Jacquelyn Mitchard

Three tales of yearning, courage, and heart.

Jacquelyn Mitchard’s widely read newspaper columns have explored the everyday struggles of women in a rapidly changing world — but as novelist she has taken as her subject the inner self under the most intense of pressures. Her very first work of fiction, The Deep End of the Ocean, was named by USA Today as one of the most influential books of the past quarter century. Bestselling novels such as Cage of Stars and The Breakdown Lane honed her portrayals of men and women whose encounters with grief and violence leave them uniquely poised to reflect on universal themes. Her latest work, No Time to Wave Goodbye, revists the family from The Deep End of the Ocean in a tale that provides fresh suspense and a new perspective on her beloved characters. Here, the author shares three favorite books.

Books by Jacquelyn Mitchard

A Tree Grows in Brookln

By Betty Smith

“Smith’s WWII novel about glowing, yearning young Francie Nolan—beautiful, except there are too many of her—growing up in a Brooklyn tenement with her charming, drunken Irish father and her faded, spirited mother, is simply, for my money, the truest and most moving portrayal of Irish immigrant poverty ever written by anyone, anytime.”

True Grit

By Charles Portis

“I’ve loved only one other “western” novel (Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop) but the story of Mattie Ross, who at fourteen set out to avenge her father’s murder with the help of rough-hewn alcoholic Marshall Rooster Cogburn, is tough, plain-spoken and wry, like the hero. As Mattie, an old woman, tells her story on a train to Jesse James’s brother, Portis’ comic voice … we’re talking genius.”

Field of Blood

By Denise Mina

“One of many books sprung from the horrific murder of Yorkshire toddler Jamie Bulger by a pair of fourth-grade boys, this one, with possibly the worst title in fiction, introduces one of the most complex, endearing anti-heroes ever. Paddy Meehan is a copy clerk and would-be reporter, still mired in the gray grit of her Glasgow tenement roots and her drug-dealing, abusive kin, redeemed by fierce ambition and great heart. Mina is a magician.”