Looking for a book where sex, violence, and excessive profanity is left off the page? Look no further, we’ve got a category for you. It’s called Gentle Reads. These novels tend to be described with terms like “heart-warming,” “wholesome” or “hopeful,” and are entertaining stories full of encouragement and warmth. Often humorous, they typically revolve around a small town or community, portray characters wrestling with life’s ordinary joys and problems, and focus on relationships and character development.
Gentle reads can be found in many genres – general, historical, literary or women’s fiction, cozy mystery, romance, and inspirational or Christian fiction. To find gentle reads, look at these resources or check out this list.
Novelist (you’ll need your library card number and password) – Using the Recommended Reads list on the left side, go to Fiction A-Z and click on Gentle Reads. Alternately, do an Advanced Search for Genre with the term “gentle reads”.
Agatha Awards – These are awarded to a traditional mystery with no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence.
Christy Awards – A group of books awards presented annually in the U.S. to recognize novels of excellence written from a Christian worldview.
Harlequin Heartwarming and Harlequin Inspired – Take a look at these two Harlequin lines and check the catalog for titles that sound appealing. The Heartwarming line “celebrates wholesome, heartfelt relationships imbued with the traditional values so important to you: home, family, community and love.” Harlequin Inspired novels “show that faith, forgiveness and hope have the power to lift spirits and change lives.”
Stop, You’re Killing Me! – Organized by genre and author, this website lists information about each author’s novels and series. Browse through the cozy mysteries and if any appeal, search our catalog for the title or author.
Are you ready for a hopeful, upbeat story? Check out some of these gentle reads.
The Shop on Blossom Street – Debbie Macomber
When Lydia Hoffman, a cancer survivor and owner of A Good Yarn, starts a knitting class for her patrons, she forms a special friendship and bond with three extraordinary women–Jacqueline, Carol, and Alix. Debbie Macomber is a prolific northwest author known for her women’s fiction and romance novels.
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – Helen Simonson
Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?
Her Royal Spyness – Rhys Bowen
The first novel in the Royal Spyness mystery series, this book is set in 1930s London and features a penniless twenty-something member of the extended royal family. Lady Victoria (or Georgie) puts her sleuthing talents to work when an arrogant Frenchman, who is determined to gain control of her family’s eight-hundred-year-old estate for himself, ends up dead in her bathtub.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.