11 Books to Read If You Loved The Nightingale

By Brandon Miller
A collection of bestselling novels artfully arranged, showcasing a variety of captivating book covers.

These epic narratives will spirit you away just like Kristin Hannah’s bestseller.

Kristin Hannah reached new heights with her historical fiction novel The Nightingale. The blockbuster narrative, which will soon be made into a film, transports readers to war-torn France during the dark days of WWII, where two determined sisters fight for love and liberty.

Looking for more books like The Nightingale or authors like Kristin Hannah? Well, we’ve compiled a list of epic narratives suffused with family drama, compelling characters, and vivid historical detail.

Beyond That, the Sea

By Laura Spence-Ash

Like The Nightingale, Laura Spence-Ash’s celebrated historical fiction debut starts during World War II. And while both novels explore the meaning of home and the unbreakable bonds of family, Beyond That, the Sea has an ocean separating its key characters. The tender coming-of-age narrative begins in England in 1940. As German bombs rain down on London, working-class parents Millie and Reginald Thompson make the difficult decision to send their young daughter Beatrix away to America so she might escape the horrors of the war. The 11-year-old is heartbroken by the displacement, but she soon adapts to her new life in Boston with her wealthy surrogate family. Just as Bea begins to settle into herself, however, the war in Europe ends and she’s summoned back to England. Now caught between two worlds, Bea must grapple with competing familial loyalties — a struggle that will echo across the years and alter the course of her life. Spanning WWII to the 1970s, Beyond That, the Sea is “as haunting as it is accomplished” (Meg Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author of The Female Persuasion).


The Alice Network

By Kate Quinn

Readers searching for authors like Kristin Hannah are sure to enjoy Kate Quinn, a New York Times bestselling writer whose richly layered novels are packed with enthralling characters, propulsive plots, and evocative historical detail. In The Alice Network, Quinn employs a dual-timeline narrative that spans both world wars. The first thread follows Charlie St. Clair, a young college student in 1947 America who’s banished to Europe by her moralistic family after becoming pregnant. Upon arriving, Charlie sets off for London to track down her cousin Rose, who went missing years ago in Nazi-occupied France. The second thread jumps back to 1915, where Eve Gardiner joins the Alice Network spy ring to combat German forces in World War I. Years later, Eve —now an alcoholic recluse grappling with the treachery that brought down the spy ring — crosses paths with Charlie, and the two embark on a mission to right the wrongs of the past.

A woman in a vintage green dress seems to be walking briskly or caught mid-motion against a green background. the image is overlaid with text, including the author's name "beatriz williams" and the book title "the summer wives," suggesting this is the cover of a novel. there are review blurbs and a note indicating that the book is from the bestselling author of "a hundred summers.

The Summer Wives

By Beatriz Williams

Fans of The Nightingale will be swept away by Beatriz Williams’s The Summer Wives, which movingly explores themes of love and loyalty across the postwar period. The novel begins in the summer of 1951 on the fictional Winthrop Island, where Miranda Schuyler’s mother remarries a wealthy man after her husband dies in WWII. Miranda’s new stepsister, Isobel Fisher, intends to draw Miranda into her family’s affluent inner circle, but Miranda is attracted to a local boy from the working-class part of the island. That boy, Joseph Vargas, has a complex history with Isobel, and when Miranda gets caught up in a terrible event, she’s banished from the island for decades. Years later, Miranda returns to Winthrop, determined to reconnect with Joseph and reckon with the traumas and injustices that bind them.

Book cover of "the seven husbands of evelyn hugo" featuring a close-up of a woman in a striking green dress reclined with her arm covering her eyes.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

Bestselling author Taylor Jenkins Reid wowed readers in 2017 with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and it’s easy to see why: The sumptuous narrative is “a celebration of human frailty that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus). It’s also overflowing with charming characters and dazzling historical detail, making it a perfect next read for Nightingale fans. The novel transports us to Hollywood as reclusive actress Evelyn Hugo shares her life story with a reporter named Monique Grant. Evelyn details everything from her arrival in Hollywood in the 1950s to her decision to leave it all behind in the 1980s, with a focus on her many husbands and other relationships. Eventually Monique learns the reason why Evelyn chose her for the assignment by way of an unexpected intersection in their lives.

The image shows a book cover with an artistic arrangement of text labels against a textured background. the book's title "everything i never told you" is fragmented across three separate strips of paper, with the author's name, celeste ng, on a fourth strip at the bottom.

Everything I Never Told You

By Celeste Ng

In her acclaimed debut, Little Fires Everywhere author Celeste Ng delivers a haunting meditation on family, love, and loss. If you enjoyed The Nightingale for its tender portrait of familial resiliency and heartbreak, you should definitely add Everything I Never Told You to your TBR list. The bestselling literary fiction novel centers on a Chinese American family in 1970s Ohio who are reeling from the loss of their favorite child, Lydia Lee. Parents Marilyn and James spiral in the aftermath of their daughter’s shocking demise, exposing cracks in their relationship and long-buried secrets as they struggle to come to terms with what really happened.

Three women walking arm in arm through a sepia-toned landscape, under the title "lilac girls" by martha hall kelly, suggesting a story of friendship and resilience.

Lilac Girls

By Martha Hall Kelly

Like The Nightingale, Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls delivers a moving historical tale of womanhood and survival during World War II. The novel, which draws its inspiration from real-life people and events, focuses on the lives of three women: Caroline Ferriday, an American socialite who takes up a post at the French consulate, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager who serves as a courier for the underground resistance, and Herta Oberheuser, a German doctor struggling to reconcile her ambitions with the reprehensible actions of the Nazi regime. Soon the lives of all three women intersect in this “compelling, page-turning narrative… that reexamines history from a fresh, female point of view” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

A woman in a yellow dress stands with her back to the viewer, epitomizing grace and mystery, set against the backdrop of a book cover titled "yellow wife" by sadeqa johnson, promising a story of heart and resilience as quoted by npr.

The Yellow Wife

By Sadeqa Johnson

In The Yellow Wife, Sadeqa Johnson presents a deeply moving story about an enslaved woman fighting for freedom. The richly drawn historical novel centers on Pheby Delores Brown, a teenager born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia. Protected by her mother’s position as the plantation’s resident medicine woman, Pheby is promised freedom for her 18th birthday. Instead, she ends up inside the Devil’s Half Acre, an infamous Richmond jail where slaves are tortured and sold and where she must outwit her captors if she hopes to survive. Similar to The Nightingale, Johnson’s acclaimed narrative chronicles a harrowing chapter from the past, examining humanity’s worst impulses while championing the indomitability of the human spirit.

Cover of the best-selling novel 'the lincoln highway' by amor towles, depicting a vintage steam locomotive billowing smoke against a plain, light background.

The Lincoln Highway

By Amor Towles

Amor Towles is another author like Kristin Hannah that we highly recommend, and his big-hearted historical fiction novels are sure to please fans of The Nightingale. But don’t just take our word for it; everyone from Oprah Winfrey to former President Barack Obama recommends Towles’s The Lincoln Highway. The bestselling novel takes place over the course of ten days in June 1954 and interweaves multiple characters to tell its engrossing tale. At its heart is Emmett Watson, a teenager who’s being released from juvenile detention after serving time for involuntary manslaughter. Emmett receives a ride back to his family’s farm in Nebraska from the warden. Upon arriving, however, Emmett realizes that two of his friends have escaped detention by hiding in the trunk of the warden’s car. Newly freed, legally or otherwise, the trio embark on a freewheeling journey across mid-century America, spanning the Midwest to New York City in search of new beginnings.

A striking book cover with a single red rose against a dark background for kate atkinson's novel "life after life," acclaimed as "entirely thrilling" by time and noted as a #1 national bestseller with a new york times best seller list badge for 2013.

Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson

This acclaimed novel by Kate Atkinson is different from the other books on our list in that it blends dark comedy and fantastical speculative fiction elements into its time-bending tale. Nevertheless, Life After Life makes an ideal read for fans of The Nightingale, as it uses a brilliant historical backdrop to illuminate the inner workings of the human heart. Ursula Todd is born on a snowy night in 1910 England but then dies. On that same night, Ursula Todd is born again — and goes on to live through multiple life cycles as the world around her marches to a cataclysmic new war. With each new beginning, Ursula ponders her role in the darkening events of the 20th century and what, if anything, she can do to alter the trajectory.


All the Light We Cannot See

By Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See is a Pulitzer Prize–winning narrative that interweaves multiple perspectives to capture what life was like for everyday families during World War II. In the book, Marie-Laure, who is blind, and her father — a lockmaster who works at Paris’s Museum of Natural History — escape Paris for the walled citadel of Saint-Malo after the Nazis invade France, taking with them a highly coveted jewel from the museum. Meanwhile, in a mining town in Germany, an orphan named Werner enrolls at a school for Hitler Youth before developing doubts about his role. Werner then flees his homeland, traversing the war-scorched lands of Europe to arrive in Saint-Malo, where his story converges with Marie-Laure’s.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens

The final book on our list, Where the Crawdads Sing, is a smash bestseller that was recently turned into a film. And for good reason, since Delia Owens’s beloved novel of mystery, romance, and survival along the coastal marshes of North Carolina is deeply enthralling. The book is set in 1969, in Barkley Cove, where rumors of a “Marsh Girl” abound and a handsome local has just turned up dead. Kya Clark, a girl who raised herself in the surrounding marshlands and is deeply misunderstood by others in town, soon becomes a suspect in the possible murder. Hannah fans are sure to love Owens’s lyrical and heartfelt narrative set in the not-too-distant past — and if you’re on the hunt for books like Where the Crawdads Sing, we’ve got just the list for you!

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