5 Franklin Books That Belong on Your Reading List

If you have ever taken a relaxing stroll down Main Street, which runs through the heart of Franklin, Tennessee, you likely found yourself drawn inside Landmark Booksellers.

The independent bookshop that has become a staple in downtown Franklin offers a step inside a building full of history itself as one of the oldest in town. Add in the rows of incredible books ranging from the rarest signed edition to new releases; it is easy to see why people often lose track of time and spend an entire afternoon there.

If you are lucky to have had this experience, you’ve also likely been greeted at the door by the owners, Joel and Carol Tomlin. A quick conversation reveals how much they love literature, authors, and really just all things books!

With a passion for great Southern authors, they naturally have a tremendous love for local authors and stories. One of the great experiences is telling them what previous books you’ve enjoyed and just watching the suggestions flow from them of similar things you should read next.

As we all find ourselves with a little more time for reading these days, we asked Joel and Carol about some of their favorite books set in and about Franklin that we should add to our reading list.

Orphan Mother by Robert Hicks

Robert Hicks is a Franklin local who captivated millions with his bestseller Widow of the South, which takes place at Carnton, and the follow-up to that novel is Orphan Mother. According to Joel and Carol, this story is brimming with the vivid prose and historical research that has won Hicks recognition for years now.

From Joel & Carol: “Orphan Mother is centered on Carrie McGavock’s slave, Mariah Reddick. In the years following the Civil War, Mariah Reddick, former slave to Carrie McGavock–the “Widow of the South”–has quietly built a new life for herself as a midwife to the women of Franklin, Tennessee.

But when her ambitious, politically minded grown son, Theopolis, is murdered, Mariah–no stranger to loss–finds her world once more breaking apart.”

Finding Franklin by Katie Shands

Local author Katie Shands didn’t go far for inspiration in this one. Finding Franklin takes place right here in downtown Franklin, so you can imagine much of the story taking place in the same areas you strolled past on your last visit to Main Street.

From Joel & Carol: “A book that takes place right here in downtown Franklin. “It’s about finding a family, love, and faith. All while surrounded by a mystery with a big twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. Well written and believable, if you enjoy love stories, books that make you feel good and end well, this is a book for you.”

Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison

J.T. Ellison is a New York Times bestselling mystery writer and native of nearby Nashville. She spent time as a presidential appointee in Washington, D.C., which taught her an incredible amount about travel and intrigue, which then found its way to the pages of her novels.

From Joel & Carol: “Lie to Me is set in Franklin, where the characters are often going in and out of Franklin haunts. If you liked the bestselling book and movie Gone Girl, you will enjoy Ellison’s take on marriage and the lies people tell to those close to them.”

Ghosts of Franklin: Tennessee’s Most Haunted Town by Margie Thessin

One of the most popular books about Franklin is Ghosts of Franklin! Written by Margie Thessin, owner of Franklin on Foot, she tells some fascinating tales you would hear on her famed ghost tours, plus a few that involve the sites in downtown Franklin you know best.

From Joel & Carol: “Historic downtown Franklin has many buildings still standing that have ghostly stories related to them, including Landmark Booksellers, served as hospitals after the Battle of Franklin. A fun, interesting book!”

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

Franklin resident and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury fell in love with the local bookstore when she moved to Franklin. So much so that it inspired her No.1 bestseller, The Bridge. The fictional novel features our own beloved Joel and Carol as inspiration for the main characters!

After you read the book, you can also find the story on the screen as Hallmark turned the book into a movie of the same name!

From Joel & Carol: “Karen Kingsbury has written a modern-day classic with this unforgettable love story set against the struggle of the American bookstore.”

And, of course, Landmark Booksellers would be happy to get you a copy of any of these great books as well! Simply stop by the bookshop the next time you are in Franklin, or shop online and have a bit of Franklin delivered to your doorstep.

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Matt is the guy who is always ready to share a story with you.

With a passion for new experiences, taking the back roads, and seeing everything possible, Matt serves as Visit Franklin's Senior Director of Public Relations connecting the many unique stories in the Franklin community with great journalists and storytellers worldwide. When not pitching a story idea to travel writers, you’ll likely find him working as a photographer on the sidelines of college and professional sports events across the Southeast.