Kristin Hannah is a New York Times Bestselling author who did not even plan to be one. She took communications in college and worked in advertising. She also became a lawyer. It was not until she wrote a book about her dying mother (it was never published) that she discovered her talent and passion for writing.
Hannah’s novels are cherished by her fans and have become so popular. In fact, there is a movie in the works based on one of her novels and a Netflix series adapted from another novel she wrote. She topped the New York Times Bestseller List on several occasions. Through her incredible writing style, Kristin Hannah’s best books tell personal stories and actual historical events that many readers get to know and experience. In this article, you will discover the best Kristin Hannah books that you will definitely love.
Kristin Hannah’s Best Books
Hannah’s books do more than take the reader on a journey with a character. They take the reader on a journey through time. Historical fiction has a way of transporting us to a time that is either a distant memory or something we have never personally experienced—making it real and personal to the reader.
A truly talented writer of historical fiction can put the reader into a historically significant time and make them feel immersed in the situation. Hannah’s best books do just that.
Most of Hannah’s books are stories about the hardship, struggle, strength, and survival of women. They celebrate women in a way that does not glorify them for their looks, sexuality, or popularity. Instead, through their grit, strength, and determination to endure.
1. The Nightingale
Widely regarded as the best of Hannah’s books and a soon-to-be film starring Elle and Dakota Fanning, The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters caught in World War II in France.
Vianne, the main character, is a young wife who must say goodbye to her husband as he is called away to fight and then has to share her home with the Nazis when the enemy invades France.
Her sister, Isabelle, a teenager with a rebellious nature who falls in love with a German captain, is on a much different path, actively speaking out and fighting against the oppression forced upon her people by the enemy.
This novel, a New York Times Bestseller, tells the story of two sisters and their relationship during a time of deep turmoil in one of the darkest periods in human history. It also tells of the enduring human spirit and family love. It is difficult enough to get along and thrive as sisters in the best of times, but facing the hardships and terror of a world war makes it much more difficult.
2. Firefly Lane
Firefly Lane is one of Hannah’s best books because it tells the story of an enduring friendship between two girls who are very different but loyal in a way that many of us dream of experiencing. This was adapted into a Netflix series starring Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl—this is something that viewers and readers will enjoy.
Set in the 1970s, Firefly Lane is one of Hannah’s books that does not focus on a main historical event so much as the characters endure whatever life throws at them together.
This riveting story of Tully Hart and her best friend, Kate Mularkey, takes characters from quiet family life through heartbreak, loss, and the test of love and friendship.
Firefly Lane is the unforgettable story of two girls: one nerd and one popular girl in school, forging a friendship that stands the test of time and hardship. Deciding to be best friends even though they are different in many ways, the characters in this story give readers an idea of what it means to be two lifelong friends.
3. Winter Garden
Winter Garden is the story of a dysfunctional family, but more specifically, of women’s struggles in a family. Many readers regard this book as Hannah’s best book for a good reason.
Meredith and Nina are siblings raised by a mother who is mainly cold and distant. As adults, siblings are as different as night and day. Both of them are forced to go back home when their father is dying, and on his deathbed, he asks them to read a Russian story together that will eventually help them understand their mother’s past.
The siblings take an emotional journey in learning about their past. They did not only learn about the woman who gave birth to them, but they also learned about themselves and the kind of family they came from. This is a truly fascinating story of loss, love, bonds, a shocking secret, and sadness within a family.
4. The Four Winds
One of Hannah’s best books, and her latest, tells the story of one woman’s survival attempt living through the Dust Bowl in the Great Plains and the Great Depression era and having to make difficult and nearly impossible decisions for herself and her children.
This novel takes a complicated and sometimes painful look into a struggling mother’s soul as she tries to figure out what is best for her children.
Desperate to give her children a better life, the young mother, Elsa, must endure all the challenges that came with the Great Depression era, including life on a farm in the haunting Dust Bowl. Elsa has only two options: stay where she is and hope for the best, or run to California like many others to escape the drought and economic collapse.
The Four Winds is a mother’s love testament and the challenges parents are willing to face to give their children a life worth living. This book is written with gruesome details and sometimes feels difficult to read. Still, The Four Winds is honest but emotionally gutting at times. Hannah’s latest book shows that she is truly a master storyteller.
5. Night Road
Kristin Hannah’s Night Road is the heartbreaking story of a child who becomes best friends with a former foster child who had a hard life. The foster child and her new friend’s brother fall in love, and the three children end up inseparable until an unexpected event throws everything off the rails.
This story is told from two perspectives: one is based on a child’s experiences, and the other is based on a mother’s experiences. It captures the very different realities the characters are living in. A truly captivating novel that deals with pain, suffering, joy, love, and forgiveness, Night Road is one of Hannah’s novels that stays with the reader long after they have finished the book.
6. The Great Alone
Set in the 1970s, Ernt returned from the Vietnam War after being a prisoner there. Desperate to immerse himself again in society and live a normal life, he quickly discovered that the Vietnam War took a psychological and emotional toll on him and his wife and daughter.
This novel talks about the struggles of so many families trying to get back to normalcy after the war. Ernt’s family has decided to move to Alaska and battle the cold together. Even modern-day Alaska is a challenging environment to thrive in, but in the 1970s, it was unimaginable for some. Surprisingly, Ernt’s dedicated wife never wavers and throws everything she has into keeping her family together and safe.
7. Magic Hour
This is the story of child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates, who is involved in a scandal and loses her career, reputation, and nearly everything else. She gets a call from her estranged sister Ellie, acting sheriff of their hometown, asking Julia to come back home and help assess and treat a child found abandoned, wild, and mute in the Olympic National Forest.
In Magic Hour, Julia’s faith is tested not only in herself as a person but also in her ability to get through to the child found in the forest. This beautifully written novel tells the inspiring story of a woman trying to grapple with personal turmoil while also trying to help a child and reconnect with her sister.
8. True Colors
This is the story of the three Grey sisters: Winona, Aurora, and Vivi Ann. These sisters only became incredibly close after their mother’s death. They are left stuck with their father, who cares more about his reputation than his children—a kind of father who is cold, distant, and hard on his daughters. The Grey sisters are successful, but never in their father’s eyes.
This is the story of three women who became their own support system after the tragic loss of their mother. An overweight lawyer, the mediator of the family who puts everyone else first, and the golden child and star of the show, make up these Grey sisters.
Everything is turned upside down, and the family is at odds, along with the entire town, when a terrible crime threatens to undo the bond of the three sisters. This is more than a story of odd family dynamics. It is also a story of how the human heart can endure much for the sake of family and love.
9. Home Front
Home Front is the story of an already strained marriage stretched to its breaking point. Michael and Jolene are married with two daughters. Michael is an attorney, and Jolene is in the military. When Jolene is deployed, Michael is put under the pressure of learning to be a single father with almost no preparation or warning.
This is a story that many families know all too well but is not often shared. The story of what war does to families of soldiers. Tragedy strikes for this family, and they must do the best they can to keep their family together and keep themselves sane.
10. Fly Away
Hannah brings us the sequel to Firefly Lane with this heart-wrenching story of loss, confusion, grief, love, and struggle.
Tully and Kate were best friends for over three decades despite being different, like night and day. Hannah brought these characters to life in a way that made readers fall in love with these characters, and in this emotionally packed novel, we see everything start to fall apart.
In this story, Tully finds herself struggling with the loss of her best friend and trying to figure out how to fulfill the promise she made to Kate: to take care of her children. Clueless, mourning, and afraid of failing, Tully tries her best to look after Kate’s children. She realizes that she has no experience to rely on because her mother was highly unstable for most of her childhood.
Grappling with the past, mourning the loss of her best friend, and saddled with new responsibility she does not know how to handle, this novel tugs at heart and gives even the most stone-hearted reader a reason to feel something. Hannah is undeniably at her best with this novel.
Other Books By Kristin Hannah
Hannah publishes a book nearly every year, and she shows no signs of slowing down. Several others are in the planning stages, together with the Netflix series covering one of her books and a movie deal for another. Hannah’s fans are graced with another book each year that confronts humanity and a sense of loyalty, family, and friendship.
Although there are ten Kristin Hannah novels listed above, it would be a great disservice not to mention some of Hannah’s other works, as they are excellent novels too.
11. Comfort and Joy
A Christmas story of sorts, Joy is a woman who finds herself running away in search of an adventure after divorce. She is in a plane crash and ends up in a new location where she meets a widowed father. This story takes several twists as it unravels and tells of love, loss, and faith.
12. The Things We Do For Love
This is the riveting tale of a woman who moves back home to be around her chaotic family after struggling with infertility and then divorce. She jumps at the chance to take in a young girl who needs help and guidance, and her entire world changes when her life is quickly turned upside down.
13. On Mystic Lake
A story of love gone wrong, Annie’s marriage ends when her husband falls for another woman. Finally finding love with another man, Annie is soon faced with decisions she should not be forced to make. All for the sake of love and possible eventual happiness.
14. Home Again
The story of paths crossing and the tangled web such a thing can produce—a single mother who is often at odds with her teenage daughter, who wants to find and connect with her absent father, results in a chaotic and strained relationship. When things worsen, the father resurfaces and puts his ex in a situation that risks further estrangement from her daughter.
15. Summer Island
This is the story of a mother who walks away from her family. She was later forced to be cared for by her daughter because of the accident she experienced. Bitter resentment and anger are rife, and the family that is so broken learns all about love, forgiveness, and healing.