In no particular order, what follows is a list of many of my favorite authors and books: from gourmet meals to lightly crunchy snacks:
Carol Goodman – The first author I became a fan of, and my friend since adolescence, Carol Goodman is a versatile author who has written under her own name and under two other pseudonyms. As she recently said, she’s not lighting the world on fire with her books. But in my opinion, she should be.
The Ghost Orchid: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/70393.The_Ghost_Orchid?from_search=true
The Sonnet Lover: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/70398.The_Sonnet_Lover?from_search=true
Blythewood (Book 1 of a YA Trilogy): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17572846-blythewood?from_search=true
The Fairwick Chronicles (Book 1 of a multigenre paranormal romance written under the name of Juliet Dark): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11436723-the-demon-lover?from_search=true
Black Swan Rising (Book 1 of an urban fantasy/romance trilogy, written under the name Lee Carroll): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7332664-black-swan-rising?from_search=true
Diana Gabaldon – my favorites of the (now) eight book series. Others in the series are also wonderful, but these are my favorites.
Marge Piercy – a longtime favorite author, but in my opinion, these are her two best works:
Gone to Soldiers: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/862109.Gone_to_Soldiers?from_search=true
City of Darkness, City of Light: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/862108.City_of_Darkness_City_of_Light?from_search=true
Philippa Gregory – Best known for her historic fiction on Tudor England and the War of the Roses, some of her earlier and lesser known work is, in my opinion, even better and definitely worth reading!
Zelda’s Cut: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/252503.Zelda_s_Cut?from_search=true
The Wise Woman: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16185.The_Wise_Woman?from_search=true
The Wideacre Trilogy: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/80620.The_Wideacre_Trilogy?from_search=true NOTE: These are also available as separate books.
Kate Mosse – The first book of hers that I read was Labyrinth. I was hooked. I’m now fascinated by the Cathars, 1st Century Christianity and the possibilities of the historical Mary Magdelene.
Kathleen McGowan – An author I discovered after reading Labyrinth. Interesting mix of fact and fiction in this trilogy about early Christianity.
The Expected One: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/278210.The_Expected_One?from_search=true
The Book of Love: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1630729.The_Book_of_Love?from_search=true
The Poet Prince: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6730191-the-poet-prince?from_search=true
Karen Marie Moning – I started reading Karen Moning’s Highlander series of books after reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books. Absolutely nothing like one another. But I did really enjoy reading the Highlander books. However, in her Fever series, Ms. Moning truly finds her voice. Hard to classify, because they are dark urban fantasy, with paranormal elements and some very sexy romance. But they are not any of those genres alone. Also, I have not read beyond Book 5. I may, at some point, but at this point, I’m only recommending the first 5 books.
The Fever Series, books 1-5: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18664342-the-fever-series-5-book-bundle?from_search=true
Ken Follett – What do I say about the master of the spy novel, who took on, and mastered historical fiction, too, except that I prefer his first HF series to his second.
Pillars of the Earth https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5043.The_Pillars_of_the_Earth?from_search=true
World Without End https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5064.World_Without_End?from_search=true
The Birth of Venus https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28078.The_Birth_of_Venus?from_search=true
In the Company of the Courtesan https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62212.In_the_Company_of_the_Courtesan?from_search=true
Sacred Hearts https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6060130-sacred-hearts?from_search=true
Sheri S. Tepper Way less well known than I think she should be, Sheri S. Tepper writes amazing science fiction with questions about morality and ethics woven skillfully into some very creepy plotlines.
The Gate to Women’s Country https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/104344.The_Gate_to_Women_s_Country?from_search=true
A Plague of Angels https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/104351.A_Plague_of_Angels?from_search=true
Classics, and standards that I love:
The Woman in White by Wilke Collins https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5890.The_Woman_in_White?from_search=true
The Law and The Lady by Wilke Collins https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/194649.The_Law_and_the_Lady?from_search=true
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10210.Jane_Eyre?ac=1
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett https://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=the+secret+garden
The Agony & The Ecstasy by Irving Stone https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/321552.The_Agony_and_the_Ecstasy?from_search=true
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41804.I_Robot?ac=1
Foundation series by Isaac Asimov https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46654.The_Foundation_Trilogy?ac=1
Ringworld series – Larry Niven https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17725650-ringworld-series?from_search=true
The Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10418483-legacy
Children’s Literature and Young Adult reading
The Inheritance Quartet by Christopher Paolini https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10859323-inheritance-cycle-4-book-hard-cover-boxed-set-eragon-eldest-brisingr?from_search=true
Trickster’s series by Tamora Pierce https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/153798.Tricksters
The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/492490.The_Song_of_the_Lioness_Quartet
The Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/153797.The_Immortals
The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3334563-the-inkheart-trilogy?from_search=true
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dellhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/233818.Island_of_the_Blue_Dolphins?from_search=true
All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylorhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7926.All_of_a_Kind_Family?from_search=true
The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzighttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/296384.The_Endless_Steppe?from_search=true
More bits and bobs
The River Maiden (read as a final draft, and as a pubished book) by Meredith Stoddard I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment!!!! The River Maiden (Amazon)
Bright Aster by J.G. Lucas Bright Aster (Amazon) was one of the first books I read that was self-published. And, after I read it under it’s original title, J.G. Lucas went and did a MAJOR revision and re-released it under its current name. Magical realism, with richly drawn characters and a breakneck pace that made me want more. There’s a sequel coming at some point, but this will just have to do for now.
Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri Lemongrass Hope (Amazon) is another book with a splash of magic, and a big helping of excellent contemporary women’s fiction.
In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson In Another Life (Amazon) is a beautifully rendered story of love, loss and reconciliation, set across hundreds of years in the Langedoc, France. If you like Kate Mosse, this book should be on your To Be Read list.
Tides of Honour by Genevieve Graham Tides of Honour (Amazon)tells the story of one man and one woman and the effect of a catastrophic fire in Halifax on their relationship. Heartbreaking and heartwarming, and the language used by Ms. Graham is just beautiful.