Recommendation Breakdown: Hausfrau


We all love books for different reasons, so I always try to feel out why someone loved a book when I give a recommendation. If you loved Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Hausfrau (or parts of it!), here are four more titles based on some of the book’s unique traits.

Life Outside the Marriage: Little Children

Far from Hausfrau‘s European locale, Tom Perrotta’s Little Children brings the familiar story of adultery to the American suburbs. Though Perrotta’s novel uses a wider lens, the novels expose similar emotions and the buried feelings of all involved.

Beautifully Steamy: All that Is

If you loved the steaminess of the sex scenes and the gorgeous writing in Hausfrau, you need to run to the nearest James Salter book. While I’m partial to his last novel, All That Is, many will recommend his early classic A Sport and a Pastime. Either way, the man had a brilliant way with words, especially the sexy ones.

Forever “Unlikable”: The Woman Upstairs

When it was published, Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs was quick to get readers talking about the “unlikable” female protagonist. Much like Hausfrau‘s Anna, not all of Nora choices are great, but she makes them with a fire that’s nearly impossible to ignore.

Real Therapy: Come as You Are

Though the passages that made up Anna’s sessions with her Jungian therapist were some of Hausfrau‘s best, it was clear she didn’t always get the advice she needed. While I’m sure there were many layers to her troubles, I’ve wondered how much Anna could have been helped by reading Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski. The book explores both the medical research and brain science behind women’s sexuality, with the aim of making it fulfilling.


  • I love the way you have broken down the different aspects of the novel. Great suggestions for each.

  • Well, I loved The Woman Upstairs so I think Hausfrau might be for me! I have Little Children in the 746 so I must check it out soon.

  • This is such a fantastic feature – keep them coming! I need to read some James Salter…I’ve been thinking about it ever since he passed away this summer. Though I wasn’t a fan of Hausfrau overall, a lot of the themes Essbaum covered did appeal to me and I agree that her therapy passages were where her writing really shined. Most of my highlighting was those passages!

    • The first Salter I read was All That Is when it came out a few years ago, and I’ve adored his writing since. Definitely recommended!

  • Loving this way of doing read-alikes. All That Is and Come As You Are are now going on my reading list.

  • What a good idea for recommending books. Keep them coming! :)

  • This is so great! I really loved Hausfrau. I loved how angry Nora was in The Woman Upstairs but ultimately I found that the big reveal was left too late and we never got to see what the fallout really was once Nora knew about it.

  • This is FANTASTIC, Shannon! You may remember how much I loved Hausfrau; I’ve never read any of Salter’s work, but this may be just the push I need. Thanks so much for the recommendations; hope you have a great weekend!

  • This is a fantastic way to recommend a book, nicely done!

  • Jennine G.

    Nice. I always wonder if it is as hard to write an unlike able character as it is a like able one. Probably…they’re both about make the character realistic – believable.

  • Ooooh! I have three of these on my TBR already! Great recs!

  • Thanks for this! I loved Hausfrau.

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