The most recommended Quakers books

Who picked these books? Meet our 18 experts.

18 authors created a book list connected to the Quakers, and here are their favorite Quakers books.
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What type of Quakers book?



By S.L. Klassen, Michael Hepher (illustrator),

Book cover of Menno-Nightcaps: Cocktails Inspired by That Odd Ethno-Religious Group You Keep Mistaking for the Amish, Quakers or Mormons

Janelle Diller Author Of Never Enough Flamingos

From the list on those quirky Mennonites.

Who am I?

I was born and raised in Kansas and will forever have a soft spot in my heart for golden wheat fields, sunflower-filled ditches, and sunsets that explode colors on the horizon. I always knew I’d write a book set in Kansas, and I’d explore my long Mennonite linage and its seemingly unrealistic theology. Pacifism is a beautiful concept until you’re faced with protecting the people you love. As I grew older, I became more curious about larger, practical questions. It’s one thing to be a conscientious objector to war. It’s another thing to confront the cosmically dark evil of your neighbor. From that, Never Enough Flamingos was born.

Janelle's book list on those quirky Mennonites

Why did Janelle love this book?

I love to cook, and given the passion Mennonites have for potlucks, this list wouldn’t be complete without a favorite cookbook recommendation. The trouble is, which one? There are so many classics. I grew up with the worn and scribbled-on pages of The Mennonite Community Cookbook and later the More-with-Less World Community Cookbook, but ultimately decided on Menno-Nightcaps because, well, I warned you this list is eclectic, right? This book is loaded with not just yummy, practical drink recipes, but loads of Mennonite history. My own husband wooed me with stories of his ancestor who supplied George Washington’s troops with whiskey. How could I not love a book like this? Trust me, it’ll be fun and you’ll never view Mennonites in quite the same way.  

By S.L. Klassen, Michael Hepher (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A satirical cocktail book featuring seventy-seven cocktail recipes accompanied by arcane trivia on Mennonite history, faith, and cultural practices.

At last, you think, a book of cocktails that pairs punny drinks with Mennonite history! Yes, cocktail enthusiast and author of the popular Drunken Mennonite blog Sherri Klassen is here to bring some Low German love to your bar cart. Drinks like Brandy Anabaptist, Migratarita, Thrift Store Sour, and Pimm’s Cape Dress are served up with arcane trivia on Mennonite history, faith, and cultural practices.

Arranged by theme, the book opens with drinks inspired by the Anabaptists of sixteenth-century Europe (Bloody…

Sheppard Lee

By Robert Montgomery Bird,

Book cover of Sheppard Lee: Written by Himself

Benjamin Reiss Author Of The Showman and the Slave: Race, Death, and Memory in Barnum's America

From the list on making you rethink 19th-century America.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by historical figures who were deemed marginal, outcast, or eccentric and also by experiences (like sleep or madness) that usually fall beneath historical scrutiny. I am drawn to nineteenth-century literature and history because I find such a rich store of strange and poignant optimism and cultural experimentation dwelling alongside suffering, terror, and despair. As a writer, I feel a sense of responsibility when a great story falls into my hands. I try to be as respectful as I can to the life behind it, while seeking how it fits into a larger historical pattern. I am always on the lookout for books that do the same!   

Benjamin's book list on making you rethink 19th-century America

Why did Benjamin love this book?

This 1834 novel written by a physician/writer from Philadelphia holds its own with anything Poe or Melville ever wrote in terms of weirdness, psychological complexity, and sheer literary panache. 

It tells the story of a singularly unambitious young man who accidentally kills himself and then discovers that he has the power to reanimate the corpses of others who have just died. And so our hero finds himself living the lives of a rich man with terrible gout, a playboy, a misguided Quaker philanthropist, and – most shockingly – a rebel slave. 

Through it all, Sheppard Lee still maintains a sense of his own identity, even as his spirit becomes something of a puppet for its new physical manifestations. Both philosophical and darkly comic, this recently rediscovered work should be a classic.

By Robert Montgomery Bird,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1836.

Sheppard Lee, Written By Himself is a work of dark satire from the early years of the American Republic. Published as an autobiography and praised by Edgar Allan Poe, this is the story of a young idler who goes in search of buried treasure and finds instead the power to transfer his soul into other men's bodies. What follows is one increasingly practiced body snatcher's picaresque journey through early American pursuits of happiness, as each new form Sheppard Lee assumes disappoints him anew while making him want more and more. When Lee's metempsychosis draws him into…

Book cover of The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison

Jane Hampton Cook Author Of The Burning of the White House: James and Dolley Madison and the War of 1812

From the list on the War of 1812.

Who am I?

As a writer of ten mostly historical nonfiction books, I tried to rely on the original writings of the people that I wrote about rather than third-hand accounts. What I love about reading people's own words is that letters allow you to see a person's humanity and their emotional reactions to their circumstances. I also love the cinematic qualities of the story of the burning of the White House. Both Dolley and James Madison went through an authentic, organic character change in the aftermath, much like characters in a movie. I also loved the revival of patriotism that took place in the aftermath, which is similar to the aftermath of  9/11.

Jane's book list on the War of 1812

Why did Jane love this book?

Because Dolley Madison didn't keep a diary, her letters are the best examples that we have of her personality. This social butterfly shows us how she slyly tried to set up a young woman to be romantically involved with her son. 

Yet for all of her Southern charm and pretension, Dolley had a steely side. After her first husband died, she wrote to her brother-in-law demanding the inheritance owed to her. After all, women couldn't easily get a job to support themselves. Her letters also show her pride in her parents for emancipating their slaves. Her most famous letter about saving George Washington's painting before the British military burned the White House reveals the chaos of this historic moment and the character of this woman who became known as the first, first lady.

By Dolley Madison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From modest Quaker beginnings as the child of financially insecure parents and the wife of a stolid young lawyer to the excitement and challenges of life as the nation's first First Lady - arguably the most influential role in the American government's formative years - Dolley Payne Todd Madison (1768-1849) led an extraordinary life. David B. Mattern and Holly C. Shulman have culled a particularly rich selection of her letters to illuminate the story of the woman widely credited with setting the standard for successive generations of Washington's political women. This collection will prove an invaluable resource in current political…

All God's Children

By Anna Schmidt,

Book cover of All God's Children

Linda Shenton Matchett

From Linda's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author History nerd WWII aficionado HR professional Never-met-a-stranger

Linda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Linda love this book?

This is an “older” book (2014) that I stumbled on while researching a novel. I’ve not seen many WWII stories about the German homefront, so was pleased to find the story.

The premise is fascinating: a German-American woman stuck in Germany during the war. The book is well-researched, but it is the writing that kept me engaged. Descriptions and the sprinkling of German words evoked the era and the country.

This is not a typical romance story which was refreshing, and the ending is “happy for now” rather than “happily ever after,” but there is closure to the plot as well as leaving me with a desire to read the next book. The main character and her family are Quakers, a group I knew little about, so I enjoyed learning about their beliefs.

By Anna Schmidt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All God's Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beth Bridgewater, a German American, finds herself in a nightmare as World War II erupts―a war in which she takes no side, for she is a Quaker pacifist. Just as she gains opportunity to escape Germany, Beth decides to stay to help the helpless. Meanwhile, Josef Buch, a passionately patriot German, is becoming involved in his own secret ways of resisting the Nazis. . . . Despite their differences, Beth and Josef join together in nonviolent resistance―and in love. Does their love stand a chance. . .if they even survive at all?

The Peacemakers Series:
Book 2: Simple Faith -…

Book cover of The Movement of Stars

Katherine Sherbrooke Author Of Leaving Coy's Hill

From the list on the real lives of kick-ass women.

Who am I?

I was never much of a history student. Facts and figures rarely stick in my brain until I have a character—their feelings, hopes, fears, and dreams—to pair them with, so I rely a lot on historical fiction to understand different places and times. I’m also a believer that our culture too often serves up the impression that marginalized people have forever hopelessly struggled, held back by those in power. But there are so many true stories that reveal the opposite, in this case, women fighting for their dreams and winning! I aim to bring these stories to light in a way that keeps the pages turning. 

Katherine's book list on the real lives of kick-ass women

Why did Katherine love this book?

Maria Mitchell, raised as a Nantucket Quaker, was the first woman to discover and name a new comet, no easy task in the 1840s when women were not meant to study astronomy, let alone when her only instrument was a small telescope on an island roof. Brill takes artistic license with Mitchell’s story, adding nuance and detail likely outside the scope of her research, and delivers a riveting tale of a woman determined to live her dreams, no matter how high the barriers to achieving them.  

By Amy Brill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Amy Brill's The Movement of Stars tells a story of illicit love and extraordinary ambition.

It is 1845, and Hannah Gardner Price dreams of a world infinitely larger than the small Quaker community where she has lived all 25 years of her life - for, as an amateur astronomer, she secretly hopes to discover a comet and win the King of Denmark's prize for doing so.

But she can only indulge her passion for astronomy as long as the men in her life - her father, brother and family friends - are prepared to support it, and so she treads…

Mary Dyer

By Ruth Talbot Plimpton,

Book cover of Mary Dyer: Biography of a Rebel Quaker

Karen Vorbeck Williams Author Of My Enemy's Tears: The Witch of Northampton

From the list on 17th century America.

Who am I?

After living in, while restoring, an old farmhouse built in the late 17th century or very early in the 18th, it was impossible for me not to want to know the history of the house and the people who lived there. Combine that with the stories my grandmother told me about our ancestor, the suspected witch Mary Bliss Parsons of Northampton, and I felt destined to know her story. That led to many years of research and writing. At the moment I am writing another 17th century New England historical fiction. I love this period of history and so few write about it. 

Karen's book list on 17th century America

Why did Karen love this book?

Mary Dyer is a forgotten American hero, who suffered unbelievably for her faith. In early Boston Quakers, Baptists, Jews, Catholics—everyone but the Puritans—were banished. She became a Quaker missionary and led what became a hopeless cause: freedom of worship. Her whole story is painful, shocking, and cannot be summed up here without spoilers. The Puritan men who settled the Bay Colony hated and feared women who spoke up. They banished or destroyed them.

By Ruth Talbot Plimpton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the story of Mary Dyer whose indomitable efforts to seek and find “freedom to worship” lead eventually to her death. Her quest began when she and her husband sailed from old to new England in 1635. Landing in Boston, they were soon disillusioned by the intolerant practices and beliefs of the Puritans, who considered that all truth could be found in the Old Testament—and only there. Variations, from Puritan interpretations of the Ten Commandments, were punished by cruel torture and/or death. Banished from Boston for protesting such rigidity in belief and in practice, Mary was among the group…

The Quaker City

By George Lippard,

Book cover of The Quaker City: Or, the Monks of Monk Hall - A Romance of Philadelphia Life, Mystery and Crime

Scott Peeples Author Of The Man of the Crowd: Edgar Allan Poe and the City

From the list on early American Gothic not written by Edgar Allan Poe.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by Gothic literature (and art, music, and movies), and I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to talk and write about it—I teach at the College of Charleston (SC), where I just completed a course on American Gothic. I’m especially interested in nineteenth-century American writers, and I’ve written three books on Edgar Allan Poe, the most recent of which is The Man of the Crowd: Edgar Allan Poe and the City. For this list, I limited myself to Americans who, like Poe, wrote before and during the Civil War.

Scott's book list on early American Gothic not written by Edgar Allan Poe

Why did Scott love this book?

A thousand-page runaway bestseller, The Quaker City sold more copies than any American novel prior to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Lippard happened to be a friend of Poe’s, and he exceeded him when it came to depicting depravity and mayhem. Underneath the surface of order and respectability, Lippard’s Philadelphia is a city pervaded by corruption and crime, and the center of it all is a vast men’s clubhouse called Monk Hall.

Three interlocking plots deploy more sex and violence than most readers would expect from a mid-nineteenth-century novel, or even a twenty-first-century novel. Lippard coins the term “grotesque-sublime” in his description of his main character, Devil-Bug, but that expression applies to the whole novel.

You might get lost in one of his sentences even as he describes a character getting lost in the secret passages of Monk Hall, but it’s a fascinating trip. Think of it as a trashy but bingeworthy…

By George Lippard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

America's best-selling novel in its time, ""The Quaker City"", published in 1845, is a sensational expose of social corruption, personal debauchery and the sexual exploitation of women in antebellum Philadelphia. This new edition, with an introduction by David S. Reynolds, brings back into print this important work by George Lippard (1822-1854), a journalist, freethinker and labour and social reformer.

What Comes After

By JoAnne Tompkins,

Book cover of What Comes After

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From the list on dogs as supporting characters.

Who am I?

Dogs make great supporting characters, adding drama or humor or pathos, and revealing so much about the humans in the story. I discovered this in writing my first novel: The narrator’s dog keeps her grounded when things go wrong and makes it possible for her to keep going through difficult times. For the reader, he provides levity and depth without turning it into a book about a dog. I had a great model – I used my own dog Boris, even appropriating his name. I think of the fictional Boris as real-life Boris’s best self.

Ellen's book list on dogs as supporting characters

Why did Ellen love this book?

What Comes After is a heart-rending story of a boy who is brutally murdered.

A school friend commits suicide shortly after, leaving a note confessing to the murder, but there are unanswered questions.

Meanwhile, a destitute and pregnant teenager shows up in town with worries and questions of her own. Rufus the dogs brings the dad and the girl together, then rides along with both of them as their intertwining stories unfold.

He doesn’t solve crimes or save lives, but he does what rescued dogs so often do – rescue their people.

This book is tagged as a murder mystery and a thriller, and it is both those things.

But essentially it is the first-person narrative of an aching father, the people around him, and the dog who shares his grief.

By JoAnne Tompkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Named a top beach read of summer by Oprah Daily, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, and more

“Nail-biting wallop of a debut . . . a thoughtful, unexpectedly optimistic tale.” —The New York Times

“If you enjoyed The Searcher by Tana French, read What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins. . . . a mystery—and a gritty meditation on loss and redemption, drenched in stillness and grief.” —The Washington Post

After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of…


By Nicholas A. Christakis, James H. Fowler,

Book cover of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives -- How Your Friends' Friends' Friends Affect

Marianne E. Krasny Author Of In This Together: Connecting with Your Community to Combat the Climate Crisis

From the list on influencing others to do about climate change.

Who am I?

I am a professor at Cornell University who struggles with the meaning of individual action in the face of looming crises—be they plastics and litter, or climate. The idea of Network Climate Action bubbled up one morning as a way to magnify individual actions, such as eating a plant-rich diet, donating money to a climate organization, or joining in an advocacy group. Network Climate Action helps me achieve my role-ideals as a teacher, volunteer, friend, mom, and grandmother, and it gives meaning and happiness to my life. I live in beautiful Ithaca, NY, with my chosen family, which includes an Afghan artist and a Ukrainian mom and her two kids.

Marianne's book list on influencing others to do about climate change

Why did Marianne love this book?

If we could just teach about the evils of climate change, people would surely change their behaviors.

I knew this idea was not born up by the facts and was searching for an alternative. This book showed me that if I wanted to get people to eat climate-friendly foods or become a climate advocate, I needed to think about social connections—in particular, what people see their friends and family doing.

Not only do the authors describe how we influence each other’s health, voting, and even happiness—they also argue that social networks provide a middle ground between individual destiny vs structural determinism.

In my work, Network Climate Action is similarly a middle ground between individual behavior change vs government policy in addressing the climate crisis. 

By Nicholas A. Christakis, James H. Fowler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Renowned scientists Christakis and Fowler present compelling evidence for our profound influence on one another's tastes, health, wealth, happiness, beliefs, even weight, as they explain how social networks form and how they operate.

Book cover of Notes from an Exhibition

Rachel Hore Author Of The Hidden Years

From the list on making you fall in love with Cornwall again.

Who am I?

I’m a UK bestselling writer of historical fiction who has often used Cornwall as a setting. I wrote about a lost garden and a colony of Edwardian artists in The Memory Garden, about the Second World War in A Gathering Storm and The Hidden Years. My father was Cornish, which meant wonderful childhood holidays spent in the county. I fell in love with its breathtakingly beautiful landscapes - rugged cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, expansive sandy beaches where the sea thunders in. I’ve feasted on its history and legends, and on stories of danger, romance, and adventure set in the region. It’s fulfilled a dream to have written my own.    

Rachel's book list on making you fall in love with Cornwall again

Why did Rachel love this book?

This novel has everything in it that I love about Cornwall – the life and work of its artists, an incredible sense of the scenery and atmosphere, and the limpid light cast over its beauty. 

It’s also an absorbing story about the price that may have to be paid for following your star. Successful artist Rachel Kelly values creativity and self-expression, but all too often she places these above the happiness of her partner and children. Is she right or is she wrong? 

By Patrick Gale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Notes from an Exhibition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The new novel from the bestselling Patrick Gale tells the story of artist Rachel Kelly, whose life has been a sacrifice to both her extraordinary art and her debilitating manic depression. When troubled artist Rachel Kelly dies painting obsessively in her attic studio in Penzance, her saintly husband and adult children have more than the usual mess to clear up. She leaves behind an extraordinary and acclaimed body of work -- but she also leaves a legacy of secrets and emotional damage it will take months to unravel. A wondrous, monstrous creature, she exerts a power that outlives her. To…

Washington's General

By Terry Golway,

Book cover of Washington's General: Nathanael Greene and the Triumph of the American Revolution

Jack Kelly Author Of Valcour: The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty

From the list on the American Revolutionary War from five different perspectives.

Who am I?

Jack Kelly is a prize-winning historian who has written two acclaimed books about the Revolutionary War. Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America’s Independence provides one of the best short accounts of the entire war. Valcour: The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty is a suspense-filled account of the crucial northern theater during that decisive year.

Jack's book list on the American Revolutionary War from five different perspectives

Why did Jack love this book?

The Revolution was an affair of people. Golway does a masterful job of bringing to life one of the most important, and often most neglected, of the American officers. Nathanael Greene was the epitome of the amateur soldiers who led the patriot effort. He was the man Washington selected to take over the Continental Army if Washington himself was killed. The book offers important insights into logistics (Greene for a time served as Quartermaster General). It also illuminates the war in the South, where Greene confounded British plans and set the scene for the patriot victory at Yorktown.

By Terry Golway,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The overlooked Quaker from Rhode Island who won the American Revolution's crucial southern campaign and helped to set up the final victory of American independence at Yorktown

Nathanael Greene is a revolutionary hero who has been lost to history. Although places named in his honor dot city and country, few people know his quintessentially American story as a self-made, self-educated military genius who renounced his Quaker upbringing-horrifying his large family-to take up arms against the British. Untrained in military matters when he joined the Rhode Island militia in 1774, he quickly rose to become Washington's right-hand man and heir apparent.…

Albion's Seed

By David Hackett Fischer,

Book cover of Albion's Seed

Craig Nelson Author Of V Is for Victory: Franklin Roosevelt's American Revolution and the Triumph of World War II

From the list on history that will wake you up.

Who am I?

I spent twenty years as a book publishing executive learning how the trade works before launching myself as a full-time author wanting to make the world a better place. My books use state-of-the-art scholarship for history you can read on the beach, and focus on ‘hinge’ moments, great turnings of the world, as well as on forgotten and unsung heroes.

Craig's book list on history that will wake you up

Why did Craig love this book?

Albion’s Seed charts how four different British groups migrated to North America and brought their cultures with them.

It reveals that a great many things that we think of as uniquely American—from work ethic, to language, to education, to lifestyle, to food—instead arrived alongside the Puritans to New England, the Quakers to Pennsylvania, the Cavaliers to Virginia, and the borderland settlers to the backwoods. Fischer’s cumulative power will make you fully question what makes Americans, and their nation, unique.

By David Hackett Fischer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Albion's Seed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eighty percent of Americans have no British ancestors. According to David Hackett Fischer, however, their day-to-day lives are profoundly influenced by folkways transplanted from Britain to the New World with the first settlers. Residual, yet persistent, aspects of these 17th Century folkways are indentifiable, Fischer argues, in areas as divers as politics, education, and attitudes towards gender, sexuality, age, and child-raising. Making use of both traditional
and revisionist scholarship, this ground-breaking work documents how each successive wave of early emigration-Puritans to the North-East; Royalist aristocrats to the South; the Friends to the Delaware Valley; Irish and North Britons to the…

Book cover of Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia

Benjamin M. Friedman Author Of Religion and the Rise of Capitalism

From the list on economics, religion, and society.

Who am I?

I’m an economist, now in my fiftieth year as a professor at Harvard. While much of my work has focused on economic policy – questions like the effects of government budget deficits, guidelines for the conduct of U.S. monetary policy, and what actions to take in response to a banking or more general financial crisis – in recent years I’ve also addressed broader issues surrounding the connections between economics and society. Several years ago, in The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, I examined the implications of our economy’s growth, or stagnation, for the social, political, and ultimately moral character of our society. My most recent book explores the connections between economic thinking and religious thinking.

Benjamin's book list on economics, religion, and society

Why did Benjamin love this book?

Everyone knows that the Puritans settled in Boston and the Quakers settled in Philadelphia. What I found surprising is Baltzell’s argument that the two cities’ founding religions shaped their respective character for hundreds of years afterward. And, he says, the difference between Puritanism and Quakerism explains why Boston and Philadelphia played such different roles in American history.

By E. Digby Baltzell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on the biographies of some three hundred people in each city, this book shows how such distinguished Boston families as the Adamses, Cabots, Lowells, and Peabodys have produced many generations of men and women who have made major contributions to the intellectual, educational, and political life of their state and nation. At the same time, comparable Philadelphia families such as the Biddles, Cadwaladers, Ingersolls, and Drexels have contributed far fewer leaders to their state and nation. From the days of Benjamin Franklin and Stephen Girard down to the present, what leadership there has been in Philadelphia has largely been…

The Lady's Slipper

By Deborah Swift,

Book cover of The Lady's Slipper

Diane Scott Lewis Author Of Her Vanquished Land

From the list on courageous women in authentic historical settings.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by the past, through movies and books. What is it like to live in an age with no cell phones, no internet? People have to work ten times as hard. I eschewed fluffy romances and wanted to get down to the nitty-gritty of a historical era. How they dress, what they eat, the dirt and truth, then throw in obstacles to test my female characters’ strength and self-reliance. As an avid reader, I have no problem with extensive research to get my facts correct. I want to walk in their world and deal with their problems. Then delve deep into the emotions we all experience.

Diane's book list on courageous women in authentic historical settings

Why did Diane love this book?

Ms. Swift’s lyrical writing immediately enthralled me in this unusual story. Alice, stuck in an arranged marriage in 1660 England, uses her skills to protect an orchid called the Lady’s Slipper. But her nemesis, Richard, also her landlord, wants it for other reasons. Their animosity changes to attraction, and I loved the emotions between them. Ms. Swift writes with skill about the Quakers, the era, and a forbidden love. She easily weaves history with heartbreak, and I devoured this story, never wanting it to end. The drama never drags, and I could not put it down. Later, I met Ms. Swift at a writers’ conference, and she’s a sweet, humble woman. One of my all-time favorite novels.

By Deborah Swift,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is 1660. The King is back, but memories of the Civil War still rankle. In rural Westmorland, artist Alice Ibbetson has become captivated by the rare Lady's Slipper orchid. She is determined to capture its unique beauty for posterity, even if it means stealing the flower from the land of recently converted Quaker, Richard Wheeler. Fired by his newfound faith, the former soldier Wheeler feels bound to track down the missing orchid. Meanwhile, others are eager to lay hands on the flower, and have their own powerful motives. Margaret Poulter, a local medicine woman, is seduced by the orchid's…

Flowers from the Storm

By Laura Kinsale,

Book cover of Flowers from the Storm

Anna Campbell Author Of One Wicked Wish

From the list on classic historical romance.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved historical romance, ever since my mother gave me my first Georgette Heyer when I was eight, and my grandmother gave me my first Barbara Cartland shortly after. The fascination has never waned, which is a good thing because I grew up to become a historical romance author myself. Since publishing my first romance in 2006, I’ve written nearly 50 books, mainly set during the Regency period (first quarter of the 19th century). I’ve always adored how a good historical romance whisks me away to a larger-than-life world replete with dashing rakes, smart-mouthed ladies, and glittering high society, not to mention witty banter, glamour, and heart-stopping romance.

Anna's book list on classic historical romance

Why did Anna love this book?

Laura Kinsale is another magnificently individual voice, and her unusual, complex, emotional stories are among the best in the genre. Flowers from the Storm is probably her masterpiece. I’m in awe of how she brings off this heartrending story of a humble Quaker girl and a duke. Maddy’s religious conviction is woven into her personality in a way that’s true to the time but rarely explored in romantic fiction. Even more unusual, while rakish dukes are a staple of the genre, rakish dukes who suffer a stroke and end up in a madhouse are less common! What lifts this Cinderella story above most entries in the category is how true to life it is, how the characters genuinely suffer to achieve their happy ending, and how Kinsale leaves her characters no easy choices. 

By Laura Kinsale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Duke of Jervaulx was brilliant and dangerous. Considered dissolute, reckless, and extravagant, he was transparently referred to as the ′D of J′ in scandal sheets, where he and his various exploits featured with frequency. But sometimes the most womanising rake can be irresistible, and even his most casual attentions fascinated the sheltered Maddy Timms, quiet daughter of a simple mathematician.