Family drama books to read!
Raise your hands if you love reading an epic family drama!
Reading captivating stories of multiple generations or books about dysfunctional families is always rewarding, especially if you have had enough of reading romance novels.
I want to read books that tell stories of common people and not so perfect families from around the world.
So, if you want to indulge in multigenerational family dramas set in different centuries this is the list for you.
19 family sagas from around the world. Most of them deal with dysfunctional families and family conflicts.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
The Dutch house is a fascinating story of the Conroy family, particularly the siblings Danny and his older sister Maeve. After their father’s death, step-mother Andrea allegedly takes over their family home- The Dutch House. Soon after, both siblings are thrown out of the house. Set over the course of five decades, this complex drama describes fragile family relationships. This American family story is definitely going to break your heart.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
Often referred to as a “modern retelling of the Genesis story of Cain and Abel” this multi-generational family drama tells the story of the two families-the Trasks and the Hamiltons. With engaging and memorable characters Steinbeck has written a masterpiece. The best thing about this classic is that it’s both fast-paced and easily readable for all types of readers. So if you’re looking for a family sags with enjoyable characters this is what you must be reading.
New York by Edward Rutherford
This historical fiction depicts the tale of families through the heart of America’s history over 300 years. From the 1600s Dutch and Native Americans to the terrorist attacks in the 2000s, you get to read a massive collection of events from the history of America. The book also describes the established families from America along with the fictional characters. Probably one of the very few historical fiction that has extensive history and drama in one place.
Centennial by James A. Michener
Michener tells a magnificent historical story of Colorado in the USA! From the ancient time to the early 1970s, the book takes you through most of the historical events of the region such as the life of dinosaurs to the arrival of man. This must be the only book you have to refer to as a history student. An engrossing book to take you back to the history of mankind and beyond.
Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie
A tragic tale that tells the coming-of-age- story of a Japanese girl Nori, whose father is African -American and mother is Japanese. When the mother abandons her, she has been forced to live along with her conservative Japanese grandparents. As a result, she leads a solitary life. But when her legitimate half-brother, Akira, comes to rescue things set in motion. A well-written novel of family, relationships, and culture. A must-read book that depicts a true portrayal of Japanese culture and families.
The Practice House by Laura McNeal
This timeless love story is the tale of Nineteen-year-old Aldine McKenna who has been living with her sister and aunt in a Scottish village in the late 1920s! Later, she moves to Dorland to work as a primary teacher without knowing that most families are in poverty. However, as the neighbors welcome her in open arms she decides to stay and explore her new life. An engaging story that will take you back to Kansas during the dust bowl.
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough.
This 1977 best-selling novel spans over three generations of the Cleary family, from 1915 to 1969. Set on a fictional Australian sheep farm, the story depicts the family struggles and romance. Mostly centered around Meggie, the only Cleary daughter, and her love interest, priest Ralph de Bricassart. However, “The Thorn Birds” is more than a romantic love story. It has engrossing details on Australian wildlife along with World War references.
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
A striking emotional story that is set in 80’s Chicago in the background of the AIDS epidemic and the consequences on the lives of people. The story concentrates on a group of gay friends and their struggle during the crisis. The story alternates between 1985 to 2015 and is told between two narratives- Fiona and Yale. A deeply moving novel you would want to start reading immediately!
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
Set in the background of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, this epic historical novel follows five inter-connected families- American, English, Welsh, German, and Russian. A well-researched intriguing and complex family drama that you would definitely enjoy if you are in unforgettable World War II novels!
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
This New York Times bestseller is a heart-wrenching novel that tells the story of two girls on the Korean island of Jeju. Mi-Ja and Young-sook develop a close friendship as they begin to work together with their village’s all-female diving collective. Span over many decades the novel takes us through the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s, World War II, and the Korean War. A fascinating story of courageous women with an indomitable spirit!
A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum
This bestselling novel narrates the story of three generations of Palestinian-American women who have been unable to raise their voice in a Patriarchal Arab society. Told in the past timeline by two narrators, we get to hear from eighteen-year-old Deya, her mother, and her grandmother. A compelling novel that will take you inside of conventional Arab culture and people.
The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton.
Set in rural Missouri, this family saga narrates the life of the Soames family. The book opens with The Soames family getting ready for the summer reunion; parents and four daughters. Later, we are taken to the life of each individual character and their life in vivid detail. A gripping novel that describes rural living.
The House of the Spirits Isabel Allende
This 1882 debut novel of Chilean-American novelist is an astonishing tale that tells the life of four generations from two beautiful families. The story focuses on two women-Clara del Valle and Alba de Satigny. Told in the background of Chilean politics and colonialism this story has extraordinary elements of magical realism.
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan.
This addictive novel follows the refugee life of a Palestinian family after the 1967 war. Mostly centers upon Salma, the matriarch of the family. This deeply engrossing story depicts the pathetic situation of her and her family who were forced to leave their home during the war. Told from an alternating point of view of family members throughout three generations. A beautifully written novel that takes us to the individual struggles of families.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This epic family saga follows seven generations. Primarily tells the story of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi in 18th century Ghana who have never known each other. We get to follow each sister’s separate lives. As one sister gets to stay in a privileged society, the other is transported to America as a slave. The book takes us to the numerous cultures in both Ghana and America- through slavery colonialism. Probably this is the ONLY book you have to read to know the treatment of enslaved in the United States.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
This historical fiction portraits an evangelical Baptist family in 1959 Belgian Congo. The story is told from different perspectives of Nathan, his wife, and daughters. Throughout the story, we get to witness the lives of real people, culture, and what it likes to live in a society as missionaries. A thought-provoking novel that can educate you on African culture, Christianity, and society in general.
Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
This immigrant story unfolds the lives of two sisters- Miranda and Lucia. Younger sibling Lucia is often wild and troubled by mental illness. It’s Miranda who always stood by her sister and felt responsible to look after the youngest. However, as they find new lives separated from each other, things are not the same. An extremely emotional tale with memorable characters you won’t be able to put down.
The Deverill Chronicles by Santa Montefiore
This epic tale of Santa Montefiore is set in West Cork, Ireland in the Castle Deverill and tells the story of three women- Kitty Deverill, the flame-haired Anglo-Irish daughter of the castle, Bridie Doyle, the daughter of the cook, and Celia Deverill, Kitty’s flamboyant English cousin. However, when the war of independence begins their life changes forever. A brilliantly written story of love, family, and friendship.
The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
Set in 1950s Quebec, this book tells the story of young mother Maggie and her pursuit to find her long-lost daughter. Along with the life of Maggie, Goodman also takes us to the orphaned daughter Elodie who has been raised in a destitute orphanage along with mentally challenged people. It also has describes the horrific circumstances in which young girls have been treated and how some of them are unable to cope with the situations. An emotional story set in the background of Canadian history that’s worth reading!
Time for YOUR action
Do you enjoy reading multigenerational fiction? What is your most favorite family drama? Let me know in the comments.
Always curious to hear from you,