The 20 Best Inspirational Fiction Books

Inspirational fiction serves as a beacon of light in the literary landscape, offering readers narratives that uplift, inspire, and encourage. At its core, inspirational fiction explores themes of faith, hope, love, and redemption, transcending genres and resonating with readers of all backgrounds. Through compelling characters and engaging plots, inspirational fiction invites readers on journeys of self-discovery, spiritual awakening, and personal transformation.

These stories often feature protagonists facing adversity, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual, and navigating their way towards triumph and enlightenment. Whether set in historical epochs, contemporary settings, or fantastical realms, inspirational fiction provides readers with a mirror to reflect on their own lives and challenges, while also offering glimpses of possibility and hope for the future.

What sets inspirational fiction apart is its ability to not only entertain but also to uplift and edify. Authors of inspirational fiction weave messages of resilience, forgiveness, and the enduring power of the human spirit into their narratives, leaving readers with a sense of renewal and empowerment. In a world often fraught with uncertainty and despair, inspirational fiction serves as a reminder that, even in the darkest of times, there is always hope, and that love and compassion can triumph over adversity.

Here are twenty great inspirational fiction novels.

“The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan, 1678 “The Pilgrim’s Progress” follows the journey of Christian, an everyman figure, as he travels from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City, encountering allegorical characters and obstacles along the way. Through Christian’s trials and triumphs, John Bunyan’s classic work offers readers a timeless allegory of the Christian life, illustrating the challenges and rewards of faith, perseverance, and spiritual transformation. With its enduring message of hope, redemption, and the ultimate victory of good over evil, “The Pilgrim’s Progress” continues to inspire readers of all ages and backgrounds, making it a foundational work of inspirational literature.

“The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis, 1942

“The Screwtape Letters” consists of a series of letters from a senior demon named Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, a junior tempter. Through their correspondence, C.S. Lewis offers insights into the nature of temptation, human frailty, and spiritual warfare. With its witty satire and profound theological reflections, “The Screwtape Letters” challenges readers to examine their own moral choices and spiritual beliefs, making it a thought-provoking and spiritually enriching work of fiction.

“The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis, 1945

“The Great Divorce” follows the journey of a narrator who takes a bus ride from Hell to Heaven, encountering a variety of characters along the way. Through their conversations and interactions, C.S. Lewis explores themes of redemption, grace, and the nature of human desire. With its imaginative storytelling and profound theological insights, “The Great Divorce” prompts readers to reflect on the choices that shape their lives and the possibility of spiritual transformation, making it a thought-provoking and spiritually uplifting work of fiction.

“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, 1954 “Lord of the Flies” follows a group of boys stranded on a deserted island who attempt to govern themselves, only to descend into savagery and chaos. As their primal instincts take hold and social order collapses, the boys grapple with themes of morality, civilization, and the inherent darkness of human nature. Through its allegorical depiction of society’s fragility and the consequences of unchecked power, William Golding’s novel prompts readers to reflect on the nature of humanity and the importance of ethical leadership, making it a profound and enduring work of inspirational fiction.

“Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys, 1966 “Wide Sargasso Sea” serves as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre,” offering a reinterpretation of the character Bertha Mason, the madwoman in the attic. Set in Jamaica during the early 19th century, the novel explores Bertha’s backstory, shedding light on her experiences as a Creole woman marginalized by society. Through its exploration of colonialism, identity, and madness, Jean Rhys’ novel challenges readers to reconsider traditional narratives and confront the complexities of power and oppression, making it a provocative and inspirational work of fiction

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, 1969 “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is Maya Angelou’s autobiographical coming-of-age story, chronicling her childhood and adolescence in the segregated South. Despite facing trauma, discrimination, and adversity, Angelou finds her voice through poetry and literature, ultimately triumphing over her circumstances. Through its powerful portrayal of resilience, self-discovery, and the pursuit of dignity, Angelou’s memoir inspires readers to overcome obstacles and embrace their own unique journey toward liberation and fulfillment, making it an enduring work of inspirational literature.

“A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole, 1980 “A Confederacy of Dunces” follows the misadventures of Ignatius J. Reilly, a slothful and eccentric protagonist living in New Orleans. Despite his lack of ambition and disdain for societal norms, Ignatius unwittingly finds himself embroiled in a series of absurd situations. Through its satirical portrayal of societal conventions and the human condition, John Kennedy Toole’s novel offers readers a humorous yet thought-provoking exploration of individualism, alienation, and the pursuit of meaning, making it a unique and inspirational work of fiction.

“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, 1982

“The Color Purple” follows the life of Celie, an African American woman in the Southern United States, as she navigates poverty, abuse, and discrimination. Through her letters to God and her relationships with other women, Celie finds strength, resilience, and a sense of self-worth. Alice Walker’s novel is a testament to the power of sisterhood, resilience, and the human spirit, inspiring readers to confront injustice and find empowerment in the face of adversity, making it a deeply moving and inspirational work of fiction.

.“Wideacre” by Philippa Gregory, 1987 “Wideacre” is the first novel in Philippa Gregory’s Wideacre trilogy, set in 18th-century England and centered around the Lacey family estate. As the ambitious and cunning Beatrice Lacey seeks to reclaim her birthright and preserve the legacy of Wideacre, she becomes entangled in a web of passion, betrayal, and dark family secrets. Through its lush historical setting and complex characters, Gregory’s novel explores themes of power, desire, and the consequences of unchecked ambition, prompting readers to reflect on the complexities of human nature and the pursuit of redemption, making it a compelling work of inspirational fiction.

“The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver, 1998 “The Poisonwood Bible” follows the Price family, who travel to the Belgian Congo as missionaries in 1959. Through the perspectives of the four Price daughters and their mother, the novel explores themes of cultural imperialism, religious fanaticism, and the clash of civilizations. Barbara Kingsolver’s powerful storytelling and vivid characterizations prompt readers to confront their own beliefs and prejudices, inspiring empathy and understanding across cultural divides, making it a thought-provoking work of inspirational fiction.

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, 1988 “The Alchemist” follows Santiago, a young shepherd boy who embarks on a journey to discover his personal legend, or his purpose in life. Along the way, he encounters a series of characters who impart wisdom and guidance, leading him to realize that the treasure he seeks is within himself. Paulo Coelho’s novel is a timeless allegory of self-discovery, destiny, and the power of perseverance, inspiring readers to pursue their dreams with courage and faith, making it a cherished work of inspirational fiction.

“Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers, 1991 “Redeeming Love” tells the story of Angel, a young woman sold into prostitution as a child, and Michael Hosea, a man who believes God has called him to marry her. Set in California’s Gold Rush era, the novel is a retelling of the biblical book of Hosea, portraying God’s relentless love and forgiveness. Through the characters’ journey from brokenness to redemption, Francine Rivers offers a poignant reminder of the power of unconditional love and the possibility of transformation, making “Redeeming Love” a cherished work of inspirational fiction.

“The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, 1993 “The Celestine Prophecy” follows the journey of a man who travels to Peru in search of an ancient manuscript containing nine insights that hold the key to spiritual enlightenment. Along the way, he encounters individuals who embody each insight, guiding him toward a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. James Redfield’s novel blends adventure, mysticism, and philosophy to offer readers a compelling vision of human potential and the transformative power of spiritual awakening, making it a captivating work of inspirational fiction.

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry, 1993 “The Giver” is set in a dystopian society where emotions and memories are suppressed in the name of stability and control. When twelve-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver of Memories, he discovers the truth about his world and must make a choice that will change everything. Lois Lowry’s novel prompts readers to question authority, embrace individuality, and appreciate the richness of human experience, making “The Giver” a thought-provoking and inspirational work of fiction.

“At Home in Mitford” by Jan Karon, 1994 “At Home in Mitford” introduces readers to Father Tim, an Episcopal priest in the small town of Mitford, North Carolina. As Father Tim navigates the joys and challenges of his pastoral duties, he forms deep connections with the quirky residents of Mitford and discovers unexpected blessings in everyday life. Through its heartwarming portrayal of community, faith, and the power of love, Jan Karon’s novel invites readers to find comfort and inspiration in the simple pleasures of friendship, kindness, and spiritual devotion, making it a beloved work of inspirational fiction.

“Left Behind” by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, 1995 “Left Behind” is the first book in a series that explores the events of the end times as prophesied in the Bible. The novel follows a group of individuals who are left behind after the Rapture, navigating the chaos and upheaval as they grapple with their faith and confront the rise of the Antichrist. Through its gripping storyline and exploration of biblical prophecy, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’ novel offers readers a thought-provoking examination of faith, redemption, and the ultimate battle between good and evil, making it a compelling work of inspirational fiction.

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, 2005 “The Book Thief” is set in Nazi Germany and follows the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who finds solace in books during the horrors of World War II. Narrated by Death, the novel explores themes of loss, love, and the power of storytelling to transcend adversity. Markus Zusak’s lyrical prose and poignant characters inspire readers to find hope and humanity in the darkest of times, making “The Book Thief” a deeply moving and inspirational work of fiction.

“The Shack” by William Paul Young, 2007 “The Shack” follows Mackenzie Phillips, a grieving father who receives a mysterious invitation to a remote shack in the woods, where he encounters manifestations of the Holy Trinity. Through conversations with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, Mackenzie confronts his pain, guilt, and doubts, ultimately finding healing and redemption. William Paul Young’s novel challenges conventional perceptions of God and offers a profound exploration of faith, forgiveness, and the transformative power of love, making “The Shack” a deeply inspirational work.

“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett, 2009 “The Help” is set in Jackson, Mississippi, during the 1960s and follows the lives of African American maids working for white families. Skeeter, a young white woman, decides to write a book exposing the experiences of these maids, defying societal norms and risking her own safety in the process. Through its portrayal of courage, resilience, and the bonds of sisterhood, Kathryn Stockett’s novel inspires readers to confront injustice and oppression, fostering empathy and understanding across racial divides.

“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi, 2016 “Homegoing” follows the lineage of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, born into different villages in Ghana during the 18th century. Effia is married off to a British colonizer, while Esi is sold into slavery and sent to America. The novel spans generations, tracing the descendants of these two women through slavery, colonialism, and beyond. Through its vivid portrayal of the characters’ struggles and triumphs, “Homegoing” serves as a powerful exploration of identity, heritage, and the enduring resilience of the human spirit, making it a compelling work of inspirational fiction.


And that’s our list of the 20 best inspirational fiction books. What’s your take on these – any surprises, or any inspirational fiction novels not on this list that you feel should make the top 20?

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