Sweaters, football, pumpkin spice, and falling leaves—AND BOOKS!
One of my favorite ways to welcome autumn is by choosing seasonal books to read. Some books are just better with a pumpkin spice latte.
Here are my favorite fall books for moms.
I picked these titles because they evoke the themes and atmosphere of autumn.
You’ll find a select list of titles across eight categories. Click a category from the table of contents below to go straight to that part of the list. But don’t worry, all of my mom-friendly fall books are right here on this page—no hunting required.
Table of Contents
- Cozy Mysteries for Chilly Days
- Historical Treasures for Armchair Time Travel
- Falling Leaves, Falling in Love With a Romance
- Classics to Savor During Crisp Evenings
- Personal Journeys of Change and Growth
- Stories With Complex Family Dynamics
- Atmospheric Autumn Thrillers
- Memoirs and Nonfiction to Reflect and Inspire
Want a free printable version of this booklist?
Cozy Mysteries for Chilly Days
As the leaves start to turn and the air grows crisper, there’s something about a mystery that seems just right—especially a cozy one. Dive into a world of intrigue with an autumnal whodunnit.
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Get ready to fall in love with Mma. Ramotswe, the smart and sassy founder of the first detective agency in Botswana. We see her solve cases, but we also see her navigate life in a country that’s struggling between the old ways and the new. Bonus: This is the first in a lengthy series!
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Attention Anglophiles! With its 1950s English countryside setting and precocious young protagonist, this novel captures the charm of fall with its eccentric characters, intricate plot, and atmospheric twists and turns.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
As the snow falls outside the luxurious train, this classic mystery immerses readers in a confined setting filled with intrigue, secrets, and unexpected twists. The combination of a captivating puzzle and a wintery atmosphere makes it an ideal fall-to-winter read.
Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
Dorothy L. Sayers introduces readers to the charismatic and witty Lord Peter Wimsey, a crisp companion for a crisp season. The novel’s blend of engaging mystery, clever dialogue, and a touch of humor sets a cozy tone for autumn reading.
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
This intricate mystery within a mystery weaves together an old-fashioned whodunit with a modern-day investigation. The layered storytelling, multiple puzzles, and charming English village backdrop make it a great choice for those seeking an engaging fall read.
The Maid by Nita Prose
If you loved Knives Out, then you’ll like this snug whodunnit that’s set in a swanky hotel. Molly the maid is a somewhat neurodivergent protagonist, and nothing escapes her sharp eye, especially clues! With her innocent sweetness, Molly is fun to root for.
Historical Treasures for Armchair Time Travel
Transport yourself back in time while savoring the beauty of fall with these enchanting historical fiction novels. Immerse yourself in different eras and landscapes as you turn the pages—with apple cider? Cinnamon tea?
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A book for book lovers—and WW2 addicts. Set on the island of Guernsey after the war, this epistolary novel captures the essence of autumn with its cozy correspondence and sense of community among the book club members, making it a heartwarming read.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This beautifully woven tale set during World War II showcases intricate character connections. The novel’s atmospheric descriptions and exploration of human resilience make it a poignant autumn read—one that isn’t afraid to rip your heart out.
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
With its dual timelines and secrets hidden within a forgotten garden, this novel captures the allure of mystery and family history, providing the perfect blend of autumnal atmosphere and captivating storytelling. The spot-on seasonality makes it one of the quintessential fall books for moms.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towels
Set in a posh Russian hotel over several decades, this novel sounded like a snooze, but SO isn’t. The historical backdrop plays a huge role, but it isn’t overpowering. If you aren’t in love with Count Rostov by the end, then I don’t know what to tell you.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
This WW2 novel centers on a little-known (yet tragic) maritime tragedy captures the sense of impending winter as the cast of four alternating narrators flee the country in a desperate attempt to escape and survive.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
“Paris was a woman screaming,” writes Hannah. Set in Nazi-occupied France, this emotional and twisty tale of two sisters captures both the hardships and the strength of the human spirit. It’s a great one if you’re in the mood to have your heart ripped out.
A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich
Want a novel that affirms your decision to be a wife and mother? This historical novel follows a pioneer woman’s life on the American prairie, and its themes of perseverance and family, set against the backdrop of changing seasons, resonate deeply during the fall.
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
One beautiful scarf weaves its way through several remarkable lives, spanning early 20th century Ellis Island to the 9/11 attacks. With its dual timelines and themes of grief, healing, and connections across generations, this novel’s autumnal imagery and emotional resonance make it a thoughtful choice for fall reading.
The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline
If you love novels about female friendship, then this is a gripping choice—not exactly sweet and fluffy, but unforgettable. Set in 19th-century Australia, this novel follows the lives of women exiled from England after being convicted of crimes.
Falling Leaves, Falling in Love With a Romance
These romantic stories will warm your heart as much as a cup of spiced cider. It’s fun to read about characters navigating the highs and lows of romance while we get to sit back and be happy it’s not us, haha. These romances don’t bring any open-door shenanigans, but they do span a WIDE array of genres.
The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon, #1) by Mimi Matthews
A young, pretty eligible woman in Victorian England answers a newspaper ad for a wife—hmm, what’s she trying to escape? That’s how this regency romance begins, and it brings loads of broody-type charm that’s perfect for fall.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
A fantastic choice if you want a love story that’ll completely gut you. The complex relationship between a young paraplegic and his nurse/companion is real and raw. It aligns beautifully with the introspection of fall.
Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
Set in a small diner in Wisconsin, this heartwarming novel stars Hope, a teen waitress who is embarking on a new beginning. This novel doesn’t get too political, and it brings warmth and community to the forefront. The autumnal setting adds warmth to the story’s themes of hope and renewal.
A Voice in the Wind (The Mark of the Lion Trilogy) by Francine Rivers
This series, which I read in my early twenties, was a huge inspiration to my faith. This trilogy was passed around my group of friends, and we started calling the protagonist Sister Hadasah because we felt such kinship with her! FYI—the first part of the book is SLOW. You need to push through till Hadassah gets to Rome, K?
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Jane Austen’s wit and charm shine in this playful romance that jabs fun at gothic romances and their effects on impressionable young imaginations. Romance takes center stage, but there’s a healthy dollop of mystery and intrigue that make it a delightful fall read, perfect for cozy days indoors.
The Bodyguard by Katherine Center
This is one of those frothy, frictionless “romcom in your head” type books, bursting with witty banter and jalapeno spice. This isn’t the cleanest book on the list, but it IS closed-door. This fake-relationship storyline culminates at Thanksgiving on a scenic Texas ranch, so it’s a perfect lead-in to the holiday season.
Classics to Savor During Crisp Evenings
There’s something soooo comforting about curling up with a classic novel as the days grow shorter. The wisdom and enduring themes of literary masterpieces can have an anchoring effect during seasonal change. I picked classics that play on all your fall feels!
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
This isn’t my favorite classic, but the moody and windswept setting of the moors, along with the darkly passionate and haunting love story of Catherine and Heathcliff, make Wuthering Heights a fitting read for autumn.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Of all the fall books for moms, this is high on my shortlist. With its atmospheric settings and themes of mystery, independence, and the search for belonging, Jane Eyre provides a perfect blend of gothic romance and character exploration for fall. I highly recommend the audio narration by Thandie Newton.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The mysterious and theatrical world of the Paris Opera House, combined with the timeless tale of love and obsession, creates an atmosphere of intrigue and allure that will keep you biting your nails and looking over your shoulder.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Set in a grand estate with secrets hidden within its walls, this atmospheric novel offers a blend of mystery, romance, and suspense that makes it an ideal choice for autumn reading.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde’s exploration of vanity, morality, and the consequences of one’s actions is perfect for contemplative fall reading. Plus, Wilde’s cutting prose slices and dices like none other.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Here’s one for the short story lovers. Bradbury’s poetic and imaginative depiction of Mars’ colonization and its impact on humanity’s future offers a thought-provoking and visionary journey for fall’s reflective mood. (I will never forget the one and only time I got to see Bradbury speak in public—he was elderly and in a wheelchair, but he filled the room.)
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The foggy streets of Victorian London and the mysteries solved by the brilliant Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson will give you something for your mind to chew on while your mouth munches on those maple cookies from Trader Joes—you know the ones I’m talking about.
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hady
Thomas Hardy’s unforgettable Bathsheba Everdeen and her complex relationships with three different men line up nicely with fall’s themes of transformation. Plus, the climax takes place at Christmas, which is a great prelude to the holidays.
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Personal Journeys of Change and Growth
Fall is synonymous with change, making it the perfect backdrop for stories that explore transformation. Join characters as they navigate significant life changes, finding solace and strength in the midst of the season’s transitions.
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Set in the English countryside, this novel follows Major Pettigrew’s unexpected connection with a local shopkeeper who is branded a permanent outsider by the clannish villagers. The story’s themes of love, friendship, and embracing change are perfect for fall’s reflective mood.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This charming novel about a bookstore owner’s personal growth from a man-child into a grownup (and the power of literature) is an excellent fit for fall. And there’s something fall-ish about books set in bookstores.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
If you’re in the mood for a story that’ll rip your heart out, then here you go. Set against the backdrop of a remote lighthouse island off the coast of Australia, this novel explores a handful of moral dilemmas that have no easy answers.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
With its exploration of love, illness, and the pursuit of meaning, this novel’s emotional depth and themes of personal growth make it a poignant choice for fall reading—and especially for those times when you just need some YA in your life.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
What if you had the chance to test out all of the different paths your life could’ve taken and choose the version of your life that you like best? This imaginative and life-affirming novel delves into the what-ifs of life, offering a thought-provoking journey of self-discovery. It’s one of the most discussable fall books for moms who love juicy book club chats.
The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow
Remember Mary Bennet, the dour, overlooked sister Pride and Prejudice? Mary’s journey of self-discovery and personal growth is perfect for Janeites who are looking for a true-to-cannon spinoff (that isn’t silly).
Stories With Complex Family Dynamics
As families come together during fall, there’s something cathartic about reading books with relatable family dynamics. Laugh, cry, and cringe through these books that feature blood-family relationships as well as found-family relationships.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Amy Tan’s exploration of the complex relationships between Chinese-American mothers and daughters is fitting for fall, a time when we’re thinking about reconnecting with loved ones during the holidays.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Everyone who I know who has read this book has enjoyed it! This uplifting story brings together a 30-something loser of a guy and a buttoned-up 60-year-old woman who thinks she’s reached the end of her usefulness. When their paths cross, things start looking up.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Father-son dynamics loom large in this literary work, which weaves together themes of faith, miracles, and loyalty. It’s the kind of book where an ordinary man is revealed to be extraordinary in the things that matter most.
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
This novel explores the complexities of an Indian-American Muslim family, addressing cultural identity, tradition, and the quest for belonging—themes that resonate well with fall’s contemplation.
Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr
Even though this is written for kids, I loved it for myself alone. Set in an idyllic Norwegian village, this novel follows young Astrid’s adventurous spirit and her relationships with family and friends.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
With its interconnected stories and focus on the influence of food and family, this novel captures the essence of fall gatherings and the interplay of generations and fractured relationships.
Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri
This memoir-novel blends family history with a young boy’s storytelling. When Daniel’s family must flee Iran because his mother converts to Christianity, his life and his outlook on it are forever changed. Of all the fall books for moms on this list, Daniel’s mom may be my favorite.
September by Rosamund Pilcher
Rosamunde Pilcher is known for writing books that bring a handful of colorful characters to a beautiful location (in this case, Scotland in fall) where they interact and inevitably cause fireworks. September is a story about family members coming home at the summons of the family matriarch.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This one isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’ve got the itch to stretch yourself, then you won’t regret investing in this book. Steinbeck’s multi-generational saga of two brothers who invoke Cain and Abel is a profound exploration of the good and evil in all of us.
Atmospheric Autumn Thrillers
As the autumn fog rolls in and shadows grow longer, it’s the perfect time to lose yourself in a thriller. I’m a total wuss, so these thrillers are creepy and eerie but not too terribly gross.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
This classic gothic thriller, with its mysterious woman in white and intricate plot, perfectly captures the atmospheric allure of fall with its foggy landscapes and eerie mysteries.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Set (mostly) in a remote English mansion (starting in the month of November) this novel’s blend of gothic elements, literary intrigue, and family secrets make it a pitch-perfect addition to this list of fall books for moms. If you love Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, you’ll enjoy this modern, bookish mystery.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I confess, this book was a little much for me, but the labyrinthine streets of Barcelona, combined with the novel’s exploration of literature, love, and dark secrets, create an atmospheric backdrop that aligns with the introspection of fall. It will also make you crave coffee because the characters are constantly drinking it!
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Here’s a more modern selection that I was able to read, even though I’m a wuss. With its psychological tension and unreliable narrators, this thriller’s moody atmosphere and exploration of perception (“did she really do that when she was drunk?”) make it one of those addicting reads where you simply HAVE to know the truth.
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
What happens when a writing teacher steals one of his student’s ideas and becomes an overnight sensation in the publishing world? Set in the world of writers and creative intrigue, this novel explores themes of authenticity and obsession. This one is on the dark side and can get a little pedantic, but it will suck you in.
A Long, Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott
This rediscovered thriller by Alcott (yes, the author of Little Women) offers an absorbing blend of suspense and romance, making it a captivating choice for fall reading, when darker tales are more appealing for whatever reason.
Memoirs and Nonfiction to Reflect and Inspire
Fall invites us to reflect on the months that have passed and the changes we’ve undergone. Memoir and narrative nonfiction offer true-to-life insights on what it means to grow, stretch, and reinvent.
Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck’s journey across the United States in a camper with his dog named Charley may seem like a joyful romp, but it’s actually more thoughtful and pensive than I expected. It’s interesting to see a younger U.S. through Steinbeck’s eyes.
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
This charming collection of letters between a New York writer and a London bookseller offers a heartwarming reflection on friendship, literature, and the connections between people. It’ll make you joyful to know how awesome people can treat each other—even if they’ve never met in person.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The inspirational true story of Corrie ten Boom’s courage during the Holocaust and her family’s heroic efforts to save lives is perfect for any time of year, really. Buy at least three copies so that you can keep one and give two away—you’ll want to.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
This memoir of a tumultuous childhood and the journey toward self-discovery is a great choice when you want to explore themes of family, resilience, and change.
My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme
You may love Paris in the springtime, but Julia Child’s culinary memoir is just the ticket for scrumptious fall reading. Go with her on a journey of self-discovery (and of buttery food).
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
Helen Keller’s inspirational autobiography offers insight into her extraordinary journey of overcoming challenges, making it a powerful choice. Talk about overcoming obstacles!
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
I had no idea that I’d love this book as much as I did. It’s like being in a literature seminar with Saunders (but better because there are no exams or essays). He takes a handful of Russian short stories and invites us to explore them. Sound boring? It’s so NOT!
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Add to my list of fall books for moms!
New books are published every day, and backlist gems are rediscovered on the regular. Leave a comment with your favorite book for the autumn season.