Best Page-Turner Books, According to 12 Devoted Readers and Authors

Written by Michelle Watson

February 20, 2023

Say goodbye to that reading slump!

Here are the best page-turner books, as handpicked by 12 of my reader and writer friends.

These books earned 5 out of 5 stars for page-turnability! 

We couldn’t put them down.

This is what I’d like to call a Book Tasting. 🧁🫖

The goal is to give you a little “taste” of why we devoured these books so voraciously!

The readers and writers who’ve joined me for this Book Tasting have read a LOT of books, and we all enjoy different types of stories. 

There’s a huge variety here! You’re sure to find something that calls your name. 

The readers and writers who’ve joined me for this Book Tasting are smash-a-homerun superstars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You’ll find ways to connect with each of them, and I hope you do! I have a lot of respect for their reading lives and how they shine the spotlight on great writing—not to mention that they’re great writers themselves.

Another thing! All of us have read Important And Smart Books—lots of them. But today, we’re sharing our best page-turner books. They may not be all that literary, and they don’t represent our overall taste. But we ripped through them like Taco Tuesday, and that’s why they made the list.

So, grab a coffee and cozy up with this amazing list of our best page-turner books.

Anna Recommends What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren

Genre: Middle grade historical fiction

You’ll love it if you’re a fan of cozy, old-fashioned family stories like All-of-a-Kind Family or Sweet Home Alaska.

Anna says: This was my favorite read of 2022 because of the highly engaging family and friendship dynamics, plus the 1930s Wisconsin farm setting. 

About Anna: Anna Rose Johnson grew up fascinated by the early 20th century and now writes historical middle grade novels that reflect her love of classic children’s literature. A member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Anna Rose enjoys exploring her heritage through her stories, including her debut middle grade novel The Star That Always Stays (Holiday House), which was named an NPR Best Book of 2022, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, and a 2023 Michigan Notable Book. You can find her at

Beth Recommends The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Genre: Historical fiction, mystery

You’ll love it if you like whip-smart female protagonists and unpredictable storylines set in far flung global locations one hundred years ago. 

Beth says I love unique, unpredictable plots with relatable characters. Perveen Mistry is a spunky, trailblazing lawyer who figures out how to navigate the challenges of 1920s India, where gender roles are different than they are today. A bonus is great writing and colorful descriptions of Indian culture. 

About Beth: Beth Gross reads to grandkids and blogs about books at Smart Mamas Read. Find her on Instagram, Facebook and Goodreads.

Elena Recommends The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Genre: Classic romance

You’ll love it if you like witty humor, a sweet romance, a drastic transformation story, armchair-travel to a cabin in the woods—the safe kind!—and the phrase YOLO.

Elena says: I didn’t know another L.M. Montgomery novel could equal the love I have for Anne of Green Gables, yet here we are. Valency Stirling is a young adult, yet her mother and relatives treat her like a child, micromanaging every part of her life. When unforeseen circumstances threaten her life, she seems to take a cue from Tim McGraw and lives like she’s dying. She abruptly leaves her overbearing family and, much to their chagrin, befriends the three most unreputable people in town. This uncovers a whole new world of beauty and adventure in her life since it includes frolicking through the breathtaking wilderness of Ontario and even (dare she believe it?) falling in love. Along the way, the reserved Valency, who never had a voice, finds it and so much more. 

About Elena: Elena gushes about her monthly reads at Beautiful Hope blog. For a longer review (fangirl-ing) of this favorite book, click HERE.

Elsie Recommends The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Genre: Classic, drama, novel of manners

You’ll love it if you like watching clever, twisty, high-society period dramas like Downton Abbey or The Gilded Age.

Elsie says: There are some classics you meander and ruminate through, and others you practically inhale because you’re flying through them so fast! Wharton’s 1905 novel The House of Mirth was in the latter class for me! It follows the fortunes of New York socialite Lily Bart, a protagonist who’s almost an antiheroine, but someone you really root for. Lily must use all her beauty and brains to navigate a high-society world that deals in a complex currency of manners (and of course, plenty of money). It’s a novel steeped in nuance, wordplay, and cutting social drama that plays out against gorgeous “set pieces” like lavish ballrooms, New England countryside estates, and the French Riviera. The story pulled me in from the very first chapter and kept its pace right up to the end.

About Elsie: Elsie Callender writes the blog Tea and Ink Society, specializing in classic literature. She also helps readers match their reading material to the seasons with The Seasonal Reading Box, a quarterly subscription box for people who love books and tea!

Jodi Recommends Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Genre: Historical fiction

You’ll love it if you enjoy the journeys of captivating characters whose lives are interwoven with the real events from history books.

Jodi says: This is my favorite of all Susan Meissner’s novels, revealing the fascinating time of the London Blitz and two sisters’ perseverance under enormous affliction and pain. The story begins with Kendra, a young student in Oxford, England, who interviews an elderly woman to learn more about World War II. Isabel McFarland had lived through the London Blitz, and had never shared her secrets of that time, until this particular interview. What Kendra discovered was far more than a first-hand account of life in the midst of war. Kendra listens as Isabel unfolds a complex story of love and loss, ambition and humility, and a bond between two sisters that was stronger than all the evil forces of Hitler and his regime.

About Jodi: Jodi Hiser is an author and editor for Kosmeo Magazine, an online publication that seeks to use the literary, visual, and musical arts to encourage women in their walks of faith.

Katie Recommends Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Genre: Romance

You’ll love it if you enjoy realistic romance with a dose of adventure.  

Katie says: This is a fascinating look into the life of Cassie, a female firefighter, and a realistic high-stakes exploration of how tragedy reminds us of who really matters in our lives. The characters and situations feel so real, and there is an emotional depth to the story beyond what is typically seen in romance novels. 

About Katie: Katie Fitzgerald is a former librarian and mom of five who blogs about books and homeschooling at Read-at-Home Mom.

Kendra Recommends Sisterhood of Sleuths by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Genre: Middle grade mystery

You’ll love it if you cut your literary teeth on Nancy Drew mysteries and are seeking a nostalgic return to girlhood sleuthing with a contemporary heroine.

Kendra says: When our young protagonist discovers a box of vintage mystery novels, she launches into her own investigation…and introduces the wonder of Nancy Drew to a whole new generation of readers! Uncovered family secrets, complicated friendship, and literary history play nicely together in this intergenerational mystery that I zipped through in a day. With its inspiring characters and heartfelt story, it has all the makings of a modern classic that is suitable for middle graders and worthy of adult readers, too.

About Kendra: Kendra is a homeschooling mom of three who reflects on all things life, faith, and books at You can get the full scoop on Kendra’s latest reads at her always-bustling book corner.

Kori Recommends Realm by H.L. Gibson

Genre: Dystopian fiction

You’ll love it if you enjoy a good vs. evil story that transports you to a fantasy world with a unique landscape and lifestyle.

Kori says: This book contrasts two very different worlds: the planet Earth in the future, which is both morally and environmentally corrupt, and Realm, a world of beauty, collaboration, and community. The way the author manages the different timelines in the two worlds and the conflict the main characters face is dynamic, suspenseful, and artful. 

Note: Realm is expected to publish in April. Till then, you can add it to your TBR on Goodreads.

About Kori: I am a fiction writer and essayist who also runs Inkling Creative Strategies, an author services company that helps writers reach their full creative potential so they can impact and inspire readers. Find me on Instagram at @inklingcreativestrategies. If you’re a scribbler, grab a free copy of my Ultimate Writing Project Workbook!

Linda Recommends A Time for Mercy by John Grisham

Genre: Suspense

You’ll love it if you’re craving a bit of Southern courtroom drama and love rooting for the little guy

Linda says: Grisham’s exquisite character development, wry sense of humor, and spectacular plot twists make him my hands-down favorite mystery writer. You’ll get pulled right into the engrossing saga of a small town lawyer and his defense of a vulnerable teenager accused of murdering a local deputy.

About Linda: Linda’s been penning short online book reviews for 15 years.  She’s into listening well, emotional healing, and spiritual growth. Subscribe to her newsletter.

Lynn Recommends Devotion by Adam Makos

Genre: Nonfiction

You’ll love it if you love historical fiction and want to read more nonfiction. Or if you love books that take a little known fact and transform it into a page-turning story.

Lynn says: Adam Makos makes history come alive in this book about fighter pilots during the Korean War. His writing pulls you into the story. I could not put this book down. It reads more like a novel than it does a nonfiction military book. There are a lot of books about WWII, the Civil War, and even WWI, but there has not been a lot written about the Korean War. This book took me to a time and place that I knew very little about. It is about friendship, courage, strength, survival, and so much more.

About Lynn: Lynn and her daughter, Grace, share book reviews, book lists, history facts, and more at From Our Bookshelf. They enjoy reading and sharing a wide range of backlist books, nonfiction books, historical fiction, and more. They also love to share books that are hidden gems and that have not gotten the attention that they deserve.

Oceana Recommends If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Genre: Mystery with a splash of romance

You’ll love it if you enjoy a mystery story following a SMART main character and a skeptical private detective.

Oceana says: The plot was spurred on by the quick thinking of the main character, which kept me engaged the entire time. Despite looking guilty, she was the character I rooted for the most because of her kind heart and thirst for justice.

Michelle Recommends Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri

Genre: YA Memoir (officially categorized as fiction due to storytelling liberties taken)

You’ll love it if you like true stories that make you laugh through your tears

I’m not a memoir person, but I couldn’t stop listening to this on audio (narrated by the author). Daniel Nayeri’s mom converted to Christianity in Iran, and she had to flee with her kids. Daniel tells the story from the perspective of his middle-school self, and he pieces his memories together in the style of Shahrazad from The Thousand and One Nights. This story is a beautiful tribute to his indomitable mother.

About the reviewer: Michelle writes about books right here at The Book Devotions. Check out her printable and digital reading journals and trackers HERE.

Best Page-Turner Books—which will you read first?

More along these lines…


  1. Lynn

    What a fun list of books! I just added several of them to my to-be-read list. Thanks for including my recommendation. You put together a great group of readers, reviewers, and authors.

    • Michelle Watson

      It most definitely is such a wonderful group!!! Thank you so much for being part of it, Lynn!!

  2. Lisa

    Added a few to my TBR as well!
    I read, and loved, House of Mirth two autumns ago. I’ve never thought of it as a page-turner, but thinking back to my experience, it very much was. I was totally immersed in this world, even when I had to step away.
    My contribution to this list is ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier. The tension and the unknown kept me glued to the page.

    • Michelle Watson

      Oh, I’ve never read Rebecca!! Sounds perfect for October—mysterious and eerie!

    • Beth

      I totally agree about Rebecca! I read it for the first time this summer and it was a total page turner!! I met with anywhere friend to discuss it and we had the BEST discussion! I couldn’t believe I had never read it and hardly knew anyone who had even though it is a classic!

  3. Donna Sue Hoss

    I look forward to adding several of these to my next-to-read list!
    Must say that Susan Meissner’s, “The Shape of Mercy”, is my favorite by her so far.
    Thanks to all the contributors, and happy reading to all!

    • Michelle Watson

      I love Susan Meissner, too, Donna! I haven’t read The Shape of Mercy yet, but I did love A Fall of Marigolds and Secrets of a Charmed Life. Happy reading to you, too!

  4. Donna Sue Hoss

    I look forward to adding several of these to my next-to-read list!
    Must say that Susan Meissner is one of my favorite authors!
    Thanks to all the contributors, and happy reading to all!


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