14 Feel-Good Fiction Reads for Hope & Encouragement

Posted on October 27, 2021 at 7:00 am

By Rachel Edmondson

There is an art to helping people find books to read. Whenever someone asks me to recommend a good book, I start asking them questions because a good book for one person isn’t necessarily a good book for another.

Stephen King is an extremely popular author, but he will never write a “good” book for me because I have absolutely no desire to read horror books! And likewise, a book that is good for me might have no appeal to you.

Once I start to get a feel for a person’s reading preferences, I’m still not done because a person’s mood is also important. Lately, I’ve been in the mood for books that are happier, or at least mostly uplifting. My sense is I am not alone in this desire.

A lot of times when I am in this mood, I will read children’s books. They usually have happy endings. However, it can be a lot trickier to find feel-good books written for adults, so I’ve put together a booklist of adult fiction titles.

While these books have sad moments and deal with life’s challenges, they will hopefully leave you feeling positive and encouraged when you turn that last page.

A Feel-Good Booklist for Adults

The Authenticity Project, by Clare Pooley

“Everybody lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth?” After Monica finds a notebook left in her café that poses this question, she dares to add her truth to the book and then leave it behind for the next stranger. Eventually, these strangers are drawn together and discover the power of connection and friendship.

The Flatshare, by Beth O’Leary

Tiffany and Leon share an apartment. The only thing is… they’ve never actually met. Leon works nights and has the apartment during the day. Tiffy has the apartment nights and weekends. And when they start writing each other notes, their lives slowly begin to overlap.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I’m not usually a fan of epistolary novels, but a friend insisted I give this book a try, and I’m glad she did. Filled with an eccentric cast of characters, this book made me wish I could visit Guernsey and have a cup of tea with these characters who felt like friends.

The Keeper of Lost Things, by Ruth Hogan

When Anthony finds lost things, he keeps them with the hope of reuniting them with their owners. Laura, Anthony’s assistant, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. Bequeathed with his house and the lost treasures, she sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners. This novel of things lost and found explores how we as humans also lose and find ourselves.

The Kitchen Front, by Jennifer Ryan

During WWII, four very different women enter a cooking contest hoping to win a spot as the first-ever female co-host on a BBC wartime cooking program. With such high stakes, each gives it her all for a chance to better her life. When the rules are bent, we find out if the competition can still bring a community together

The Library of Lost and Found, by Phaedra Patrick

An introverted librarian receives a mysterious book of fairy tales that leads her on a journey, where she discovers family secrets and also discovers herself.

The Lido, by Libby Page

The Lido is where Rosemary met her husband and found community, both during her marriage and since her husband’s death. It is also how she comes to meet twenty-something Kate, who is assigned to write about the Lido’s closing for the local paper. The relationship between these two women will change their lives in ways they never thought possible.

The library has copies available under the original title The Lido, but this book has been republished under the title Mornings with Rosemary, so you may recognize it under its new title.

The Love Story of Missy Carmichael, by Beth Morrey

Missy is a prickly septuagenarian living alone in her large house. This story of how two strangers and a spirited dog named Bob change her life reminds readers of the importance of connection and love.

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrick Backman

Ove is a grumpy old man that sees no need to pretend otherwise. But as you learn more about Ove and he slowly starts to engage with the people around him, you may just be charmed by this cranky curmudgeon.

Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe, by Heather Webber

Anna Kate travels to the small town of Wicklow, Alabama, to settle her grandma’s estate. While there, she discovers long-held secrets, southern charm, and a little bit of magic.

The Music of Bees, by Eileen Garvin

Three lonely strangers are brought together on a bee farm in Oregon. Each brings their own hurts and sadness, but the friendships they form might be just what they need to find a new way forward.

People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry

If your preferred movie genre is romantic comedies, then this book about Poppy and Alex may just be the one for you. Sometimes a predictable ending isn’t a bad thing!

The Story of Arthur Truluv, by Elizabeth Berg

While this story begins with loss, the way the characters find each other and again find happiness restored my hope that humans can be kind and this world can be beautiful. We should all have an Arthur in our lives.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

This novel has little bit of everything—humor, satire, quirky characters. If you missed this 2013 Spokane Is Reading title, now might be a good time to check it out.

Rachel Edmondson

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