Ultimate List of 67 Feel-Good Books to Brighten your Day
This list of feel-good books contains some of our absolute favorites and was hard to put into just one category. After all, reading a book that makes you happy is always a great idea to add to your list and we hope you love this list as much as we do!
What makes these feel-good books? That feeling when you turn the last page and your heart feels full- that’s a feel-good book. It’s a story that isn’t all smooth sailing but it uplifts your spirits and gives you faith in humanity.
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**Updated February 2023**
Ultimate List of Feel-Good Books
Best of 2022 / Best of 2021 / Non-Fiction / LGBTQ / Music / Historical Fiction / Feel Good About Books / Surprising Characters / Mysteries / Quirky Characters / Celebrity Book Clubs / Royals / Book Club / YA Fantasy / Christmas / YA Feel Good / Middle-Grade /
Best Feel-Good Novels of 2023 (so far)
Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries (Emily Wilde #1) by Heather Fawcett
This book was a delightful surprise! I knew I needed to read it as soon as I saw the name, but everything about it was wonderful. I loved this book.
Emily Wilde is an expert on the study of faeries who is writing the first encyclopedia on faerie lore. She has traveled to the village of Hrafnsvik to study the Hidden Ones. She is much better with her dog and faeries than she is with people so she is not happy when Wendell Bamblely shows up uninvited. He is her handsome and lazy rival who is not opposed to making things up as he goes along. This is one of the best fae books I have read in a long time and is definitely one of my favorites.
Best Feel-Good Books of 2022
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
May 2022 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
I haven’t read a novel with as much heart as this one in quite some time.
Elderly, and recently widowed Tova loves her job cleaning the aquarium in town in the quiet of the night, especially because of her fondness for Marcellus, the octopus. She finds solace in the aquarium as it makes her feel closer to her son, Erik – a marine life lover – who disappeared on a boat when he was 18.
But when she hurts herself and is unable to return to work at full capacity, she grows close with her replacement, Cameron, a young man newly arrived in town looking for his birth mother.
Meanwhile, Marcellus knows what really happened to Erik and he wants to help Tova find the closure she needs. His narration is interspersed with Tova and Cameron’s for a story that is compelling, heartwarming, and utterly unique.
I will be shoving this book into the hands of everyone who asks for a book recommendation. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is one the best feel-good books and is my favorite book of the year so far.
Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Poole
I have to say that I think this feel-good book was my favorite pick of 2022. The writing, the characters, and the storyline are all outstanding and I loved every minute of this book.
Iona Iverson has rules for commuting on the train and they start with never talking to anyone. When a businessman starts choking on a grape, this all changes. As the characters get to know one another, we see them all change, evolve and develop friendships. This feel-good book is heartwarming and delightful in every single way.
Patron Saint of Second Chances by Christine Simon
The mayor of the Italian town needs money to repair the town’s pipes, so he hatches a plot to drum up business in town by saying a famous movie star is coming to make a movie.
The next thing he knows, he’s having to make an actual movie starring the locals with no experience and the craziest script while keeping up the ruse that the celebrity is coming.
I laughed so hard at scenes in this comedic feel-good book that I woke up my sleeping husband. This was a charming book set in Italy and the perfect vacation read.
The Maid by Nita Prose
January 2022 Good Morning America Pick
Molly works as a maid in a grand hotel and gets joy from leaving things orderly and pristine. Molly struggles with reading social cues and has had even more trouble since her gran can no longer help.
When Molly finds a dead body in a room at the hotel, she becomes a prime suspect and will need all her friends to help her.
I loved the description of this book and I hoped it would live up to my expectations. I did that and more. I loved every minute of this feel-good book from the ultimate list of mystery books and closed the last page smiling. Definitely add this one to books for book clubs to read.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
This book is definitely a feel-good book of the season. Mika Moon knows that she must hide her magic and stay away from other witches so their powers do not draw the attention of other people. She also knows that witches are destined to be orphans, a very lonely existence.
When she is asked to come and teach magic to three young witches, she finds the life that she had always dreamed of, even if it is temporary. But, does it have to be? Can she find the life she always wanted?
Thank you so much to PRH audio for my copy of this book, all opinions are my own. I listened to this charming book in a day and loved it.
The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman
This is the story of Sara Glikman who in 1910, as a young child, was able to see the glow between her sister and the man who would become her husband. She very quietly arranged their match and many more for years.
Her granddaughter Abby is a divorce attorney who represents some of the biggest divorces in the city. When Sara dies, leaves Abby all of her diaries.
I loved this unexpected book. It is so unique and a pleasure to read. The story is such a wonderful feel-good book.
Be sure to check out our best books of 2022 post
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Best Feel-Good Books 2021
Under the Whispering Door by T.J Klune
How many stars can I give? T.J Klune has done it again with the wonderful book. House on the Cerulean Sea was my favorite book last year and I am not sure that anything will top it. I read it in a day and loved every minute of this wonderful book.
Wallace is dead. When the reaper collects him at his funeral and brings him to a strange tea shop, Hugo is waiting with the promise of helping him cross over. This light fantasy, feel-good book will make you smile until the last page.
Haven Point by Virginia Hume
What a wonderful read. I truly can’t explain how much this book swept me away to Haven Point as I learned about four generations of the Demarest family.
This story focuses on the great-grandmother, grandmother (Maren), mother, and daughter (Skye) as they spend their summers in the waspy coastal town. Secrets unfold, loves bloom and fade, and the ties that bond is explored.
A wonderful beach read with heart, this is one of the feel-good novels that will sweep you away.
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We have more than 20 books on the complete list of the Best Books of 2021
Feel-Good Non-Fiction Books
Come Fly The World by Julia Cooke
In this delightful, feel-good book, we learn about uniforms, training, frolicking adventures, and the glamorous life in the air that had me picturing Gwyneth Paltrow in View From the Top.
It also discussed far more serious topics like hijackers, Vietnam war flights and rescues, and issues of discrimination toward women.
We talked with Julia about the research of this book, what surprised her most, and other fun things over on IG. Be sure to check it out.
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King
This is such an amazing story of an amazing man unlike any other. He was a man central to the development of educational children’s television.
Fred was kind, caring, compassionate and a champion for equality. He was devoted to children and addressing their educational, social, and emotional needs. I could personally relate to parts of his life during the time when he lived in Toronto.
This is one of the feel-good books that is so well written and so easy to listen to despite the fact that it is not my usual genre. Levar Burton narrates and I love hearing him read- it brings me back to my childhood (Reading Rainbow)
The Other Side of the Coin by Angela Kelly
I had royal fever this month while working on our Royal Reads post, so it’s no surprise that when my library hold for this autobiographical audiobook came through, I dove right it. This feel-good book did not disappoint.
Angela Kelly is the Queen’s head dresser and long-time companion. She details her process for dressing the queen, talks about some iconic looks, and even reveals a few personal stories about her time with her majesty.
Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story by Erin French
My first celebrity chef memoir was not at all what I was expecting and I loved it! I found myself thinking of Erin as a friend while reading this feel-good book. I rooted for her, cried with her, and had so many food cravings it bordered on ridiculous. How can you not want to eat the delicious concoctions described on the page?
I was not anticipating that this would be a story about redemption, finding inner strength, and perseverance, but that’s what it was. Erin clawed her way to the top of the restaurant game only to find herself at rock bottom.
Then, she did it again. It’s a story of a mother’s love, a woman overcoming addiction, and a damn good cook who finds herself planting roots where she least expected it.
As feel-good reads go, this one is not to be missed. I hope someday that I will be able to eat in her famed kitchen if just to have wine recommended by her mom and see her surrounded by the love of her kitchen family.
Ultimate List of Non-Fiction Books
If you love non-fiction books, this is the list we created especially for you.
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Best LGBTQ Feel-Good Books
The Guncle by Steven Rowley
Steven Rowley is a writer who has mastered the art of storytelling. With his signature wit and humor, this feel-good book tackles love, loss, and growth
When Patrick’s sister-in-law dies and Patrick’s brother needs to go to rehab, Patrick takes custody of his niece and nephew for 90 days.
I am such a fan of Steven Rowley and each book provides depth and insight into people at their best and worst. He is definitely a go-to author if you are looking for the best feel-good books.
House on the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune
So while this book takes place in an orphanage, rather than a school, it is a place for magical children to learn as well. The orphanage is filled with the most dangerous children and it is Linus’s job to make sure that they are being looked after.
The magic and the orphan aspect are all reminiscent of Harry Potter. This is one of my favorite feel-good books of all time and it is truly a story of seeing the best in people.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A tell-all about a fictional Elizabeth Taylor-
Evelyn Hugo has asked an unknown reporter, Monique Grant, to write her life story in a no-holds-barred book. There is a bit of mystery around why Monique was chosen and Evelyn certainly has her fair share of hardships as she claws her way to the top.
The drama and suffering add dimension to the story that makes it so much more than fluff, though the inner workings of Hollywood were fun to read too. The story seems so candid that I honestly forgot that Evelyn Hugo was not a real celebrity.
Taylor Jenkins Reid slays with this story finding the perfect balance of glamour and grit. This is one of the feel-good novels we always recommend and everyone has loved it.
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Best Feel-Good Books about Music
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Album
As audiobooks go, this book is the best one I have ever listened to. This book is also one of my favorite feel-good books and is actually one of my favorite books of all time. It is narrated by “music” who is telling the story of a magician named Frankie Presto.
There are multiple people who narrate this book and it is more like a play. I could listen to this book over and over. I loved this book and bought a copy which I lent to an unnamed person who loved it and did not return it. My second copy has met the same fate. Third time’s a charm?
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
Music is big in my house so this book spoke to me. Frank is a man who helps everyone with their problems by giving them the music they need from his little music shop. It sells only vinyl.
When a woman faints outside his shop, Frank realizes he can’t hear the music she needs. His life changes forever. This book is a similar feel to Little Paris Bookshop/Perfume Collector. There is a playlist on Spotify that goes with this book. So sit back, read, listen and enjoy this feel-good book.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I started reading this book but when my audiobook library hold came in I changed over to the audiobook version. HOLY COW. The audiobook is EVEN BETTER. Seriously, I think this might have been my favorite audiobook of all time.
I expect it to sweep the Audies this year for sure because full cast audiobooks can really take the story to the next level. The book is laid out in chronological order about the making of a band in the 70s, but the story is told in interview style from a dozen sources.
The audio version has a different narrator for each character and the performances the actors give are stupendous. I was overcome with emotion numerous times while I was listening. The story itself about the rise and fall of one of the hottest bands was so utterly fabulous – it’s pure sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll in all the best ways. This is one of the novels about music that isn’t for the faint of heart and is a feel-good book you will not want to miss.
The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton
This is the closest of the books like Daisy Jones and The Six. It’s told in an interview format and is about a band from the 70s. The comparison makes sense… and yet…
This book is wonderful in its own right! No comparison is needed. It looks at sexism and racism in the music industry during this time period and is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. It is a total must-read. This is one of the full cast audiobooks that we included in our Ultimate List of Feel-Good Books to Brighten your Day
Be sure to check out our 17 Creative Novels About Music, Bands, and Musicians to Love
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Feel-Good Historical Fiction Books
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel is all about 2 families who own a resort in the Catskills and are thinking of selling or overhauling the Golden.
Three generations of the Goldman and Weismann clans have gathered to make the decision and family secrets are unspooling left and right in the midst of goat yoga, comedy shows, and salon catastrophes.
It was a pleasure to read this feel-good book while staying at the Hyatt on the Chesapeake and experiencing some resort life of my own.
The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen
Oh, how I loved this feel-good book.
The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen. Part historical fiction, part mystery, and part love story, this book was so well written and the story was delivered perfectly.
In 2017 Aurelia inherits an apartment in Paris when her grandmother dies. She is not prepared for what she finds inside the apartment that she never knew existed. Now she must get the help of an art restorer to discover the history and the mystery surrounding the apartment and its contents.
in 1942 Estelle is living in Paris under Nazi occupation. When the Germans come to take away her beloved friends, Estelle does everything she can to help them.
Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig
This is an incredible novel about the women of Smith College who went to help French war victims on the war front. The band of 15 women in this novel is based on the 18 real-life heroes of Smith College.
These ladies started from scratch to help those ravaged by war only to have the war come back and destroy the lands around them again. But they never faltered in their quest to help the war-torn villages of women and children impacted by the war. This feel-good book gives a well-rounded feeling of what these women needed to do to save the lands and the people.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
What a wonderful feel-good book for historical fiction lovers. We knew we had to include it in our list of feel-good books. Set just after WWII, a group of unlikely friends comes together to save Jane Austen’s cottage.
A movie star, a farmer, a doctor, and a widow all have personal struggles to overcome. Over the course of the book, the society is able to save more than just the cottage.
I felt like each of the characters was a personal friend by the book’s end. It was a lovely read to rekindle hope.
Juliet: A Novel by Anna Fortier
I ADORE this story and have read it numerous times. What if Shakespeare’s Juliet was real and was actually a curse? Alternating between the “real” Juliet’s story and her modern-day descendant’s story, the book proves that love transcends time.
I can’t put my finger on why this story makes my top 10, but it’s a comfort read that I go to whenever I need a pick-me-up. I re-read this feel-good book again and again! It has a little bit of everything – romance, a mystery, a contemporary and historical element. It’s such a unique and amazing tale.
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
November 2021 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
I was so excited to read Reese Witherspoon’s latest book pick because it sounded so different – a fig tree as a narrator? I wasn’t sure it would work, but Elif Shafak pulled it off with aplomb.
After the recent death of her mother, Ada’s aunt shows up for the winter holiday and Ada begins to learn the story of how her parents fell in love in Cyprus many years ago.
Since one was a Turk and one a Greek, their love had a forbidden element that reminded me of Romeo and Juliet….and the Fig tree, now growing in Ada’s backyard, witnessed it all. This feel-good book is everything I hoped it would be.
Ultimate List of Historical Fiction
Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time period.
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Best Feel-Good Books About Books
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
The Bookshop on the Corner #1
This book was the first book that I read by Jenny Colgan and is different from her others. It is not centered around food but rather, books.
When Nina, a librarian, finds herself without a job, she decides to embark on a journey with a mobile bookshop. There is nothing not to love in this sweet, feel-good book.
If you love Jenny Colgan, we have a complete list of Jenny Colgan Books Ranked.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
This is probably one of the best feel-good books and we recommend it all the time. The story features a floating book apothecary whose owner can meet you and give you a story meant for your soul.
When he needs to help his own soul, he sets his boat adrift to see where it will take him. I loved every minute of it. This book is a favorite on our list of books about bookstores!
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This lovely story about a bookstore and its owner will capture your heart. A.J. Fikry is like a bookstore version of Ove in all the right ways except A.J. is only in his thirties.
The recent death of his wife, bad book sales, and the recent robbery of a rare book is wreaking havoc on his life. But this tale of redemption and unexpected chances has a serious soul. If you love feel-good novels and have not read this one, definitely add it to your reading list.
Blush by Jamie Brenner
This newest book from Jamie Brenner is a departure from her previous books which have all been set in coastal towns. This story takes place in a vineyard!
Three generations of women must come together to save the family home and livelihood by having the failing vineyard. This would not be an easy task on any day but, they are also fighting against sexism and the belief that a women’s role is elsewhere.
Vivian, Leah, and Sadie must each confront their pasts and their own demons in order to come together and the result is a feel-good book that you will love.
For more books about books, check out the Ultimate List of Books About Books
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Feel-Good Books with Surprising Characters
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Looking for a laugh-out-loud book? This novel is about an Indian woman trying to marry her modern English identity with her parents’ conservative Indian values.
She takes up teaching a writing course for widows in her community and she learns so much about herself and them in the process. Between each chapter are hysterical and sometimes raunchy tales written by the widows in her class. I dare you not to smile while reading this feel-good book.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Fredrik Backman is a master storyteller and he does it again with this amazing feel-good book. He somehow manages to tackle difficult subjects without trivializing them but still allows them to be humorous.
This book is a story of a bank robbery gone very wrong and the idiots in the story (his word, not mine) who are taken hostage after the failed robbery. It is also a story about compassion, human relationships, and the daily struggles that we all have.
I love how Backman shows the good in people despite the flaws that make them human. Backman is such a talented writer and is able to vary his style to best tell the story. I loved this book! We included this book in our list of Best Books for Book Clubs. Be sure to check it out!
All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle
This book was my surprise star of the summer so far. I had not heard of the book and thought it sounded great. I loved every minute of it.
Hubert Bird is a widower who has weekly conversations with his daughter in Australia. He tells her amazing stories about how he spends his time. The problem? It is all made up.
With his daughter coming to visit, Hubert must find friends and a life to show his daughter.
Hubert gets a second chance at love and friendship but the book dives deeper into Hubert’s past as well. The depth and sincerity in this book are wonderful and I cannot say enough good things about this feel-good book from our list of books like A Man Called Ove.
Dial A for Aunties by Jessie Q Sutanto
I heard great things about this romantic comedy/ murder mystery mashup. It sounds like the weirdest combo, right? This book had me laughing out loud.
Meddelin Chen has an amazing, meddling Chinese-Indonesian family. Meddelin and her four Aunts run a wedding business together. When Meddelin accidentally kills her date and he ends up in a cooler at a wedding with two thousand people, what can go wrong?
This comedy of errors is being adapted by Netflix and if it is anything like the book, it will be amazing too. This book was a favorite of 2021 and is definitely one of the best feel-good books to read if you haven’t already.
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Best Feel-Good Mysteries
The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
I adored this mystery set during the 11 days of Agatha Christie’s disappearance. It’s told from the perspective of Christie’s husband’s mistress and it is utterly absorbing.
There are layers of mystery throughout, with a side of a love story. I never felt I would be able to sympathize with a mistress but I was cheering for her by the end. If you love a good mystery, this is a must-read from feel-good reads.
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
I read this cozy mystery in one day. Maisie Dobbs is not your typical PI and she is the most unusual detective in this list of detective books. For a start, she is a woman working as a PI in 1929.
She is smart, thoughtful, and fun to read. This book will hit just the right spot if you are looking for mystery books or feel-good books to read. I cannot wait to read more books in the series.
Still Life by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1)
The first in the series of Chief Inspector Gamache. I fell in LOVE with the Inspector, the town of Three Pines, and its residents. Louise Penny CAN WRITE.
The mystery was great (and I didn’t solve it) but what got me the most was Penny’s writing style and reflections on the human psyche.
This is one of the best detective books and detective series I have ever read. You will fall in love with Three Pines and the people who live there. The wonderful community in this series is the best of what feel-good novels should be. Be sure to check out Louise Penny Books in Order: Complete Guide to Inspector Gamache
Louise Penny Reading List
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The Ultimate List of Mystery Books
Love Mysteries? We created this list and carefully divided it by sub-genre for anyone who lives a good mystery as much as we do.
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Best Feel-Good Books with Quirky Characters
The Very Nice Box by Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman
The quirky personality of Ava, the protagonist in The Very Nice Box, is reminiscent of Eleanor Oliphant. Being inside Ava’s unique brain was a real treat.
Ava works as an engineer at a furniture company similar to Ikea. She has the same routine every day and is rather isolated socially until Mat Putnam bursts into her life.
As her backstory unfolds, this book goes from romance to thriller in the most delightful way. One of the most original vacation books of 2021. It’s a must-read for laughs and suspense and we knew we needed to include it in our list of feel-good books.
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
I have read all three of the books in this series and loved them all but this book is special. Anna is a violinist whose career is stuck as she finds herself unable to play a single song to the end.
When her boyfriend of 5 years announces that they are going to see other people before getting married, Anna decides to go on a dating app. Her plan: one-night stands.
Who does she find? Quan. This book is more than a romance. Hoang does an amazing job of bringing Anna and her struggles with her identity to life. Her pain is palpable and I found myself having trouble breathing I was so upset.
This is Hoang’s best book yet. It is one of the best feel-good books to read if you want a great romance.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book initially. Eleanor bugged me in a way that I could not identify. She is not supposed to be likable initially which is why I persevered and I ended up liking the book.
As we get to know Eleanor and understand her profound loneliness, it made me think about what initial judgments I make in other areas. Eleanor is able to find herself and understand herself in this wonderful, feel-good book.
Eleanor has difficulty with social skills and is used to being alone until one day, she saves an elderly man who has fallen with the help of Raymond from her work. The three develop a friendship that is able to help heal Eleanor. If you loved this book, check out our list of Books Like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine or Books Like A Man Called Ove.
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Feel-Good Books from Celebrity Books Clubs
Oona Out of Order by Margarita
I absolutely loved this story about Oona who at the stroke of midnight on her 19th birthday, finds herself in her 51-year-old body. She is greeted by a stranger who is waiting for her in her home and tells her that every year, she will jump to another point in her life- she will live her life out of order.
This is an emotional, well-written story that will not only keep you quickly turning pages but make you think about the small things in life that we take for granted.
This book was a must for our list of feel-good books, but you can also find it on our New Years Eve books post and our best time travel book lists as well.
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
November 2019 Read by Jenna Book Club Pick
There is so much that I loved about this book. It is such a perfect story for a list of feel-good books because it is more than what it seems. It is well-written and funny and made our top books of 2019 list.
The story is about a woman who becomes a nanny for two children who start on fire when they get mad. There is wonderful humor in this book that is centered around strong and beautiful relationships. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
This is How it Always is by Laurie Frankel
October 2018 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
Wow! There are so many things that I loved about this book. Rosie and Penn have five boys. The youngest, Claude wants to be a girl when he grows up. As this family navigates life with secrets, there is never a good time to explain that your youngest daughter was born a male.
These loving and supportive parents try to navigate a world in which not everybody is open-minded. This book is poignant and all too realistic. It captures the innocence of youth and the struggles of an entire family. This is one of the feel-good novels you won’t want to put down.
If you love celebrity book clubs, check out our complete list of Read with Jenna, Reese’s Book Club, or the GMA book club.
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Best Feel-Good Books About Royals
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Look no further than this royal romance. If you haven’t read this romance loosely based on Wills and Kate’s love story, read no further. This is the end-all, be-all of Royal Reads.
We love the story of Wills and Kate so it is really a no-brainer that this book would appear on our list of feel-good books.
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn
Not a romance fan? This one is for you then. Imagine what would happen if Queen Elizabeth decided to just stroll out of the palace and hop on the train. This novel was right on the mark and I adored it!
What is there not to love about QEII taking a stroll? There are so many stories about her doing that exact thing and this book is perfect for a list of feel-good books.
The Royal Treatment by M.J. Summers
The May book challenge was a royal read. This royal read and funny and entertaining. It was the perfect light read to indulge in before the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Tessa Sharpe is the Royal Watchdog and hates everything about the Prince. Now, in order to save his reputation and his thrown, Prince Albert must invite Tessa to live at the castle with him for two months. This hilarious royal read will leave you smiling and is a must if you are searching for feel-good books to read.
For the best Royal Reads, check out our post
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Feel-Good Books to Discuss with Your Book Club
Castle of Water by Dane Huckelridge
This is a wonderful book about love and survival. It is so much more than it appears on the surface. It’s a beautifully written book about a vacation gone awry.
When Sophie and Barry find themselves on an Island as the sole survivors of a plane crash, they learn to depend on each other. The book moves seamlessly from the past to the present, weaving an intricate tale. It’s one of Kirsten’s favorite books of all time. We also included this one in our list of feel-good books!
If you are looking for vacation books, this is a perfect pick from the list of books like People We Meet on Vacation.
Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal
This is another perfect pick from our favorite Indie bookstore. Main Point Books in Wayne did a fabulous job of matching me up with this book that I might not have read otherwise. I needed something with a great story and this pick from feel-good novels was the absolute perfect recommendation.
This is the story of two sisters, one farm, and the lives that they share. I loved this book for its great story, quirky subject, and great writing. I sat down with this book and had read over a hundred pages before I looked up.
The Lost Vintage by Anne Mah
This book feels like a warm hug. A little bit of historical fiction, a little bit of a mystery, a little bit of romance. It was so nice to read at sunset with a glass of wine. The writing, the story, the whole thing made this book a no-brainer for our feel-good books list.
Kate is working to become a certified wine expert and the only thing standing in her way are the Burgundy wines at her family’s estate (and her first love who lives nearby).
While dealing out the basement filled with generations of belongings, Kate starts to learn about her family during the WWII occupation. You can also check out our great list of fiction books about wine.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Victoria Jones has studied the language of flowers and uses it to communicate. After growing up in the foster care system, she is hesitant to let anyone get close to her. When she meets a mysterious stranger, she has to decide if she can let someone in and let go of her past.
Kirsten and I both absolutely loved this pick from feel-good reads and read it before we even knew each other. The Victorian language of flowers is fascinating. This book incorporates this language into a story that will leave you wanting more.
We named this the best book of 2011 in our best of the decade’s post.
The Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner
This wacky story about three sisters who get engaged at the same time is laugh-out-loud funny. When their parents decide that the best way to save money is to throw them a joint wedding, well…let’s just say it’s a wild ride! How can there not be some serious drama?
Full of heart, sisterhood, and love, this family drama story is one of Brenner’s best works. Of all the books featuring weddings on this list, this is probably one of my favorite feel-good books for the wedding season and it is a perfect pick for a list of books about sisters!
Be sure to check out our best books for book clubs for a ton more recommendations
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Best Feel-Good Books about Friendship
Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey
This is such a wonderful story about Missy Carmichael. She has lived her life in a constant state of worry and regret. Now that she is alone with her thoughts, she has the time to wonder if she would have done things differently.
Missy is estranged from her daughter, her son lives in Australia and the love of her life, is gone. She spends her days drinking and cleaning overcome by her loneliness, secrets, and regrets. With the help of a wonderful dog and some beautiful friendships, Missy begins to learn the power of forgiving. This novel was an easy pick for feel-good books about friendship.
The Helpline by Katherine Collette
I started reading this book and found that I had a really hard time putting it down. It is one of those books where the main character is completely imperfect and often infuriating but, will grow on you!
This book is perfect for a list of books like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. If you loved Eleanor, then you will love this book.
Germaine has lost her job at an insurance company and begins working at a helpline for senior citizens. The mayor has a side project for Germaine. She wants Germaine to help her in the feud between the golf club and the senior citizen center. Sometimes, as Germaine will find out, things are not always what they seem. This pick from feel-good novels was an unexpected joy! And as books for book clubs go, this is such a great choice.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Mr. Backman has a beautiful way of capturing the reader’s interest with wonderful characters that find themselves in hilarious situations.
I laughed out loud many times while reading. The book A Man Called Ove does indeed start with Ove trying to take his life and continuously being interrupted by his new neighbors and he mourns the loss of his spouse.
But, this story is so much more than that. As it progresses, Ove is able to have a profound impact on the life of everyone he meets. If you love this book about grief, check out Books Like A Man Called Ove. But don’t let the description throw you off. At its heart, this is one of the best feel-good books and one of my all-time favorite books!
The Lido by Libby Paige
I picked up this book and couldn’t put it down. I loved it from start to finish. It was such a great read that is really in the spirit of “A Man Called Ove.”
This intergenerational story of friendship, love, and overcoming personal obstacles, touched my heart. Kate is a reporter whose dreams of becoming a star reporter have dissolved into writing fluff pieces for a small, local newspaper.
She is almost paralyzed by her own fears and loneliness. When she is assigned to write a piece about a local lido closing, she meets Rosemary Peterson. Rosemary is 86 years old and has been swimming at the lido her entire life. The unlikely friendship between these two women is heartwarming and you won’t want to put it down. This is one of the best feel-good books about friendship I have read.
For more books about friendship, check out our post “How to host a Such a Fun Age Book Club”
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Feel-Good YA Fantasy Books
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
I listened to this feel-good book and it was unreal. I want my son to read this so badly but, I also want him to listen to it as well. The full-cast audiobook plays music so it is a full sensory experience.
The story is three tales woven together in one with a magical harmonica at the center. The story follows a harmonica as it lands in the hands of Freidrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California set during WWII.
Part fairy tale and part historical fiction, this is one of the novels about music that is amazing for middle-grade and adults alike. We even included it on our list of Book Lists for 13-Year-Olds
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
I adored this feel-good book by Novik. I loved the strong female characters, the story, and the writing. This book is an adaptation of Rumplestiltskin that is complex and wonderful and the ending had me in tears.
Miryem’s family are moneylenders but her family is in poverty because her father does not collect his debts. In an effort to save her family, Miryem begins collecting the debts herself and soon a rumor begins that she can turn silver into gold. Soon, these rumors spread to the king of Staryk, and Miryem’s life changes forever when he comes to see if the rumors are true.
This is a must-read to add to your list of feel-good YA fantasy books.
The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Flora and her brother are pirates on the Dove. In order to protect her identity, she has become Florian and is tasked with protecting Lady Evelyn on the ship until the time she can be sold.
Flora does not intend to fall in love with Evelyn and when the two free a captured mermaid, they change the fate of more than just her.
I am so glad that someone recommended this book to me. It is one of those feel-good reads that really did not get the visibility that it should have. This book is so well written and is filled with magic while also exploring the power of love.
Ultimate List of YA Fantasy
If Fantasy books are your favorite books, then these are the perfect book lists for you. We carefully divided them into sub-genres.
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Feel-Good Christmas Books
Christmas by the Book by Anne Marie Ryan
This is kinda like Love Actually in a bookshop. Nora and Simon’s bookshop is failing, but that doesn’t stop them from anonymously sending out 6 Christmas books to locals who need cheering up.
We see how their gifted books inspire changes in the lives of the recipients, how much their bookshop means to the community, and how all of their lives intertwine.
I cried a few times while reading this heartwarming tale, but it deals with some pretty heavy subjects like the death of a child and suicidal thoughts/depression. This is a must-read to add to your list of feel-good Christmas books. Any true book lover will adore this Christmas tale.
The Christmas House by Victoria James
This heartwarming Christmas story deals with a few heavy topics, including childhood abuse and abandonment. Charlotte comes to her grandmother Ruby’s B&B with her sister and her mother for the Holiday Season.
She is shocked to see her old friend, Wyatt, has moved in next door with his daughter. But as her romance with Wyatt begins to bloom, dark feelings and sad memories stir for both of them.
This is not so much a Christmas romance, as a story about forgiveness and overcoming childhood trauma and is a perfect pick for feel-good novels.
The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan
Jenny Colgan is back with a stand-alone Christmas story about a failing bookshop and the woman that saves it. Carmen is stuck with no boyfriend, no job, and living at home, while her sister Sophie seems to have it all – a beautiful house, a great husband, a killer job, and 3 kids with one more on the way.
When she realizes her client is going to lose his bookshop and home, she overs Carmen up for the job of turning the shop around, offering her a room at her house to boot.
But the long-standing rivalry between the sisters is out in full force, Carmen seems to sabotage her own happiness in the romance department, and her bookstore boss might be hiding some family secrets that need uncovering.
A charming Christmas tale in true Jenny Colgan fashion, this heartwarming story also has some appearances from beloved characters from previous books and was an obvious choice for a list of feel-good novels.
For more, check out the 33 best YA and adult Christmas books
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YA Feel-Good Books
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
This book is the winner of the National Book Award for good reason. I adored this book. I spent half of it crying and the other half smiling. This is such a wonderful story about Grace who is adopted at birth.
When she finds herself pregnant, she puts her daughter up for adoption. This prompts her to look for her biological mother. What she finds are two siblings that she never knew about. This is an amazing story told from multiple points of view. This is a must-read to add to your list of YA feel-good books.
Tokyo Every After by Emiko Jean
What a fun quick book by Emiko Jean. I feel like this feel-good book was one part Princess Diaries and one part Crazy Rich Asians.
Izumi Tanaka does not feel like she fits in as a Japanese American in her mostly white California town. When she finds out that her unknown father is actually the crown prince of Japan, she is determined to meet him.
This book was an entertaining and light summer read that will satisfy your desire to escape into a royal getaway.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
This is a graphic novel that I read in a few hours. Prince Sebastian is a prince by day and Princess Crystallia by night. The only one who knows his secret is his seamstress who hopes to make a name for herself with her fashion.
My son read it twice because “I loved the message that it’s okay to be yourself”. I don’t normally read graphic novels, but, I loved it!!! What a wonderfully inclusive, feel-good story.
A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Geir
What a cute story. Taking place at a dated luxury hotel at Christmas time, there is an abundance of antics afoot. Jewel thieves, ghosts, kid-nappers, back-door dealings, and teenage drama fill this tome.
This Young Adult Christmas book is an adorable read for the holiday season and a perfect feel-good book for as well.
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Best Feel-Good Middle-Grade Books
Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
Wow. This was a story I listened to with my kids and we all just adored it.
It’s a story about a deaf girl who is struggling to connect with her community and a whale named Blue 52 who can’t find his ocean community either. She sets out to connect with Blue 52 and along the way she finds her inner strength in a beautiful
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
This charming story is about a bi-racial family in Harlem with 5 kids who are about to lose their home because their reclusive landlord won’t renew their lease.
My entire family enjoyed this delightful tale of the siblings trying to win their landlord over so they don’t have to leave home. Don’t worry. This is one of the best feel-good books on the list.
It was full of all the antics you would expect of a big family. You can find this book on our list of 40 of The Best Books for a 10-Year-Old as well as on our list of The Best Family Audiobooks For Road Trips and Home Listening.
A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan
This is on our list of
The story revolves around Jaime, who is being punished with community service hours at the library for the summer after she did something wrong in school. Jaime is reluctant to volunteer at first but quickly grows to love the staff and regulars at the library. I adored this charming, feel-good book and so did my kids.
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