Top Family Life Fiction for Every Reader

The holiday season is all about spending time with family, so why not match your reading material to your mood? Whatever genre you prefer, there’s a story that mines the rich, diverse and often complex family connections that make a novel’s plot and narrative so dynamic. From thriller to romance, the family relationships in these titles are as complicated as they are compelling and as tender as they tricky. Because you know what they say about happy families…


In Thriller

Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak

Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak

Sloane McBride left home at 18 to escape her small, confining small town as much as to escape her father, who she suspected had something to do with her mother’s mysterious disappearance 13 years earlier. But the years haven’t erased Sloane’s desire to uncover her family’s secrets, even if it means returning home, to the friends—and the terrible truth—she left behind.


In Contemporary Fiction

Evergreen Tidings From the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

Violet Baumgartner has opened her annual holiday letter the same way for the past three decades. But this year, high drama ensues when a family get-together reveals more news than usual. As secrets come out and everything she thought she knew about her family is challenged, Violet fights to retain control or be forced to accept change.


In Contemporary Romance

A Year and a Day by Inglath Cooper

Originally published in 2005

A Year and a Day by Inglath Cooper

Audrey Colby has the life most women dream of… Too bad it’s all a facade. Her seemingly devoted husband is really a monster. Their high-society “friends” protect his ugly secrets. The mansion they live in is just a gilded prison for her and her son, Sammy. One day, Audrey decides she and her son need to leave. She’s had enough. If only former state prosecutor Nicholas Wakefield would stop trying to save her.


In Literary Fiction

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Roy and Celestial’s life together is just beginning when Roy is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, tearing them apart. As the evolution of their marriage is told through letters and dual-narratives, it becomes clear that their story was never going to unfold as they had expected.


In Historical Fiction

Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen

Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen

In early Maoist China, a boy makes a decision that sets in motion a harrowing chain of events for his family, who must measure loyalty to each other against the expected loyalty to their government. They choose to flee their home, but their plan again tests the strength and limits of their family’s bonds, as one member is forced to remain behind.


In Mystery

Overturned by Lamar Giles

Overturned by Lamar Giles

Nikki Tate has been working for years to have her father exonerated and see him released from prison. So when his conviction is suddenly overturned due to new evidence, Nikki is thrilled that he will be free and she can stop running their family’s casino. But once he is home, her dad becomes obsessed with finding out who framed him, leading him straight back into the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas.



Are you a fan of family dramas? Let us know which of these titles will be on your TBR list!

    Karen Green

    Karen Green is a freelance writer and big city ex-pat now living in rural Ontario. She writes for numerous print and online publications, and considers her library card to be one of her most valuable possessions.

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