Did you love Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library as much as we did? Know someone else who loved it and needs another read to scratch the same itch this holiday season? Check out these eight books that are sure to serve up similar thought-provoking stories. From looking into the sliding-door realities of paths left untaken to capturing a sense of transcendent connection across space and time, these books offer parallels to Haig’s in plot, characters, and tones. There’s nothing better than finding a new book that feels like an old friend.
On the eve of opening a new tearoom, Ava Dove has uncovered a disaster: all her herbal teas are wreaking havoc on her customers, waking them up at night with terrible dreams and inspiring them to blurt out their deepest secrets. Meanwhile, her seventeen-year-old employee Kristen has started digging into her long-standing family secret of who her sperm-donor father really was. When Ava realizes that Kristen might be the key to fixing her teas, she, Kristen’s grandmother, and Kristen together devote themselves to facing the past to heal what’s harming them in the present.
New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins returns to her beloved Dove Pond series with another “mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author)—but this time, the magic is in the tea leaves.
Ava Dove—the sixth of the seven famed Dove sisters and owner of Ava Dove’s Landscaping and Specialty Teas—is frantic.
Just as her fabulous new tearoom is about to open, her herbal teas have gone wonky. Suddenly, her sleep-inducing tea is startling her clients awake with vivid dreams, her romance-kindling tea is causing people to blurt out their darkest secrets, and her anti-anxiety tea is making them spend hours staring into mirrors. Ava is desperate for a remedy, but her search leads her into dangerous territory, as she is forced to face a dark secret she’s been hiding for over a decade.
Meanwhile, successful architect Ellen Foster has arrived in Dove Pond to attend the funeral of her estranged daughter, Julie. Grieving deeply, Ellen is determined to fix up her daughter’s ramshackle house, sell it, and then sweep her sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Kristen, off to a saner, calmer life in Raleigh. But Kristen has other plans. Desperate to stay with her friends in Dove Pond, Kristen sets off on a quest she’s avoided her whole life—to find her never-been-there father in the hopes of winning her freedom from the grandmother she barely knows.
Together, Ava, Kristen, and Ellen embark on a reluctant but magical journey of healing, friendship, and family that will delight fans of Alice Hoffman, Kate Morton, and Sarah Addison Allen.
Three best friends have been given the chance to return to the year they turned forty to change their future. For Jessie, this means not telling her husband of the affair that lead to her son, Lucas, in order to stay married to the love of her life. For Gabriela, this means conceiving a baby with her husband instead of focusing all her attention on her publishing career. And for Claire this means repairing her relationship with her mother, preventing her daughter from following the wrong path, and taking another shot at the man who got away.
What if you had the chance to go back to one moment in your life and change it? Three best friends have that chance in Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke’s heartwarming and hilarious novel, which explores the decisions we make—big and small—that affect our lives. Jessie loves her son but hates the circumstances under which he was born; Claire is living exactly the life she wants but often thinks about the things she’s missed out on; and Gabriela, a famous author, wonders how much following her dream has affected her future.
When a surgeon leaves behind a scandal in the city to work at a village clinic, he thinks his biggest challenges will be the cockroaches and corrupt local officers. One night, a teacher and the teacher’s pregnant wife and son appear before him. While they were killed in a robbery, they can have a second chance at life if he is able to mend them by sunrise. Over the course of the night, the surgeon and his assistant delve into their work, learning more than they ever dreamed possible in this inventive and thought-provoking debut.
An astronomer in the 1700s. A bridge worker in the 1930s. An ex-pat banker at the start of the twenty-first century. All three men happen to look up just in time to see a man fall from the sky—and survive. So inexplicable and powerful, the sight stops each man in their tracks and changes them, across time and space. In this poetic and luminous tale, Ashley Hay explores the transcendency of shared experience, of contingent revelation, and of the meaning of home and how to find it.
“Exquisite…a rich, meditative novel that explores the connectivity of people living in the same geographical space across the distance of time.” —New York Times Book Review
From the acclaimed author of the “exquisitely written and deeply felt” (Geraldine Brooks, author of The Secret Chord) novel The Railwayman’s Wife comes a magical and gorgeously wrought tale of an astonishing event that connects three people across three hundred years.
Imagine you looked up at just the right moment and saw something completely unexpected. What if it was something so marvelous that it transformed time and space forever?
The Body in the Clouds tells the story of one such extraordinary moment—a man falling from the sky, and surviving—and of the three men who see it, in different ways and at different times, as they stand on the same piece of land. An astronomer in the 1700s, a bridge worker in the 1930s, and an expatriate banker returning home in the early twenty-first century: all three are transformed by this one magical event. And all three are struggling to understand what the meaning of “home” is, and how to recognize it once you’re there.
Widely praised for her “poetic gifts” (Booklist) and “graceful, supremely honest, [and] thought-provoking” (Kirkus Reviews) prose, Ashley Hay has crafted a luminous and unforgettable novel about the power of story, its ability to define the world around us, and the questions that transcend time.
Millard is terrified of being an old and lonely burden, so he has decided to end his own life before it’s too late. On his last day, he wants to wrap up loose ends. He plans to confront his estranged first wife, have a final talk with his chronically unemployed son, visit his second wife’s grave, and say goodbye to Delilah, the widow he has unexpectedly fallen in love with. But, like all good plans, Millard’s goes awry as his family has a surprise in store for him in this poignant and heartwarming novel.
Unlike her go-with-the-flow best friend, Bella, Dannie Kohan is a planner. Now, she has nailed the interview for her dream job and received a marriage proposal from her swoony boyfriend and it seems like all her hard work has paid off. But when she wakes up the next morning, she’s in a new apartment, married to someone else. She spends only one hour five years in the future before returning to her present. But can she go back to how things were, knowing now that not everything turns out as planned?
An Atria Book. Atria Books has a great book for every reader.
In fifteenth-century Constantinople, Anna reads the story of Aethon to her sister while the great siege of Constantinople is under way. In a present-day Idaho library, elderly Zeno tries to direct five children in a play of Aethon’s story while teenage Seymour plants a bomb amongst the stacks. And in the future, on an intersteller ship, Konstance copies Aethon’s story, which her father had told her, onto scraps. CLOUD CUCKOO LAND is a glorious and redemptive novel from Pulitzer Prize–winning author Anthony Doerr about the books and connections that give us the resilience to go on.
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, perhaps the most bestselling and beloved literary fiction of our time, comes a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring novel about children on the cusp of adulthood in a broken world, who find resilience, hope, and story.
The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are trying to figure out the world around them: Anna and Omeir, on opposite sides of the formidable city walls during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour in an attack on a public library in present day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet, decades from now. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of peril.
An ancient text—the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky—provides solace and mystery to these unforgettable characters. Doerr has created a tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us and those who will be here after we’re gone.
Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a hauntingly beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.
If you enjoyed Haig’s writing style in THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY, check out his older works! Funny, warm-hearted, and compelling, THE HUMANS follows one extra-terrestrial on his quest to discover what it really means to be human. Disguised as a mathematician named Professor Andrew Martin, an alien visitor comes to Earth on a quest. While his first impression of humans is to be disgusted by them, he soon develops a fondness for everything from poetry to peanut butter and learns that there may be something transcendent to the humans’ imperfections after all, something that threatens the very integrity of the quest that brought him there in the first place.
Photo credit: iStock / Ekaterina Morozova