Fifty-Four Favorite Fiction Books

I asked for your all-time favorite works of fiction and the answers poured in! I didn’t expect such an amazing response to a 24-hour Instastory but you went above and beyond to share your favorites.
[This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means if you click on a link and choose to make a purchase I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.]

In no particular order, these are the novels you recommended. If a series was recommended, I tried to list the first book in the series. When an author was recommended, I listed their most popular book.

Your Favorite Fiction

Les Miserable
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
American Dirt
The Bluest Eye
A Man Called Ove
The Prince of Tides
The Stand
These is My Words
The Book of Lost Friends
Dandelion Wine
Call Your Daughter Home
Crossing to Safety
The Language of Flowers
All the Light We Cannot See (recommended by two people)
The Thornbirds
Cormorant Strike Series
News of the World
Redeeming Love (recommended by three people)
My Dear Hamilton
Stone Fox
The Family Under the Bridge
The Pelican Brief
Hannah Coulter
The Glass Castle
Peace Like a River (recommended by two people)
So Brave, Young, and Handsome
The Count of Monte Cristo
Pride and Prejudice
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
No Ballet Shoes in Syria
The Nightingale
Dear Mr. Knightley
Carry On: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and an Unlikely Family
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (recommended by two people)
Winter in Paradise
The Poisonwood Bible
A Girl of the Limberlost
I Capture the Castle
Where the Crawdads Sing
The Thirteenth Tale
Anne of Green Gables
My Family and Other Animals
My Brilliant Friend
If I Gained the World
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
The Circle
The Masterpiece: A Novel

I’m already adding some of these to my Amazon cart and my library app. I hope you find some treasures here too!

Happy Reading,


My Word for 2021


It’s taken me a while to find my word for 2021. But several things dropped into place giving me a clearer vision, and “Pause” is the answer.

I want to Pause in several areas of my life.

Relational: I want to Pause when interacting, especially when tension is high. In that Pause, I can choose to respond rather than react. Last night, the final thing I did before going to bed was apologize to my son for the way I had reacted to him earlier that evening. A two-second pause would have made all the difference.

Spiritual:  Friends reminded me of the beauty of sabbath. Our family has gotten away from the joy of a day to rest from work and enjoy each other. I’m finding my way back.

After reading through the Bible in 2020, I’m also slowing down and settling more deeply into a smaller portion of the Word. I’m taking more time to pray and listen to the Lord.

Physical: The first book I read in 2021 was Why We Sleep. I’ve struggled with sleep for years and I know it’s important. But I didn’t realize how profoundly essential sleep is for our physical and mental health. Russ and I have set a 9:00 bedtime giving us the opportunity for eight hours of sleep. We’re Pausing our evenings earlier and making sleep a priority.

Emotional: Often I set my feelings aside and press on with my work-it’s the Enneagram 3 in me. I’m learning to Pause and feel my feelings, even when they hurt. Over the holidays I had a very sad day. I consciously let those feelings come, telling myself, “Feelings come and go,” knowing the deep sadness would lift.

Vocational: I’m choosing a slower pace in 2021. In preparation for the book launch, I got some great advice, “Say yes to everything.” And I did. Even without travel, book signings, and conferences, I managed to pack my days. It was exhilarating, exhausting, and totally worth it. Now I’m slowing my pace, taking more time for thinking, writing, and people.

Is there an area of your life you need to Pause?

Do you have a word for 2021? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear.

I hope your year is off to a hopeful start.

With love,


Staying Connected While Staying Apart

My friends, it’s been far too long since I’ve written to you. If I had a blog post for every time I’ve thought about writing, you would already be tired of reading.

How are you? How are you holding up?

Do you feel the uncertainty of these days? It seems we swing back and forth from, “Let’s stay home and make cookies!” to “This is serious and people are dying.”

Many times I’m not sure what to feel.


The greatest gifts in life are the people we love.

Last weekend I went to Seattle for Sisters Weekend. For a number of years my sisters and I have spent a weekend with our parents; I’m deeply thankful for the time together.

This year was our first Sisters Weekend without my dad. I had some tearful moments, but most of all I felt grateful to my dad for taking such good care of all of us, especially my mom.

We shared stories from our childhoods, like the time my mom had a substitute teaching job and she got all the way to the school before realizing I was still in the car. I’d stretched out on the back seat and fallen asleep. No seat belts were required, so I was quite comfortable. Imagine my mom’s surprise when she got all the way to the school and realized she’d forgotten to drop her four-year-old off with Mrs. Lindsey, who let me watch JP Patches and Romper Room.

We had a grand time staying in a beautiful historic hotel, going to a show at the 5th Avenue Theater, and eating at incredible restaurants. It was like stepping out of my life and into another for two days.

My sister and I even went to Nordstrom just to smell a perfume I’d read about. It was strange to be so frivolous.

By Saturday night I felt relaxed and wished we could have had one more day.

While you may not be able to get away for a fancy weekend, we mammas need to let our brains rest from the intensity of life. We spend so much time thinking about our children’s needs, we nearly forget our own. It’s therapeutic and good for us to take a break. Laughing really hard in a hotel lobby is good too.

Traditions anchor me, reminding me of what’s important. They also eliminate decisions – I know what I’m doing the weekend after Presidents Day each year. I’m somewhat averse to decision-making, so that’s a huge bonus.

Sisters Weekend is dear because the sole purpose is for the four of us to be together. We’re not celebrating a holiday, graduation, or wedding; we’re together just because we want to be, and it’s good.

Do you have a tradition of gathering with your parents or siblings on a regular, or even annual, basis? Leave a comment and share it with us.

Each Wednesday I send a short and sweet email to my inner circle of readers. I’d love to send it to you too! As my thanks, I’ll email you my guide for foster and adoptive moms. Click HERE to sign up and you’ll find it in your inbox this week.

With love on this last Monday of February,


2017 – You’re Coming Soon


view Montana mountain

I have a post in the works about my goals (not resolutions) for 2016 and how I’ve done – or how I’m doing in the case of some of them. I still have two weeks to go, friends!

But my mind and heart are moving quickly toward the hopeful newness of 2017.

Weeks ago I wrote that 2017 is going to be a year of Completion and Restoration. That wasn’t just a blog post – God is speaking this to us. These words are with me every day; Russ and I talk about them as we look toward the new year.

I have changes coming for my blog, more writing and other work-related projects, my family (Zoe will go home in the coming months), many unfinished home and farm projects.

My first tiny goal is to figure out how to write a newsletter to you. Jennifer had that task, and I know it’s simple, she showed me once, but it’s one more thing to learn. I also have to redesign the graphic at the top of the blog. These tech-related tasks bring me to tears.

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, I’ll be even more motivated to follow through if you do. I plan to email this more personal letter to you most weekends.

Please sign up for my newsletter so I know this is a worthy task.

All the experts tell me I’m supposed to offer you something fabulous in return, like an ebook, but I don’t know how to do that yet! So, if you would be so kind to simply encourage me, I would be grateful.

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And just because it deserves mentioning, if you didn’t see it on my Facebook page, Amazon has a great Deal of the Day on my favorite sound machine. I love it and have one in every bedroom of our house.

Have a fabulous Friday.