What makes a good rainy day read? For some, it’s the sort of beautiful, introspective novel that reflects the feeling of finding a comfy place to read and enjoying some alone time. For others, it’s a book that grabs your attention from the first line and refuses to let go until the very last page, engrossing you in its world and letting you forget the dreary weather.
With plenty of rain in the forecast, here are some great rainy day books to for all manner of readers.
Introspective Rainy Reads
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
When former POW Ernt Allbright returns from the Vietnam War, he is not the same husband and father as he was before. Impulsively, he packs up his wife, Cora, and daughter, Leni, and moves them to the Alaskan fronteir, on the edge of the wilderness. Though at first things seem to be going well for the Allbrights, as winter approaches it becomes clearer and clearer that Ernt will not be able to provide for his family in his fragile mental state. Suddenly, Cora and Leni find themselves alone and fighting for their family and their survival.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
In a picturesque Cleveland suburb, Elena Richardson seems to have the perfect life, and she maintains this idyllic lifestyle through strict adherence to the rules. When the unique and challenging single mother Mia Warren moves in, Elena and her family do their best to make Mia and her teen daughter feel welcome. But soon, a custody battle over a Chinese-American baby rips the neighborhood apart, with Elena and Mia on opposing sides. Now, Elena is consumed by her desire to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Mia, no matter the cost.
The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker
In Nazi Germany, former friar Anton Starzmann is forced to relocate to a small German hamlet when his school is seized and he is stripped of his title. While there, he meets and marries Elisabeth Herter, a widow desperate for a partner to help raise her three children. But just as Anton, who is wracked with guilt over abandoning his students, begins to settle into the role of husband and father, war creeps closer and closer. Now, Anton must decide whether he will once again sit idly by as the Nazis sweep in, or stand up and fight for the people he loves.
Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah
Ornithologist Joanna Teale is already struggling when she returns to her remote Illinois cabin to continue her graduate research; she has just lost her mother to breast cancer and has herself just gone into remission. But when a mysterious child shows up on her doorstep, she finds herself suddenly in the role of protector. The child, named Ursa, explains that she has been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With the help of her reclusive neighbor Gabriel, she takes care of Ursa, all the while uncovering more of the mystery that is the little girl’s past.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
When Willie Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s beloved son, died at age eleven in 1862, the president was devastated, and, despite the raging Civil War, returned nightly to Willie’s crypt to cradle his son’s body. In this novel, George Saunders imagines what the spirits of the bardo—the liminal space between life and death—think of Lincoln’s nightly visits, while also taking the time to tell their own ghost stories as well. With equal parts wit and tragedy, Saunders’ large cast of characters paint a delightful, melancholy portrait of life in the Civil War-era.
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
Ever since losing a beloved keepsake from his deceased fiancée, Anthony Peardew spent the past forty years considering himself a collector of lost things, taking it upon himself to reunite them with their owners. At the end of his life, he passes his mission on to his freshly divorced assistant, Laura. Having suddenly inherited both a massive estate and mission, Laura enlists the help of some new friends to find the homes of Anthony’s massive collection lost objects. As she settles into the role of the Keeper of the Lost Objects, Laura finds herself getting a little less lost as well.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
This family saga follows one Korean family through their many years of hope and hardship, starting with an unexpected pregnancy that leads to the marriage of shunned Sunja and a tubercular minister, who brings her with him to Japan. Over the years, Sunja’s family must deal with poverty, discrimination, and a wide variety of catastrophe. But interspersed throughout these hardships are moments of happiness, success, and love, and the full story of this mixed Japanese-Korean family is incomplete without both.
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
Exploring the many types of love in our life, The Friend earned the 2018 National Book Award for its heart-wrenching story of a woman and her recently deceased friend’s dog as they both grieve a terrible loss. When her friend commits suicide, the narrator (unnamed in the story) finds herself taking in his beloved dog, Apollo, who is equally traumatized. Despite the threat of eviction from her apartment, the woman refuses to leave Apollo behind, and together the pair begin to heal from their inescapable grief.
Rainy Day Thrillers
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Secrets. Drama. Intrigue. Lies. All in the remote wilderness. Reclusive writer Nora Shaw is reluctant to take up her distant friend’s offer of a weekend bachelorette getaway to the English countryside, but eventually she relents out of curiosity. What she finds when she gets there is an odd assortment of women, none of whom seem too excited for the bride-to-be. As the many secrets and past dramas of the group resurface, Nora begins to realize that they aren’t alone, and someone—or something—else might be lurking in this dark, dark wood.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
When a single mother, Nel, is found dead at the bottom of the river that flows through her small town, she is the second woman that year to be victim of such a fate. The first, the best friend of her daughter, Lena, died months earlier in what was determined a suicide. Over the years, countless women have been found in the water, and when Nel’s estranged sister Jules comes back to town to take care of Lena, she is determined to figure out why. Have all of these drowned women really committed suicide, or is there something much more sinister going on?
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
When Mia Dennett gets stood up by her on-again, off-again boyfriend, she makes the mistake of going home with Colin Thatcher. She soon discovers that Colin has been hired to kidnap her and deliver her to a third party that intends to hold her for ransom, but he instead evades his employers and hides her in a remote cabin. Back home, Mia’s mother and the detective assigned to her case work tirelessly to find the missing girl. Told alternately between before and after Mia returns home, Mia’s puzzling story will leave you guessing until the very last page.
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Ten years ago, fifteen-year-old golden child Ellie Mack disappeared. Despite the trail going cold and the dissolution of her marriage, Ellie’s mother Laurel has never given up hope that Ellie could still be alive. When she meets a charming man named Floyd in a coffee shop, she is startled to find that his young daughter looks nearly identical to a young Ellie. Suddenly, Laurel’s dedication to her daughter’s case is renewed, and she begins to wonder if Floyd might have something to do with the disappearance that happened a decade prior.
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
When the body of an infant is found behind a local university, reporter Molly Anderson is assigned the story. She herself is a mother, and still recovering from the loss of her second child years before. As she investigates what happened to the unknown newborn, Molly begins to uncover decades of secrets that hint towards a much darker history. At the same time, the police chief’s wife struggles to connect with her teen son, and a teenage dropout deals with her wayward mother. As these three women’s lives intersect, the mystery begins to unravel.
Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown
One year ago, Billie Flanagan disappeared on a hike in the woods, leaving behind her husband. Jonathan, and daughter, Olive. Despite having never found a body, Jonathan and Olive have accepted that Billie is dead, and both struggle to cope with the loss. But then Olive begins to see visions of her mother, alive. Together, Jonathan and his daughter work to uncover the mystery of Billie’s disappearance, and try to figure out if she really could still be alive. Along the way, they’ll begin to wonder if they ever really even her at all.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Despite her seemingly perfect life, esteemed painter Alicia Berenson shocks the world when she spontaneously shoots her husband five times and refuses to speak ever again. As the tabloids theorize about her possible motives, she is hidden away at the Grove, a secure forensic unit where criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber works tirelessly to ease the story out of Alicia. But even with his best efforts, Alicia is determined to remain silent, and Theo finds himself further and further engrossed in the case, eventually becoming an obsession.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Kya Clark is known by the locals as the “Marsh Girl,” mostly due to the fact that she lives alone in the marsh that neighbors the small town of Barkley Cove. Though she finds herself more at home with the wildlife than with the people in town, she soon attracts the attention of two young men. But when one of her potential suitors, the handsome Chase Andrews, turns up dead, the townspeople are quick to point their fingers at Kya. As the case against Kya grows, the novel flashes back to her curious upbringing, filling in many of the gaps in present day.