Kristin Hannah Books: The Ultimate Author Guide

Are you a Kristin Hannah fan? If so, you’ve come to the right place! And if you’ve yet to read her work, let this be you’re starting point. In this ultimate reading guide to Kristin Hannah books, we’ll explore her best-sellers, her backlist books in order, and her popular series.

three angled book covers with popular Kristin Hannah titles including The Nightingale, The Great Alone, and Firefly Lane

Kristin Hannah Book Themes

As we examine Kristin Hannah’s entire library, you’ll see how her work has evolved over time. She began as a romance novelist before shifting to contemporary women’s fiction, and, most recently, historical fiction. What has remained consistent throughout is her focus on strong female characters. Her novels continue to have threads of romantic love, but this theme is usually secondary to the bonds of family and friendship. In her recent works, her characters often face challenges and tragedies set against different backdrops throughout history.

Throughout this guide, you’ll get to know the very best of Kristin Hannah’s work, from her #1 New York Times bestsellers to her deep backlist. We start with a complete list of Kristin Hannah books in order of publication. We clear up confusion about books that have been republished under new titles and which books should be read in order.

Next, we take a closer look at her most popular novels, as ranked by a vote of hundreds of our readers. Throughout this guide, we offer our insights about the themes, characters, and settings in her books. Finally, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about author Kristin Hannah and her novels.

Shelf of 8 Backlist Kristin Hannah Books

Kristin Hannah Books In Order Through 2024

Kristin Hannah is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 20 full-length novels spanning three decades. Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Nearly all of her books are stand-alone novels, and can be read in any order, with the exception of the Firefly Lane series discussed in the next section. Below we’ve listed all of her books in order of publication:

Printable Kristin Hannah Book List

Looking for a printable version of this chronological Kristin Hannah book list? Our Buy Me a Coffee BFF’s have access to a cute one-page printable tracker featuring the covers of all her novels! Join our membership site today for instant access to your copy, along with some other fun perks!

Photo of printable Kristin Hannah book list

Firefly Lane Book Series

While the vast majority of Kristin Hannah’s works are stand-alone novels, she has authored one popular series. Firefly Lane (2008) and its sequel, Fly Away (2013), should be read in order. These books explore the relationship between two best friends, Kate and Tully, beginning in 1974 through the mid-2000s.

This book series was also adapted into a smash-hit Netflix series, starring Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl. Season 1 and the first half of season 2 of Netflix’s Firefly Lane are streaming now. The second half of season 2, referred to as “the final chapter,” will be available on Netflix on April 27, 2023.

As you probably already know, we’re of the opinion that the book is always better. But there’s no denying the popularity of the adaption. It was the #1 Netflix series around the world the week it came out. While portions of the television series are faithful to the novels, there are also quite a few key differences. While the novels follow a linear timeline, the television show jumps back and forth. Additionally, there are major plot points from the novels missing in the adaptation, and others created solely for the television series.

Photo of three of Kristin Hannah's best books - The NIghtingale, The Great Alone, and the Four Winds - next to a vase of greenery

How We Determined the Kristin Hannah Book Ranking

While all of Kristen Hannah’s books are worth reading, in April of 2023 we asked our readers to vote on their favorites. We received more than 300 responses to our survey, and based on those votes, the novels below were the crowd favorites. We conducted this “readers’ favorite” survey prior to the publication of Hannah’s newest book, The Women, which is why you will not see that tile in the rankings below. We look forward to updating this survey in the future to see how The Women ranks compared to Hannah’s backlist titles.

Our readers had the option to tell us why they voted for each of their picks, so we’ve included some of their words as a part of each synopsis. Some readers had beautiful quotes but preferred to remain anonymous, so you’ll notice that some quotes have attribution and others do not, but they all came from our reader survey.

When the books have been part of one of our reading challenges, we also included reader ratings from the book logs our challenge participants submitted.

Kristin Hannah Best Books Ranked

Although 20 different Hannah books were mentioned in our reader survey, 66% selected The Nightingale as one of their top 3, with the majority of those selecting it as #1. These results are backed up by the book’s average GoodReads rating of 4.6 out of 5, with over 1 million reviews (as of 4/4/23).

Nightingale book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

The Nightingale tells the story of French sisters Vianne and Isabelle, who have always been at odds. Vianne is a rule-follower, and Isabelle is more rebellious and willing to speak her mind. With WWII escalating, Isabelle intends to fight for France, while Vianne simply wants to survive the war with her family intact – even if it means allowing a German officer to live in her home. 

Isabelle, who refuses to live passively under German authority, joins the French resistance and guides Allied airmen out of France after their planes are shot down – work for which she adopts the codename the Nightingale. As the war wages on, both sisters learn who they are and what they can do.

Quotes from Our Readers About This Book
I don’t think I can adequately put into words the power this novel had to move me emotionally. Historical Fiction is my favorite genre. I read this book years ago, and it remains to this day the best WWII Historical Fiction book I’ve read. I still have deep feelings for each character. If you want a book that has all the feels look no further than Hannah’s The Nightingale. -Kathy R.

This is probably one of the best books about WW2, I have ever connected with. The story of these two sisters and the different paths they chose to survive, to resist, wrecked me with sobs and left an impression that lasted long after the last page was turned. – Nikki L.

Really good story, with lots of emotions and made me feel like I knew the characters. The story was very powerful and showed me different sides of WW2 that I didn’t know much about.

This book is one of my all-time favorites. It was master storytelling and completely drew me in – the characters, the setting, the story. This book got me reading fiction again. -Kristi C.

This book was my intro to Kristin Hannah years ago, and not only has it stayed on my top 5, but it also made me read all her others. I love her books. – Angie C.

Notable Awards for the Nightingale:
2015 Goodreads Best Historical Fiction Novel
2015 People’s Choice Award for Fest Fiction
2015 Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week
2016 Audie Award for Fiction
Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick, March 2023

Although it was clear that The Nightingale won Best Kristin Hannah Book in the eyes of our readers, there was plenty of love for her other titles as well.

Second place went to another of our favorites, The Great Alone. You’ll find the synopsis for that book below, followed by the other favorites ranked in order of votes received from highest to lowest.

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

97% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

When a Vietnam POW returns home, he carries new anger and impulsiveness. Determined to stand by her husband, his wife agrees with his plan to move his family to Alaska to live off the grid. Soon after arriving, the harsh reality of rural Alaska sets in for 13-year-old Leni and her mom.

For a while, things were better with her dad as they spent the fall season preparing for their first Alaskan winter, but she feared his more balanced self was only temporary.

Why Our Readers Love This Book…
I loved the setting of this book. I remember feeling actual fear for the main character as I read. This is not a book I will forget. -Kelly J.

I can relate to so much of the mixed emotions, chaos, embarrassment, struggle and turmoil expressed in this book because I grew up with an abusive, alcoholic stepfather who was also a veteran – WWII. I took dreamed of escape. I loved her strong will and spirit. -Penny P.

I feel like the setting in this book was as important as the characters. It may have almost been a character in itself. Alaska can be brutal, and Hannah did an amazing job with the description to make this clear. The characters tore at the heart. This was the first book I read by her and I absolutely loved it! -Patty C.

The setting was so vivid! I could feel the muck, the mosquitos biting, and, of course, the cold. Loved the characters, and felt that they fit well in that setting. -Gara R.

This book made me fall in love with reading. I read every Kristen Hannah book after reading this book on vacation. Now I read 4 books a month and can’t get enough. – Sherry J.

Notable Awards for The Great Alone:
2018 Goodreads Best Historical Novel of the Year
2018 Book of the Year Finalist – Book of the Month
2020 Longlist for Dublin Literary Award
#1 New York Times Bestseller

The Book Girls Say…

WARNING: This book includes descriptions of domestic abuse.

Four Winds book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

As the Dust Bowl drought gripped the Great Plains, millions were out of work, crops failed, water dried up, and farmers fought to keep their land. This is the story of Elsa Martinelli, who is forced to make an agonizing choice: fight for her land in Texas or move west to California in search of a better life. 

Like so many of her neighbors, Elsa courageously faces the hardships and sacrifices that came to define an entire generation during the Great Depression as they fought for the American Dream. We love books that truly transport you to another time and place, and few books do that quite as well as The Four Winds. You will feel the dirt and the direness that so many experienced.

Why Our Readers Love This Book…
I grew up in West Texas and was reminded that my grandparents survived the Dust Bowl years. The book was so real in its depiction of that time. -Dawn V.

It seems so realistic and really puts me in the setting of the book. The characters came alive as I read. Although the book was sad, this novel will stay with me for a long time. – Juli B.

While very sad, it was a great story and I learned a lot about the Dust Bowl and how those people were treated after they got to California. -Louise F.

You could feel the desperation in those who lost everything in the Dust Bowl. I was cheering them on traveling to California but then felt their hope evaporate with those in charge of the labor camps. I could feel, smell, and see the story unfolding. – Deb K.

Notable Awards for The Four Winds:
Read with Jenna Book Club Pick – February 2021
2021 Book of the Year – Book of the Month
2021 USA Today Bestselling Hardcover Adult Fiction
2021 Goodreads Nominee for Best Historical Fiction
#1 New York Times Bestseller

winter garden book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

90% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Sisters Meredith and Nina have little in common other than their love for their dear father. They’ve spent most of their life feeling like they didn’t really know their mother, but when their father falls ill, his final wish is for his daughters to get to know their mother better. In their younger years, Anya sometimes tells the girls a Russian fairy tale, and their father makes her promise that she will tell the story one last time – all the way to the end.

The story alternates between past and present as Meredith and Nina hear the fairy tale and learn the harrowing story of the mother’s life five decades earlier in war-torn Leningrad, Russia. They will ultimately learn something so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

Why Our Readers Love This Book…
This tugged at my mama heart strings. You do the best you can, but inevitably make mistakes along the way. The characters were so real. I’m not a huge mystery fan, but this felt like a mystery in disguise, and I loved trying to figure it out as I read. -Kristin R.

This memorable and well-told story evokes strong emotions and reminds readers that the pain of war is a burden suffered by people on both sides; there truly are no winners.

I was drawn in by reading about the life experiences of a survivor as a means to understand her present-day life. We, as outsiders, can never judge a person by who he/she is today without understanding the past. – Tammy W.

It seemed to be a very human story, a story that explains some of why we do what we do. I read it years ago when the split narrative wasn’t quite so popular, and I enjoyed being presented with the present day and a time long ago. -Nancy F.

Notable Awards for Winter Garden:
2010 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction

The Book Girls Say…

Many WWII historical novels focus on the region of France and Germany, but The Winter Garden illuminates the experiences of those in Russia and the Eastern Front. But this is more than just another WWII story, it’s a moving family story as well. It is a bit slow to start, and the characters aren’t immediately likable, but you’ll find yourself pulled in as the lines between fairy tale and reality begin to blur.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 03/22/2024

Book Summary

From 8th grade, Kate and Tully cycle through the highs and lows of long-term friendships as they try to figure out what they want from the world and what they need from each other.

Tully seems to have both beauty and brains while Kate feels doomed to be uncool forever. However, Tully doesn’t have it all. She longs to fill the void left when her mom abandoned her, and she funnels all her feelings into ambition at work. Kate is equally driven, but her life looks different as she becomes a wife and mother.

In Firefly Lane, Kristin Hannah uses the descriptive talent you know from her historical fiction books to share the story of three decades between friends.

Night Road Book Cover.

Book Summary

Stay-at-home mom Jude has always put everyone else’s needs first, including those of her twins, Mia and Zach. When Lexi, a former foster child, becomes close to both Mia and Zach, Jude is supportive of the relationships, but also overprotective.

However, during senior year for the teens, a tragic accident changes everything. Jude’s perfect family is shattered, and their small town is torn apart. Lexi is blamed, and she gives up everything meaningful in her life to leave town.

However, when Lexi returns a few years later, she demands a reckoning. Will Jude be able to forgive Lexi, and herself?

Why Our Readers Love This Book…
The way Kristin Hannah writes just pulls you in, and you can’t let go until the book is finished. -Chrissy B.

This is a wonderful story about motherhood, love and forgiveness. This one made me cry. -Kathy E.

Often It is impossible to foresee the life-long effects of a decision made in one moment.

Kristen Hannah’s book develops this theme beautifully. -Tammy W.

Notable Awards for Night Road:
2011 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fiction

Home Front Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This book starts in 2005 on Jolene’s 41st birthday. She’s been married 12 years and a member of the National Guard for even longer as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. When she’s sent to Iraq, her husband, who doesn’t understand her dedication to her career and country, tells her he no longer loves her.

She’s heartbroken when she arrives in Iraq but thankfully has her best friend Tami by her side. The two encounter situations just as heartbreaking during their deployment. After reading about Jolene and Tami’s time deployed, some readers say they have a greater appreciation for our modern-day troops.

While many of us know Kristin Hannah for her fantastic and heart-wrenching historical fiction, she also has a gift for writing stories of friendship. Unfortunately, some reviewers do not enjoy the narration on this one, so it may be better in print or ebook form.

Why Our Readers Love This Book…
I loved the characters. My son was in the AF so I related well to the book. But the twist I never saw coming. It has stuck with me for years.

I could not put this book down. I liked how it was about so many different things, but it was really an exploration of family. I thought the characters were realistic and appreciated the growth and change they went through. -Rhonda C.

I love books about the issues people have when returning from wars. It brings home the reality of how harsh it is and how it affects not just one person, but the whole family, and more! -Barbara T.

Notable Awards for Home Front:
2012 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fiction

Kindle Unlimited as of: 03/22/2024

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books With Characters in Their 40s
Best Books From 2012

Kristin Hannah’s New 2024 Book

As we mentioned at the beginning of this section, we think that by the end of 2024, The Women will have a top spot when we re-survey our readers about their favorite Kristin Hannah books. We’re including the book synopsis for The Women below for your easy reference.

The Women book cover

Book Summary

Frances “Frankie” McGrath is a 21-year-old nursing student who has been raised by her conservative parents to always do “the right thing.” But when her brother ships out for Vietnam in 1965, she begins to change her views of right and wrong. Frankie impulsively joins the Army Nurses Corps and follows her brother to Vietnam. As she tends to the green and inexperienced young men who have been sent to fight the war, she is overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction. Returning home to a changed America doesn’t prove to be any easier.

While The Women is the story of Frankie going to war, it also shines a light on the story of all women who risk everything to help others. The publisher’s description describes this book as “a novel of searing insight and lyrical beauty” that is “profoundly emotional” and “richly drawn.”

The Book Girls Say…

The Women is an intense look at what it was like to be a nurse on the ground in Vietnam, but also what it’s like to come home to a very different scope of practice. It doesn’t shy away from the long-lasting effects of war on those who enlisted with the intention of doing good.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Kristin Hannah Books: The Ultimate Author Guide

Was There a New Kristin Hannah Book in 2023?

On June 22, 2023, publisher Pan MacMillan, rereleased Kristin Hannah’s 2004 novel, The Things We Do For Love, under the title Another Life.

Another Life (formerly The Things We Do For Love) is a moving and uplifting story of family and what it means to be a mother. After struggling for years to get pregnant, Angie’s marriage crumbled under the strain. After her divorce, she relocates back to her coastal hometown in the Pacific Northwest to rejoin her boisterous family. She hopes to help rescue the failing family restaurant – and to find herself again, as well.

Lauren is a high school senior with big dreams of escaping her small hometown, and her alcoholic mother. She has her sights set on an Ivy League education. When Angie hires Lauren to work at the restaurant, they form an immediate connection. Angie longs for a child, while Lauren longs for motherly love. When Lauren’s mom suddenly leaves town, Angie offers Lauren a place to stay. What seems like a simple act of kindness will lead to so much more. Together they will be tested in unexpected ways, causing both to question what it truly means to be a family.

Have Any of Kristin Hannah’s Books Been Made Into Movies?

Several of Hannah’s books have been optioned for films, but none have yet been released.

The Nightingale Movie: Kristin Hannah Adaption In the Works

TriStar Picture’s film adaptation of The Nightingale appears to be moving forward, although it is far behind schedule. Starring real-life sisters Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning, the movie was originally scheduled for release on Christmas Day, 2020. Production of the WWII period drama was halted due to the pandemic, and the release date has since been pushed back several times. There is no current word on when (or if) the film will be released. 

Reese Witherspoon selected The Nightingale as her March 2023 Reese’s Book Club pick. This led to some speculation regarding whether Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, might now be involved with the adaptation. We’ll continue to follow future developments and keep you posted!

Photo of the Kristin Hannah book, The Nightingale, sitting atop two film reels.

Warner Bros Acquired Rights for Movie Adaptation of The Women by Kristin Hannah

Several weeks before the publication of Kristin Hannah’s new book, The Women, Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group acquired the rights to the novel about nurses who served in the Vietnam War. Early reporting indicates that the movie adaptation of The Women will be overseen by Cate Adams and Diamond McNeil.

Other Works By Kristin Hannah

In addition to her full-length novels, Kristin Hannah published a short romance/mystery novella titled The Glass Case in 2011. She also contributed a short romance story to a 1993 collection called Harvest Hearts, and to a 2002 collection titled With Love. Both of these titles are currently out of print.

After shifting her focus to historical fiction, Hannah wrote the introduction for the 2020 collaborative work titled Stories from Suffragette City. All of the stories in this book are set on October 23, 1915, when millions of women marched for the right to vote in New York City. Hannah also wrote the introduction to a 2014 historical romance anthology titled Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion, set at the close of WWII.

Authors Like Kristin Hannah

If, like many of our readers, the WWII historical fiction The Nightingale is your favorite Kristin Hannah novel, be sure to check out our list of Books Like the Nightingale. We also have a full list of more books like The Women. And if you loved The Four Winds, you may also want to browse our list of more unforgettable dust bowl books.

For fans of the historical fiction genre, other authors similar to Kristin Hannah that we highly recommend include Kelly Rimmer, Kate Quinn, Fiona Davis, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Kristin Harmel, and Susan Meissner.

If you like Kristin Hannah’s more contemporary-styled women’s fiction work, we think you’ll also enjoy authors like Viola Shipman, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Liane Moriarty, Katherine Center, and Jodi Picoult.

Kristin Hannah Biography

Kristin Hannah was born in Garden Grove, California, in 1960. Her family relocated to the Pacific Northwest when she was eight. She received an undergraduate degree in communications from the University of Washington. She also studied law at the University of Puget Sound School of Law.

During her final year of law school, Hannah’s mother was in the advanced stages of breast cancer. One day, while visiting her mom, Hannah complained about her classes. Her mother replied, “Don’t worry about it, you’re going to be a writer anyway.” That launched a plan for the mother-daughter duo to spend their precious time together working on a book. Hannah originally wanted to write a horror, but her mother insisted on historical romance, saying “I’m sick, I pick.” Hannah and her mother wrote side-by-side in her mom’s hospital room up until her final days.

After her mother’s death, Hannah packed their drafts and notes away in boxes and began her legal career. When she and her husband, Benjamin, were expecting their first child, she was put on bed rest for five months. That’s when she began writing again, completing the draft of a new book by the time her son was born. She decided to put her legal career on hold and sold her first novel before her son turned two. Her son has since graduated college and started a family of his own, and Hannah has never stopped writing. She lives with her husband on beautiful Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, Washington.

Whether you’re just starting out, or diving deep into Kristin Hannah’s backlist, we hope this guide has been helpful. We’d love to hear which of her novels is your favorite in the comments below.

Guides for Other Authors

We’re actively creating more guides for our readers’ favorite authors. Check out our other author guides below, and let us know what authors you’d like to see next:


Comments on: Kristin Hannah Books: The Ultimate Author Guide

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  1. Angela Hobby says:

    I have read most of Kristin Hannah’s books and enjoyed them all. I LOVED The Nightingale! And I especially liked The Great Alone. Thanks for the bio; I had wondered about how she got into writing. There seem to be a number of authors who have law degrees.

  2. What a special bond with her mom! Love the shift in her career life & that she has mastered several genres…..I will look for her older work. Thank you for the new feature….love your work on our behalf, ladies!

  3. Michele Kilday says:

    Excellent. I have enjoyed reading many of Kristin Hannah’s books but see there are plenty I have missed.
    I really enjoyed her biography especially the story of her and her mom. What a special bond she must have to her writing because of that.
    I will look forward to your next author guide.
    Sure am happy I found y’all. I am enjoying the Across the USA challenge.

  4. Sarah Kennedy says:

    This was so fun to read and so helpful! I’ve only read her newer books and didn’t know where to start with her backlist! This took y’all a huge amount of time—thank you for this gift!

    1. Melissa George says:

      Thank you so much, Sarah! We’re glad it was as helpful as we hoped it would be!