15 Books Like A Man Called Ove: Second Chance Novels to Love

Books like A Man Called Ove

I read A Man Called Ove years ago and since then, it has become the second chance story to which all other books are measured. What can make you feel better than a book about someone finding themselves and finding happiness? I am always recommending books like A Man Called Ove.

He is crotchety, miserable, and somehow completely loveable. These books like A Man Called Ove will make you smile and laugh… and might just restore your faith in humanity. We’ve also included a few Fredrik Backman books for you to enjoy.

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A man called ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Mr. Backman has a beautiful way of capturing the reader’s interest with wonderful characters that find themselves in hilarious situations.

I laughed out loud many times while reading. The book A Man Called Ove does indeed start with Ove trying to take his life and continuously being interrupted by his new neighbors and he mourns the loss of his spouse.

But, this story is so much more than that. As it progresses, Ove is able to have a profound impact on the life of everyone he meets, and at its heart, it is a book about friendship.

If you love this contemporary fiction book about grief, check out Books Like A Man Called Ove. But don’t let the description throw you off. At its heart, this is one of the best feel-good books and one of my all-time favorite books! If you have not read it, it is definitely one of the best book club books.

Is A Man Called Ove Translated?

Yes. Fredrik Backman is from Sweden. The original name of the book is “En Man Som Heter Ove”. All Fredrik Backman books that are in English have been translated.

What Should I Read After A Man Called Ove?

We recommend reading any of the novels on this list of books like A Man Called Ove. Our top three books like A Man Called Ove are:
1. All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle
2. The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Is a Man Called Otto Based on a Book?

Yes! The new movie starring Tom Hanks, A Man Called Otto, is based on the book A Man Called Ove.

Books With Characters Like A Man Called Ove

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain

This charming story is about a 65-year-old British postman being forced to retire. As he takes stock of his life, he realizes he is lonely and he doesn’t want to be in the closet anymore.

As she sets about changing his life for the better, we are privy to flashbacks of his strict childhood. You’ll be rooting for Albert the same way you rooted for Ove. It’s on our list of the best books of 2022. We love all these books but this is one of my favorites from this list of books like A Man Called Ove.

sylvias second act

Sylvia’s Second Act by Hillary Yablon

If you are looking for an absolutely hysterical novel, this is for you! After walking into the Florida retirement home she hates and seeing her husband in a compromising position with their neighbor, Sylvia decides it’s time to start her life over in New York City.

Armed only with the money she has from pawning her watch, she gets herself a geriatric roommate and relaunches her career as a wedding planner. The scenarios she gets herself into are filled with heart, humor, and wisdom to create a novel unlike any other.

Why I Loved it: I’ve never met a character quite like Sylvia. She’s vivacious and fun in a way that most 66-year-olds are not depicted in literature. I was rooting for her success during the entire book. I’m hoping that scene in the epilogue means a sequel is in the works.

Find this book in Best Fiction Books of 2024 / Books like A Man Called Ove

the curious charms of arthur pepper

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

If you liked A Man Called Ove, you will love this book.  A recent widower finds a bracelet that belonged to his wife that he does not recognize.

 As he follows the clues of the charms, he learns about his wife and himself.  This is a sweet and charming book that was a pleasure to read. Arthur Pepper is definitely one of the most loveable characters in this list of books like A Man Called Ove.

All the Lonely People and other June 2021 Novel Ideas

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

This contemporary fiction book was my surprise star of the summer so far. I had not heard of the book and thought it sounded great. I loved every minute of it.

Hubert Bird is a widower who has weekly conversations with his daughter in Australia. He tells her amazing stories about how he spends his time. The problem? It is all made up.

With his daughter coming to visit, Hubert must find friends and a life to show his daughter.

Hubert gets a second chance at love and friendship but the book dives deeper into Hubert’s past as well. The depth and sincerity in this book are wonderful and I cannot say enough good things about this feel-good book from our list of books like A Man Called Ove.

the red address book

The Red Address Book by Sophia Lundberg

I loved this book.  It is such a beautiful story of one woman’s life and the people that she loved and met along the way. Doris is 96 years old.  She received a red address book from her father when she was 10 years old and has been keeping track of everyone important in her life since. 

One by one, she crosses them out of her book as they leave her.  But, her story isn’t finished yet.  This reminds me of “A Man Called Ove” or “The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper”.  It is a wonderful, heartfelt read.

Books About Friendship like A Man Called Ove

the unlikely Pilgrimage

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Harold Fry is an unhappy retiree who lives with his wife who is as unhappy as he is. She is irritated by everything he does. When he receives a letter from Queenie Hennessey to let him know that she is dying of cancer, he embarks on a journey to walk 600 miles to hand-deliver the letter to his dying friend. He has not seen her in over 20 years and he suddenly knows that writing a letter will never be enough.

This novel is full of fun and humor but is also poignant and powerful. It is easy to see why this was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Vera Wongs Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Vera Wong lives above her tea shop in Chinatown in San Francisco. When she finds a dead body in the shop, she calls the police immediately but also cleans up a bit, uses a Sharpie to trace the body, and takes the flash drive out of the man’s dead hand.

She is sure that she can do a better job of finding the murderer than the police. She comes up with a plan to find the killer and finds four suspects who she grows to care for.

Why I Love it: I loved this mystery book and have recommended this cozy book too many times to count. It is simultaneously funny and heartwarming!

Find this book in Ultimate List of Beach Reads 2023 / Books Like a Man Called Ove / Fiction Books About Tea

Remarkably Bright Creatures and more family drama books

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

May 2022 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick

I haven’t read a novel with as much heart as this one in quite some time.

Elderly, recently widowed Tova loves her job cleaning the aquarium in town in the quiet of the night, especially because of her fondness for Marcellus, the octopus. She finds solace in the aquarium as it makes her feel closer to her son, Erik – a marine life lover – who disappeared on a boat when he was 18.

But when she hurts herself and is unable to return to work at full capacity, she grows close with her replacement, Cameron, a young man who newly arrived in town looking for his birth mother.

Meanwhile, Marcellus knows what really happened to Erik and he wants to help Tova find the closure she needs. His narration is interspersed with Tova and Cameron’s for a story that is compelling, heartwarming, and utterly unique.

I will be shoving this book into the hands of everyone who asks for a book recommendation, even if they are not looking for books like A Man Called Ove. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s my favorite book of the year so far. And if you are looking for more books like this, check out the Ultimate List of Feel-Good Books to Brighten your Day.

the lido

The Lido / Mornings With Rosemary by Libby Paige 

This intergenerational story of friendship, love, and overcoming personal obstacles, touched my heart. Kate is a reporter whose dreams of becoming a star reporter have dissolved into writing fluff pieces for a small, local newspaper.

She is almost paralyzed by her own fears and loneliness. When she is assigned to write a piece about a local lido closing, she meets Rosemary Peterson. Rosemary is 86 years old and has been swimming at the lido her entire life. The unlikely friendship between these two women is heartwarming and you won’t want to put it down.

Why I Love It: When I picked up this contemporary fiction book, it immediately reminded me of A Man Called Ove. The relationship between Kate and Rosemary is wonderful and the book will leave you feeling light-hearted

Find This Book In: Books Like A Man Called Ove / Contemporary Fiction Books / Poolside Books

Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey and more than 60 more of the best feel good books

Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

This is such a wonderful story about Missy Carmichael. She has lived her life in a constant state of worry and regret. Now that she is alone with her thoughts, she has the time to wonder if she would have done things differently.

Missy is estranged from her daughter, her son lives in Australia, and the love of her life is gone. She spends her days drinking and cleaning, overcome by her loneliness, secrets, and regrets. Missy is the character who most reminds me of Ove in this list of books like A Man Called Ove.

With the help of a wonderful dog and some beautiful friendships, Missy begins to learn the power of forgiving. This novel was an easy pick for feel-good books about friendship.

For more books like these, check out our list of Feel-Good Books

The Switch

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

I thought I was reading a light-hearted romance about a young woman and her grandmother switching places to reset their lives (and find love.) Instead, I found a story that was more about dealing with grief and finding your own happiness.

Yes, there was a little romance, but this book was about so much more. It was a wonderfully heartwarming tale.

Redemption Stories Like A Man Called Ove

the authenticity project

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

Clare Pooley did an amazing job of taking numerous characters with almost nothing in common and pulling them together in the most unexpected ways. Each character grows and changes and finds their second chance.

Julian Jessop is a lonely artist in his late 70s who is sick of people lying to each other. He writes his story in a notebook that he calls the authenticity project and leaves it in his local cafe. The cafe owner finds it, writes down her story and… you get the idea. This is a completely original book that I loved and is a perfect pick for a list of books like A Man Called Ove.

Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This lovely story about a bookstore and its owner will capture your heart. A.J. Fikry is like a bookstore version of Ove in all the right ways except A.J. is only in his thirties.

The recent death of his wife, bad book sales, and the recent robbery of a rare book is wreaking havoc on his life. But this tale of redemption and unexpected chances has a serious soul. If you have not read this pick from our list of books like A Man Called Ove, you need to add it to your stack. And be sure to check out more Books about Bookstores.

Eleanor Oliphant

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this contemporary fiction book initially.  Eleanor bugged me in a way that I could not identify.  She is not supposed to be likable initially which is why I persevered and I ended up loving the book and Eleanor. 

As we get to know Eleanor and understand her profound loneliness, it made me think about what initial judgments I make in other areas. Eleanor is able to find herself and understand herself in this wonderful, feel-good book. If you are looking for books similar to lessons in chemistry, this book is a 5-star pick.

Eleanor has difficulty with social skills and is used to being alone until one day, she saves an elderly man who has fallen with the help of Raymond from her work. The three develop a friendship that is able to help heal Eleanor.

Find This Book In: Books Like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine / Books Like A Man Called Ove/ Books about Scotland.

the seven husbands of evelyn hugo 1

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A tell-all about a fictional Elizabeth Taylor-esque celebrity’s rise to Hollywood stardom, her seven husbands, and the true love of her life.

Evelyn Hugo has asked an unknown reporter, Monique Grant, to write her life story in a no-holds-barred book. There is a bit of mystery around why Monique was chosen and Evelyn certainly has her fair share of hardships as she claws her way to the top.

The drama and suffering add dimension to the story that makes it so much more than fluff, though the inner workings of Hollywood were fun to read too. The story seems so candid that I forgot that Evelyn Hugo was not a real celebrity. 

Why I Love It: Taylor Jenkins Reid slays with this story finding the perfect balance of glamour and grit. Evelyn seeks to change her life and in doing so, changes for the better. Every person who has read this book at my recommendation has loved it/

Find This Book In: Best Romance Novels of All Time / Books Like A Man Called Ove / Best Book for Book Clubs / Best Books to Read on Beach

Fredrik Backman Books like A Man Called Ove by

Anxious People  and more of the best books of 2020

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is a master storyteller and he does it again with this book. ⁣He somehow manages to tackle difficult subjects without trivializing them but still allowing them to be humorous.

This book is a story of a bank robbery gone very wrong and the idiots in the story (his word, not mine) who are taken hostage after the failed robbery. While the police are interviewing each of the hostages to find the robbers, they become more confused after each interview. ⁣It is also a story about compassion, human relationships, and the daily struggles that we all have. ⁣

Why I Love It: I love how Fredrik Backman’s books show the good in people despite the flaws that make them human. Backman writes so many different kinds of books but they all have so much heart. Backman weaves themes of love, friendship, and compassion throughout all his books.

Find This Book in Books Like A Man Called Ove / New Year’s Eve Books / Best Beach Reads / Locked Room Mysteries


Beartown by Frederik Backman

This is a heavy story that also has a lot of heart. It’s about a small-town hockey team and the fallout when the star player is accused of raping the GM’s daughter.

Frederik Backman is a master story weaver.  He doesn’t just tell a story but, he submerges his reader deep in the lives of his characters.  This town will follow me for a long time. It’s my favorite of all the Fredrik Backman books and is the first in a three-book series.

If you are looking for coming-of-age books set in high school that will completely blow your mind, this is the one.

my grandmother asked me to tell you

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

I read this book right after I read A Man Called Ove and this solidified my view of Backman as a gifted writer There is nobody that can weave together relationships into a story quite like Backman and it is for that reason, this book needed to be included in books like A Man Called Ove.

Elsa’s best friend is her grandmother and Elsa has grown up listening to stories about the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas. When Elsa’s Grandmother dies, she leaves Elsa with a stack of apology letters to people that she has wronged and asks Elsa to deliver them. This is a story unlike any that I have read.

Are there more books like A Man Called Ove that you love?

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