All 35+ Nancy Thayer Books in Order [Ultimate Guide]

Most of the Nancy Thayer books in order take place in the picturesque setting of Nantucket. Her focus is on the day-to-day grind of life, especially focusing on women who hold everything together.

Thayer says her purpose in her writing is to explore the conflicts that take place within communities and families. However, all of her books contain a happy ending.

About Nancy Thayer

Nancy Thayer grew up in Kansas and attended the University of Missouri for her undergraduate and Master’s degree in English literature. While attending post-secondary, her academic requirements never included a book written by a woman.

Thayer says that she has wanted to be a writer since she was four years old, so rather than let this discourage her, she was inspired to write books for and about women. She also says that she has always wanted to write about normal life. Once she moved to Nantucket, she realized it was the perfect setting.

Before that move to Nantucket and the publication of her debut novel, Thayer’s life took its own traversing path. When she was 20, Thayer married her psychology professor who was 36 years old, with two children and two divorces.

They had two children of their own before they moved to Finland so her husband could teach on a Fulbright scholarship while Thayer put her own aspirations on hold. They divorced when Thayer was 32 and she proceeded to meet the love of her life in Nantucket, where she has stayed ever since.

For these reasons, Thayer is able to bring her lived experience to the subjects she writes about: Marriage, divorce, parenthood, stepchildren, and more. With each different subject matter, Thayer portrays characters enduring relatable struggles and creating their own hard-earned happily-ever-after.

That resonated with readers and has led to two movie adaptations. The first was Spirit Lost in 1996, and the second was the adaptation of Let It Snow as Nantucket Noel in 2019.

Nancy Thayer Books in Order

Standalone Books

Since the majority of the Nancy Thayer books in order are standalone novels, it is not necessary to read them in any particular order. However, if you like your reading to have a little bit more structure, you can choose to read her books in publication order. This will follow the natural evolution of Thayer as an author, from her semi-autobiographical debut to her more recent Nantucket novels.

  1. Stepping (1980)
  2. Three Women at the Water’s Edge (1981)
  3. Bodies and Souls (1983)
  4. Nell (1985)
  5. Morning (1987)
  6. Spirit Lost (1988)
  7. My Dearest Friend (1989)
  8. Everlasting (1991)
  9. Family Secrets (1993)
  10. Belonging (1995)
  11. An Act of Love (1997)
  12. Between Husbands and Friends (1999)
  13. Custody (2001)
  14. Moon Shell Beach (2008)
  15. Summer House (2009)
  16. Beachcombers (2010)
  17. Heat Wave (2011)
  18. Summer Breeze (2012)
  19. Island Girls (2013)
  20. A Nantucket Christmas (2013)
  21. Nantucket Sisters (2014)
  22. An Island Christmas (2014)
  23. The Guest Cottage (2015)
  24. The Island House (2016)
  25. Secrets in Summer (2017)
  26. A Nantucket Wedding (2018)
  27. Surfside Sisters (2019)
  28. Let It Snow (2019)
  29. Girls of Summer (2020)
  30. Family Reunion (2021)
  31. Summer Love (2022)
  32. All the Days of Summer (2023)
  33. The Summer We Started Over (Expected: April 23, 2024)

Hot Flash Club Books

Nancy Thayer has written one series, which is the Hot Flash Club series. These books are more humorous than her standalones and follow four women as they bond and discover themselves. The best way to enjoy this series is to read the books in order of publication.

That’s because even though the books introduce new women at certain points, the books do greatly build upon the previous. The first book and the plans introduced in that book form the backbone of the series.

  1. The Hot Flash Club (2003)
  2. The Hot Flash Club Strikes Again (2004)
  3. Hot Flash Holidays (2005)
  4. The Hot Flash Club Chills Out (2006)

A Summary of Nancy Thayer Books in Order

Most of Nancy Thayer’s books are standalone novels, which makes it very easy to navigate her bibliography. However, if you would like to understand a little bit more the subject matter in her books, below you will find the summaries for her first ten standalone novels.

Stepping Nancy Thayer Books in Order

1. Stepping

When Zelda Campbell was a college student she fell in love with her professor, and they married before she graduated. She loved him greatly, but their relationship came with his two daughters from a previous marriage. And so begins the dramatic roller-coaster ride of step-parenting, or stepping.

Zelda struggles in her new role and the young girls are constant reminders of Charlie’s past life. Furthermore, Zelda can’t ignore the demanding presence of Charlie’s ex-wife.

Fast-forward thirteen years, and Zelda and Charlie now have two children of their own. A Fulbright scholarship sends the family to Finland where Charlie lives out his academic dream while Zelda puts her own aspirations on hold once again.

Then an attractive man from her past enters the picture and offers Zelda the enticing prospect of an entirely different life. Now Zelda must evaluate her life and decide where her heart truly lies.

Three Women at the Waters Edge Book Cover

2. Three Women at the Water’s Edge

After thirty years of marriage in a small Iowa town, Margaret Wallace has divorced and moved to Vancouver. She was once the quintessential housewife and caregiver, but now she is relishing in the freedom to live according to her own wants and desires. However, her dramatic change is mystifying to her two daughters, who need her now more than ever.

Daisy is Margaret’s eldest daughter and is happy to be absorbed in the daily domestic tasks and maternal love that her two children, with another on the way, need. But when her husband demands a divorce, she is devastated and adrift, stunned to find herself a single parent.

Meanwhile, the younger sister, Dale, is living and teaching in coastal Maine after returning from Europe. She has suddenly and passionately fallen in love, but is terrified that her romance could end just as suddenly as her mother’s and sister’s have. All three women face dramatic changes as their own relationships with each other will be challenged and reborn as they navigate uncharted waters.

Bodies and Souls Nancy Thayer

3. Bodies and Souls

Reverend Peter Taylor has a unique view of his affluent congregants from his position behind the pulpit. They all appear respectable and morally upstanding, but they have their share of troubles, perhaps even more than their share of sins.

Liza Howard is a notorious Jezebel who now has her sights set on Judy Bennett’s son, despite his engagement. Meanwhile, Judy is hiding her own family secrets behind her relentless judgement of others.

Suzanna Blair, a widow, is questioning the life she’s always known with her new attraction for her female professor. Finally, Peter Taylor himself is struggling with faith and lust despite an eighteen-year marriage. As their turbulent lives and their scandalous stories intersect, one thing is for certain: Small town secrets never remain hidden for long.

Nell Book Cover

4. Nell

Nell St. John was once a glamorous young actress married to the influential director Marlow St. John. They were the toast of the town. But then Marlow’s star fades and tensions at home skyrocket.

Marlow takes up with another woman and abandons Nell, which leaves her to pay the bills and raise their two young children. So, when she is offered a position at a fancy clothing boutique on Nantucket, she uproots her family for the job.

Her college age ex-stepdaughter Clary, who has her own romantic troubles, moves in with her and the two of them fall in love with the island life and its gentler pace. Nell also captures the attention of a man in town. In that carefree, romantic summer of tender passion, she looks within and discovers much more than she ever dreamed possible.

Morning Nancy Thayer Books in Order

5. Morning

When Sara marries Steve Kendall, she leaves Boston behind and moves to his native Nantucket. She loves the gorgeous island, but her husband’s tight-knit group of friends leaves her feeling left out. As they try unsuccessfully to have a baby, Sara’s only solace comes from her work as a freelance editor.

Then she stumbles upon several provocative pages mixed in with one of her manuscripts and becomes determined to track down the reclusive author. Fanny Anderson has been writing romance novels for years as she hides away in her huge Cambridge house.

After Sara insists on meeting Fanny, the two begin a fruitful collaboration and a profound friendship. As their work progresses, however, a secret from Fanny’s past is revealed and it inspires Sara to try and make both of their dreams come true.

Spirit Lost Nancy Thayer

6. Spirit Lost

John and Wilhelmina Constable uproot their lives in Boston so that John can pursue his dreams of becoming an artist. They move into a beautiful Victorian home on Nantucket where John finds inspiration in the island light that illuminates his attic studio and Willy relaxes happily into the slower pace of life.

But as he is painting alone one stormy night, John is startled by the sight of a beautiful ghost. When he tells his wife what he saw, she tries to remain rational and understanding.

Except John steadily becomes more obsessed with the ghost who only reveals herself to John and seems to be claiming him as her own. Now Willy must draw on the strength of her love to save their marriage and maybe their lives.

My Dearest Friend Book Cover

7. My Dearest Friend

At the age of forty-six, Daphne Miller is a first-time homeowner, a divorced college administrator whose daughter has moved in with her father. On a dirt road in the green mountains of southern Vermont, Daphne has at last found a home of her own. It may be tiny, but the rustic cottage is hers and she is determined to make it perfect.

Meanwhile, Jack Hamilton and his young family move in down the lane. The newly appointed English professor Jack has long dreamed of teaching at his prestigious alma mater, but his wife Carey Ann is not happy in rural New England. As Daphne takes Carey Ann under her wing, Jack suppresses his growing attraction for Daphne and the two become friends.

But for Daphne, this increasingly complex friendship brings back the painful memories of a previous betrayal. Now at an unexpected crossroads, Daphne must let go of the woman she has become and reach out for the woman she longs to be.

Everlasting Nancy Thayer

8. Everlasting

Catherine Eliot was born to a world of privilege and prestige, with a family whose last name and vast fortune provide her with access to almost anything she could desire. But what she wants most is independence.

While her friends settle into comfortable lives financed by parents and husbands, Catherine moves to New York City and takes a demanding job in a flower shop. She works hard and learns the trade until she can open her own exclusive floral boutique on the Upper East Side: Blooms.

Catherine is at the height of her career jetting from New York City to England to Holland. But before she can bask in her success, her brother’s desperate actions endanger her business. Meanwhile, while romanced by a charming Boston lawyer who whisks her off to Paris, Catherine also finds herself drawn to a secretive foreigner who takes her breath away.

Family Secrets Nancy Thayer Books in Order

9. Family Secrets

Diane Randall’s jewelry business is a great success, but her marriage is not and she finds herself growing lonely as her children near adulthood. Meanwhile, her eighteen-year-old daughter Julia is falling in love and Diane’s mother, Jean, is relishing her newfound freedom as a single woman in Europe. All are distracted by their individual concerns, so no one is prepared for the FBI agent who shows up and starts asking prying questions.

At the beginning of the Second World War, Jean was a young woman in love who made a fateful mistake, which now might tear apart her family. Diane finds herself drawn into an illicit affair that threatens to erupt into scandal, while Julia’s own dramatic antics endanger her life.

Meanwhile, Jean is desperate to keep the painful memories she’s guarded for so long hidden. These three extraordinary women find that only by facing down secrets and lies will they be able to face the future.

Belonging Book Cover

10. Belonging

Joanna Jones is the host of the television show Fabulous Homes, so she travels the country showcasing the glamorous homes of the rich and famous. She pours everything she has into the demanding and rewarding work. But despite her great professional success and a passionate relationship, she still feels something is missing.

When an unexpected pregnancy forces her to re-evaluate her life, Joanna decides to leave behind frenetic Manhattan. She moves into an old sea captain’s house set above the Atlantic Ocean on Nantucket and builds a new life for her small family. But New York isn’t done with her yet.

Handsome television executive Jake Corcoran appears at her front door, eager for her affection and enticing her back to the city. She is torn between the past and the future. Joanna must decide what it is that truly makes a house into a home.

Final thoughts on Nancy Thayer books in order

The Nancy Thayer books in order tell the stories of women at crossroads in their life or who are going through great moments of change and upheaval. Thayer says she enjoys writing about normal life, so she has written about divorce, custody, struggles, and friendships. It is imperative for Thayer, however, that while her books reflect real life, they also have a happy ending.

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