25 family sagas that will sweep you away

25 family sagas that will sweep you away

Families are complicated. This isn’t just a plainly true statement—it’s also my favorite literary sub-genre. For the last few years, I’ve even included a “families are complicated” category in my Summer Reading Guide because I can’t get enough of these absorbing relationship-driven novels. 

I especially love books that follow families over multiple generations or across vast landscapes, revealing how time and place impact their relationships. Setting, plot, and character come together so beautifully in these sweeping family sagas. 

With the holidays quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to pick up an engrossing story about complicated families. Getting lost in a book after a boisterous family gathering is my definition of introvert self-care, and it’s nice to be reminded (via fiction) that all families, no matter how loving, are complicated. 

Ready your coziest reading spot, and warn your loved ones that you’ll be occupied for awhile.

What are you reading over the holiday season? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. And of course, please share all of your “families are complicated” book recommendations.

Sweeping Family Sagas
Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone

This engrossing story combines medicine, family, and politics to great effect. Moving between India, Ethiopia, and New York City, we follow the story of identical twin brothers, born of a secret union between an Indian nun and the British surgeon she assisted. Part coming-of-age story, part mystery, part sweeping family story, this novel defies easy genre categorizations and ranks as the favorite book EVER of legions of readers. There are some difficult scenes, and it starts slowly—but it is 100% worth every page. More info →
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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Author:
If you're new to this novel, brace yourself: Francie Nolan is about to win you over. Her Irish Catholic family is struggling to stay afloat in the Brooklyn slums, in the midst of great change at the turn of the century, while her charismatic but doomed father is literally drinking himself to death. But Francie is young, sensitive, imaginative, and determined to make a life for herself. A moving story of unlikely beauty and resilience, wistful, satisfying, and heart-wrenching. More info →
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Hannah Coulter

Hannah Coulter

Author:
I've talked about Hannah Coulter several times: the books I can't stop recommending, a book I've read more than once, what to read when you feel like the world is falling apart. Hannah's second husband Nathan Coulter (her first died in the war) was reticent to talk about his experience in the Battle of Okinawa. "Ignorant boys, killing each other," is all he would say. In this atmospheric novel, an older Hannah looks back on her life and reflects on what she has lost, and those whom she has loved. Her recollections paint a vivid portrait of a complicated, loving family. I adore Berry, who writes gorgeous, thoughtful, piercing novels, and this is one of his finest. Contemplative, wistful, and moving. More info →
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Gilead

Gilead

Spanning across centuries from the Civil War to modern day, Robinson’s story of the dying Iowa minister John Ames is one of the most beautiful books you’ll ever read, containing some of the most stunning sentences ever put to paper. Written as a letter to his son, Ames’ story about fatherhood, spirituality, and history resonates. Read it. Read it slow. Wistful, reflective, and wise, this is a book you can read over and over again. More info →
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The Shell Seekers

The Shell Seekers

I love this one so much, I included it in Volume II of my short-form podcast One Great Book. This family saga tells the story of three generations of a modern British family, brought together again during a time of crisis, all of whom have been burned by love and must figure out how to move forward. Full of interesting, well-developed, flawed-but-likable characters. This is a great holiday travel read, but it's LONG, making it perfect for your ereader library. It's one of the top 100 novels in the BBC's Big Read. More info →
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The Namesake

The Namesake

Author:
The follow-up to Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize-winning debut, Interpreter of Maladies, Lahiri tells the story of the Ganguli family. Following their arranged marriage, husband and wife travel from Calcutta to Massachusetts and struggle to become Americans. It's complicated enough when it's just the two of them, but when they have a son, the generational clash heightens the burden of assimilation—for all three of them. More info →
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Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose

This enthralling story spanning four generations is based on real events, and offers a fascinating look at both one family's history and the history of the American West. The narrator is Lyman Ward, an injured, wheelchair-bound man who fills his days by working on a history of his grandparents, and much of this "history" is the novel the reader holds. This interesting structure invites the reader to come alongside the narrator as he tries to puzzle out what really happened between his grandparents many years before, and as he reflects on what makes a friendship or a marriage work—and what may cause it to fail. More info →
The Thorn Birds

The Thorn Birds

McCullough's modern classic tracks an Australian family across three generations. This sweeping Australian saga tops many a reader's favorite books list for its captivating romance, dramatic turns, and vivid setting. (It should be noted that for every two people who adore this book there's one who considers it a schmaltzy romance. Read it and decide for yourself.) More info →
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Homegoing

Homegoing

Author:
By exploring the stories of two sisters, who met different fates in Ghana more than 200 years ago, Gyasi traces subtle lines of cause and effect through the centuries, illuminating how the deeds of ages past still haunt all of us today. Her debut follows the generations of one family over a period of 250 years, showing the devastating effects of racism from multiple perspectives, in multiple settings. For the first hundred pages I didn't quite grasp what the author was up to, but when it hit me it was powerful. A brilliant concept, beautifully executed, and I CAN’T WAIT for her new novel set for a 2020 summer release. More info →
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The House of Spirits

The House of Spirits

Gorgeous writing, magical realism, forbidden love, and political drama. This Latin-American classic has it all. Fall in love with the Trueba family, from the passionate patriarch Esteban, to the revolutionary granddaughter Alba. History impacts each family member as they navigate tragedy and hope. Powerful female characters shine in this absorbing multigenerational saga. More info →
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Pachinko

Pachinko

Author:
"We cannot help but be interested in the stories of people that history pushes aside so thoughtlessly." An unputdownable novel tracing four generations of a 20th-century Korean family back to the time when Japan annexed the country in 1910, affecting the fates of all. Lee portrays the family's struggles against the backdrop of cultural and political unrest, as they endure fierce discrimination at the hands of the Japanese. Operatic and sprawling, every decision has a reverberating consequence in this compelling portrait of a little-explored period of history. More info →
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If You Leave Me

If You Leave Me

Kim's debut novel is set in Korea during the 1950s and '60s, where two childhood friends and ill-fated lovers are forced to make terrible choices against the backdrop of the Korean War. The story shifts between multiple points of view, exploring the terrible choice the young woman was forced to make between true love and a secure future, if she can live with herself after that decision, and what will happen next in this love triangle. Jessica Shattuck describes this as "a gripping, heartrending tale of the birth of modern Korea filtered through the prism of an intimate love story." More info →
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A Place for Us

A Place for Us

I adored Mirza's slow-burning debut about an Indian-American Muslim family, which skillfully probes themes of identity, culture, family, and generational change. "I am to see to it that I do not lose you," reads the epigraph (Whitman), and the story wonders if, despite our best intentions, one might nevertheless wound someone they love deeply enough to lose them forever. The story opens with the oldest daughter’s wedding: the bride scans the crowd for her beloved yet rebellious brother, hoping he'll appear despite being estranged from the family for years. Through a series of flashbacks, and in rotating points of view, Mirza examines the series of small betrayals that splintered the family, skillfully imbuing quotidian events—a chance meeting at a party, a dinner conversation about a spelling test—with deep significance, showing how despite their smallness, they irrevocably alter the course of the family’s life. The last section is a stunner, but grab the tissues first. More info →
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What We Were Promised

What We Were Promised

Author:
After twenty years abroad, the Zhens return to their native China to take up residence among Shanghai's nouveau riche. But deep unease lies behind the façade of their pampered lifestyle: husband Wei finds no satisfaction at work, wife Lina spends her days shopping and lunching, and both miss their daughter, who attends school in America. When Wei's long-lost brother reappears, he stirs up a host of long-buried emotions, forcing Lina to revisit past choices she hid from her husband. The backdrop of contemporary Shanghai and a national festival highlights how the family embodies China’s current conflicts and complexities: rich vs poor, urban vs rural, old vs new values. A compelling story of class, culture, regret, and anxiety about the road not taken. More info →
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Ask Again, Yes

Ask Again, Yes

When two rookie cops who meet at the NYC Police Academy strike up a friendship, it sets in motion a tragic chain of events that echo through the decades, through the lives of their children and their children’s children. I found this book exceptionally difficult to read—it’s depressing and dark and triggers abound—yet I was eager to find out what would happen next to these doomed families, and the astonishing developments of the last 75 pages vaulted this to my best-of-the-year list. A poignant story of grace, forgiveness, and redemption, for fans of Atonement and Little Fires Everywhere. More info →
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Everything Here Is Beautiful

Everything Here Is Beautiful

Author:
Celeste Ng calls it "a tender but unflinching portrayal of the bond between two sisters." Responsible and conscientious, Miranda always keeps an eye on her unpredictable younger sister, Lucia. When Lucia starts hearing voices, Miranda takes over, helping Lucia navigate life, treatments, and diagnoses. But Miranda's constant worry and vigilance takes a toll on her, and her relationship with Lucia. Following the sisters over decades and across continents, Lee's compassionate debut novel shines light on how mental illness impacts individuals and their families. More info →
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The Island of Sea Women: A Novel

The Island of Sea Women: A Novel

Author:
See spins a tale of female friendship spanning eighty years, set against the backdrop of history in an incredible setting—the very real South Korean island of Jeju. On Jeju, women are the breadwinners, making their families’ livings by free-diving into the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean, harvesting seafood to sell, while the husbands stay home with the children. This tradition has gone on for thousands of years, and we see it lived out in the lives of Young-sook Mi-ja. The two girls become fast friends as seven-year-olds in 1938, but their respective marriages take them down different paths, and bring unforeseen tensions into their relationship. (The real historical events woven into the pages make for heartrending reading.) A second storyline, set in 2008, gives readers hints of what may have caused the rift between the girls, but it’s only in the final pages that all is revealed. A fascinating, rewarding story of strong women, little-known history, and human resilience. More info →
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The Ensemble: A Novel

The Ensemble: A Novel

Author:
A much-anticipated debut from former cellist Gabel. It's the 1990s, and four promising musicians decide to forego the usual soloist path and bind their professional (and personal) lives to form a string quartet. Jana is driven, Henry a prodigy, Daniel a success through dogged determination, and Brit a bit of a wild card. With the feel of a dysfunctional family novel, the characters aren't always likable but always ring true, and Gabel nails a wide range of human emotions—joy and pain, envy and fear, frustration and near-despair—as she portrays the group's turbulent eighteen years together. An utterly believable and emotionally compelling submersion into the competitive world of classical music. More info →
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The Dutch House: A Novel

The Dutch House: A Novel

Author:
Nobody can do a richly layered family saga unfolding over decades like Ann Patchett. Cyril Conroy means to surprise his wife with the Dutch House, a grand old mansion outside of Philadelphia. But a symbol of wealth and success for some is a symbol of greed and excess to others, and the family falls apart over the purchase. In alternating timelines, we get the whole story, over five decades, from Cyril's son Danny. He and his older sister Maeve face poverty and loss, and shelter one another from loneliness and abandonment. The siblings face a test when confronted with the past. Note: the audiobook is narrated by Tom Hanks. More info →
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Salt Houses

Salt Houses

Author:
Alyn's debut novel follows three generations of a Palestinian family from the Six-Day War of 1967 to 1990 Kuwait to Beirut, Paris, and Boston. The story opens with Alia's wedding, when Alia's mother, Salma, reads her future and sees both turmoil and travel. While she keeps her premonitions secret, they all come true as the family is uprooted by war and loss. A lyrical tale of assimilation and the importance of family. More info →
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Love Medicine

Love Medicine

Toni Morrison said “the beauty of Love Medicine saves us from being completely devastated by its power." Erdrich's debut novel reads like a series of connected short stories, drifting back and forth between two intertwined Ojibwe families. Vignettes of drama, healing, justice, and magic reveal the tight bond between the Kashpaws and Lamartines. Told with Erdrich's signature poetic style, her first work is certainly worth reading. More info →
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The Great Believers: A Novel

The Great Believers: A Novel

Makkai's prize-winning novel asks what it means to be family to one another, as the characters navigate heavy grief and loss within their tight knit communities. In 1985, Yale Tishman loves his job working in the fundraising department of a Chicago art gallery. But as his career takes off, the 1980s AIDS crisis wreaks havoc on his world, devastating his chosen family. Between chapters about Yale's life, we learn his friend Fiona's story, as she travels to Paris 30 years later in search of her estranged daughter. Both timelines kept me glued to the page, and they came together in such a brilliant way at the end of the book. Amy Poehler optioned this one for a "major television event." More info →
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The Travelers: A Novel

The Travelers: A Novel

Author:
This one's currently on my nightstand. Porter is a playwright, hence the extensive cast list on the first page of her debut novel. With a theatrical sensibility and a knack for dialogue, she brings a huge cast of friends and family to life. Follow the lives and loves of an Irish American family and an African American family as their histories intersect in a beautiful exploration of identity and place. Traveling across continents and centuries, I'm told these interweaving stories come together as you acclimate to the book's unique structure. More info →
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The Dearly Beloved: A Novel

The Dearly Beloved: A Novel

Author:
A compelling premise and graceful telling landed this one on my favorites list. Charles and Lily meet James and Nan in 1963 Greenwich Village when Charles and James are both called to serve Third Presbyterian Church. The two men steward the church through upheaval and change, despite their personal differences. I couldn't stop reading as the couples and their families struggle with faith and friendship. More info →
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The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

Southern Baptist Missionary Nathan Price heads off to the African Congo with his wife and 4 daughters in 1959, and nothing goes as planned. Though they bring with them everything they think they will need from their home in Bethlehem, Georgia--right down to the Betty Crocker cake mixes--the Prices are woefully unprepared for their new life among the Congolese, and they all pay the price. More info →
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What are you planning on reading in the season to come? What books would you add to this list?

P.S. 20 books to cozy up with this winter, and 15 literary novels that will have you compulsively turning the pages.

85 comments | Comment

85 comments

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  1. Margie says:

    Great list! Salt Houses is wonderful and deserves more love and attention – in my top 2-3 reads this year along with A Place for Us. Three Junes by Julia Glass is a family saga that gave me the same feeling as these two books and was terrific on audio.

  2. Susan says:

    Reading A Place For Us right now, on page 60 and struggling to hang in there, hoping for more. I read Cutting For Stone in October for my book club – we had such great conversation over it. Gilead is probably one of my all time favorite books. I took so many notes on Gilead, so many quotable lines – just beautiful.

      • Pamela Hall says:

        I really agree with the description ‘slow burn’. This book is not a ‘page turner’ but it sneaks up on you. If you continue on (which I encourage), you may find yourself like I did caring deeply for each member of the family, as well as understanding in a new way the struggles of first generation immigrants and the collision of cultures they experience. The family becomes so real, the story takes on breath and I found it has stayed with me long after I finished reading it.

  3. For those who like family sagas, I recommend the books by R. F. Delderfield (especially if you also liked Downton Abbey). They take place in late 19th and early 20th century England.

  4. James M says:

    Where do you find all of these great picks? I am impressed! Could I suggest an addition? Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections. This book is amazing and made me a Franzen fan for life.

  5. Sonya Campbell says:

    I was almost late for work this morning because I was listening to The Dutch House and didn’t want to stop!! SOOOOO GOOD!!!

  6. Amber says:

    Loved this list! So many I love and more to add to my TBR. I think The Prince is Tides by Pat Conroy might fit well in this list.

  7. Mary says:

    Strongly recommend the Jalna books by Mazo de la Roche. The author is Canadian, and the family saga covers a great deal of time over several books.

  8. You might like ‘The Street of a Thousand Blossoms.’ It spans 30+ years in Japan, from early WWII through the reconstruction to the 60s. Very sweet story — with some teeth — about two brothers raised by their grandparents and the way the war impacts them and everyone they know.

  9. I’d also suggest anything by Edward Rutherfurd. I read “Paris” by him and loved it. It tells the story of multiple families but the city itself is a character as he shares how the city changed over centuries. I want to read more by him but his books are looooong so I need to be in the right mindset. And I need to be able to carry the physical book around. Multigenerational books often have a family tree in the front so they are best read in print, IMO. So I need to be able to lug a huge book around, which I prefer not to do when traveling.

    • Terrie says:

      I’d forgotten this one, but I read Paris after it was recommended by a friend and also really enjoyed it. The multiple families and situations were fascinating.

  10. Hannah says:

    I just read Homegoing last month! I would add Francine Rivers’ duology Marta’s Legacy to this list. It spans 5 generations of a German-American family through the women focusing on the relationships between mother and daughter. Wonderfully redemptive story. I’m due for a re-read of it. 🙂

  11. Donna says:

    Great list!

    The 1980s and 1990s saw big sweeping generational sagas that while not necessarily literary, are tremendously enjoyable. Who remembers Fern Michaels and her “Texas Rich” series? I recently listened to the entire series and loved it.

    I know there are dozens more like these…someone please refresh my memory?!

  12. Jill M says:

    I’m reading The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo.. it’s wonderful!!!
    It’s a long one 500+ pages of messy, lovable, endearing characters. It somewhat reminds me of the holiday movie The Family Stone. I highly recommended it!

    • Briana says:

      That’s one of my favorite holiday movies. I cry watching Judy Garland sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in Meet Me in St. Louis – and I cry watching one of the adult children watch that same scene in The Family Stone. Thanks much for the book recommendation!

  13. This may be my favorite list you’ve given us! You have some books I’ve loved on this list, and I can’t wait to read the others.
    I would add The Two Family House by Linda Cohen Loigman. That book is haunting in its exploration of how far we’ll go to get what we want, and how getting what we want can sometimes destroy us and those we love.

  14. I love this list! I would add
    The Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell
    The Forsythe Saga by John Galsworthy
    Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (not totally a whole family saga, but…)
    God is an Englishman and the rest of the Swan Family saga by R. F. Delderfield
    Winds of War/War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
    Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
    Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie (nonfiction)
    The Heirs by Susan Reiger
    Once an Eagle by Anton Myre
    Young People’s Series:
    The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
    The Casson Family series by Hilary McKay [personal favorite–I asked the author to write a grown=-up account of the parents’ marriage–that’s how much I love it!]
    The Melendy Quartet by Elizabeth Enright

  15. Nancy says:

    @Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns, I listened to Paris audiobook before visiting the city. I realized pretty quickly that I needed a family tree, and found a printable one online.

  16. Denise Hurley says:

    Best kept Family Saga Series secret: Penny Vincenzi trilogy: Something Dangerous, No Angel, Into Temptation. (Perhaps it’s the tawdry sounding titles that keep these books off the lists and under the radar.)

  17. Krista Mays says:

    The Into the Wilderness series by Sara Donati is a family saga that I’ve loved for years. Interesting characters, strong women, a surprising crossover with the Outlander series and enough books to get you through a long winter.

  18. Carol says:

    Such a GREAT list!!! Love it!

    I have read several of them already, but added more to my list. I just found put that Kindle Unlimited is not “unlimited”!😱 I guess there is a limit of 10 books so I had to remove some to make room for these. Of course, there is no limit on physical books though I need to buy another bookcase. 🤪

  19. Ann McAuliffe says:

    I have read six of these Five were favorites. I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn because my mother had mentioned in her diary from the 1940’s that she was reading it. Her comment was “not sure if I like it.” When I read it I could see why. Her favorite saying was “oh buck up”.

  20. Emily C Shearon says:

    This list is amazing. Family drama-saga is my favorite genre as well! I want to read or reread all of these. Thank you!

  21. Mark Foncannon says:

    Great list! Wish I’d seen The Brothers K, by David James Duncan, on it. For family sagas, it’s one of my absolute favorites. Can’t wait to get my hands on many of these others. Thanks, Anne!

  22. Jackie says:

    I would add any book by Anne Tyler to the list. She’s the quintessential writer of family dramas in my humble opinion. I will be reading “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Tracey Chevalier. It’s my next book club read.

    • Rosie Friedland says:

      Completely agree! Anne Tyler has a way of writing about family that makes me feel as if she has met my own family. Her books are often short, but they feel sweeping.

  23. Lauren says:

    I am about a quarter of the way through “The Most Fun We Ever Had” and am loving it so far! It would definitely fit in this category of complicated, but well-meaning, family drama!

  24. Leigh says:

    I would add my favorite book of all time to the list: Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer. It’s an old book-I read it almost 40 years ago- but it remains my top pick over everything else I’ve read since. I remember where I was when I finished this sweeping saga, and I remember crying because it was over. Yeah, it’s that good! The sequel, The Prodigal Daughter, while carrying the characters forward was ok, but does not live up to the promise of Kane and Abel.

    I would also add A Southern Girl by John Warley which focuses on a family in Charleston and their lives surrounding the adoption of a Korean orphan.

  25. Bonny says:

    I would suggest the Poldark novels which spanned the years 1783 to 1820 and are set in Cornwall. I discovered them after the series began on PBS in 2015 and love them.

  26. Candace says:

    At 1200 pages it’s really too long to even recommend, but if you are looking for a deep dive into the most sweeping family saga across time and geography, try James Michener’s The Covenant about South Africa. The historical perspective and characters will stay with you decades after accomplishing one of his reads (and you’ll feel like you’ve just taken a mini college course).
    Love that you included Barbara Kingsolver’s best page-turner I have ever read, The Poisonwood Bible. One of my favorite authors.

  27. Martha Daly says:

    I would add A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford) to your list. One of the best books of family that I have ever read.

  28. Allison Golding says:

    This post reminded me immediately of the Diana Gabaldon series Outlander. I have been rereading this year inbetween new releases in anticipation of her next installment to the series. Claire and Jamie definitely are the pinnacle of the complicated family.

  29. Melanie says:

    I just finished The Dearly Beloved and will have to purchase for my reread shelf! Still on the waiting list forThe Dutch House, it’s hard to wait! I might add to this list, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Eng. Thank you for your thoughtful lists and podcasts!

  30. Patti says:

    I just finished The Dearly Beloved and I was so drawn in by its warmth. I never skip ahead in books but I loved the characters so much that I had to flip forward just a bit as I got toward the end to make sure one of the character’s got what she wanted. (Don’t want to be specific and spoil it for others). I hope you get to The Travelers soon. I would normally have a difficult time with its format but it didn’t take long to get used to it and it was definitely worth it. One of my favorites this year.

  31. Joan says:

    You can’t go wrong with “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” I read the book when I was quite young and it has remained one of my favorite reads. Also there are many Amish books that cover several generations.
    Joan

  32. Marion says:

    R.F Delderfield is one of my favorite authors. His family sagas are first rate. “The cousins Of The Dove’ is a trilogy that goes through three generations. “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” is a favorite and one of the best books I ever read.
    Marion

  33. Mary Ann Frontz says:

    What a great list of books! I want to read them all! My favorite listed here is “The Thorn Birds.” I also like William Rutherford, especially his book entitled “New York.”

  34. Susan says:

    I enjoyed reading several of the titles on your list. I guess that means the rest are now on my “must read” soon list. Thank you!

  35. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for this great list of books. R.F. Delderfield is the best with his family sagas. “A Tree grows In Brooklyn” is such a special book. My sister read it as a young girl. When her neighbor saw what she was reading he said “does your mother know you are reading this book”? I do not know why he would ask that question. The book is suitable for a young lady.I am reading book seven of a nine book series. “The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill”. The grandparents are Amish and try to find a perfect match for each of their grandchildren. The books are quite enjoyable.
    Marilyn

  36. Such a fantastic round-up! I would definitely add The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili – German reviewers have compared her to Tolstoy, and it’s a masterful book with magical realism elements, following a family over a crucial century. It’s a real doorstop of a book, naturally, but well worth sinking your teeth into if you’re looking for something to curl up with for a while!

  37. JoAnn Moran says:

    Great list, but you left off The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. One of the greatest family sagas ever with very memorable characters.

    • Jenni says:

      I was going to recommend The Good Earth as well! A very complicated family. Also, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See may not be multi-generational, but fits the complicated family aspect for sure!

  38. Chris Styles says:

    Anne, I am so happy that you loved The Shell Seekers as I did. When I try to get others to read it, I somehow fail to convey that it is so much more than a family melodrama. I listened to it on audio and loved every single moment. September by the same author is also wonderful!

  39. Shelley says:

    I guess this is my genre because I’ve read most. Fun fact: Abraham Verghese is the keynote speaker at my company annual conference next month! Loved Cutting for Stone and just read his memoir My Tennis Partner. He is such a gorgeous writer and dedicated physician.

  40. Rosie Friedland says:

    The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai is one of my favorite books I’ve read in the last couple years. Reading The Dutch House now!

  41. Anna Lindquist says:

    I was standing with my iPad beside the computer, this post on Bloglovin’ and searching for the titles in GoodReads and then putting them into my TBR! HA! That’s how on the verge of autistic accuracy I am. And I put almost all of these books on my TBR and am now thrilled to get them and start reading! Thanks a lot for this lovely post! Looking forward to your reviews of the upcoming once further down the list.

  42. Myrthe says:

    I would definitely add The Eighth Life: For Brilka by Nino Haratischwili to the list. The story spans four generations of women in Soviet Georgia and Russia.

  43. Nancy says:

    I agree with of many of these choices especially House of Spirits and by Allende and Love Medicine by Erdrich. I have one to add that is one of my all time favorites from a favorite author: Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai.

    • Peggy says:

      Oh! I just commented about The Thornbirds and Portraits but I forgot about We
      Were the Mulvaney’s! Did you see the movie? It was good as well, such a good and yet heartbreaking story. Another generational series that I really enjoyed was the Heartland Memories Series by Carole Gift Page. It’s an inspirational series of books that I’d love to see made into a movie but since it’s older now probably not gonna happen.

  44. Lexie says:

    I would add Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. I really enjoyed this book.
    Thank you for writing this list and all the suggestions in the comments. I have a lovely long list waiting.

  45. Jackie says:

    This fabulous reading list of family genre books makes me wish that I could quit my job and read all winter!! So many books to add to Goodreads. Thank you for sharing!

  46. Barbara Bocan says:

    I would also like to add 3 of Susan Howatch’s older books~Penmarric, Cashelmara & The Wheel of Fortune. All are very good. Also, in the late 70s & early 80s Belva Plain wrote Evergreen. Barbara Taylor Bradford has always been popular for her novel A Woman of Substance. Happy reading!

  47. I’m currently reading Everything I Never Told you and I love it! I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing (I FINALLY got my hands on a copy!) and loved it as well. I’ve been wanting to read The Island of Sea Women for awhile-I’m now moving it up towards the top of my list! And I’m very intrigued by Pachinko.

  48. Peggy says:

    I’m one of those who loved The Thornbirds; I read it back in the 80’s and then watched the mini-series later. However I have to ask if you’ve read Portraits by Cynthia Freeman? I read it in the late 70’s when I was in high school and it is still one of the best books I’ve read. If you haven’t read it I don’t think you’d regret putting it on your TBR. I heard back then there was going to be a sequel but not sure if there is one.

  49. Elaine says:

    I can’t believe how many of the books you recommended are on “my favorite books” list! I’m looking forward to adding the ones I’ve not read to my TBR list (which is longer by far than my lifetime will permit)!

  50. Julie says:

    What a great list! I’ve read a bunch of them, and look forward to using the list to find more great reads.

    I’d like to recommend Karl Marlantes latest novel, Deep River, which was just published in July. It’s the story of a family of Finnish immigrants, who came to southwest Washington state in the early 1900s to work in the timber and fishing industries. It’s a chunkster (700 pages) but an engaging read, with a wonderful cast of characters that you will root for.

  51. Sarah Wolfe says:

    What a wonderful list! I love many of these and the rest are going in my TBR list.

    I would add Elizabeth Goudge’s series about the Eliots of Damerosehay. I just finished the second, Pilgrim’s Inn, and I understand why so many people have recommended it so highly.

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