Kristin Hannah’s novels are the perfect blend of emotional character development and masterful storytelling, and her book recommendations hold that same gripping blend. We’re always excited to read a new recommendation from her so we’ve rounded up six powerful novels she’s gushed about over the years. We hope these stories of heart and bravery keep you reading away. For more, check out our list of books to read for Kristin Hannah fans.
6 Heartfelt Novels Recommended by Kristin Hannah
“A lush, romantic historical mystery with a unique setting. TIFFANY BLUES explores an interesting lost bit of American history and gives us a heroine to root for."
Set in Jazz Age New York, TIFFANY BLUES follows twenty-four-year-old gifted painter, Jenny Bell, who’s invited to a prestigious summer artists’ colony run by Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany & Co. fame. But Jenny’s traumatic past creeps in and haunts her in the hallways. The competition grows in intensity between the artists until, one night, amid a secret romance and extravagant parties, the threads in Jenny’s life come to a head, threatening everything she holds dear.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow crafts “an enchanting glimpse of Jazz Age New York” (Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train) about a young painter whose traumatic past threatens to derail her career at a prestigious summer artists’ colony run by Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany & Co. fame.
New York, 1924: Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid all distractions and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.
But Jenny’s past has followed her there. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.
As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone else knows about Jenny’s childhood trauma.
Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.
“This fast-paced mystery, star-crossed romance, and love letter to Louis Comfort Tiffany will captivate Rose’s many fans and readers of 20th-century historical fiction” (Library Journal, starred review).
“An evocative, heartfelt, beautifully crafted story that shines a light on a fascinating, tragic bit of forgotten history.”
Inspired by a true story about Seattle's 1909 World's Fair, LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES follows twelve-year-old orphan Ernest Young who is given the opportunity to attend the fair, but is quickly dismayed to learn that he was only there to be raffled off. The winning bidder is the madam of a brothel, and Ernest becomes her new houseboy. Against all odds, Ernest finds a home there and a family in the madam’s daughter and a housemaid. Fifty years later, Ernest is struggling to reckon with the events of the past, and his wife’s declining memory, but the truth threatens to break free.
“One of my top ten novels of all time. Gus and Call are marvelous, unforgettable characters.”
A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, this Pulitzer Prize–winning classic is one of the grandest novels ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America. Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove and meet an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws. Richly authentic, beautifully written, always dramatic this is a book to that will make you laugh, weep, and dream.
A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, this Pulitzer Prize— winning classic is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America. Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove and meet an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers. Richly authentic, beautifully written, always dramatic this is a book to that will make you laugh, weep, and dream.
“FIFTY WORDS FOR RAIN is a lovely, heartrending story about love and loss, prejudice and pain, and the sometimes dangerous, always durable ties that link a family together.”
Set in post–World War II Japan, Nori Kamiza is only eight years old when she’s abandoned by her mother—a married Japanese aristocrat who had an affair with an African American GI. As Nori grows up, she’s confined and abused by her grandparents. But then Nori meets Akira, her half-brother and future inheritor of her grandparents’ estate. Their bond allows Nori to question her destiny and stand up for herself, for once taking hold of her future.
"This is a beautifully written novel that packs a powerful punch. I loved it."
William Kent Krueger’s prequel to his Cork O’Connor series follows a young boy in the summer of 1963, following a young boy grappling with a puzzling murder mystery in town. As Cork doubts the main murder suspect committed the crime, his mistrust place him at odds with his sheriff father and the rest of the townspeople. He sets out to prove them wrong and attain true justice for his murdered friend.
The author of the instant New York Times bestseller This Tender Land returns with a powerful prequel to his acclaimed Cork O’Connor series—a book about fathers and sons, long-simmering conflicts in a small Minnesota town, and the events that echo through youth and shape our lives forever.
Aurora is a small town nestled in the ancient forest alongside the shores of Minnesota’s Iron Lake. In the summer of 1963, it is the whole world to twelve-year-old Cork O’Connor, its rhythms as familiar as his own heartbeat. But when Cork stumbles upon the body of a man he revered hanging from a tree in an abandoned logging camp, it is the first in a series of events that will cause him to question everything he took for granted about his hometown, his family, and himself.
Cork’s father, Liam O’Connor, is Aurora’s sheriff and it is his job to confirm that the man’s death was the result of suicide, as all the evidence suggests. In the shadow of his father’s official investigation, Cork begins to look for answers on his own. Together, father and son face the ultimate test of choosing between what their heads tell them is true and what their hearts know is right.
In this masterful story of a young man and a town on the cusp of change, beloved novelist William Kent Krueger shows that some mysteries can be solved even as others surpass our understanding.
“Readers have asked for more book recommendations. Here’s a longtime favorite."
Living in poverty along the coast of Mississippi, thirteen-year-old Jojo serves as the caretaker to his toddler sister, Kayla. His absent white father has been in jail and his Black mother, Leonie, has a history with drugs. The only father figure Jojo can rely on is his grandfather, Pop, who teaches Jojo the importance of love, compassion, and survival. When Jojo's father is released from prison, Leonie packs up the kids and makes way across the state as danger, destruction, and the truth about Leonie’s family unfolds.
WINNER of the NATIONAL BOOK AWARD and A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A finalist for the Kirkus Prize, Andrew Carnegie Medal, Aspen Words Literary Prize, and a New York Times bestseller, this majestic, stirring, and widely praised novel from two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, the story of a family on a journey through rural Mississippi, is a “tour de force” (O, The Oprah Magazine) and a timeless work of fiction that is destined to become a classic.
Jesmyn Ward’s historic second National Book Award–winner is “perfectly poised for the moment” (The New York Times), an intimate portrait of three generations of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. “Ward’s writing throbs with life, grief, and love… this book is the kind that makes you ache to return to it” (Buzzfeed).
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.
His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.
When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
Rich with Ward’s distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic and unforgettable family story and “an odyssey through rural Mississippi’s past and present” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
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