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14 best new feel-good books for uplifting reading in 2023

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best feel good books 2023

Sometimes all I want to read is a feel-good book. No drama, no complicated plots, just pure and uplifting joy.

The books in this list are some of the best new feel-good books for 2023, offering the perfect next best beach read, vacation book, or rejuvenating escape route from day-to-day life.

Scroll through the list, choose your next feel-good book, and feel better on the other side…

(Also, why not complement these with the best feel-good books of all time to balance newcomers with old favourites?)

The most lighthearted and uplifting feel-good books for 2023

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Read The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches for… a lighthearted and cozy book about a witch looking for a place to belong, with the same vibes as The House in the Cerulean Sea and Legends & Lattes.

In this feel-good book from 2022, we meet Mika Moon, one of the few witches in Britain who knows she has to hide her magic and keep her head down.

But when she receives the opportunity to embrace a quirky new family and teach young witches at the remote and mysterious Nowhere House, the course of her life goes in a whole new direction.

Small Joys by Elvin James Mensah

Read Small Joys for… a charming debut about the family we choose for ourselves, the winding road to happiness, and the grace of second chances in rural England.

Could I one day inspire happiness in others, the same way he seemed to do in me? This book starts out quite emotionally, as Harley, a young queer black Ghanaian man, struggles with anxiety and depression and drops out of university.

But when Harley meets Muddy at what should be the end, a tender and joyful slice-of-life tale about coming-of-age and belonging unfolds.

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Read The Bodyguard for… nineties rom-com vibes about a badass bodyguard who looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you in a heartbeat.

In this feel-good romance book for 2023, Jack Stapleton’s a household name… one with a middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker. He doesn’t want his family to find out about this, nor the bodyguard he knows he has to hire.

Hannah Brooks, Executive Protection Agent, agrees to pretend to be Jack’s girlfriend while protecting him, despite her better judgement. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And that’s a problem.

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Read Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers for… a lighthearted mystery for 2023 about a charming tea shop owner turned murder detective.

This is the heartwarming story of Vera Wong, a lady of a certain age who owns a dark and dingy tea shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Faced with very few customers and a lot of free time, she turns her attention to other hobbies, like stalking her son online.

Then one morning, Vera discovers a body in the tea shop. She has little faith in the police and is a suspicious Chinese mother with plenty of experience in figuring things out. Helping herself to a little bit of evidence before the police arrive, Vera gets to work on her investigation.

Community Board by Tara Conklin

Read Community Board for… a big-hearted new feel-good book for 2023, in which the author of The Last Romantics shares a timely story of unplanned isolation and newly forged community.

When 29-year-old Darcy’s husband Skip leaves her for another woman, her life implodes. So she goes back to the most welcoming and safe place she knows to nurse her wounds: home.

Back in Murbridge, Massachusetts, Darcy realises that when she’s ready to stop hiding in her childhood bedroom, there’s a nurturing community ready to help her put her life back together.

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

Read In the Lives of Puppets for… T.J. Klune’s heartwarming new fantasy adventure about a family assembled from spare parts in the heart of a peculiar forest.

You might have read T.J. Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea, one of the most heartwarming and wholesome books of the last few years.

For more of his trademark feel-good writing, keep an eye out for In the Lives of Puppets. It’s one of my anticipated books for 2023, bringing together the best vibes of Becky Chambers, Douglas Adams, and Wall-E.

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn

Read Georgie, All Along for… a whimsical and magnetic love story about friendship and new beginnings for everyone who’s ever wondered about the life that got away.

For a feel-good beach read for 2023, pick up Georgie, All Along, the story of longtime personal assistant Georgie Mulcahy, who’s made a career out of putting others before herself.

When an unexpected upheaval sends her away from her hectic job in L.A. and back to her hometown, Georgie realises that she needs to put her own wants and needs first for once. Little does she know how much is about to change.

The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie

Read The Dog of the North for… a slyly humorous and winsome novel that celebrates the purpose to be found in life’s curveballs.

Named one of Kirkus’s Top 10 Novels for 2023, The Dog of the North is the story of Penny Rush – a woman facing more than just a few problems.

Her marriage is over, she’s quit her job, her mother and stepfather went missing in the Australian outback five years ago, and her grandmother keeps experiments in the refrigerator and something worse in the woodshed.

But Penny is a virtuoso at what’s possible when all else fails. Seeing the perfect excuse for a fresh start, Penny sets off on a road trip in the Dog of the North: an old van with gingham curtains, stiff brakes, and a piñata.

A Most Agreeable Murder by Julia Seales

Read A Most Agreeable Murder for… a laugh-out-loud satirical murder mystery with Bridgerton meets Only Murders in the Building vibes. The book is due for release in June 2023.

In this fun and fast read set in Regency-era England, we meet feisty Beatrice Steele, a young woman who’s never quite got the hang of what proper society wants from her. Her needlework is lacking, she has no musical ability, and she certainly won’t make up for it with her art.

But when a wealthy bachelor drops dead at a ball, Beatrice takes on the decidedly improper role of detective, rising above decorum and decency to pursue answers.

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks

Read The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece for… Tom Hanks’s first novel, about the making of a multimillion-dollar, star-studded superhero action film – and the humble comic book behind it. (Available from May 9.)

Yes, this book is by that Tom Hanks. It’s a story not only about the making of a hit movie, but also the winding path of the U.S. since World War II.

Braiding stories of a troubled soldier in 1947, his nephew drawing underground comic books in California in 1970, and a star director who discovers his comics, this is a big book with a big heart, too.

Happy Place by Emily Henry

Read Happy Place for… Emily Henry’s anticipated beach read for 2023, oozing summer vibes in Maine and with a love story that isn’t quite what it seems.

As one of the best new romance books for 2023, Happy Place is the perfect easygoing, lighthearted romance to read this year.

This is Emily Henry’s latest book about a seemingly perfect couple who broke up months ago but pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends.

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Read Remarkably Bright Creatures for… a feel-good story of an unlikely friendship between a widow and a giant Pacific octopus, perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove.

This instant bestseller for 2022 is the story of Tova Sullivan, who began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium after her husband died.

It’s here that Tova meets curmudgeonly Marcellus, an octopus who knows more than anyone can imagine… and deduces exactly what happened on the night that Tova’s son mysteriously disappeared over thirty years ago.

Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood

Read Amazing Grace Adams for… 2023’s answer to Bernadette, Eleanor Oliphant, Rosie, and Ove.

Amazing Grace Adams is a funny, touching story of an invisible everywoman pushed to the brink. Meet Grace Adams, forty-five, perimenopausal, stalled, and finally losing it. 

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Read Nora Goes Off Script for… a breezy feel-good book about fresh starts and the kind of love story that doesn’t shy away from life’s emotional baggage.

Nora Goes Off Script is about a romance screenwriter who is well-versed in the formula for love. But when her husband leaves her and their two kids, Nora turns her marriage’s collapse into cash and writes the best script of her life.

For more of the best feel-good books to read now, you might also like these posts:

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