The best books about New England 📚

Browse the best books on New England as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Seating Arrangements

Seating Arrangements

By Maggie Shipstead

Why this book?

Seating Arrangements is a smart, summery romp of a read set on the fictional island of Waskeke off of New England. The novel takes place in the days building up to Winn Van Meter’s eldest daughter’s wedding and takes a satirical look at the habits of a certain social class – the drinking, clubbing, and ancient social conflicts. Like a frothy cocktail, it goes down easy and packs a wallop.

From the list:

The best books that capture Cape Cod and the islands

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Book cover of Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750

Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750

By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Why this book?

Ulrich, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for A Midwife's Tale, first wrote this ground-breaking study of women in early New England. With her characteristically elegant prose and inspired organization, she details the varied roles women played in family, community, and religious life. An illuminating work, and a page-turner.

From the list:

The best books on seventeenth-century America

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Book cover of Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

By Mary Rowlandson

Why this book?

Ok, this isn’t actually a historical novel, but it was a bestseller when it came out back in 1682 and in some ways it does read like fiction. The story of a Puritan settler and her three children who were captured by Narragansett Indians during King Phillip’s War, Rowlandson’s account, judged by contemporary mores, is both racist and religiously bigoted. Still, it provides a rare first-hand rendering of the Puritan experience of a central truth of 17th century America: the collision of two radically distinct societies and the personal fallout resulting from that collision. As such it’s an invaluable…

From the list:

The best historical novels of Early Colonial New England

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Book cover of The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night

The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night

By Peter Spier

Why this book?

This old classic still holds its charm. Sing along all the way and enjoy the autumn farmland illustrations as a fox runs through a tobacco barn and across the moonlit countryside bringing the farmer’s grey goose back to his young ones for dinner. Spoiler alert, they do pick the bones clean.  

From the list:

The best singing picture books

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Book cover of Tell Me How the Wind Sounds

Tell Me How the Wind Sounds

By Leslie Davis Guccione

Why this book?

This is another one that I read years ago that has stayed lodged in my brain. I enjoy a young romance that is handled complexly, instead of following typical trope guidelines. In this case, two teens meet on an island in New England, one is deaf and one is not. It is very rare to find disabilities represented in Young Adult Literature, despite the genre usually striving for diversity. And this is a very cute story. I love the idea that the girl, Amanda, has to break out of her comfort zone and learn how to connect with someone vastly…

From the list:

The best books if you seek a peculiar romance

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Book cover of The Journals of Louisa May Alcott

The Journals of Louisa May Alcott

By Louisa May Alcott

Why this book?

This book opened up Louisa, and who she was to me. We can see her cheery optimism when she is younger, as well as the many inner battles she has with herself. We see her wit and humor, her desire to care for those she loves. As she ages and struggles with health issues, the reader feels her pain. Not a light-hearted book, but an extremely insightful one for those who want to gain a true glimpse into the character of this remarkable woman.

From the list:

The best books about Louisa May Alcott and her life

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