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10 Books To Keep You Company When You’re Feeling Lonely: From Sweet Romances to Heartfelt Short Stories

Woman's World books editor (and book lover!) shares her favorite books for lonely times

Books are like balms — grabbing the right book at the right time can provide the perfect antidote for what you’re going through at that very moment. Whether you need a dose of hope, happiness, comfort, inspiration, courage…you name it, a great book has the power to ease worries and offer a safe haven to rest and recharge. And as the cold weather approaches, calendars are less full and sometimes this stillness can feel a little lonely. When this happens, there’s nothing better than snuggling up with a heartwarming read that makes you feel connected to characters and their stories. In fact, a 2011 study found that reading can alleviate feelings of loneliness. Keep reading to discover the best loneliness books to keep you company

We’ve rounded up 10 favorite books to read whenever you’re feeling lonely. Grab yourself a plush blanket, a sip of something delicious (like one of these cozy vanilla coffee drinks) and a great book that feels like a warm hug. Keep reading to find the best loneliness books in a variety of genres, from emotional women’s fictions to charming memoirs, swoon-worthy romances and more. Email us at to let us know what you think if you pick one of these up. We always love hearing from you. Happy reading!  

If you like uplifting stories about friendship and love…

Try The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson

Best loneliness books: The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson book cover shows a bright illustration of a red bus with people inside

Memorable characters and soul-warming moments abound in this story about how a shared experience among strangers can transform lives in wonderful ways. When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, she’s brokenhearted and lonely. The first person she meets on the bus is an elderly man named Frank, who tells her all about the time he met a girl on the number 88 bus in 1962. Frank and the girl had made plans for a date, but Frank lost the bus ticket with her number on it. For the past 60 years, he’s taken the same bus trying to find her. This inspires Libby to help Frank. As the search continues, she feels her heart opening to new friendships and a possible romance. But with Frank’s dementia worsening, Libby worries they will miss their chance to find the girl. A tale of missed connections, second chances, and rediscovering the joy of true love and friendship.

What readers are saying: “This sweet story has a depth to its characters and I wanted to be around them, listen to them, help them. It shows that first, second and third impressions can get people on the wrong foot. Kindness is everywhere.

If you like reflective and charming stories set in coastal Maine…

Try Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Best loneliness books: Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout book cover that shows a navy blue background with autumn leaves falling around

Bestselling author Elizabeth Strout’s triumphant follow up to the reader-favorite Olive Kitteridge is another heart-tugging tale. In this novel, cantankerous and feisty Olive Kitteridge’s brutal honesty has a strange side effect: People want to confide in her, including a teenager who lost her father, a woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment and a nurse who reveals a secret crush. While the confessions are often illuminating and heartbreaking, Olive realizes that each also offers a glimmer of hope and deep connection.

What people are saying: “I love Elizabeth Strout’s writing. I loved Olive Kitteridge, but I love Olive, Again even more. While Strout meanders through Olive’s life and the lives of those around her, she brings back memories of our own lives, things we have done, and people we have known. Strout examines aging, loss, grief and loneliness. I like Olive. More than like her. And I plan on visiting with her frequently.”

If you like captivating, feel-good stories…

Try Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Best loneliness books: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt book cover that shows an orange octopus and colorful under-the-sea illustrations

A story about rediscovering love after loss with the help of a giant octopus? Yes, please! Debut author Shelby Van Pelt serves up a lovable, inspiring novel about an older woman’s quest to solve a mystery from her past. After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at a local aquarium — and she befriended a giant Pacific octopus named Marcellus. What follows is the unraveling of the mystery behind the disappearance of Tova’s son many years ago, with Marcellus serving as a part-time narrator. This creative, endearing novel examines loneliness and the transformative nature of connection.

What readers are saying: “Losing myself in the world of an octopus and witnessing the way he helps restore Tova’s sense of the past to make way for a happier future filled my heart with a deep sense of contentment and left me feeling so much more hopeful.”

If you like mood-lifting stories about self-discovery…

Try Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley

Best loneliness books: Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting  
by Clare Pooley book cover shows a yellow cover with cute illustrations of people, dogs and cups of tea

Heart, humor and a memorable cast of characters…this novel has it all! Fifty-seven-year-old Iona Iverson is a magazine advice columnist set in her ways. She takes the same train to work every day (and sits in the same seat with her beloved dog, Lulu). She’s been doing this for many years without ever talking to anyone. Although she sees the same people every day, she only knows them from afar. Until one morning an emergency forces her to interact with fellow commuters — a connection that lasts long after the train reaches the station. Talking to these “strangers” may teach Ivona more about the world…and even more about herself.

What readers are saying: “I really loved getting to know the quirky cast of characters — from the snobbish businessman to the young woman with an obsessive boyfriend — who grew to feel like friends as the story went on. It was a nice reminder that there is so much more to people you see every single day than meets the eye!”

If you like romantic, cozy collections of short stories…

Try The Café Between Pumpkin and Pie by Marina Adair, Katie Angell and Stacy Finz

Best loneliness books: The Café Between Pumpkin and Pie  
by Marina Adair book cover that shows a bright orange-red cafe storefront with a small table set with autumnal desserts and mugs of coffee

Readers will delight over this absorbing, autumnal novella comprised of three stories set in Moonbright, Maine. Each story is connected by the local cafe, but each plotline follows a separate couple — from a second-chance romance to a single woman relying on a town legend to find love. An enjoyable collection of romantic small-town tales about hope lost and found again.

What readers are saying: “For me, discovering this novella was a case of ‘the right book at the right time’ because I needed something to lift my spirits and entertain me during an uneventful weekend. I found myself wrapped up in the descriptive details and warmed by the romantic connections.”

If you like heartwrenching yet heartwarming stories…

Try Owner of a Lonely Heart by Eva Carter

Best loneliness books: Owner of a Lonely Heart by Eva Carter shows a book cover with an illustrated ferris wheel

Bestselling author Eva Carter has written more than 20 deeply heartfelt novels — and her latest emotional saga follows suit. This story stars three strangers whose lives somehow intersect. Gemma is grieving the loss of her husband just months after their wedding. Nearby, Dan is meeting his 12-year-old daughter, Casey, for the very first time. When fate brings them all together, they’ll all have to decide whether love and connection is worth taking a chance on.

What readers are saying: “I laughed at parts, cried at others and rooted for each of the characters to break free from their loneliness and find each other. I would definitely recommend it. Ultimately, it’s a story of loneliness and finding your place with others and in the world.”

If you like joyful real-life stories about four-legged friends…

Try All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Best loneliness books: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot book cover showing a cute black and white dog with sheep in the background

For more than 40 years, readers have reveled in beloved veterinarian James Herriot’s marvelous storytelling abilities. All Creatures Great and Small — which is now also a picturesque, well-loved series on PBS — stars young James as he fulfills his dream of being a vet and opens a practice in rural Yorkshire. What follows is a series of short real-life stories through his first two years of working. James meets all types of people and animals in the local farming community. A classic compilation of mini memoirs that remind us our loyal four-legged companions are some of the best friends we will ever have.

What readers are saying: “What a lighthearted memoir about the life of a veterinarian set in rural northern England in the historic county of Yorkshire. His descriptions feel so personal — as though he’s written this personal letter to you, or he’s sharing his stories around a warm fire on a winter night…comfy, cozy and warmly shared.”

If you like intriguing, hopeful stories that stay with you…

Try How to Be Remembered by Michael Thompson

Best loneliness books:  How to Be Remembered by Michael Thompson book cover that shows a cartoon man illustrated against a blue swirling background

Tommy Llewellyn has quite the problem: On the same day every single year, every person on the planet forgets he exists as part of what he begins to call The Reset. Though Tommy learns to cope with this unfortunate reality, all of that changes when he falls in love…and suddenly realizes just how much he wants to be remembered. A lyrical, poignant and life-affirming novel about leaving your mark on the places and people you love most.

What readers are saying: “If Tommy’s goal was to be remembered, then this has been wonderfully achieved. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him! Such a beautifully written story with a heartwarming thread of hope and resilience woven through it.”

If you like stories about the deep bonds of friendship…

Try Sister Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Best loneliness books: Sister Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby book cover shows a bright illustration of four Black women who are friends hugging one another

Brimming with drama and emotion, this novel follows lifelong friends Serena, who is still single; Michelle, who is engaged; Kenya, whose husband’s ex-wife won’t let them live in peace; and Lynette, who is dating again after a divorce. As all four women face very different stages of life and relationships, their true friendship is put to the test. And the deep love they have always carried for one another is what they all need now more than ever.

What readers are saying: “I live far away from my girlfriends and this novel made me feel like I was sitting around the kitchen table with a group of dear friends who share Christian values, conversation and unforgettable memories.”

If you like evocative stories with a dash of magical realism…

Try Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim

Best loneliness books: Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club
by Roselle Lim book cover that shows the title in golden font on a red-pink background

This vibrant tale stars a lovable heroine and a hilarious cast of supporting characters. Sophie Go is a newly minted professional matchmaker who just returned to her hometown of Toronto. But soon, her truth is revealed — she never actually graduated from matchmaking school. In search of clients, she stumbles upon an endearing club of elderly men in her building who have never found love. Somehow, she convinces them to hire her, but her matchmaking skills are put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak and love. Are there true love matches in their futures?

What readers are saying: Somewhere along the way, Sophie starts to find herself, a bit of romance, and the importance of found family. All in all, it was a fun and poignant story that left me warmed and satisfied.”

For more book recommendations, check out:

Cozy Fall Reads: 10 Feel-Good Books To Snuggle Up With This Season

WW Book Club for October 8th — 14th, 2023

For inspiration when you’re feeling lonely:

Bible Verses For Loneliness: Divine Comfort For Times When Your Heart Feels Alone

For more feel-good entertainment:

9 Feel-Good Movies for Women on Netflix, Ranked — Perfect Curling Up on the Couch

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