Anything written by Juliet Marillier. She writes wonderful stories of people, family sagas, trials against adversity, and fantastic happenings. The books are magical and engrossing. Popular titles are Den of Wolves, Tower of Thorns, and Dreamer’s Pool.
Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series. This is a saga about another time with an amazing couple at the center. Ayla and Jondalar are like a prehistoric Claire and Jamie. They have fabulous adventures and plenty of hot sex.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan is an easy, modern-day story for all your pining Anglophile needs. These witty masterminds behind the Go Fug Yourself blog (worth checking out, and they cover Outlander as only they can) offer a fictionalized version of the Prince William/Kate Middleton love story, and it’s oh so deliciously enjoyable. While the real-life story breathes life into the novel, I got so sucked into the gals’ original take on it (for one, “Kate” is now an American commoner) that I found myself dropping the comparisons to actual events very quickly because I was so enamored with the original couple in the story. This book is basically what happens when your Downton Abbey, Outlander, Poldark, The Crown, Victoria-loving self is headed out on a vacation (mental or physical), and in desperate need of a light-hearted read and escape from reality.
One of my favorite dives into small-town life and its larger-than-life residents is Adriana Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap series. Admittedly, I might be biased—Trigiani found inspiration for the series from her Italian-American upbringing amidst the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains (where these books are set). My family all hails from this gorgeous region of the U.S., and my dad was raised in a Lebanese-American household in the middle of West Virginia. The synopsis on the book jacket hit a little too close to home, so I picked up the first book. But the merit of the book itself drove me to continue in the lives of the characters through the years over the course of three more books. Oh, and should you come across the 2014 movie adaptation of the book starring Ashley Judd, pass. You’re welcome.
Have you read any of these books? Are there books that you would add to the list? We want to hear from you!