20 Best Books by Kristin Hannah to Add to Your Reading List

Discover our guide with the 20 best books by Kristin Hannah to see why she is one of the most loved historical fiction and romance authors of our time.  

Kristin Hannah is an award-winning, bestselling author with over 20 novels. One of her most famous novels, The Nightingale, has been published in 43 languages. She is one of the top historical fiction writers of modern times and ranks as one of the best romance authors

Hannah lives in the Pacific Northwest and began her professional career as a lawyer but then found great success when she published her first book, A Handful of Heaven, in 1991. Since that time, she has developed into an author known for her ability to write about the human spirit with deep emotion in her books.

If you are a fan of the author, these are the 20 best books by Kristin Hannah to add to your reading list.

1. The Nightingale

Best books by Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah’s most famous novel is “The Nightingale”

The Nightingale is, by far, Kristin Hannah’s most famous novel. Published in 2017, it took the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list, was named the Wall Street Journal Book of the Year, and is being made into a major motion picture that will eventually stream on Netflix.

This historical fiction work tells of Vianne Mauriac, who wishes her husband, Antoine, well as he heads to the frontlines of World War II. When the Germans requisition her home, she must do all she can to keep the family protected. Her sister Isabelle joins the Resistance, adding an extra layer of drama to the work. You might be interested in exploring more historical fiction books, check out our round-up of the best Wilbur Smith books!

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”

Kristin Hannah

2. Night Road

Jude Farraday has spent her adult life putting the needs of her twins, Mia and Zach, above hers. When Zach falls in love, she even brings his girlfriend into the fold. Yet Night Road, Hannah’s 2011 novel, shows that being a teenager is not always easy. It tells the poignant tale of navigating these young adult years as a family and how the actions of one single night can change a family’s story forever.

“Maybe time didn’t heal wounds exactly, but it gave you a kind of armor, or a new perspective. A way to remember with a smile instead of a sob.”

Kristin Hannah

3. Firefly Lane

Firefly Lane is a story of love and friendship that Hannah published in 2008. Kate Mularkey is a lonely, misunderstood eighth grader who finds herself becoming friends with the school’s cool girl, Tully Hart. The two become best friends, making a pact to stay best friends forever. TullyandKate becomes their mantra until the two grow up. This is a sweet coming-of-age story that shows that friendship truly can withstand all. 

“That was the thing about best friends. Like sisters and mothers, they could piss you off and make you cry and break your heart, but in the end, when the chips were down, they were there, making you laugh even in your darkest hours.”

Kristin Hannah

4. Waiting for the Moon

Published in 1995, Waiting for the Moon is another excellent romance novel by Kristin Hannah. This time the story is about a woman with amnesia who meets Ian Carrick, a physician living a reclusive life on the Maine coast. He has the gift of telepathy, which the woman seems immune to. The two come together and explore the mysteries behind their pasts in this intriguing tale.

“He was an old, old man, and he thought he’d seen it all. . . The woman scared him.”

Kristin Hannah

5. The Great Alone

When Hannah published The Great Alone in 2018, it became an instant number-one New York Times bestseller. The book tells of Ernt Allbright, a Vietnam War veteran who moves his wife and daughter to Alaska to try to heal his tormented soul. His wife, Cora, and daughter, Leni, are caught in the middle of this adventure. However,  escaping it all is not enough to heal the troubled mind of Ernt, and the two women must go it alone, away from everyone they know.

“Books are the mile markers of my life. Some people have family photos or home movies to record their past. I’ve got books. Characters. For as long as I can remember, books have been my safe place.”

Kristin Hannah

6. Between Sisters

Highly rated on GoodReads, Between Sisters speaks of what happens when sisters Meghann and Claire come together for Claire’s wedding. The two must try to find some common ground to be a family despite years of distance between them. Readers find this story funny and bittersweet at the same time, tugging at the heartstrings of her readers, Hannah published this feel-good novel in 2004.

“Sometimes love means trusting people to make their own decisions. In other words, shutting up.”

Kristin Hannah

7. Winter Garden

In the 2010 novel Winter Garden, Anya Whitson, an older woman, reaches out to her estranged daughters to tell them about her life in Russia during World War II. These tales send sisters Nina and Meredith on a quest to learn what happened to their mother and the secret that could potentially upend their family. This novel captures the truth of the human spirit in some of the most challenging times in history. It also crosses between 1941 Leningrad and 2000 Alaska to tie together two different times and places.

“We women make choices for others, not for ourselves, and when we are mothers, we…bear what we must for our children. You will protect them. It will hurt you; it will hurt them. Your job is to hide that your heart is breaking and do what they need you to do.”

Kristin Hannah

8. True Colors

True Colors is a heartbreaking tale of jealousy, betrayal, and passion. It tells of The Grey sisters, Winona, Aurora, and Vivian, three best friends who draw close after the death of their mother. A shocking crime tests the bonds of their friendship and has the potential to break up their family, causing them to show their true colors. This book was published in 2009 and is a favorite amongst Kristin Hannah fans.

“Abuse can make an animal mean.”

Kristin Hannah

9. Fly Away

Tully Hart is a successful woman with passion and plans until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. She makes a deathbed promise to Kate to take care of her children, sending her into Marah and Johnny’s lives. As the child of a mother who abandoned her, Tully struggles to be what her best friend’s children need her to be. Fly Away is book two of the Firefly Lane series, and Hannah published it in 2013.

“You will always miss her. There will be days – even years from now – when the missing will be so sharp it will take your breath away. But there will be good days, too, months and years of them. In one way or another you’ll be searching for her all your life.”

Kristin Hannah

10. Summer Island

When Ruby Bridge is asked to write a tell-all book about her estranged mother, Nora Bridge, she returns to her childhood home to uncover secrets. She digs up a past that includes a lost love, an ill best friend, and a mother with hidden family secrets. Summer Island is a story of forgiveness and restoration, and it was published in 2001.

“A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones.”

Kristin Hannah

11. Magic Hour

This book was published in 2009 and tells the story of how a young girl who cannot speak shows up in the Olympic National Forest. Child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates is called in to investigate what happened to the girl, whom she names Alice. Magic Hour takes a departure from Hannah’s romance novels and instead takes on the mystery novel genre, showing the variety the author can write.

“I didn’t know how…deep love ran, how it was in your blood, not your heart, and how that same blood pumped through your veins your whole life.”

Kristin Hannah

12. On Mystic Lake

On Mystic Lake is a 1999 novel that starts with the main character’s husband admitting he is having an affair with a younger woman. This sends Annie Colwater on a trip back to the small town where she grew up. She finds love with a recent widower, and they work together to help themselves and his young daughter heal from the heartbreaks they have all faced.

“I didn’t know how…deep love ran, how it was in your blood, not your heart, and how that same blood pumped through your veins your whole life.”

Kristin Hannah

13. If You Believe

In If You Believe, which Hannah wrote in 1993, Mad Dog Stone, a driver, and Mariah Throckmorton, a woman hiding from her past, meet and fall in love. The two discover that love can only exist if you truly believe in it. This book makes it on our list because it is an excellent example of Hannah’s early writing style and signature themes.

“And no one drank just one shot of tequila.”

Kristin Hannah

14. Once in Every Life

Once in Every Life takes on the subject of reincarnation. When Tess Gregory, a deaf research scientist and free spirit, dies, she lives again as Amarylis Rafferty, a post-Civil War wife, and mother who can hear. Her husband has heartbreak in his past, and she must learn to live with her new life and the shock of the unexpected trip through time. Book reviews on GoodReads call this one of the best time-travel, reincarnation-themed romance novels, and Hannah published the book in 1992.

“God, in His infinite wisdom, makes sure everyone gets one happy life before they move on.”

Kristin Hannah

15. The Things We Do For Love

The 2004 novel The Things We Do For Love shows that Hannah can write fiction in all forms. In this heart-warming tale, Angela DeSaria Malone finds herself childless and divorced, moving back to her hometown in the West End. She meets a girl, Lauren Ribido, who needs a mother’s love, and they build a beautiful and moving friendship.

“Life keeps going. You think it’ll stop, wait for you to be done crying, but it just keeps moving. Don’t spend your time looking back. You don’t want to miss what’s ahead.”

Kristin Hannah

16. When Lightning Strikes

Another story set in the Great Depression era, When Lightning Strikesfollows the story of Alaina Costanza, a romance writer who gets sent back in time to the Wild West and the setting of her novel. She meets up with an outlaw called Killian, and romance ensues. The addition of magic to the story makes this a unique historical fiction novel.

“Fleetingly he wondered what the man’s life had been like, where it had gone so desperately wrong. No one tried to end up like this, alone and defenseless and poor, eking a living from the harsh Arizona desert.”

Kristin Hannah

17. Home Front

Home Front is the story of Michael and Jolene Zarkades, who find their 12-year marriage falling apart under the stress of everyday life. When Jolene is sent on deployment, Michael must face the reality of his life. This novel, published in 2012, is heralded as a picture of modern marriage and the challenges war has taken on today’s parents.

“She had been ready to love this man from the moment she first saw him. In all these years, that had never changed. They’d hurt each other, let each other down, and yet, here they were after everything, together.”

Kristin Hannah

18. Distant Shores

Published in 2002, Distant Shores tells the story of Jack and Elizabeth Shore, a couple who lived what appeared to be a perfect life. However, they start drifting apart, and then tragedy strikes. The book tells about Elizabeth’s journey to discover who she is and embrace her dreams.

“Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.”

Kristin Hannah

19. The Four Winds

The Four Winds is a historical fiction novel that takes on the Great Depression. Set in Texas in 1934, this novel tells of Elsa Martinelli, a woman who much head West in search of a better life during those challenging economic times. This new book came out in 2021.

“A warrior believes in an end she can’t see and fights for it. A warrior never gives up. A warrior fights for those weaker than herself. It sounds like motherhood to me.”

Kristin Hannah

20. Angel Falls

Angel Falls tells the story of Mikaela Campbell, a wife, and mother who falls into a coma, leaving her husband to hold the family together for a month. When she awakes, she believes a different version of reality, and her husband discovers her story of a forbidden romance and marriage may be true. Hannah published this work in 2001. Looking for more romance novels to read? Check out our round-up of the best books by Barbara Cartland!

“At one point, she’d wanted to hurl the full breakfast at the wall. And then she’d remember why it was that men had temper tantrums and women didn’t: cleanup.”

Kristin Hannah

FAQs About The Best Books by Kristin Hannah

Is there an order to reading Kristin Hannah’s books?

Only two of Kristin Hannah’s books need to be read in a certain order, Firefly Lane and Fly Away. Fly Away is the sequel to the first book in the series. The rest of the books are stand-alone novels. Some readers like to read them in publication order to see the author’s style develop.

Are any of Kristin Hannah’s books movies?

Three of the best Kristin Hannah books are now movies. Home Front and The Great Alone are already movies, and The Nightingale is in production. It will hit theaters in 2023. The COVID-19 pandemic caused some delays in its production.

What is the newest book by Kristin Hannah?

The Four Winds is the most recent novel published by bestselling author Kristin Hannah. It shows why she is one of the best authors of historical fiction, showcasing her ability to write about the human spirit in some of history’s most difficult times. It has reached the top of seven bestseller lists.

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