Because, if family is everything, books about family are everything too.

I love reading family sagas. My first taste of this (or what should be it’s own) genre was was Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Emma Harte series. The seven book saga begins with A Woman Of Substance and ends with Breaking The Rules, all of which, except the last are in my shelf in Nigeria. I’m not completely sure what the appeal is but I think it has to do with being from a small family myself. I am fascinated by large families and watching people grow and fully possess their personalities is just so rewarding. With family sagas, you don’t have wait years to watch people grow.

So, here are eight of my favorites.

Salt Houses

Salt Houses is one of those books I truly cannot stop raving about. It was just a completely immersive reading experience. Even better was the fact that the Yacoubs moved across the world in the course of the book. It is a story about family, what war can do and the enduring nature of love. Read my full review here.


salt houses hala alyan
image via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books.

The Heirs

I read The Heirs last year, literally in one sitting. The Falkes are thrown into turmoil when a woman sues them after their father’s death, claiming he’s had illegitimate sons with her. Completely riveting and mysterious, The Heirs will hold you ransom until the last page. The story takes us through Rupert Falkes life and also examines the lives of his wife and children. For true lovers of a good family saga.

Diamond Head


My most recent read, Diamond Head follows the lives of the Leong family through the lenses of the women in the family as they move from China and settle in Hawaii. The novel is brilliantly written and the story itself is riveting, centered on the Chinese folklore on finding a “fated” love.


Homegoing books about family
Image by Ainehi Edoro

Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is an unforgettable debut. When two half sisters are born in eighteenth century Ghana, their lives diverge. One marries an Englishman while the other is sold into slavery. Homegoing follows their lives through generations and makes for enlightening and gripping reading.

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Pachinko books about family

Pachinko is a well researched novel following the lives of a Korean family through years of hardship, eventual migration to Japan and the struggle to assimilate. Author Ming Jin Lee manages to tell a heartrending story of family, acceptance and love while educating regarding the historically strained Korean-Japanese relations.

Ghana Must Go

Taiye Selasi’s debut novel is the story of the Sais. Ghana Must Go appears to be one of those books that provokes strong reactions in readers because people seem to either LOVE it or HATE it. I’m a huge fan of Selasi’s lyrical writing and the Sais are simply unforgettable to me. The novel tackles the African idea of masculinity, the relationship between twins and the power of home.

photo by Temitope Owolabi


Commonwealth was my first ever Ann Patchett read and I enjoyed it. It is the story of a blended family and how a small mistake hidden collectively by the children changed them irrevocably. Read my full review of Commonwealth here.


Kintu is a soaring family epic which reimagines the history of Uganda through the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan. The tale follows the descendants of Kintu Kidda as they try to unravel and break free from a family curse.

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Do you like family sagas? Which ones have you read and loved? You know I’m always taking recs, so spill!

Afoma x