As we are probably all too aware, life isn’t the fairest thing around. And sometimes it can really put you through the wars.
On those days when you’ve lost all faith in humanity and you just want to escape the world as you know it, there’s only one thing for it. A feel-good book. You’ll disappear from reality and fade away into a new and more exciting world.
And for a little while, the stresses and hardships of life will cease to exist. Of course, you’ll want to opt for a heartwarming story that is uplifting and satisfying.
Now, I can’t promise that it’ll be smooth sailing the whole way through your story. But I can assure you that as you turn that final page, your heart will be full and your faith in humanity restored.
If you’re ready to devour page after page of moving and comforting content, then you’ll need to add any of the following books to your wishlist.
The Best Feel-Good Books To Add To Your Wishlist
Iona Iverson’s Rules For Commuting – Clare Poole
Iona travels the 10 same familiar stops by train every day for her job as a magazine advice columnist. Her rules for the commute are few and simple to follow, the number one rule being: don’t speak to anyone.
However, after one fateful journey, Iona realizes that there are exceptions to every rule. Watching the man she labeled as a ‘Smart-But-Sexist-Manspreader’ choking on a grape mid-commute really puts things into perspective.
Without the invention from nurse Sanjay, it could have been fatal. This singular event is the beginning of a chain reaction that will ultimately show this group of misfit strangers that perhaps they have more in common than they think.
Who knew that simply speaking to strangers could teach you so much, not only about the world around you but about yourself too?
- Thought-Provoking – This book will certainly change your mindset on life. You’ll be made to consider love in its many forms, the importance of friendship, and helping others.
- Funny & Charming – There are so many light-hearted moments created by super charming characters that will leave you beaming and smiling for days.
- Escape The World – With captivating dialogue and really vivid descriptions, you’ll be so engrossed in this novel that you’ll forget about the real world for as long as you’re reading.
- Lacks Mystery – Some readers find the ending of the story to be a little predictable.
The Patron Saint Of Second Chances – Christine Simon
What would you do if you were the mayor of a village that was on the brink of extinction? Well, this is the reality for self-appointed mayor and vacuum repairman Signor Speranza.
The town’s pipes are broken and unless he can find 70,000 euros quickly, the water commission is going to shut off the water and force the residents to disperse from the town.
Well, a little white lie to boost tourism can’t hurt, right? Let’s tell everyone that famous movie star Sante Rinaldi will be filming his next project in the town! Except, now everyone in town is excited and ready to get involved.
Someone’s got a script, there are makeup and hair stylists, and the village butcher is even prepared to pay a hefty sum to get his son’s leading roles. Maybe they can actually pull off making a movie for real?
But what will happen when Rinaldi doesn’t turn up? And what if by some miracle, he actually does?
- Laugh Out Loud Funny – With all the ridiculous predicaments Speranza gets himself in, it is impossible to not chuckle away at his misfortune.
- Cute Light Read – This story is incredibly cute and reads really well. It doesn’t take too much concentration to follow the storyline, and you’ll smash through pages easily and effortlessly.
- Beautiful & Touching Insights – This will definitely restore your faith in humanity as you learn about all the ways that humans come together to help each other in a time of need.
- A Little Unbelievable – This is a quirky and eccentric story that will leave you feeling happy, for sure. However, the plot does get a little far-fetched at times which makes it hard to relate to in places.
Remarkably Bright Creatures – Shelby Van Pelt
Tova’s life has been very hard. Not only did her son mysteriously vanish when he was 18, but she has recently become a widower, too. To distract from her own lonely personal torment, Tova buries herself into her work at the local aquarium.
She loves the aquarium thanks to its resident octopus Marcellus. Plus her long-lost son Erik always adored marine life, so she finds solace in being close to him in whatever way she can.
However, once Tova hurts herself, she is unable to work at her full capacity so the aquarium hires her replacement, Cameron. Tova connects with the young man and learns that he is in town looking for his birth mother.
All the while, clever octopus Marcellus begins to connect the dots as to what really happened to Erik and is determined to give her the much-needed closure required for her to move on.
- Poignant – Deals with themes such as grief and heartache in a really real, raw, and beautiful way. Leaves you with lots to think about and is the perfect read for a book club where themes can be discussed.
- Well-Paced – This story moves really well throughout the book. There are never moments that feel slow or hard to read, and no moment is rushed or glossed over either.
- Unique & Unpredictable – I promise that you’ll have never read a book like this before. Solutions are never the easy option and you can never really tell where this book is going to lead.
- A Little Out There – Now a sentient octopus definitely involves a little imagination and the ability to forget what is ‘believable’ for this story to work. While it is a great read, it may not be for everyone.
The Maid – Nita Prose
Molly Gray has always had a little trouble understanding the world around her. She’s not the best at social queues and often misinterprets others’ intentions. Luckily, she’s always had her loving grandmother to explain the way of the world to her.
But after the tragic loss of her favorite human, Molly is left to navigate the world alone. Determined to make her gran proud she throws herself into the role of a maid.
With a passion for cleaning and popper etiquette, there couldn’t be a role more suited for her.
But when she stumbles upon a room in disarray and a deceased famous client on the bed, she soon becomes the police’s lead suspect due to her unusual demeanor.
Without her trusted mentor by her side can Molly figure out the true culprit before it’s too late?
- Neurodivergent Lead – It’s such a refreshing take to see a competent lead in a story that is so relatable that may feel ‘different’ from other people. The story has strong themes throughout that tackle what it means to be the same but different.
- Keeps You Guessing – This story is so unpredictable and has twists and turns throughout. You’ll be guessing ‘who done it’ until the very last page.
- Roller Coaster Of Emotions – You’ll be hit in the feels repeatedly during this story. One minute you’ll be balling your eyes out, the next you’ll be wiping away tears of laughter.
- Two-Dimensional Characters – While Molly definitely shows representation of typically unrepresented characters, many of the supporting characters lack more depth or development.
The Very Secret Society Of Irregular Witches – Sangu Mandanna
Mika Moon has been an orphan most of her life, so being alone isn’t anything new to her. Which is probably for the best since she needs to keep her secret identity as one of the few remaining witches in Britain under wraps.
And for the most part, she’s fantastic at doing so…except for the online account where she ‘pretends’ to be a witch. Harmless enough, right? It’s not like anyone would believe her. Except someone does.
And that is when she receives a message requesting her presence at the Nowhere House to help teach three young witches to control their powers. Throwing caution to the wind, Mika ignores all the rules she’s created for herself and offers her help.
Mika meets lots of people along the way and finally starts to feel as if she’s finally found her place in the world where she won’t have to be alone. But when trouble comes knocking at the door, will she risk everything for this new-found family?
- Magical Story Set In Present Day – A lot of witch stories are historical fiction and it’s a really great take to see this type of story take place in the modern day.
- Charming & Sweet – This story tackles themes such as loneliness, sense of self, and finding where you belong. It’s incredibly heartwarming to read and is littered with romantic moments throughout too.
- Amazing Characters – The characters in this story are so well-developed and you can’t help but fall in love with them instantly.
- A Little Cheesy – If you like to steer clear of the occasional bit of cringy content, then this book might not be the ideal choice for you.
The Matchmakers Gift – Lynda Cohen Loigman
Ever since she was little Sara Glikman has always known she’d had a gift as a matchmaker and soulmate seeker.
But in a vocation heavily dominated by older men who are threatened by younger females that they perceive as dangerous, she must keep her identity hidden.
And so in secret, Sara matches many couples, keeping detailed journals of all her findings. Two generations later, her granddaughter Abby, couldn’t be any more different.
She is a cynical divorce attorney representing only the most wealthy of clients. However, after the sad passing of Sara, Abby inherits her grandmother’s library of matchmaking journals.
Struggling to understand why she has been left such a collection, Abby delves deep into the books. But what happens when she’s left with more questions than answers?
- Inspiring – While definitely a feel-good story at heart, this book will definitely make you significantly consider the importance of leading a good and true life. You’ll understand the importance of knowing who to trust and understanding love and its many various forms.
- Duel Timelines – Through the use of dual timelines, you get to see two really interesting perspectives that are constantly linked and intertwined.
- Hopeful & Uplifting Ending – You’ll get a very satisfying ending to this story that leaves you hopeful for what your future might hold.
- Foreseeable Plot – Some readers believed that the plot was somewhat foreseeable and left little guesswork.
Under The Whispering Door – T.J. Klune
Seeing the grim reaper at your own funeral is probably a good indication that you’re no longer alive, right? Well, this is exactly what happens to Wallace. Not long after, Wallace meets Hugo who is the owner of the random and strange tea shop in town.
His role? To help him cross over to the other side. But Wallace isn’t ready to leave the real world behind just yet. His life had only just started.
And when given the opportunity to fulfill any last wishes over the course of the next seven days, he resolves to live a lifetime’s worth of memories in just one week.
- Poignant – Deals with themes such as death and grief in a really sensitive and beautiful way.
- Emotional – This book will have you laughing, crying, and screaming in a matter of minutes.
- Lessons To Be Learned – This book will change your entire outlook on life. It really makes you think about how to live your life to the best of your ability.
- Pacing Issues – There’s quite a slow start to this story so it can be a little hard to get into straight away, but the payoff is definitely worth it in the end.
Come Fly The World – Julia Cooke.
This non-fiction tale is super gripping as we soar to new heights. You’ll learn all about the life of a Pan Am stewardess. From uniforms to training, adventures to horror stories you’ll unveil the secrets of living life in the air.
You’ll weave through lighthearted and heartwarming stories to much more serious topics such as hijackers, the Vietnam War, and discrimination towards women.
From start to end the story will captivate your heart, and as a tell-tale sign of any impeccably written piece, you’ll be devastated when it draws to a close.
- Informative – You’ll learn so many interesting facts about the lives of stewardesses from the 1960s. It gives so many interesting insights to the general view of the time including the push for women’s rights.
- Highly Researched – Extensive research is evident throughout the life of each character that is introduced.
- Lacks Interest – Some readers commented that this book leaves something to be desired in terms of entertainment.
The Good Neighbor: The Life And Work Of Fred Rogers – Maxwell King
For those who might not know, Fred Rogers played a pivotal role in the creation and development of educational children’s television programs.
And if you’re looking for a feel-good read there is nothing better than learning about the wonders of this extraordinary true-of-heart gentleman.
Throughout this biography, you’ll learn all about this compassionate, caring, and kind man who only ever had children’s emotional, social, and educational needs at heart.
Take a journey through time as you learn about all the ways he devoted his life to reaching the goals he put in place.
- Thought-Provoking – This story will really encourage out of the box thinking and will leave you pondering what you can implement in your life to encourage positive changes.
- Informative – There are so many interesting facts and stories waiting to be told. You’ll learn so much along the way as you enter Fred Rogers’s life.
- Nostalgic – If you grew up watching any of the shows that Fred Rogers produced, you’ll be hit with wave after wave of nostalgia.
- Not Very Engaging – Some readers struggled to stay engaged throughout the book as parts can feel a little repetitive. And since it is not an autobiography, there aren’t many quotes from Fred Rogers himself.
The Guncle – Steven Rowley
Patrick has always been known as Gay Uncle Patrick (or GUP for short) by his adorable younger niece Maisie and nephew Grant. And he picked up the role of the fun uncle easily and effortlessly.
There’s nothing more he enjoys than his weeklong visits, especially since the short visit periods meant he could get away without really having to be responsible.
There were many words to describe Patrick; larger than life, eccentric, and even a little bit mad. But responsible certainly wasn’t one of them. The whole parenting thing seemed just too overwhelming.
But Patrick’s role as the fun figure is short-lived. When a tragic accident hits, the children lose both their parents, and with the parent’s other sibling contending with a health crisis of his own, it is down to Patrick to become their primary caregiver.
And as any parent will tell you – it’s not a job easily done. Patrick’s life is suddenly turned upside down as he confronts the perils of parenthood.
- Touching & Heartwarming – This story has so many beautiful moments littered throughout it. It encourages hope, joy, and laughter.
- Light Read With Deeper Themes – While this definitely can be considered a light-hearted read that you can devour quickly. It also tackles many important themes throughout such as grief, loss, and love. There are times when you’ll need to grab the tissues too.
- Very Funny – There are so many laugh out loud moments throughout this novel. Patrick’s snarkiness and wit will have you doubled over in stitches!
- Forced Subplots – The general premise of this book is executed perfectly however some of the smaller subplots can feel a little unnecessary and forced.
House On The Cerulean Sea – T.J. Klune
Linus Baker leads a relatively quiet life, and that’s how he likes it. He has his naughty and cunning cat and a ton of old records. What more can you ask for? Oh, and he also has a pretty interesting job too.
He is a caseworker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth. It usually involves him overseeing the well-being of young children that are homed by government-sanctioned orphanages.
It’s standard practice…at least until now. When Linus suddenly gets summoned by the Extremely Upper Management he’s surprised, to say the least. But nothing could prepare him for the task that is presented before him.
Determine whether six dangerous children at Marsyas Island Orphanage are likely to be earth’s demise. No pressure. And so Linus travels to oversee these children; a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unpredictable green blob, a were-Pomeranian.
Oh, and the Antichrist. However, upon his travels, Linus grows close to the caretaker of these children and discovers there are even more secrets surrounding this island.
Ultimately, Linus is left with a choice. Does he destroy their home? Or does he let the world burn?
- Characters You Can’t Help But Love – Each character in this novel is so distinct and beautifully written that you’ll become so protective of each one of them.
- Vibrant Description – This story comes to life so well because the description is so phenomenal. Klune paints a picture in your mind like a skilled and proficient artist.
- Heartwarming – Essentially the heart of this book is that we should always embrace our differences and love people for who they are. The message of this book is so pure and sweet you can’t help but feel joy whenever you pick it up or put it down.
- Paints A Bad Picture Of Christianity – Christians that have read this book feel that it mocks the faith and is hostile to the religion in general.
The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
When the aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo offers Monique Grant the job of writing the scandalous and glamorous history of her life, no one is more surprised than the reporter herself.
Stunned as to why Evelyn has chosen her, Monique has plenty of questions. However, she decided the best port of call is to just rise to the opportunity.
So what if she’s not got much of a career or even a personal life going on right now? This could finally be the jump-start her career so desperately needs.
But as Monique learns the truth behind Evelyn’s high profile life, the ruthless ambition, unexpected friendships, and great forbidden love, it also starts to become evidently clear that Evelyn and Monique’s lives are more entangled than she was first led to believe.
- Tackles Important Themes – This powerful book has many important themes throughout. We learn about race, misogyny, and the idea of the prison of conforming to society’s norms and rules.
- Super Romantic – Nothing says feel-good like a romantic storyline and the power behind the love of the two main characters is absolutely awe-inspiring.
- LGBTQ+ Representation – It’s really important to see characters that represent all walks of life so that we can relate to the stories we are told. This book shows a really raw and accurate representation of LGBTQ+ love and the hardships that follow.
- Pacing Issues – Some readers find this story difficult to get fully into. It has been noted that learning about the seven different husbands can feel a little repetitive with a lack of real substance.
The Magic Strings Of Frankie Presto – Mitch Album
Narrated by none other than Music itself, this story tells the powerful story of Frankie Presto, a war orphan that is raised by a blind music teacher.
At as young as just 9 years old, Frankie is shipped from a small Spanish town to America in the bottom of a boat. The only possessions he has with him are an old guitar and six very precious strings.
Frankie’s talent is obviously a gift from the Gods themselves. And throughout this story, we learn about the many influences he has on stars along the way. Expect to see the appearances of Elvis Presley, Carole King, and KISS.
However, popular musician Frankie soon learns that his gift is both a blessing and a curse. One string of his guitar turns blue whenever a life is altered.
Over time, Frankie’s popularity dwindles and his powers become nothing more than an urban legend. But now, decades later, he’s back. And in the last few moments before his end, he is determined to change one last life.
- Twists & Surprises – The plot of this story is incredible and it always keeps you guessing. It’s definitely a book that you won’t be able to put down.
- Unique & Different Perspective – With music as the narrator of this novel, it’s a really unique take on storytelling that I have never seen before. It really keeps you engaged until the very last page.
- Pulls On Your Heartstrings – This story, all about the power of guitar strings will definitely pull on the strings of your heart. It’s such a poignant and touching novel that really leaves you with food for thought.
- Disjointed – The book often jumps back and forth between different timelines and for some readers, it can make the story feel a little disjointed or hard to follow.
The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
Set in 1988, Frank is the owner of a music shop found on a dead-end street in a run-down suburb. It is far from luxurious or grand, but that doesn’t stop the sleepless, lovely, and adrift from venturing in.
And Frank has a true talent for seeing people. He easily and effortlessly connects with his customers to help them pick out just the right music to fit their needs. He is never wrong.
But when a beautiful and mysterious woman by the name of Ilse Brauchmann enters the store, life as Frank knows it will change forever. Ilse has one request: teach her all there is to know about music.
Terrified of intimacy, there is something within Frank that tells him to run away, but there’s something just so compelling about her that he can’t find it in him to move.
The pair embark on a beautiful journey together learning about love, the healing power of music, and the repercussions of emotional damage.
- Impactful – This story is so life-affirming and really highlights the poignant power that music can bring to our lives.
- Quirky Characters – These eccentric and charming characters are well-developed and bring a real lightheartedness to such a beautiful story.
- Emotional Rollercoaster – This story will have you laughing out loud and then reaching for the tissues simultaneously. It really brings out every emotion in you.
- Lackluster Ending – Some readers felt that the book began to fizzle out as it drew to its conclusion and that the ending wasn’t as satisfying as they had hoped.
Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy is a girl coming of age and making her way through life in LA during the 60s. She loves nothing more than all the antics that come with being involved in the Rock ‘n’ Roll scene…except for maybe the music itself.
And as she transitions from girl to woman, she’s really starting to get noticed. For her voice and her stunning good looks.
Also creeping up in popularity is the popular band The Six, and frontman Billy Dune finds out some pretty big news on the very evening of their first tour; he’s about to become a dad.
With the responsibility of parenthood hanging over his head, Billy takes the opportunity to blow off all his steam before he becomes a father.
But when Billy and Daisy’s lives collide, it’s evident that the pair are the secret to success. And the rest? Well…that’s history in the making.
- Forget It’s Fiction – This book is so vividly descriptive and well-written that it’s hard to remember it’s a fictional story. You’ll be ready to google the band and all the characters as if they really were the most promising music act to ever exist.
- Several POVs – You learn about each character through a variety of different viewpoints that are so interestingly presented. Each POV reveals something new about the characters and keeps you gripped throughout the novel.
- Emotional – This book will have you feeling emotions you’ve never felt before. The ups are sky-high and the downs plummet you right down to the ground. You’ll feel everything so intensely that you can’t help but be drawn into this make-believe world.
- Format Isn’t For Everyone – While the interview-like format of the book is definitely a unique take, some readers found it hard to truly connect to the storyline and characters.
Last Summer At The Golden Hotel – Elyssa Friedland
Legend says that the Golden Hotel was once the crown jewel of the Catskills vacation scene. It was the most coveted hotspot for the fabulously rich and famous.
But this notoriety is nothing more than an old whisper to the Goldman and Weingold families that run it. Now, management has fallen apart along with the hotel.
And when an outrageous offer for the hotel comes around the families must come together to try to save the beloved hotel before it is too late.
With secrets, scandals, drama, and all sorts of relatives coming out of the woodwork is saving The Golden Hotel a feat too large for these families?
- Fun Read – This plot has so much fun incorporated into it. There are tons of laugh out loud moments that will bring you joy.
- Full Of Heart – This book is so life-affirming and full of love. It really highlights the importance of coming together regardless of the hardships life might throw your way.
- Nostalgic – If you’ve ever had the pleasure of vacationing at the Catskill hotels you will really enjoy the accurate descriptions that are very reminiscent of the time period.
- Too Many Characters – Some readers felt that there were too many characters constantly being introduced throughout the novel and it made following along a little difficult and confusing at times.
The Paris Apartment – Kelly Bowen
It’s 2017 and Aurelia has just inherited an apartment in Paris from her grandmother. This might not seem all that out of the ordinary…except for the fact Aurelia has no idea it even existed.
And nothing could prepare her for the secrets hidden within its walls. Now, she sets on enrolling the help of an art restorer to truly uncover all the history and mystery surrounding the contents of the apartment.
In 1942, Estelle is living in Nazi-occupied Paris. And when German officials come to steal away her friends and family she is willing to risk it all to help them.
Estelle has no idea just how much her courageous efforts will affect the many generations to come. In this feel-good love story, past and present are seamlessly intertwined.
- Incredibly Poignant – Set during the second world war, the atrocities of the time are handled sensitively but truthfully. It will definitely leave you thinking about the traumatic time and the courageous efforts of those that resisted the regime.
- Strong Female Lead – If you adore a book with strong and brave women as the featured lead then this is definitely the book for you. Both female leads are smart, fearless, and full of heart.
- Emotional Rollercoaster – This book will have you sky-high and then you’ll plummet right beneath the ground. Keep a box of tissues beside you for parts of this book, though, you’ve been warned.
- Hard To Follow – While many readers have spoken about how interesting this novel is, they do comment that it can be hard to follow at some times. It definitely wouldn’t be considered a light-read. You’ll need to dedicate all your attention to this book.
Band Of Sisters – Lauren Willig
Kate Morgan feels like she’s finally gotten through the worst of it when she finally graduates from Smith College.
But after the summer her life is about to change forever when she hears a rousing speech from fellow alumni Betsy Rutherford asking for volunteers to help the French civilians decimated by the German war.
Initially, Kate is reluctant but is eventually convinced by her former best friend to join their efforts. The courageous women set sail for Germany and really begin to make a difference.
But with old rivalries rearing their ugly heads, betrayal at its finest, and the constant threat of the army trying to break through the lines, can these girls really pull together before it’s too late?
- Intrigue Mixed With History – This book based on the 18 real-life heroes of Smith college binds fiction and history together in an intriguing and fascinating way.
- Well Researched – This story shows evidence of heavy research. Not only will you walk away entertained but you’ll be educated on these perilous times too.
- Every Emotion – Funny, sad, heart-wrenching and warming, this book will bring out every emotion that you could possibly feel.
- A Little Long – This book is quite long and some readers feel as if it lags a little during the middle section.
The Jane Austen Society – Natalie Jenner
Set just after the Second World War, a laborer, a young widow, a local doctor, a movie star, and a few other characters come together in the small village of Chawton.
Chawton, over 150 years ago, was the final home of renowned English writer Jane Austin. Currently, it homes a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate.
This band of misfits has all grouped together in the hopes to preserve not only Austin’s home but her entire legacy.
Along the way, these people who couldn’t be any more different soon come to realize that maybe they are more like-minded than they know. Each one, a victim of loss.
This powerful and thought-provoking book highlights the universal humanity within us all.
- Vivid Descriptions – Jenner has such a way with words that the story really does come to life. You are no longer reading about a story but rather living inside it.
- Relatable – The purpose of this book is that everyone can relate to the characters’ hardships in one way or another. It highlights that both the worst and best parts of life are universal experiences.
- Twist & Turns – The plot is very unpredictable and you never know what will happen next meaning intrigue is kept until the very last page.
- Americanisms – For a book set in England with only English characters there are quite a lot of Americanisms within the descriptions and dialogue which hurt the story’s realism.
Juliet – Anna Fortier
25-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken after the loss of her beloved Aunt Rose. And the sting of that pain is only made worse when she learns that her entire estate has been left to her twin sister.
Julie inherits nothing but a singular key to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy. Key in hand, Julie then embarks on a journey that will change her whole life as she knows it.
As she delves deeper into the past of Giuletta Tolomei, an orphaned child who was smuggled to Siena. Here she met a young man named Romeo and their ill-fated love went on to inspire future generations of artists.
But as Julie soon finds out, the past and the present have ways of intertwining to the point that telling them apart becomes impossible. And the deeper she delves, the more danger arises.
It is clear that only someone like Romeo himself could help her. But his story ended many years ago…or did it?
- Mixing Medieval & Modern – This modern day twist on Romeo and Juliet collides medieval and modern parallels of Siena together seamlessly.
- Genres Galore – This book has a little bit of everything so you’ll never find a dull moment. From action to romance, mystery to history, it’s all there.
- Keeps You Guessing – Throughout most of this book you’ll be left with lots to figure out and no way of doing so! It’s so intriguing with a surprising twisting and turning ending to the tale.
- Two-Dimensional Characters – Some of the characters lack the character development you may hope for and seem to lack any real substance.
The Island Of Missing Trees – Elif Shafak
There aren’t many books narrated by a fig tree, but this is one of them. And in this hauntingly beautiful tale after the loss of her mother, Ada’s aunt turns up for the winter holiday.
She relives the tale of how her parents fell in love all those many years ago. As a Turk and a Greek, their love was always forbidden. But social norms could never keep these lovers apart.
And that fig tree growing old in Ada’s backyard…well, it witnessed the whole thing.
- Powerful – This incredibly powerful and poignant read will lay heavy on your heart for a while after reading. It tackles incredibly sensitive topics such as the harsh realities of war.
- Unique Take – I love that the book is narrated by a fig tree. It seems as if it shouldn’t work but Shafak goes about it in such an incredible way. It’s such a unique read and is unlike any other book I’ve read.
- Super Descriptive – This book really brings the setting to life. You will feel as if you are watching a movie in your mind with crystal clear imagery.
- Slow-Moving – The story does seem to start very slowly and can be a little difficult to get into at the beginning. But it’s definitely worth the perseverance.
The Bookshop On The Corner – Jenny Colgan
Nina adores her job. She sees herself as a literary matchmaker. Always able to find any eager reader the perfect book for them. It barely even seems like work for her…it’s more of a passion.
At least, it was. When Nina’s job becomes no more she resolves to move to a small quaint village miles away from where she currently calls home.
There she buys herself her very own mobile bookshop where she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood changing the lives of those who inhabit them one book at a time.
It seems that even in the smallest and sleepiest of villages there are plenty of adventures to be had. But can Nina write her very own happy ending?
- Sweet & Adorable – This story tells the most adorably sweet story of a young girl who takes a risk to get her happy ending. It tackles themes of spreading and accepting love and happiness.
- Great Characters – From descriptions to development everything about the characters throughout this story is astounding. You really grow to know and care about each one of them.
- Simple & Realistic – While the plot is fairly simple, it’s realistic and is great for escapism. You can genuinely believe that this storyline happened and relate it to your life in terms of how spreading a little love can have a massive impact on someone’s life.
- A Little Cliché – This book does get a little cheesy or cliché throughout the latter half of the book but this is fairly expected given the genre.
The Little Paris Bookshop – Nina George
Monsieur Perdu is a literary apothecary, he has fantastic intuition that allows him to select novels for customers that will heal even the most torn of broken hearts. He has never failed.
Except for when it comes to himself. Still reeling from the wounds of heartbreak after his true love disappeared, the only thing he has left of her is a singular letter. A letter he’s never had the courage to open.
One fateful day, however, he is tempted to read the letter which results in Perdu embarking on a journey to the South of France to try to make peace with his incredible loss and maybe finally once and for all figure out the end of this story.
- Heartwarming Themes – The ability to come to terms with being vulnerable, grief, and loss are prevalent throughout. There is also an emphasis on embracing happiness, healing, and learning acceptance.
- Vivid Imagery – Nina George really shows the power and impact of words in her writing. Everything is painted so well in your mind. You really can imagine yourself in every setting she describes.
- Compelling – With a gentle and reasonable plot, it’s easy to forget that this book is a work of fiction. It is so spell-bounding and will keep you flipping through pages right up until its conclusion.
- Slow-Mover – This book can take a little getting into. The plot is remarkable but the pacing is somewhat off at the beginning of the novel.
The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
We all have an idea of how we want our lives to pan out, right? Well, this was the very last thing A.J. Fikry had envisioned; alone, a failing bookstore, and his most prized possession, a collection of Poe Poems, stolen. Where did it all go wrong?
Suddenly, a mysterious package finds its way to the bookstore, and with it, it brings a chance at starting life over. Can Fikry make more of his life the second time around?
- Narrative Language Is Musical – Written with such fluidity and wonderful language it is impossible to put this novel down. One chapter becomes two, then three, until you find yourself on that very last page.
- Character Development – Throughout this story you watch the main character transform from a standoffish unlikable character to someone relatable and loving. You really see their progression as the story unfolds.
- Twists & Turns – You’ll never know where exactly this story will take you next. It keeps you guessing the whole way through with a great final payoff.
- Pacing Issues – There are parts of the story that seem to jump forward a little unpredictably which can make it hard to follow at times.
Anxious People – Fredrik Blackman
Nothing interesting happens when viewing real estate, right? It’s a fairly mundane task. That is until a failed bank robber takes a group of strangers hostage. And what a collection of hostages they turn out to be.
You’ve got a couple with a broken marriage who put all their efforts into fixing homes rather than dwindle on the one thing they can’t appear to fix, a wealthy bank director who cares only about himself, a bickering expecting couple, an 87-year-old who’s afraid of nothing, a flustered estate agent, and a mystery man.
During their time in captivity, they learn two things. One – this bunch of misfits have more in common than they first thought. Each is a victim of grief, loss, and secrets. Two – not one is exactly who they appear to be.
These reluctant allies must band together and reveal their deepest secrets, thus setting things into motion that not even they could believe to be true.
- Strong & Important Message – This story boils down to one overwhelming theme; love makes you do crazy things and you don’t know anyone’s story until you take the time to listen to them. IT really encourages kinder connections with the people around you.
- Laugh Out Loud Funny – There are so many hilarious moments throughout this novel that it’ll have you doubled over in hysterics.
- Fast Read – The pacing of this book is amazing and the storyline is so engaging that you can devour through pages at an incredibly fast speed.
- Format Isn’t For Everyone – The format of this book allows for switches in the narrative between characters and timelines and this could be a little confusing for some.
All The Lonely People – Mike Gayle
After the loss of his wife Hubert Bird does not want to worry his daughter, so during their weekly calls he paints the perfect picture of a blissful retirement blessed with meaningful friendships, fun, and fulfillment.
The problem? None of it’s true. Which might not have normally been an issue, except for the fact his daughter is finally coming to visit.
Hubert embarks on the task of making his real life appear just like the one he describes to his daughter. Along the way, Hubert learns that the picture he painted might not be all that hard to actually find.
But with the origins of his isolation lurking beneath the surface, will he ever get to lead the life of his dreams?
- Emotional Rollercoaster – This book will have you feeling every possible emotion. You’ll laugh, scream, and cry along with the characters as they navigate their way through life.
- Twist & Turns – I love that the plot is so realistic the whole way through this novel, and while there are definitely still surprises that you won’t see coming along the way it still stays true to real life and is very relatable.
- Thought-Provoking – This book will leave you reflecting on the importance of courage and friendship.
- Rushed Ending – Because of the incredible detail in the first 3/4s of the book, it seems to lack that tying of loose ends in its conclusion. Many readers felt as if the ending felt rushed which was a little disappointing.
Still Life – Louise Penny
In the small rural village of Montreal there has been a suspicious death. Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are immediately called to the scene.
The consensus is that it is nothing more than a tragic hunting accident, but after smelling something foul within the depths of the remote woods, it soon becomes clear that this death does not fall to the hands of a simply careless bow hunter.
Something more sinister is the cause. But what? And who? Can the Chief and his team solve the mystery before anyone else ends up getting hurt?
- Suspense & Intrigue – This book will keep you gripped the whole way through. The plot is tight and masterfully crafted. Guessing the ending is near enough impossible and you never see the many twists and turns along the way.
- Super Descriptive – Penny’s writing is so vivid and alluring. Everything becomes so realistic that you actually forget that you are reading. You are so caught up in the location and storylines that it feels as if you have been absorbed into the book and the plot.
- Insightful – Not only do you get all the suspense of a thriller but there are some really important themes littered throughout. The story highlights the inevitability of loss but that once you can accept this you can adapt and still live happy and fulfilling lives.
- Pacing Problems – There are chapters of this book that feel a little lethargic that take a little more effort to get through.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant has always struggled with social interactions. And just social skills in general, really. Luckily, it hasn’t mattered much since she prefers to avoid social situations at all costs.
Little does Eleanor know it, but when she meets Raymond, a highly unhygienic bubbling IT guy, her life is about to change forever.
After the couple saves an elderly gentleman named Sammy who’s fallen over on the sidewalk, these unlikely misfits become the best of friends.
And while the three friends find a way to save each other from their own isolation, can they also band together to repair their equally broken and damaged hearts?
- Quirky Characters – These characters are all larger than life in their own ways. It’s great to see representations of people that we don’t usually see. Each has their own phenomenal development throughout the novel and you can’t help but fall head over heels for them.
- Life-Affirming – The core message of this book plays on the idea that all humans need each other. It’s our innate nature to need someone to rely on. It will have you evaluating the way you treat not only yourself and your friends, but strangers too.
- Hilarious – Despite tackling some really important themes, Honeyman cleverly interweaves many light-hearted and super funny moments throughout the novel.
- Lackluster Plot – While there are really important messages and great characters in this novel, sometimes it feels a little like the plot isn’t really progressing very well. Some chapters can be a little difficult to get through.
On those days when you just want to draw the curtains and forget about the world, there’s only one thing for it. A feel-good book. That much-needed escapism from the world around you.
Something life-affirming and heart-warming that will remind you that life isn’t always as bad as it seems.
Regardless of which genre you prefer, be it mystery, romance, fantasy, or nonfiction, there’s a perfect feel-good option for everyone, as this article proves.
So, if you need something to boost your spirits and leave your heart full, just take your pick from this list. Curl up, get cozy, and entertain yourself in a wonderful world of new characters and exciting stories!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Feel-Good Book?
A feel-good book is a book that leaves you feeling happy and with a full heart. While the novel won’t always be plain sailing its conclusion should be life-affirming and thought-provoking.
What Is The Best Genre For A Feel-Good Book?
Feel-good books filter into every genre, but some are definitely better than others. I find that cozy fantasy, cozy mystery, or romance genres offer the best feel-good plot lines, though.