33 Sweeping Multigenerational Family Dramas

Posted by Cybil on April 6, 2021


Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of triumph, turmoil, heartache, and homecomings.

We've rounded up some reader favorites, both new and classic, that span decades, characters, and—in many cases—continents. From classics including The GodfatherThe House of the Spirits, and Roots to newer beloved novels like Pachinko and Homegoing, you're guaranteed to find a read here that will make you feel right at home. 

Scroll over the book covers to learn more about each novel, and be sure to add the books that pique your interest to your Want to Read shelf!

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Do you have a great family saga novel to recommend? Share it with your fellow readers in the comments below! 

Check out more recent articles:
Goodreads Members' Most Anticipated Books of April
The Most Anticipated Spring Books
Meet the Authors of Spring's Biggest Mysteries

Comments Showing 1-50 of 57 (57 new)


message 1: by Hazel Bee (new)

Hazel Bee Apparently I have a thing for multigenerational family drama. Most of these are either on my TBR or I have read. Who knew!


message 2: by Kristina (new)

Kristina Me too!


message 3: by Ellie (new)

Ellie The one that I was surprised to not see on this list is East of Eden!


message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol Two of my favorites are The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett and The Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer.


message 5: by Lori (new)

Lori Stewart My favorite family saga is The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher. I read it many years ago, but it has always stayed with me.


message 6: by Judy Rinehimer (new)

Judy Rinehimer Let me add Nick Russell's new TINDER STREET, a family saga series set in Toledo, Ohio. Three books read and more on the way.


message 7: by Gail (new)

Gail Lori wrote: "My favorite family saga is The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher. I read it many years ago, but it has always stayed with me."

The Shell Seekers is one of my favourite books! Riveting.


message 8: by Jean (new)

Jean I'll add Centennial by Michener, a favorite generational saga of mine about the settling of the west.


message 9: by Tacy (new)

Tacy Muzzy What about that classic The Thorn Birds?!


message 10: by Melody (new)

Melody Roche The Practice House and The Moonflower Vine! Both excellent!


message 11: by Carole (new)

Carole Thompson I loved The Thorn Birds, and The Shell Seekers. The best on the list is Cutting for Stone. It's such a well written and moving novel. The Grapes of Wrath could also be on the list.


message 12: by Heather (new)

Heather I would also suggest Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It's been years now since I read it, but what an epic story! And Les Miserables by Victor Hugo ... so good! (Though, that's not really multi-generational.)


message 13: by Becky (new)

Becky Kaye Ellie wrote: "The one that I was surprised to not see on this list is East of Eden!"

I've been listening to that on Audible. It is magnificent! I had only read Mice and Men many years ago. He is a master writer.


message 14: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Dargain Jean wrote: "I'll add Centennial by Michener, a favorite generational saga of mine about the settling of the west."

Anything Michener will get my attention . I read POLAND .


message 15: by Vasha7 (new)

Vasha7 I really liked The River Ki by Sawako Ariyoshi. It starts in the late 19th century and follows the long life of Hana, and contrasts her values with those of her daughter and granddaughter.


message 16: by Claire (new)

Claire Hennighan I've just read 'Fragile Monsters', by Catherine Menon which is out today. It's a multi-generation story set from WW2 to contemporary Malaysia.


message 17: by Tanger (new)

Tanger Soto Hola, I missed "100 years of solitude" of Gabriel García Marquez


message 18: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Am currently reading How green was my valley by Richard Llewellyn. Certainly sweeping and has the 40's love of scenery and words.


message 19: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne Kristina wrote: "Me too!"

I agree!


message 20: by Senetra (new)

Senetra A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford!


message 21: by Dodi (new)

Dodi Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age by Jane Smiley. Three big books following the same midwestern family. Also, I don't know if they fit "sweeping, multi-generational" descriptors, but books like Pride and Prejudice and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings include 2-3 generations of family life. Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser (as well as books on the royals of the UK) show a different kind of multi-generational family. I like them all!


message 22: by Donna (new)

Donna Lundy The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons


message 23: by Roxie (new)

Roxie Blood Lori wrote: "My favorite family saga is The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher. I read it many years ago, but it has always stayed with me."

Yes, I agree. It should have made the list.


message 24: by Roxie (new)

Roxie Blood Tacy wrote: "What about that classic The Thorn Birds?!"

The Thorn Birds should have made the list too. An all time favorite.


message 25: by Jasmine (new)


message 26: by Audra (new)

Audra Sinclair Carol wrote: "Two of my favorites are The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett and The Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer."

I love the Ken Follett books!


message 27: by Audra (new)

Audra Sinclair I would add The Immigrant series by Howard Fast. Six books in the whole series and it was so good taking you through several families over 80+ years.


message 28: by Tara (last edited Apr 14, 2021 03:26AM) (new)


message 29: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Sawyer It can’t be “sweeping” at a mere 300 pages.


message 30: by TMR (new)

TMR Interesting collection.


message 31: by Piepie (new)

Piepie If you like The Thorn Birds, check out the Lazare Family Saga, by Elizabeth Bell. Book #1 is Necessary Sins, and there are 4 books total. Sweeping storylines, engaging plots, characters you get invested in.


message 32: by Goldngirl (new)

Goldngirl I enjoy reading family sagas.


message 33: by Chloe (new)

Chloe John Steinbeck's East of Eden should be on here as well! One of my favorite books of all time! :)


message 34: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Fort I finished reading Roots yesterday, and I've read The Thorn Birds, The Island of Sea Women, The Immortalists and now my to-read list has grown by another 13 titles from this list alone :-)


message 35: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Mauch No East of Eden on the list??? Tsk tsk


message 36: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Fernández I would add Junot Díaz' The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
It won a Pulitzer for a reason.
One of my faves, and you don't just get generational drama/history, but diversity, I had never read so much about a latin family before, and people need to know the story


message 37: by Gareth (new)

Gareth Johnstone Lullaby Beach by Stella Duffy, is an awesome novel about three generations of women who fight for and support themselves and each other. Bloody brilliant. My book of the year.
https://www.virago.co.uk/titles/stell...


message 38: by Raymond (new)

Raymond Christie MoDF One hundred years of solitude is missing

One Hundred Years of Solitude


message 39: by Gene (new)


message 40: by Aurora (new)

Aurora No Pearl Buck or Murasaki Shikibu? What of Leila Meacham? I could name a lot of wonderful family sagas that arent listed on here...


message 41: by Steph (last edited Apr 15, 2021 10:33AM) (new)

Steph One Hundred Years of Solitude ought to be on this list. It's a classic!


message 42: by Bailey (new)

Bailey Bohn Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (plus The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop)!!!


message 43: by Omar (new)

Omar Amat "Foxes of Harrow" by Frank Yerby, "
The Courtney Saga" by Wilbur Smith
and
"The Asian Saga" by James Clavell

coud be added to the list


message 44: by Eileen (new)

Eileen How about The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard? Fabulous 5 book series!


message 45: by Barbara (new)

Barbara https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBhPF...

"The ice Palace Waltz" a multi=generational Jewish American novel, hope you'll look at the short video and your interest will be piqued by the family story in the midst of tumultuous events. Thanks, Barbara


message 46: by Ricardo (new)

Ricardo García Márquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is the first book that crossed my mind when I came across this blog post's title. With dozens of translations and millions of copies in circulation, it was possibly the most compelling argument towards the author's 1982 Nobel prize. I was very surprised to see the book is absent from the listicle, therefore wish to mention it.


message 47: by Sun (new)

Sun Hashmi Why isn’t Pachinko by Min Jin Lee on this list?!


message 48: by Sun (new)

Sun Hashmi Sorry it’s on the list I was in a rage of fire and fury of love for the book. Sorry I can’t read lists but I did read Pachinko and it was one of the most engrossing books I’ve ever read.


message 49: by Steven (new)

Steven How about The Immigrants series by Howard Fast or North and South or The Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes?


message 50: by Ady (new)

Ady This is awesome! I did not realize how much I liked multigenerational family dramas! All of the ones that I have read are ones that I rated very highly, so I added all of the ones that I have not read to my TBR list.


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