For Small Business Saturday, our local bookstore was giving away advanced review copies when you made a purchase of $10 or more. The books were wrapped up in brown paper with brief, vague descriptions on the front. We had a baby who was ready to go at that point, so I was quickly scanning the black print and ‘heartwarming” caught my eye.
Later, as I was reading the book, which is Amy Rebecca Tan’s A Kind of Paradise, I realized that heartwarming books tend to, well, have a special place in my heart…a warm place in my heart? They’re the book equivalent to a good, solid hug or an afternoon spent in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate. They might be my favorite.
To be clear, there’s a fine line between heartwarming and saccharine. I have been known to roll my eyes while reading, but I’ve also been known to happily sigh. I also don’t think heartwarming books need to necessarily have some specific kind of message or moral, but rather that they just leave you feeling good. So what are the heartwarming books that elicit those good feels?
- Amy Rebecca Tan’s A Kind of Paradise
- Middle grade fans, library lovers…this is such a feel good read. A fortuitous find for sure!
- Anne Youngson’s Meet Me at the Museum
- Have I talked enough about this one yet? Letters between two strangers that talk about life beautifully. If I may be an Anne girl, this one speaks to my soul.
- Maria Parr’s Astrid the Unstoppable
- A grumpy old man, a spunky girl, and Alpine setting…need I say more?
- Karina Yan Glaser’s The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden
- My favorite of the wonderful Vanderbeekers series, although they’re all so charming. Big family, close-knit neighborhood, and lots of sweet adventures.
- Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
- Oh, I’m sorry, do I talk about this one too much, too? These characters are beloved to me and this book, with the new library in town, Betsy’s writing dreams, and their theater adventures, feels extra close to my heart.
- Ruby Ferguson’s Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary
- Almost a love letter to Scotland and a sweet fairytale feel that will leave you feeling cozy and content.
- Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford
- Like Stars Hallow, but with Father Tim. I put off reading this one for a while because I wasn’t sure I wanted to read about a priest, but don’t let that scare you off!
- Julia Stuart’s The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise
- The way the lives of the people who live at the Tower of London (did you know that was a thing?) intertwine is magically accomplished.
- Naomi Shihab Nye’s Habibi
- A favorite of mine that I never hear about. This story follows a Palestinian-American teenager when her family moves to Israel.
- Mary Ann Shaffer’s and Annie Barrow’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
- If you haven’t read this one…WHAT ARE YOU DOING. Oh, that’s not going to work? Please? It’s so good.
- Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, And a Very Interesting Boy
- A lovely series for all of those who love the feel of a childrens’ classic.
- L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Avonlea
- I think this is my favorite Montgomery, but she’s got heartwarming in spades. Also, have you seen these covers? I could definitely collect different Anne copies. So pretty.
- Helene Hanff’s 84, Charing Cross Road
- Another book lover’s delight, plus this is real!
- James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small
- I wasn’t sure I wanted to read about a veterinarian, but the Yorkshire setting got me and then I ended up loving every bit of it.
- R.J. Palacio’s Wonder
- So moving.
- Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
- I love a wholesome family, which made this book, one I’d usually never read because I tend to cringe over YA romance, one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
- Anne Bogel’s I’d Rather Be Reading
- Bogel’s essays about the reading life will have you nodding your head and smiling.
- Jean Webster’s Daddy Long-Legs
- Our orphan protagnist, but of course, is such a charmer. I don’t know how I only just read this one this year, but if you’re making the mistake of not having read this one yet, fix that!
If you would like to join in on the fun, please go to the submissions page!