Best Novel Books to Read in 2023 at Your Pastimes

best novel books

Here is a selected list of some of the best novel books in 2023 from a variety of good writers. These are the books that you will make your pastimes meaningful, that will teach you some of life's best lessons, and give you immense pleasure when you're having a hard day. So check out the list and find your next favorite book now.

The Sweetness of Water (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel
Author: Harris, Nathan
Published at: 15/06/2021
ISBN: 0316362484

Five stars for this author's telling of what it could have been like for slaves as they experienced the first hours, days and months of life in freedom. The fears, uncertainty and mistrust. Putting their feet, for the first time in their lives, onto soil outside of the confines of a few acres of land where they were forced to endure every moment of their days where their actions were controlled. Never knowing when they might be subjected to another horror of a beating, or seeing a family member sold. Never to be seen again. Harris does a masterful job of intertwining the lives of these brothers with the family that offers them their first humane treatment. A family that dares to challenge the hatred and bigotry of a town.

What Comes After: A Novel (Random House Large Print)
Author: Tompkins, JoAnne
Published at: 27/04/2021
ISBN: 0593395727

In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything.

Evangeline’s arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn’t equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl.

Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future. With a propulsive mystery at its core, What Comes After offers an unforgettable story of loss and anger, but also of kindness and hope, courage and forgiveness. It is a deeply moving account of strangers and friends not only helping each other forward after tragedy but inspiring a new kind of family.

The Hotel
Author: Kelley, Pamela M
Published at: 08/06/2021
ISBN: 1953060196

The Whitley is Nantucket's most exclusive waterfront hotel - a sprawling collection of pristine white cottages and an elegant main building on a long stretch of private white sandy beach. It's a family owned business - brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, all work there in various capacities.

Paula is happy in her back-office accounting position. But changes are in store when her grandfather promotes her and fires her cousin - who then blames Paula.

Meanwhile, a blond romantic-comedy superstar is hiding out at the hotel for a few months. She meets Paula's brother, a chef - who has no idea who she is - and she likes it that way.

Paula's grandfather also hires a consultant to help her settle into her new role. But she isn't sure what to think of David, who grew up on Nantucket but now lives in Manhattan.

He's a brilliant consultant and will be assessing Paula's suitability for the role. He's also home for another reason, a difficult family issue that makes Manhattan seem very far away.

Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket: Stories
Author: Wolitzer, Hilma
Published at: 31/08/2021
ISBN: 1635577624

In the title story, a bystander tries to soothe a woman who seems to have cracked under the pressures of her life. And in several linked stories throughout, the relationship between the narrator and her husband unfolds in telling and often hilarious vignettes. Of their time and yet timeless, Wolitzer’s stories zero in on the domestic sphere with wit, candor, grace, and an acutely observant eye.

Brilliantly capturing the tensions and contradictions of daily life, Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket is full of heart and insight, providing a lens into a world that was often unseen at the time, and often overlooked now reintroducing a beloved writer to be embraced by a whole new generation of readers.

The Judge's List: A Novel
Author: Grisham, John
Published at: 16/11/2021
ISBN: 0593168534

In The Whistler, Lacy Stoltz investigated a corrupt judge who was taking millions in bribes from a crime syndicate. She put the criminals away, but only after being attacked and nearly killed. Three years later, and approaching forty, she is tired of her work for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct and ready for a change.

Then she meets a mysterious woman who is so frightened she uses a number of aliases. Jeri Crosby’s father was murdered twenty years earlier in a case that remains unsolved and that has grown stone cold. But Jeri has a suspect whom she has become obsessed with and has stalked for two decades. Along the way, she has discovered other victims. Suspicions are easy enough, but proof seems impossible.

The man is brilliant, patient, and always one step ahead of law enforcement. He is the most cunning of all serial killers. He knows forensics, police procedure, and most important: he knows the law. He is a judge, in Florida under Lacy’s jurisdiction. He has a list, with the names of his victims and targets, all unsuspecting people unlucky enough to have crossed his path and wronged him in some way. How can Lacy pursue him, without becoming the next name on his list? The Judge’s List is by any measure John Grisham’s most surprising, chilling novel yet.

Sooley: A Novel (Random House Large Print)
Author: Grisham, John
Published at: 04/05/2021
ISBN: 0593459318

If you don't like basketball before reading this, you'll definitely be a fan afterwards! Grisham's adept storytelling plays out well in this intense Cinderella sports thriller about a seventeen-year-old boy from South Sudan, who dreams of playing basketball in the United States. This poignant story begins in Africa and follows Samuel Sooleman ("Sooley") pursuing his dreams in his own country amid armed conflicts between government and rebel forces.

The story splits to follow Sooley on his life-changing adventure, while also sharing his family's horrific experiences in the region's many humanitarian crises. The unusual plot and storyline doesn't fit most of Grisham's traditional genre of legal thrillers, but it's compelling story is both inspiring and heartwrenching with its many twists and challenges. I didn't want to put it down once I started.

Grisham's well-developed characters and detailed storyline are so believable it's hard to think this is a fictional tale. Vivid story details and descriptions are well researched, giving life to the narrative that seems like it taken from a first class sports magazine or news magazine. A worthwhile read for entertainment, filled with emotion and energy, while motivating reflection. Several important social issues add depth and interest to a memorable reading experience.

A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans (A Dog's Purpose series Book 1)
Author: W. Bruce Cameron
Published at: 29/06/2010

This novel book is an extraordinary tale about an endearing dog who searches the purpose of his existence over the course of several lives. This is more than another charming dog story. This enchanting tale reveals the most basic questions about the purpose of our life on a dog's eye commentary. The dog with his all his lives shows us that love never dies, that our true friends are always on our side and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose. This is a book for everyone but especially for those who are never indifferent to the pets.


This is the story of a dog Bailey who surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt. Finding himself into the loving arms of a little boy named Ethan, Bailey's search for his new life's meaning goes on. With countless adventures with Ethan and the family, he joyously discovers how to become a good dog. But this wonderful life as a beloved pet is not the end of Bailey's adventure. Reborn as a puppy in a different breed and place, his unchanged spirit continues to seek the answer: Why he is here?

Will he find the answer? To know that, you have to read this book and make the journey together with Bailey.

One Day in December: A Novel
Author: Josie Silver
Published at: 16/10/2018
ISBN: 0525574689

One day in December tells the surprising story of a young girl and her destiny. A girl who never believes that love, at first sight, can happen in real life except for cinemas fall in love with a guy whom she sees just for a moment. But her destiny takes her in a different way what she never thinks of. This is the kind of story that makes you believe in love and reminds you that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.


Laurie firmly believes that love at first sight only happens in the movies. After all, life is not the kind of thing that we see in movies. But she proves wrong after seeing a man through a misted-up bus window on a snowy December day. Something magical happens and she knows instantly that this is the man she is destined to. Their eyes meet,  there is a moment of pure magic...and then the bus drives away.

Laurie spends a year finding him, scanning every bus window at every bus stop in London. But she does not catch a glimpse of that face again. Thinking that she will never meet the boy from the bus again, her destiny takes another turn. A year later, at a Christmas party, she meets the boy from the bus and comes to know that he is the boyfriend of her best friend Sarah.

Decided to let him go, Laurie gets on with her normal life. But what if she is destined to other plans?

The Story of a New Name: Neapolitan Novels, Book Two
Author: Elena Ferrante
Published at: 03/09/2013

This is the follow up to My Brilliant Friend from Italy's most beloved and acclaimed writer, Elena Ferrante. This novel book is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted family epic about two friends growing up in post-war Italy. You should read this book if you want to dive deeper into the life of Lila and Elena, their complex and evolving friendship and how they face their problems.


In The Story of a New Name, Lila gets married and makes her entry into the family business. Elena meanwhile continues her studies. Desperately trying to set herself free, she explores the world beyond the neighborhood which she often finds stifling. Love, jealousy, family, freedom, commitment and above all friendship: these are the signs under which both women live out this phase in their story. Marriage seems to imprisoned Lila, and Elena gets too much pressure to excel. Both girls seem to grow in completely different directions. But at the end of the novel, it becomes apparent to Elena and Lila that they have and always will remain a part of each other and they should never let one other go.

Red War (A Mitch Rapp Novel Book 15)
Author: Vince Flynn,Kyle Mills
Published at: 25/09/2018

Mitch Rap races to Russia with an impossibly dangerous mission to prevent Russia's gravely ill leader from starting a full-scale war with NATO. Will his mission be successful or entire Europe is heading to a drastic war? To be a part of Mitch Rapp's exciting, spine-tingling, breathtaking adventure, you should start reading the book now.


After discovering to have incurable brain cancer, Russian president Maxim Krupin is determined to cling to power. To have a total authority he starts to kill or imprison any of his countrymen who can threaten him. Soon, his illness becomes serious enough that his intention takes a dramatic diversion--war with the West!

Upon learning this threat, CIA director Irene Kennedy realizes that they are facing an opponent who has nothing to lose. The only way to avoid this war that could take millions of lives is to send Mitch Rapp to Russia under impossibly dangerous orders. With Kremlin's entire security apparatus hunting him, Rapp must find and kill a man who has deemed the most powerful in the world.

Success means stopping a war that could destroy all of Europe. But if he failed, America and Russia will plunge into a conflict that neither will survive.

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel
Author: Val Emmich,Steven Levenson,Benj Pasek,Justin Paul
Published at: 09/10/2018
ISBN: 0316420239

Dear Evan Hansen is a coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation. If you are interested in learning the truth of this new era where you could be all alone with hundreds of acquaintances around, this is a perfect read for you.


A letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone makes the high school senior Evan Hansen a part of a family that he never thought possible. The family relieves a bit from their grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. To have all this, he just has to stick to a confronting lie that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend. 

Suddenly, Evan becomes more visible, even to the girl of his dream. Connor Murphy's parents have taken him as like he was their own. They are desperate to learn more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion. He knows that he is doing wrong but he thinks if he is helping people, then how wrong it can be?

Everything is amazing unless the danger of unraveling the lie. How long he could defend the lie? What will happen if the truth comes out?

A Great Reckoning: A Novel (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Book 12)
Author: Louise Penny
Published at: 30/08/2016

An intricate old map eventually leads former Chief Inspector of Homicide to a number of shattered secrets. It takes him to the places, even he is afraid to go. How he pulls back the layers of mystery to reveal a brilliant and emotionally powerful truth, this story is all about that. If you want to pass your dull and boring time with something adventurous, this mysteriously-thrilling book can surely help.


Armand Gamache has presented an old map on his First day of a new job in Three Pines. This eventually leads him to shatterings secrets and to an old friend and older adversary. It leads him to Sûreté du Québec and to places even he is afraid to go. There he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy and a dead professor with a copy of the same old map.

Everywhere Gamache turns, he encounters Amelia, a student of the murdered professor. The focus of the investigation soon turns to himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in all the incidents. The frantic search for answers takes the investigations back to Three Pines.

For both of them, the time has come for a great reckoning.

The Girl Who Lived: A Thrilling Suspense Novel
Author: Christopher Greyson
Published at: 04/11/2017
ISBN: 1683993039

The Girl Who Lived is the perfect kind of book that keeps you so addicted once you start reading and you won't be able to stop till the last page. This is about a girl who says that she is the only survivor of a brutal murder where four people were killed. No one believes her story to be true and take him to be crazy and suicidal. How can she uncover the truth to the world when everyone is a suspect-- including herself?

This incredible story with so many twists and turns takes you to the edge of madness and keeps you screwed till the last page.


Faith Winters says that she is the lone survivor of a brutal murder happened ten years ago. No one believes her story and she is kept in a psychiatric hospital for ten years. After release from the hospital, she returns to her hometown where the slayings took place. There the memories of that dreadful murder hunt her everywhere. In that time so tormenting, she decides to track down the killer.

Will she find the truth where she could also be a suspect?

The Drifter (A Peter Ash Novel Book 1)
Author: Nick Petrie
Published at: 12/01/2016

This is a tangled tale of intrigue, action, and adventure with a battle-scarred hero who definitely rises to the challenge. A war hero with post-traumatic stress finds himself at the center of a plot that is far deeper than he could have imagined. It may lead to the world he thought he had left for good. How he figures out the truth? To find the answer you must read this extraordinary fast and precisely calibrated page-turner.


After returning from wars in Iraq and Afganistan, Peter Ash tries to forget everything from his past life and keeps himself far away from society. But a year later, an accident takes him back to civilization. There he finds something unexpected which leads himself back to the life he thought he had left for good.

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay: Neapolitan Novels, Book Three
Author: Elena Ferrante
Published at: 02/09/2014
ISBN: 160945233X

This is the third book in the Neapolitan quartet written by the master storyteller Elena Ferrante. Lila and Elena, two girls who first introduced in My Brilliant Friend, now have become women. This masterfully plotted book tells the story of these two friends and the new phase of their life. If you have read the first two of this book series already, you should not miss the chance to know what happens next.


Lila has left her husband and has a young song. She also left the comforts her marriage brought and now works as a common laborer.

Elena has left her locality, earned her degree, and published a successful novel. All of which has opened a new world to her that she has never seen.

Both women are pushing the walls of a prison full of misery, ignorance, and submission. They are in front of immense opportunities that opened up during the nineteen-seventies. Yet they are still bound to each other by a strong, unbreakable bond.

Who I Am with You (A Legacy of Faith Novel)
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Published at: 11/12/2018

Who I Am With You weaves together a modern-day romance with a surprising story from the 1930s. This amazing book reminds us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever. This tale will lead you through the life of two people not knowing each other but somehow connected to the same story told by a man from the thirties. If you are searching for the story that makes you feel better and inspires you to love, this is the best one you can have.


Jessica Mason has an unexpected loss of her husband and daughter. She is awaiting the arrival of her unborn child and is bearing a tormenting secret of her husband's betrayal.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in the neighborhood of Jessica to avoid a falsely weaved political scandal that has stained his good name. Fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with Jessica.

Unexpectedly Jessica finds a connection with Ridley while reading her great-grandfathers Bible. Reading the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins makes her feel better. Both help each other to forgive the people who have wronged them. But they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.

The English Wife: The international best selling, sweeping and emotional historical romance novel
Author: Chinn, Adrienne
Published at: 25/06/2020

Sophie Parry is on a plane to New York on the most tragic day in the city’s history. While the world watches the news in horror, Sophie’s flight is rerouted to a tiny town in Newfoundland and she is forced to seek refuge with her estranged aunt Ellie. Determined to discover what it was that forced her family apart all those years ago, newfound secrets may change her life forever.

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