apocalypse story that failed to consider the existence of transgender…

Peyton Place

By Grace Metalious,

Book cover of Peyton Place

Jerri Hines Author Of The Waking Bell

From the list on historical mysteries like Rebecca.

Who am I?

I grew up in an extremely rural area before the internet, where there was no cable. So, I read. Reading led to my desire to write, and I have. When Jackie discussed the characters of The Waking Bell with me, I envisioned an American version of Rebecca, where the protagonist is a naïve young woman who follows her heart in a dark, gothic setting. While I didn’t grow up in the mountains, I have experienced the differences between people from different backgrounds that live in the same rural area. Those experiences are where The Waking Bell begins.

Jerri's book list on historical mysteries like Rebecca

Why did Jerri love this book?

Peyton Place. Saying the title conjures up all sorts of images. This book rocked the literary world when it was released by tackling the intricacies of small-town life, especially gossip. I will say it’s not just the characters that stand with me after reading the book, but the story itself. The book captures the reality of the consequences of these scandals and the secrets kept.

By Grace Metalious,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Grace Metalious's debut novel about the dark underside of a small, respectable New England town was published in 1956, it quickly soared to the top of the bestseller lists. A landmark in twentieth-century American popular culture, Peyton Place spawned a successful feature film and a long-running television series—the first prime-time soap opera.

Contemporary readers of Peyton Place will be captivated by its vivid characters, earthy prose, and shocking incidents. Through her riveting, uninhibited narrative, Metalious skillfully exposes the intricate social anatomy of a small community, examining the lives of its people—their passions and vices, their ambitions and defeats, their…

Black Is the Body

By Emily Bernard,

Book cover of Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine

Cassandra Lane Author Of We Are Bridges: A Memoir

From the list on lyrical memoirs from the soul.

Who am I?

My writing background started in the newsroom where, as a reporter, my job was to interview and tell the stories of others. At one point in my career, my editors assigned me a bi-monthly column, and while I used this space to write about a variety of issues happening in the community, I also used it occasionally to write personal essays. I love this form because the personal story helps us drill down on an issue and, in essence, make deeper connections with the collective. When I left the newsroom, I continued to study and write in essay and memoir form. In my MFA program, I was able to focus on this form exclusively for two years, and I have spent many years crafting my first book-length memoir into form. 

Cassandra's book list on lyrical memoirs from the soul

Why did Cassandra love this book?

Faithful to its title, this brilliant book starts with the body — an unspeakable injury to the narrator’s body, a crime, a horror. Bernard writes with a specificity that is gut-wrenching without being sensational. And all along, running alongside the sensory language is the author’s intellectual river, constantly washing over and over a moment, a scene, a feeling, a thought. This book includes twelve interconnected essays, each building on the other despite how many years – and miles – separate them.

By Emily Bernard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Blackness is an art, not a science. It is a paradox: intangible and visceral; a situation and a story. It is the thread that connects these essays, but its significance as an experience emerges randomly, unpredictably. . . . Race is the story of my life, and therefore black is the body of this book.” 

In these twelve deeply personal, connected essays, Bernard details the experience of growing up black in the south with a family name inherited from a white man, surviving a random stabbing at a New Haven coffee shop, marrying a white man from the North and…

Colonial Ecology, Atlantic Economy

By Strother E. Roberts,

Book cover of Colonial Ecology, Atlantic Economy: Transforming Nature in Early New England

Eric H. Ash Author Of The Draining of the Fens: Projectors, Popular Politics, and State Building in Early Modern England

From the list on early modern environmental history.

Who am I?

I am a historian of early modern Europe, especially 16th- and 17th-century England, and my work pulls together threads from different historical disciplines, including political history, the history of science and technology, and environmental history. I am fascinated by the ways that human history is intimately linked with the environment, and I am most interested in how early modern European states and empires worked to understand, manage, and profit from the natural world, especially with respect to using and conserving natural resources such as water, wood, and wildlife. I have chosen books that explore these issues in innovative and exciting ways.

Eric's book list on early modern environmental history

Why did Eric love this book?

A superb history of a particular landscape in the midst of profound political, economic, and environmental transformation; it is a wonderful example of interdisciplinary research.

The book explores the Connecticut River valley in colonial New England, and shows how the economic needs and interactions of the Native American and European inhabitants completely reshaped the ecology of the region.

My favorite chapter is Roberts’s brilliant analysis of the lucrative trade in beaver pelts, which not only shifted the balance of power between Native Americans and European settlers, it also eradicated the beavers and their extensive network of dams, erasing the vast wetlands of the region and leaving the river itself unrecognizable.

By Strother E. Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Colonial Ecology, Atlantic Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Focusing on the Connecticut River Valley-New England's longest river and largest watershed- Strother Roberts traces the local, regional, and transatlantic markets in colonial commodities that shaped an ecological transformation in one corner of the rapidly globalizing early modern world. Reaching deep into the interior, the Connecticut provided a watery commercial highway for the furs, grain, timber, livestock, and various other commodities that the region exported. Colonial Ecology, Atlantic Economy shows how the extraction of each commodity had an impact on the New England landscape, creating a new colonial ecology inextricably tied to the broader transatlantic economy beyond its shores.

Book cover of Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding

Kathleen Wellman Author Of Hijacking History: How the Christian Right Teaches History and Why It Matters

From the list on the Christian Right as a political power.

Who am I?

I am a history professor at Southern Methodist University. When some students in my university classes believed that the Enlightenment was so evil I should not be allowed to teach it, I wondered what they were taught in high school. I became more directly involved when I spoke before the State Board of Education of Texas against the ahistorical standards they stipulated for history, including that Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin were central to the Enlightenment and Moses to the founding documents of the United States. These standards distorted history to emphasize the role of religion in the American founding. I wondered: How could a state school board stipulate such ahistorical standards? Where had they come from? Who supported them and why? I wrote Hijacking History to address these questions.

Kathleen's book list on the Christian Right as a political power

Why did Kathleen love this book?

A central assertion of the Christian right is that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and should be again. But this argument, as Green documents in his meticulous study of historical and legal sources, is deeply embedded in Americans’ sense of their national history as exceptional. He examines a series of claims made about critical junctures in the early history of the nation that purportedly support this view--the religious founding of the English colonies, the American Revolution as a religious cause, American government formed to be Christian. His careful examination of the evidence for and against the crucial claims of the Christian nation thesis provides a nuanced history of the religious terrain of early America by studying those who made such assertions and why. Green concludes that these claims developed during the nineteenth century rather than during the nation’s founding. More importantly, they are largely mythic but…

By Steven K. Green,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inventing a Christian America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Among the most enduring themes in American history is the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. A pervasive narrative in everything from school textbooks to political commentary, it is central to the way in which many Americans perceive the historical legacy of their nation. Yet, as Steven K. Green shows in this illuminating new book, it is little more than a myth.

In Inventing a Christian America, Green, a leading historian of religion and politics, explores the historical record that is purported to support the popular belief in America's religious founding and status as a…

Caleb's Crossing

By Geraldine Brooks,

Book cover of Caleb's Crossing

Amy Belding Brown Author Of Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America

From the list on New England’s forgotten conflict.

Who am I?

I write historical fiction set in New England and based on the lives of real people. My New England roots go back to the 1630s when my English ancestors first came to the region so I’m steeped in its traditions and literature. I love doing the research for my books, especially when my characters lead me in new directions. I spent ten years digging into the conflict between the Puritans and the indigenous Natives and in the process discovered a largely forgotten story that has long-lasting implications for our day.

Amy's book list on New England’s forgotten conflict

Why did Amy love this book?

When Caleb’s Crossing came out I couldn’t wait to read it. Not only was it written by one of my favorite authors, it was inspired by a true story and set in the same place and time period as the novel I was working on. Brooks’ depiction of the love between a Puritan minister’s daughter and the son of a Wampanoag leader is fraught with tension as two very different cultures collide. The novel brings to life the forces driving the conflict through the characters of Bethia and Caleb as they struggle to navigate a perilous time and the looming prospect of war.

By Geraldine Brooks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Caleb's Crossing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bestselling tale of passion and belief, magic and adventure from the author of The Secret Chord and of March, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Bethia Mayfield is a restless and curious young woman growing up in Martha's vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's father is a Calvinist minister who seeks to convert the native Wampanoag, and Caleb becomes a prize in the contest…

Book cover of The Province of Affliction: Illness and the Making of Early New England

Andrew M. Wehrman Author Of The Contagion of Liberty: The Politics of Smallpox in the American Revolution

From the list on understanding health and politics in the early US.

Who am I?

I am a historian of early American history who discovered the history of medicine somewhat by accident. As a history graduate student, I wanted to understand how ordinary Americans experienced the American Revolution. While digging through firsthand accounts written by average Americans, I came across a diary written by a sailor named Ashley Bowen. Although Bowen wrote made entries daily beginning in the 1760s, he hardly mentioned any of the political events that typically mark the coming of the American Revolution. Instead, day after day, he wrote about outbreaks of smallpox and how he volunteered to help his community. From then on, I began to understand just how central and inseparable health and politics are. 

Andrew's book list on understanding health and politics in the early US

Why did Andrew love this book?

While hundreds of books have been written on early New England, Ben Mutschler deftly paints a portrait of life in New England “with sickness at its center.” He thoroughly integrates family struggles over illness and the demands placed on local governments into the story of the social and political development of this region that has long valued public health even as it has also endured tragic circumstances.

By Ben Mutschler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How do we balance individual and collective responsibility for illness? This question, which continues to resonate today, was especially pressing in colonial America, where episodic bouts of sickness were pervasive, chronic ails common, and epidemics all too familiar.

In The Province of Affliction, Ben Mutschler explores the surprising roles that illness played in shaping the foundations of New England society and government from the late seventeenth century through the early nineteenth century. Considered healthier than residents in many other regions of early America, and yet still riddled with disease, New Englanders grappled steadily with what could be expected of the…


By Ed McBain,

Book cover of Ghosts

Weldon Burge Author Of Harvester of Sorrow

From the list on police procedural series.

Who am I?

I’ve been a writer of nonfiction and fiction and full-time editor since my college years, and a publisher (Smart Rhino Publications). I’ve read horror and suspense fiction all my life, but it’s only been in the past decade or so that my reading has turned more and more toward police procedurals, noir, and crime fiction. It was only natural that I’d turn to writing a police procedural series, starting with Harvester of Sorrow. I hope you’ll read all the wonderful books I’ve recommended!

Weldon's book list on police procedural series

Why did Weldon love this book?

Ghosts was the first book of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series that I read, primarily because I was interested in the paranormal aspect—I’ve always been a sucker for ghost stories. This was the first true police procedural I’d read, and I was most impressed with McBain’s mastery of writing dialogue. I was hooked and I’ve read most of the series since. As I wrote my own debut novel I referred to McBain’s novels many times to see how he handled dialogue tags and beats throughout his books. His dialogue is almost seamless. I’d recommend the 87th Precinct series to any writer serious about writing police procedurals.

By Ed McBain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A young woman stops at the grocery store after work, but she never makes it home—at least not all the way. She is stabbed to death in front of her building, her groceries strewn across the cold pavement. Upstairs her neighbor and popular ghost story author Gregory Craig lay dead as well, stabbed in his apartment. When Craig’s publisher is found murdered just days later, Detective Steve Carella has a deadly mystery on his hands, one unlike any he’s ever had before.

Searching for clues, Carella instead finds Craig’s girlfriend, a medium whose spooky predictions keep him guessing. When some…

My Half Orange

By John Julius Reel,

Book cover of My Half Orange

Alice Leccese Powers Author Of Spain in Mind

From the list on ex-pat life in Spain.

Who am I?

I am passionate about the written word and effective communication. My articles and reviews have been published in major newspapers and magazines and for two decades I taught writing on the university level. Travel writing is a subset of my experience as editor of the best-selling In Mind literary anthologies and editor and writer for more than a dozen guidebooks. In addition, I have been “first reader” and editor for prospective authors and shepherded several books to publication, the most recent Red Clay Suzie by first-time novelist Jeffrey Lofton (publication January 2023). 

Alice's book list on ex-pat life in Spain

Why did Alice love this book?

A few weeks ago, I got an email from John Julius Reel asking to blurb his new book My Half Orange. I read it and happily endorsed it. Reel moved to Seville from his native New York in his late 30s. Recovering from a broken relationship, he was adrift. Reel met his Andalusian wife—his half-orange—and in short order, they moved in together and had two sons.

Like other ex-pats, Reel bridges two cultures. His parents live in New England, and his wife’s Spanish family lives close— perhaps too close—to Reel, his wife, and his children. Published this year, My Half Orange is the latest addition to “ex-pats” in Spain.  

By John Julius Reel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his late thirties, John Julius Reel left his native New York for Seville, hoping to reinvent himself, find his voice as a writer, and cast off the shadow of his famous father. When his girlfriend dumped him after a month-long visit, the last tie was cut, and he had to face his future from his stark, mosquito-infested rented room. Alone in a foreign land, struggling with the language, and longing to find his place and purpose in the world, he began to rebuild his life.

What follows is a tender, comical, and illuminating story about what it means to…