From fiction tackling dysfunctional dynamics, dark secrets and complex kinship bonds, to stirring stories of tragedy and hope, we’ve read and reviewed thousands of fabulous novels that have family related themes at their heart. As a result, curating this Collection was quite a challenge!

But, spurred on by a couple of absolute gems that came out this month (namely, Black Sheep, Hidden Fires, The Storm We Made and The House of Broken Bricks), here we present some of the best fiction about families we’ve had the pleasure of reading in recent years. One thing’s for sure, it’s a subject writers and readers just can’t get enough of.

A major theme running through many of the best novels we’ve read about families is secrets. That’s certainly the case with Vanessa Chan’s The Storm We Made — recently hailed a LoveReading Debut of the Month for very good reason. Set in 1945 in Japan-occupied Malaya, it throngs with heart-rending family secrets, divided loyalties, and bonds that can’t be broken. Put simply, it’s a sweeping family saga of the most stirring order, and accessible with it. 

Long-held family secrets are also at the heart of Jane Jesmond’s A Quiet Contagion. In this suspenseful page-turner, a young woman exposes a sixty-year-old pharmaceutical cover-up in the wake of her beloved grandfather’s sudden death.

Talking of page-turners, set in Paris, Megan Davis’ The Messenger explores dark secrets and a messed-up father-son relationship through a suspenseful murder mystery thriller.

For another thriller featuring a troubled father-son relationship, try To the Dogs — a crisp, character-driven page-turner that sees a celebrated academic compelled to confront demons around his violent criminal father as his own son is arrested on drug charges.

Meanwhile, M.M. Deluca’s The Night Side explores the darker side of mother-daughter relationships in a suspenseful story of chilling childhood memories and (yep — you guessed it!) family secrets.

Moving on from murder and family miscreants, we’ve also enjoyed a host of hands-down heart-breakers. For example, Luke Allnutt’s We Own the Sky is an utterly moving, utterly sublime story of a couple’s love for their son, and the lengths we might go to for love.

In terms of family-themed fiction that gave us all the feels, Lucy Ayrton’s Things We Lose in Waves sits near the top of the (family) tree. It sizzles with long-held secrets, and brilliantly evokes the dislocation that comes of leaving your family, and the unease of returning to your hometown.

We had a similarly deep response to The House of Broken Bricks — a recent Star Book and Debut of the Month that had one of our Editorial Experts hailing it “a thoughtfully electric and devastatingly beautiful read…absolutely wonderful.” I reckon it’ll end up being one of my personal top reads of 2024 — quietly and profoundly moving, it sees a fractured family falter through unbearable loss, with the warm glow of hope rising slowly on the horizon. I loved it. 

Exploring blood bonds across time, Denene Millner's One Blood blew me away at the tail end of last year. Encompassing the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban Northeast, 1960s civil unrest, and cultural shifts in the 2000s, it lays bare Black womanhood, motherhood and the fight for freedom through three different generations of women.

Also spanning generations, The Stargazers is a stellar family drama saga. It’s set around a crumbling country house through the 20th century as a woman finds freedom from childhood trauma through love, with stacks of sinister secrets adding to the atmosphere and suspense.

Love contemporary fiction with heart? Dive into Hidden Fires. Shifting family dynamics are at the heart of this gem, with a glorious intergenerational bond between grandfather and granddaughter developing through the story. 

Beautiful intergenerational bonds are also at the core of The Cookbook of Common Prayer — a raw and resonant novel about unbearable loss and profound love. I adored the connection between little Teddy and his granddad, Papabee.

Browse below to discover 30+ brilliant books about families. You might also like to look at our Collections covering siblings and domestic noir.