Can’t wait until season 3 of The White Lotus is released on HBO? Me neither.
While whispers are circulating about the third season being set in Thailand, all we can do until filming begins after the writers’ strike is make do with the first two seasons. Well, and look for similar shows and books.
After rewatching seasons one and two, I’ve been thinking about the best books like The White Lotus for more of the same themes, including secrets and suspense but also a touch of luxury in a beautiful place.
Some of these books are thrillers and mysteries, others are beach reads, and all of them offer a gripping story you won’t want to put down.
Keep reading for the best books with White Lotus vibes and top up your to-read list while waiting for the next installment on HBO (probably in late 2024 or early 2025).
The best books like The White Lotus to read now
One by One by Ruth Ware
Read One by One for… one of the best locked-room mysteries of the last few years, bringing together a gorgeous setting with very mysterious circumstances.
Think The White Lotus but snowed in at a beautiful mountain chalet. There are stunning views and a cozy fire, but what happens when you can’t trust any of the people around you?
Ultimately, One by One is the thrilling story of an off-site company retreat gone very, very wrong. Come Monday morning, how many team members short will the company be?
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Read Murder on the Orient Express for… the classic looked-room mystery and twisty whodunnit aboard one of the most iconic train journeys in the world.
Arguably the most popular Poirot story, there are plenty of good reasons why this mystery is such a classic. It’s also inspired so many fantastic stories that have followed since, including many a TV hit.
When a snowstorm forces the famous Orient Express to grind to a halt, our Belgian detective finds himself with more to do than just sit and look out the window.
Like The White Lotus, as the plot progresses, the secrets of the crime are slowly unraveled. How did a passenger perish in his own locked compartment, and who on the train is responsible?
The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand
Read The Hotel Nantucket for… a vacation read with detective elements that feels like staying at a luxury hotel and finding out everyone’s secrets.
As one of the best beach reads of the last few years, I wasn’t expecting The Hotel Nantucket to have White Lotus vibes. But, it turns out, it absolutely does.
Bringing together the adjacent plots of staff members and guests at a newly refurbished hotel on Nantucket, this is a wonderfully summery and laid-back read. That said, the plot isn’t without some deception and revenge of its own.
The Mystery Guest (Molly the Maid #2) by Nita Prose
Read The Mystery Guest for… the second book in Nita Prose’s Molly the Maid series, which you can get your hands on in November 2023.
Following the success of The Maid, in this fun follow-up (which is perfect to read as a standalone) Molly Gray has risen through the ranks to the honorable title of Head Maid in the five-star Regency Grand Hotel.
But just as it seems like everything is on track, Molly’s old friend, the world-famous mystery author J.D. Grimthorpe, drops dead on the hotel’s tea room floor.
Suspects abound, and Molly knows that only she can uncover the culprit’s identity and protect the hotel’s pristine reputation.
Murder in Tuscany by T.A. Williams
High up in the beautiful Tuscan hills, Villa Volpone is home to renowned crime writer Jonah Moore and his creative writing course that promises to nurture inspiration away from the distractions of everyday life.
It’s also the last place retired DCI Dan Armstrong expected to find himself. However, just days into the course, he’s in more familiar territory, with a body on the floor and a culprit to catch from eleven suspects: his fellow course students.
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Tumble into this gripping novel and be a fly on the wall in the seaside town of Mongibello, offering lazy afternoons and never-ending cocktail hours, but also darkness and crime.
Here, suave, handsome Tom Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. However, that fondness soon turns dark and obsessive.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Read Big Little Lies for… an unputdownable beach read turned whodunnit that slowly builds up to a big reveal.
Right from the start of Big Little Lies, we know that something terrible happened at the last PTA night. But what exactly was it? And who was really responsible?
I’m a firm believer that this gripping novel about a privileged community and the secrets that lurk beneath the surface is just as good as the star-studded TV adaptation.
The Beach by Alex Garland
Read The Beach for… a fantastically gripping modern classic that you might just read in one sitting.
After discovering what seems like paradise on an island in Thailand, a backpacker searching for authenticity soon finds out that utopia isn’t quite what it seems. After all, every Eden has its serpents.
The Beach is another book on this list with a screen adaptation, in this case the 2000 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Read The Guest List for… a gripping modern thriller with classic Christie vibes, set in remote Ireland.
If you love The White Lotus, one of the best authors to read next is Lucy Foley. In The Guest List, her unputdownable bestseller from 2021, a wedding celebration turns dark on an island off the coast of Ireland.
While it should be a wedding fit for a magazine – the groom is a rising TV star, and the bride a smart and ambitious magazine publisher – the atmosphere soon matches that of the darkest thriller. Which begs the question: who doesn’t wish the happy couple well, and why?
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
Read The Marriage Portrait for… fascinating historical fiction packed with suspense and slow reveals about a strong woman in a confined world in 1550s Florence.
Right from the start of The Marriage Portrait, we know that fifteen-year-old Lucrezia de’ Medici has less than a year to live after she marries Alfonso II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara.
Although the official cause was ‘putrid fever’, rumors suggested something very different: that her husband was to blame. This unputdownable book – complete with spellbindingly beautiful writing – explores what might have really happened.
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