20 of the best feel-good books and uplifting reads

Whether you're having a good or bad day, there's no better way to lift your spirits than by immersing yourself in a feel-good book. Discover these moving, heartwarming, and sometimes laugh-out-loud books to keep you smiling long after the final page. 

Looking for a light-hearted read that will bring a smile to your face? Or a profound exploration of the human spirit? Then grab a cozy blanket and a hot cup of tea, and embark on a literary journey with the best feel-good books, including the hilariously relatable misadventures in Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up and the laughs of Bridget Jones. Read on for our selection of uplifting books that are guaranteed to cheer, exhilarate and hearten. 

The best feel-good books

Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k-Up

by Alexandra Potter

Book cover for Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k-Up

This hilariously uplifting book is a must-read for anyone who's ever felt like their life plans are being derailed (i.e. all of us!). When Nell’s happy ever after in California falls apart, she moves back to London single and jobless to find a lot has changed. Her friends have all settled down, she can’t afford her own place and the perfect lives she sees on Instagram make her feel like a f**k up. But then she meets Cricket, a fabulous eighty-something widow, and together they help each other heal broken hearts and chase new adventures.

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Mrs Porter Calling

by AJ Pearce

Book cover for Mrs Porter Calling

Emmy Lake is the much-loved agony aunt at Woman’s Friend magazine, relied upon by readers across the country as they face the challenges of life on the Home Front. With the problem page thriving and a team of fantastic women behind her, Emmy finally feels she is Doing Her Bit. But when a glamorous new owner arrives, everything changes. With happiness quickly turning to heartbreak and war still raging in Europe, will Emmy and her friends find the inner strength they need to keep keeping on – and save the magazine they love?

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone

by Audrey Burges

Book cover for The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone is a charming and magical debut novel, with a love story at its heart. Thirty-four year-old Myra Malone blogs about a dolls' house online. Across the country, Alex Rakes, heir of a furniture business, encounters two Mansion fans trying to recreate a room from Myra's stories. To his disbelief, Alex soon recognizes that it's his own bedroom being recreated, in minute scale. Searching for answers, Alex begins corresponding with Myra. Together, the two unwind the lonely paths of their twin worlds. 

Bridget Jones's Diary

by Helen Fielding

Book cover for Bridget Jones's Diary

Accompany Bridget Jones as she pours her thoughts and feelings about dating, friendship, work and family into her much-loved diary – and chortle throughout. Whether it’s Bridget crashing home after one too many glasses of Chardonnay at her favourite haunt Cafe Rouge, or attempting to keep things cool with the enigmatic Daniel Cleaver by leaving a would-be seductive message on his answering machine which she then frantically attempts to delete, this uplifting book is guaranteed to leave readers in stitches.

Owner of a Lonely Heart

by Eva Carter

Book cover for Owner of a Lonely Heart

Gemma is scared that if life slows down she'll have to face up to how lonely she is having lost her true love. She crams her days with work and taking her dog Bear to visit young hospital patients. Dan is scared of anyone knowing the real him. He is the life and soul of the party, but he's hiding a deep secret. And Casey is Dan's twelve-year-old daughter, though they hardly know each other. She's scared too, as she begins treatment for a tumour. When the three meet one hot July day, they instantly bond. Fate – and a scruffy terrier - have brought them together. But can they overcome their fears and truly connect?


Book cover for Homecoming

From the bestselling author of The Clockmaker's Daughter comes a breathtaking mystery of love and lies told with Kate Morton's trademark intricacy and beauty. The story begins in the Adelaide Hills in 1959 when a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. Sixty years later, when Jess returns to her family home in Sydney, she discovers a true crime book that reveals a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime. An epic novel that spans generations, Homecoming asks what we would do for those we love and the healing nature of truth. 

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Red, White & Royal Blue

by Casey McQuiston

Book cover for Red, White & Royal Blue

Alex Claremont-Diaz is handsome and charismatic, and the son of the President of the US. There’s only one problem. When the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an altercation between Alex and Prince Henry, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family and state devise a plan for damage control: stage a truce. But what begins as a fake, Instagrammable friendship grows deeper, and soon they are hurtling into a secret romance that could derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations. This feel-good romance is sexy, witty and hilarious. 

Sorry, Bro

by Taleen Voskuni

Book cover for Sorry, Bro

Described as a bisexual My Fat Gypsy Wedding, this funny, heartfelt and deeply relatable rom com will have you feeling all the feels. When Nar’s boyfriend proposes to her, she realises it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance. But her mother has other ideas. Armed with a spreadsheet of suitable Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend 'Explore Armenia', a festival celebrating their heritage. There, Nar meets Erebuni, a young woman who helps her to see the beauty of their culture and makes her feel understood like never before.  However, there's one teeny problem: Nar's not out as bisexual. 

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle

by Jennifer Ryan

Book cover for The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle follows London fashion designer Cressida Westcott who loses her home and business in the Blitz. With nothing left, she returns to the family manor house, much to the delight of her niece, Violet. Meanwhile, the vicar’s daughter Grace is trying to repair her mother's wedding dress for her own wedding. Cressida joins the sewing circle and soon the group is mending wedding dresses for women around the country. Described as a 'hug of a novel', this is a warm story, inspired by true events. 

In the Summertime

by Maeve Haran

Book cover for In the Summertime

With her marriage falling apart and her longed-for holiday cancelled, Georgina Greenhills gets an unexpected offer: a holiday in the small seaside town nestling in the beautiful South Downs where she grew up. There is only one catch: she must try and solve the mystery of the valuable antiques disappearing from the remote manor house belonging to an old lady called Maudie. Filled with wit, warmth and sunshine, In the Summertime by Maeve Haran has all the things we love about a seaside England in the sun making us realize you don’t have to go abroad to find romance and adventure. 

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Tokyo Ever After

by Emiko Jean

Book cover for Tokyo Ever After

The Princess Diaries meets small-town Japan in this emotive and empowering YA novel. Izumi Tanaka has lived an uneventful seventeen years, keenly aware of all the ways in which her family is different from most of her classmates. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity – and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Soon she’s traveling overseas to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she's only dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after? 

The Pre-Loved Club

by Sue Teddern

Book cover for The Pre-Loved Club

The Pre-Loved Club is the perfect feel-good read to remind us to never give up on love. Ned is in IKEA with his wife, Tanya, when she breaks the news that their marriage is over. For Gemma, it's when she opens the glove compartment of her husband’s car to find a pair of women’s sunglasses that aren’t hers. When Ned and Gemma meet at a support group for single parents, they don't exactly hit it off. But as they've both learned from bitter experience, life is full of surprises. And maybe they have more in common than they think. 

Do I Know You?

by Emily Wibberley

Book cover for Do I Know You?

Do I Know You? is not a story about falling in love, but about staying in love in its honest portrayal of fighting for your partner. After five years of marriage, Eliza and Graham's relationship is breaking down and a gifted holiday in a romantic destination is the last place they want to be. That is until a well-meaning guest mistakes them as being single and introduces them at the hotel bar and suddenly Eliza and Graham find themselves flirting like it’s their first date. It's this turn of fate that could be the very thing that saves their marriage. 

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

by Jenny Bayliss

Book cover for Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

It wouldn't be right for a list of feel-good reads to not include a festive romance. As the only single person at a school friend's lavish wedding, Nory seeks a moment of peace. But, this is soon interrupted as she encounters Isaac – the castle's gardener and her former school rival. Nory and Isaac have more in common these days than they could ever have imagined. But as she steals more time away to spend with him, Isaac reveals an astonishing secret about his past. Nory is in a unique position to help right this wrong – but uncovering the truth might mean pushing Isaac away once more. 

The best feel-good classic books

A Little Princess

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Book cover for A Little Princess

This is a heartfelt ode to the transformative power of kindness. Young Sara Crewe is born in India into wealth and riches, and when she becomes a pupil at Miss Minchin’s girls’ boarding school in London she is treated as a princess. Sara is not spoilt, though. On the contrary, she shows unfailing kindness and generosity towards those less fortunate than herself, be it her fellow pupil – awkward, ungainly Ermengarde – or Becky, a servant at the school. When Sara’s beloved father dies, leaving her penniless and at the mercy of the unforgiving Miss Minchin, the girl’s character is put to the test like never before. This classic uplifting book is a testament to love and goodness.

The Wind in the Willows

by Kenneth Grahame

Book cover for The Wind in the Willows

“Home! That was what they meant, those caressing appeals, those soft touches wafted through the air, those invisible little hands pulling and tugging, all one way!” There never was a more beautiful ode to the simple pleasures of life than this. The book centres on Rat, Mole, Badger and – of course – the iconic Mr Toad as they form unlikely yet unshakeable bonds of friendship and navigate their particular swathe of the river bank, their adventures culminating in a momentous battle with the more sinister inhabitants of the spooky Wild Wood. 


by Eleanor H. Porter

Book cover for Pollyanna

At the heart of this uplifting book is the ‘Glad Game’ – which tells readers all they need to know about what’s in store. Young Pollyanna is sent to live with her formidable Aunt Polly following the passing of her beloved father. Aunt Polly lives a strict, meagre life, very different to the riotous, colourful world Pollyanna enjoyed with her father. But Pollyanna brings with her the game she and her father invented together – a game that involves finding joy in every situation, no matter how bad – and consequently lights up Aunt Polly’s house in a way that never before seemed possible.

Anne of Green Gables

by L. M. Montgomery

Book cover for Anne of Green Gables

A celebration of the transformative power of love, Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved children's classic is a brilliantly warm and funny portrait of a girl who has a second chance at childhood. When orphan Anne Shirley arrives at Green Gables, she feels sure she's found the home she has always longed for. Her new adoptive parents, the Cuthberts, are less certain – they had asked the orphanage for a boy. But before long, Anne's irrepressible optimism and loving nature charms them. Despite her unpredictable temper and clumsy tendencies, they come to love Anne as if she were their own child.

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The best feel-good poetry collections

Poems for Happiness

by Gaby Morgan

Book cover for Poems for Happiness

We don’t usually advise judging books by their cover, but in this instance the aesthetics speak for themselves. Part of the exquisite Macmillan Collector’s Library, this pocket-sized treasure comes complete with gold-foiled edges and ribbon markers, making it a source of delight before it’s even been opened. And the contents don’t disappoint – read on for famously soul-affirming works such as ‘How Do I Love Thee?’ by Elizabeth Browning and ‘My Heart Leaps Up’ by William Wordsworth, as well as lesser known texts for readers to enjoy.

She is Fierce

by Ana Sampson

Book cover for She is Fierce

Anyone seeking a little inspiration should turn to this thoughtful, rousing anthology of poems collected by Ana Sampson. Divided into sections such as ‘Friendship’, ‘Love’ and ‘Freedom, Mindfulness and Joy’, this is an uplifting collection of poems by inspiring women. Maya Angelou, Carol Ann Duffy, Emily Dickinson and Margaret Atwood are just some of the contributors, with many more female writers offering wisdom and countering the patriarchy – all in the form of lyrical, melodious poetry.