Great Novels With Unforgettable Characters

Great Novels With Unforgettable Characters

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I love to read and always have. There is nothing like a great novel to pull you out of the plane of your own existence and open a new world for you. There are some books I read once and pass along to others, and some I keep, to savor again every few years. What is it that puts a novel in the latter list? Unforgettable characters!

Novels With Unforgettable Characters

It did get me thinking about some of my favorite books. The ones I re-read every few years, and glean new knowledge from each time. Each time I pick one of these books up, I feel like I am greeting an old friend. The characters in these books are so descriptive and detailed, they seem to me like real people.

Here, in no particular order (except for the order I pulled them off the shelf) are eight of my favorite novels with unforgettable characters. I have links to them on Amazon so that you can read more detail about each. And of course, you can order them through these links. I often purchase my books from used bookstores, particularly some of the older titles.

And yes, I almost always read print books rather than anything on a device. It’s just my personal preference. Which do you prefer?


Trinity by Leon Uris

First published in 1976 (my copy is from 1977!), this is the sweeping adventure of Ireland in its long struggle for freedom, focusing on the young rebel Conor Larkin. Endlessly readable.

Trinity, novels with unforgettable characters

“Look at me, man, look at me and tell me I don’t know what I’m about. I’m Conor Larkin. I’m an Irishman and I’ve had enough.”
― Leon Uris


The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Considered a landmark work of early feminism, this 1899 novel brings to life the struggles of Edna Pontellier, who finds she doesn’t quite agree with the social structures of the turn-of-the-century American South.

The Awakening, novels with unforgettable characters

“but whatever came, she had resolved never again to belong to another than herself.”
― Kate Chopin


Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esqivel

“A mystical Mexican love story that will charm the palate and the heart.” -USA Today. Full of love, joy, and recipes, this is the one that will make you both laugh out loud and shed tears of sadness.

Like Water for Chocolate, novels worth reading more than once

“Tita knew through her own flesh how fire transforms the elements, how a lump of corn flour is changed into a tortilla, how a soul that hasn’t been warmed by the fire of love is lifeless, like a useless ball of corn flour.”
– Laura Esquivel


A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

What is it about old men that makes them so grumpy? The greatest curmudgeon of them all, Ove has his orderly life disrupted by a lively family new to the neighborhood. This is one of the most heartwarming tales I have ever been blessed to read – it’s also the newest book on this list.

A Man Called Ove, novels worth reading more than once

“He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”
― Fredrik Backman


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hoseini

This book humanizes three decades of history in Afghanistan, from the Soviet invasion through the Taliban reign. While chronicling the horrors of the time, we learn to love the women who refuse to give up or give in, struggle to raise their families, and never stop their search for love.

A Thousand Splendid Sons

“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”
― Khaled Hosseini


Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi

Residents of her small town are all just trying to fit in, but Trudi knows she never will – because she is a dwarf, forever different. Gradually, she learns that being different is “a secret all humans share” and she learns to embrace not only her differences but of those around her.

Stones from the River, novels with unforgettable characters

“Now the purpose of her stories had changed. She spun them to discover their meaning. In the telling, she found, you reached a point where you could not go back, where—as the stories changed—it transformed you, too.”
― Ursula Hegi


The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

The story of an ordinary boy (or so he believes) who takes an unbelievable solo journey across the United States (or is it?). This is not a classic horror story, but it is one of the most imaginative books I’ve ever read, as young Jack desperately attempts to save his mother’s life.

The Talisman, novels with unforgettable characters

“…he never forgot that sweet, violent feeling of having touched some great adventure, of having looked for a moment at some beautiful white light that was, in fact, every color of the rainbow.”
― Stephen King


Final Thoughts on Novels with Unforgettable Characters

There really is nothing like a brilliant novel to take you to new worlds and grant you new perspectives. I could easily add a dozen or more other books to this list, but for starters, I don’t feel any amount of recommendation could ever overdo it with this list.

Trinity by Leon Uris

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esqivel

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hoseini

Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Be sure to pin this post so you can refer back to it!

novels worth reading more than once, with unforgettable characters



2 thoughts on “Great Novels With Unforgettable Characters”

  • I definitely agree with A Thousand Splendid Suns! My personal list of novels worth reading more than once would also include One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche.

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