Last Updated on April 23, 2023 by Louisa
I absolutely loved Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón and it goes down as one of my all-time favorite books.
It’s poetically written and has a storyline that’s utterly spellbinding, which lead me to read more books like Shadow of the Wind when I reached its masterful ending.
Though it’s the first book in a series, I found the rest of the series didn’t quite live up to the beauty of the first book.
What I loved about the story was the mystery, the coming-of-age of the main character Daniel who learns about love and heartbreak, as well as his father who learns to find life after the loss of his wife.
The whole tale was heartwarming and yet tragic at the same time.
If you’ve just finished reading Shadow of the Wind and you’re looking for other books like it, then these are the best books like Shadow of the Wind to read next…
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Quick Answer: Top 3 Picks
Need a book fast but don’t have much time? Don’t worry, I hear you! Here are my top three favorite books like Shadow of the Wind…
#1 Best Highly Acclaimed Novel
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E Shwab
- About a woman who makes a deal with the devil to make her immortal
- Gripping, coming of age elements
- Recommended by Entertainment Weekly, and Oprah Magazine
#2 Best Coming-of-Age Story
The Book Theif by Markus Zusak
- One of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 Best YA Books of All Time
- About a young girl who steals books during war-torn Nazi Germany when all books are banned
- Stunningly written and poetic
Summary of Shadow of the Wind
But before I go into what to read after Shadow of the Wind, let’s quickly recap the story so you know what to look for in similar titles.
Don’t worry, I won’t reveal any spoilers if you haven’t finished reading it yet.
Shadow of the Wind is the first book in a series (The Cemetery of Lost Books) of four books set in Barcelona. It’s where we are first introduced to our main character, Daniel, a young boy whose father owns a bookshop.
After his mother passes, his father takes him to a place known as the Cemetery of Lost Books where he is told he can pick one book to take home.
He picks up a book by Julian Carax called ‘The Shadow of the Wind.’ It’s the most beautiful book he has ever read, and he treasures it for many years.
When one day he decides to find other books by the author, he learns that someone is trying to destroy all of Julian Carax’s work.
Determined to stop this from happening, and to learn more about the author, Daniel seeks to track down the author. Only doing so unravels more mysteries to solve…
I was spellbound by the writing style of Shadow of the Wind and it’s the main reason why I decided to read more books like it.
I loved how Daniel grew up throughout the story, and I found the mystery around “who is Julian Carax” to be an intriguing component of the plot.
It was a masterpiece.
Best Books Like Shadow of the Wind
Now you have a little recap of the story, it’s time to take a look at the fifteen books I’ve selected to read after Shadow of the Wind.
These books have been selected for their poetic prose, their coming-of-age elements, gripping storyline, and mysterious plot twists.
1. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue – V.E. Shwab
The first book that I found to be most similar to Shadow of the Wind in terms of plot is The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, which is about a young girl who is not satisfied with the idea of dying and being forgotten.
Addie Larue has an undeniable thirst for immortality, yet is haunted by the fear of her own demise. When presented with the chance to remain alive forever, she seizes it – fully aware that all those she loves will eventually fade away from the world.
300 years later, a man from her past appears in a bookstore. The unexpected encounter sets off a chain of events that brings about drastic changes to her life.
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is an enchanting story about mortality, remembrance and true love. Written in a lyrical and poetic style, this narrative explores poignant themes and offers thought-provoking messages.
If you are searching for a book similar to Shadow of the Wind with lyrical notes that linger long after reading, then you should definitely give this book a try!
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2. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
The Book Thief is a gripping tale of love, loss, and redemption. If you loved Shadow of the Wind because of its writing style, then you’ll love The Book Thief, whose words burn with intensity.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, in War-torn Nazi Germany. Each day she scavenges for food and clothes by stealing, but there’s one thing she can’t resist – books.
Only books are banned in Germany, and to own them pays a terrible price. Her foster father teaches her to read and she shares the books with their neighbors during bombing raids.
She also shared them with the Jewish man that’s hiding in their basement.
I am a huge fan of historical fiction and this novel took me by surprise. I was entranced mostly because of the character development and the thought-provoking ideas.
If you love books with strong characters that really make you think, give The Book Thief a try.
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3. The Midnight Library – Matt Haig
Another book that has a similar writing style to Shadow of the Wind is The Midnight Library, a multi-award-winning novel by Matt Haig.
The story follows a young woman named Nora, who suffers from low mental health and gets to see what life would be like had she made different choices in the past.
When the protagonist Nora decides to end her life, she is taken to a place called The Midnight Library where she can choose a book, which has thousands of books about her life but with one thing different.
As she begins to read each book, she sees a different future each time. Each is beautiful and terrible in its own way…
This is a deep and meaningful book on a touchy subject, but Haig has written it with sincerity and deep emotion. If you liked Shadow of the Wind, you’ll love the writing style of Matt Haig.
I loved this book so much and highly recommend it to anyone that might underestimate the importance of thinking on the bright side of life, and appreciating what you have.
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4. The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern
If you want to read something that’s beautifully written but also fast-paced and full of plot twists, then check out The Starless Sea.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a grad student living in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the library.
As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lost loves, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood.
Zachary was baffled by the book and wanted to know how his life came to be recorded.
He discovered a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that led him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through an opening in the ground into an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth.
Zachary finds a hidden place full of books and their guardians. He learns about the people who have sacrificed to protect it and those who are intent on destroying it.
The storyline of The Starless Sea is similar to Shadow of the Wind, but with a few more fantastical differences. If you loved the mystery elements of Shadow of the Wind then you’ll definitely like this book.
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5. The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
If you’re looking for something with more historical elements, but still has an element of mystery, then you might like The Name of the Rose.
Set in 1327, the story follows Benedictines living in a wealthy Italian abbey who are suspected of heresy.
Brother William of Baskerville has been sent there to investigate the rumors.
But when seven deaths overshadow the mission, he is forced to investigate a new mystery.
Using his knowledge of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, and the philosophy of Roger Bacon, he collects evidence and deciphers symbols, and decodes manuscripts to find the culprit.
While I enjoyed the storyline of Name of the Rose, it can be quite difficult to read if you’re not a fan of philosophical novels.
There were lots of extended scenes and dialogues that really get the reader thinking, which I personally loved, but it’s not for everyone’s taste.
The Name of the Rose was also made into a movie adaptable in 1896 starring Sean Connery.
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6. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (Marcus Goldman Series) – Joel Dicker
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is an exciting novel with many twists and turns and a beautifully poetic writing style that’s similar to Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s.
Marcus Goldman is a twenty-eight-year-old writer whose debut novel has sold two million copies. However, when it comes time to produce a new book, he finds himself struggling with writer’s block.
He traveled to Somerset, New Hampshire, to visit his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of the country’s most respected writers. He hoped that meeting his old friend would help him recapture the inspiration he lost a few months ago.
Marcus’s plans are disrupted when Harry is sensationally implicated in a cold murder case. Nola Kellergan went missing in 1975, and Harry was found to be having an affair with her.
The investigation into the death of Nola reveals a mystery that leaves one asking more questions as the plot unravels.
The plot of this book is very clever and had me guessing throughout. I enjoyed the pacing, it was poetic but it didn’t drag and was easy to read.
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7. The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follet
The Pillars of the Earth is a historical epic that’s mesmerizing and beautifully written, with a similar writing style to Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s Shadow of the Wind.
The story follows Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, who was a devout monk who became determined to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world had known.
Tom, the mason who became his architect, was a man divided between his soul; he loved his work but also feared God.
Then there’s the beautiful and elusive Lady Aliena who was haunted by a secret shame.
And a struggle between good and evil began to take shape as a church against state and brother against brother.
The book will leave a lasting impression on readers, and the skills the characters acquire throughout their journey, continue long after the pages have been turned.
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8. Cathedrale of the Sea – Ildefonso Falcones
If you’re looking for books similar to Shadow of the Wind that are set in Barcelona, then Cathedral of the Sea is definitely worthy of your reading list.
It tells of the fascinating life in fourteenth-century Barcelona, in a captivating story about friendship, revenge, plague, hope, love, and war.
Arnau Estanyol arrives in Barcelona to find that the city is booming with the construction of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar and with fear of the Inquisition.
Arnau, a young man skilled in stonework, joins the powerful guild of stoneworkers and helps build the church with his own hands while his best friend and adopted brother Joanet studies to become a priest.
Arnau falls secretly in love with a forbidden woman, but he’s betrayed and sent to the Inquisitor.
Now the question remains, will he lose his life just as his beloved Cathedral of the Sea is finally completed? Or can he rely on his brother for help…
The writing style is captivating and alluring, making it difficult to put the book down. The author’s use of imagery and symbolism adds depth and meaning to the story, elevating it beyond a typical coming-of-age tale.
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9. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – Patrick Süskind
Another historical fiction book like Shadow of the Wind that I found spellbinding was Perfume: The story of a Murderer.
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was born with an extraordinary sense of smell, which allowed him to survive in the slums of eighteenth century France.
As a child, he was fascinated by the smells of Paris and apprenticed himself to a prominent perfumer who taught him the ancient art of mixing essential oils and herbs.
Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not content with simply capturing the smells of perfumes. He becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of specific objects, such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood.
One day, he catches a whiff of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume.” The scent is of a beautiful young woman.
Perfume is a story about a murder and sensual depravity. It is an enchanting tale of intrigue and passion, full of dark secrets and unending tragedy.
This novel has been translated from German to English, though the writing style is still poetic and beautiful.
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10. The Time In Between – Maria Duenas
The Time In Between is an inspiring novel about a seemingly ordinary woman who transforms herself first into a prestigious couturier and undercover agent for the Allies during World War II.
Sira Quiroga becomes an apprentice seamstress at the atelier where her mother works at the young age of 14. She learns the ropes of the business, and by her twenties has moved up to become a government clerk.
When she meets an attractive salesman and her estranged father, her life changes dramatically…
During the Spanish Civil War era in Madrid, Sira must leave her mother and fiancé and move to Morocco with her new lover. But here she finds herself abandoned, penniless, and heartbroken.
But the political situation back home means she needs to reinvent herself in order to survive.
When the second world war kicks off between England and Germany, Sira must return to Madrid taking on a new identity to become a couturier for a clientele of Nazi officers’ wives.
Sira is thrown into a world of espionage, political conspiracy, love, intrigue, and betrayal.
The book’s poetic prose transports readers to a different time and place, evoking a distinct sense of atmosphere and mood.
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11. Tell Me Who I Am – Julia Navarro
This novel by one of Spain’s most internationally acclaimed authors, Julia Navarro, is captivating and suspenseful, with a new direction that shows off Navarro’s impressive writing skills.
The story follows a journalist who is researching the life of his great-grandmother, Amelia Garayoa.
All information about her is unknown, but it’s believed she fled Madrid shortly before the Spanish Civil War began.
To save her from oblivion, he will have to put together all the pieces of the extraordinary puzzle of her life, one by one.
This will take him to Paris, London, Cairo, Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow and Athens.
The story is full of tension and drama, representing an exciting new phase in Julia Navarro’s career. Despite being non-fiction, it reads like fiction and is impossible to put down.
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12. Patria (Homeland) – Fernando Aramburu
Fernando Aramburu’s internationally acclaimed novel, Homeland, or Patria in Spanish, evokes themes of the unresolved history of violence, bringing the story of Basque terrorism to light.
You may have seen the TV series starring Damien Lewis, but if you thought that was exciting, then the book is going to captivate you!
It tells the story of how lifetime friends can become bitter enemies when one family’s father is killed by militants, one of whom is the son of the other family.
Homeland is a brilliant piece of literature that unravels the moral dilemmas faced by the families of murder victims.
The themes of love, loss, and self-discovery resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds.
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13. Blindness – Jose Saramago
If you’re looking for something with more thriller undertones than Shadow of the Wind, then you might be hooked on the plot of Blindness by Jose Saramago.
A city is hit by a sudden epidemic that causes “white blindness” and no one is spared.
Authorities quarantine the blind in an empty mental hospital, but soon crime starts to become rife, with captives stealing food rations and raping women.
There is one captive in the hospital who can see everything that’s going on. Someone who was not caused blindness by the epidemic. The eyewitness guides seven strangers to salvation.
Among them are an orphaned boy, a girl, and a dog. As the surroundings become more harrowing, the streets become more unsafe.
This is a fascinating and gripping novel about loss and disorientation.
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14. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
In The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera tells the story of two couples who are struggling with different issues. It has similar coming-of-age themes as Shadow of the Wind and a similar(ish) love story.
One couple features a young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his womanizing. The other couple is a man and one of his mistresses who is faithful to her.
In a world in which everything that happens is predetermined, where one’s life is shaped by choices and chance, it can feel as if existence has no substance or weight.
This is a story of passion, politics, infidelity, and ideas, illuminating all aspects of human nature.
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15. The Silence of The White City – Eva Garcia Saenz of Urturi
If you want something that has the same amount of mystery as Shadow of the Wind but more suspense, then The Silence of the White City will be a great addition to your bookcase.
Vitoria is threatened by a man who’s killing citizens in brutal ways and then staging the bodies.
The only hope for the city is a brilliant detective, Inspector Unai López de Ayala, known as “Kraken,” who has been tasked with investigating the murders.
The killings are eerily similar to ones twenty years earlier. But police were sure they had discovered the killer two decades ago.
Now Kraken must not only find the killer but crack the case of a man who many have been wrongfully incarcerated twenty years ago.
This novel is fast-paced, and utterly gripping throughout. A thriller novel with themes of mythology and legends, with a shocking twist…
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Final Word on Books Like Shadow of the Wind
So there you have it, those are my favorite books similar to Shadow of the Wind, and as you can see, there are a lot of diverse options on this list.
Whether you’re looking for something heartwarming or heartbreaking, poetic or packed with suspense, I’m sure you’ll find something for everyone on this list.
Do you think I’ve missed anything? Let me know in the comments.