Need to take a mental break? Here are some escapist books that let you live a different life

Parenthood is amazing, but sometimes you need to be someone, anyone else. Someone who isn’t changing diapers, prepping lunches, or laying in bed with a tiny person begging them to sleep. Some days you just want to escape to another place where your main title isn’t “mom” and you don’t have a laundry list of things to do for other people. That’s where an amazing book comes in. We gathered a list of books for moms that takes you to places with different perspectives, magical possibilities, and even romance. Because a good escapist book is the best way to give yourself a break.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab

The invisible life of addie la rue is a great book for moms.
©Maria Guido

Addie LaRue is a young woman who doesn’t want to be known. She’s lived in the same small French village her entire life, and will soon be wed in an arranged marriage. One night, she makes a deal with the “Dark”—a god-figure named Luc—to get out of this arrangement. In return, everyone she meets is bound to forget her—immediately. The only way for Addie to be remembered is by breaking the curse and giving her soul to Luc. It’s a tale that spans centuries and makes the reader unpack what it means to be remembered and loved.

Buy it here, $15

Beach Read, by Emily Henry

Romance writer January and an acclaimed author of literary fiction Augustus have one thing in common—they no longer believe in love. Well, that and they’re both spending the summer living in neighboring beach houses, overwhelmed by writer’s block. Everything January writes culminates in a happy ending, Augustus prefers despair. To try to shake each other out of their creative ruts, they agree to a deal: Augustus will write a book with a happy ending, and January will write the next great American novel. Can you guess what happens next? It’s a romance and it’s fun, and by the end of the book, you’ll have a crush on one of these characters—or both.

Buy it here, $8

The Lost Apothecary, by Sarah Penner

©Maria Guido

The Lost Apothecary shuffles between two timelines; the present day circa 2020 and the late 1700s. This is one of those escapist books where you’ll definitely have a preference in timelines; the past is just much more engaging than the present. The past centers around a female apothecary that has a hidden shop that dispenses poisons to women to use on the toxic men in their lives. Nella is the murderous apothecary, but you’ll find yourself rooting for her and her methods, as the men receiving the poisons are terrible. The modern-day heroine, Caroline, has just discovered her husband’s infidelity and takes a trip that was supposed to be a romantic adventure for them, solo. On the trip, she stumbles on some evidence of the apothecary shop and dives into an investigation. This story about the ties that bind women together will keep you enthralled.

Buy it here, $12

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Yes, this book is as great as everyone says it is. It spent 54 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, 54 weeks after publishing. The story centers around an aging reclusive Hollywood star, who has never told her life story. She chooses an unknown up-and-coming reporter to enter her home and hear her tale—and what unravels is decades of love, loss, and the price that is paid when you cannot be your true self. You won’t be able to put this book down.

Buy it here, $9

Detransition, Baby, by Torrey Peters

Detransition, Baby is a wonderful escapist book.
©Maria Guido

Fiction is all about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. In Torrey Peters’ Detransition Baby, those shoes belong to Reese, a trans woman who has a life she’d previously only been able to dream of; filled with the mundane trappings of monogamous relationships. She feels that the only thing missing is a child. But when her girlfriend, Amy, detransitions to become Ames—everything falls apart. When Ames’ new girlfriend becomes pregnant, the three characters wonder if they can form an unconventional bond, and raise the baby together. Detransition, Baby is an engaging tale that proves how much we miss out on when we aren’t able to read the stories of people who have different life experiences than we do.

Buy it here, $16

Take a Hint, Dani Brown, by Talia Hibbert

Dani Brown is not looking for romance, she much prefers academic and professional success (and an occasional hook up). She asks the universe to fulfill a friends-with-benefits plan, and the universe delivers—in the form of a handsome, brooding security guard and former professional rugby player, Zaf. When a video of Zaf rescuing Dani from a campus fire goes viral, the internet starts shipping #DrRugbae, and Zaf begs Dani to play along to get his sports charity for kids the publicity it deserves. This is the smart, funny, and sexy escape you expect from the genre. And when you fall in love with Dani, there are two other sisters’ lives you can dive into; this book for moms is part 2 of The Brown Sisters Trilogy. 

Buy it here, $16

The Charm Offensive, by Alison Cochrun

©Maria Guido

This book manages to blend two things that function so well for escapism: reality television and romcoms. Dev Deshpande is a big believer in fairy tales, which makes him perfect for his job as a producer on the long-running reality dating show, Ever After. (Yes, 100% The Bachelor vibes.) He always manages to script the perfect love stories for his contestants—that is, until he meets Charlie Winshaw. Charlie’s a disgraced tech wizard whose PR agent thought a show like this would be perfect to rehab his image. But he doesn’t exactly woo the women—he’s a nervous mess with no idea how to be charming. Dev realizes he has to teach him how to come out of his shell… and quickly realizes the two have more chemistry than Charlie has with any of the contestants on the show.

Buy it here, $12

Magic Lessons, by Alice Hoffman

This is the prequel to Practical Magic, but you don’t need to have read it yet to enjoy this tale. The book tells the story of where the Owens Sisters’ bloodline began, with Maria Owens in the 1600s—who is abandoned as a baby and cared for by a woman named Hannah Owens, who teaches her the “nameless arts.” Maria falls in love with a man, and when he abandons her she follows him to Salem and invokes a curse that will haunt all of the women in her family for centuries. If you are a fan of Practical Magic, you will love reading the origin story of your favorite witch sisters. It’s a lesson in the power that family holds—and what women will do for each other.

Buy it here, $12

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina, by Zoraida Cordova

The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina is a wonderful escapist book.
©Maria Guido

Is there anything better than magical realism to transport you somewhere… else? Orquídea Divina has lived a life surrounded by magic—and while her family is accustomed to it, no one understands why magic follows the woman, or what makes her tick. She summons her family to come to collect their inheritance because she’s dying… and her story and motivations begin to unravel. Readers peel back layers of Orquidea as they follow the stories of her children and grandchildren. This is such a beautiful story to get lost in—and it will make you think about how much everyone really knows about each other, and if family can really be blamed for decisions that no doubt affect those they leave behind. This escapist book for moms will come alive in your mind and stay with you.

Buy it here, $10

Finlay Donovan is Killing It, by Elle Cosimano

This book starts in a Panera, where Finlay is overheard discussing the premise of her new novel with her agent. The novel is about contract killers, and when she’s mistaken for one, she agrees to “dispose of” a problematic husband to make ends meet. What follows is a hilarious tale about an unlikely friendship, the stress of motherhood, and the lengths we go to keep our families secure. And this is such a fun book for moms to love because there are two sequels to enjoy when you’re done: Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead and Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun.

Buy it here, $11

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