Inspired by the tag created on Youtube by the fabulous Jen Campbell, today’s post aims to recommend books based on a like for like basis; where I suggest two books that complement each other in terms of style, content or feel, so that if you enjoyed one, you’ll likely enjoy the other as well. Let’s get started!
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and Black Sheep by Susan Hill
A quote on the back of Hill’s Black Sheep actually describes it as very ‘Hardyesque’ and I completely agree. The sense of slow building dread, the tone of melancholy, and the unflinching look at the trappings of rural working class life in historic Britain really called to mind the struggles of Hardy’s Tess.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce and Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
These books both feature elderly protagonists, a fact which helps them to stand out in itself. One is the story of a man who sets out to reach an old friend when he hears about her impending death, whilst the other is about a woman suffering from dementia who is convinced her friend has disappeared. Both are poignant, feature memory and confronting the past as major themes, and will warm and break your heart in equal measure.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
I think these books work well together as they are both written from the perspective of very believable child narrators who are dealing with difficult situations. Wonder is about a young boy with a facial disfigurement trying to find acceptance, whilst My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece centres around a boy whose sister has been killed in a terrorist attack, and the ways his family cope.
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller and Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg
Both of these books have a dark, almost menacing edge to them. The former follows a young woman returning to civilisation after years of living in enforced solitude with her father, whilst the latter centres around a remote commune with a possible cult-like mentality. Both feature child protagonists who grow into adulthood during the story and explore themes of manipulation and abuse.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and Pharos by Alice Thompson
Even though Pharos is a modern book, it had a timeless feel that made it read almost like a classic to me, and in particular called back vibes of The Turn of the Screw. Both are ghost stories with a creepy atmosphere and a secluded setting that feature unreliable narrators, meaning we’re never entirely sure how much we can trust what they are telling us, leaving doubts as to what is real and what isn’t.
The Book Collector by Alice Thompson and Bodies of Water by V.H. Leslie
The second of Thompson’s books I’ve featured here, The Book Collector is a very gothic feeling story about madness, murder and the treatment of women. Leslie’s Bodies of Water felt very reminiscent of it in tone, as it also explores historical approaches to women’s mental health and has a dark, twisted edge.
Thanks for reading! If you’d like to get involved, consider yourself tagged, or simply recommend me pairs of books in the comments.