There’s something just so compelling about books set in England! Is it the allure of London, or the inevitable fancy manors and castles, or the idyllic English countryside? Maybe that enigmatic British accent somehow suffuses the pages? Who knows… but I love it!
When I can’t travel somewhere physically (at least as often as I want to), I find that books can fulfill some of that wanderlust longing. Well-crafted stories can give you a sense of the people and let you experience a small taste of what other countries and cultures have to offer. In my booklists, I highlight books from a certain region or country that really helped me feel transported and immersed in their settings.
These books set in England are all fantastic – well written, engaging plots, unique storylines, and books I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
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11 Books Set in England I Would Highly Recommend:
1. The Jane Austen Society, by Natalie Jenner
I thought this book did a great job of being really sweet without being cheesy at all. The setting is Chawton, England, the village where Jane Austen spent the final years of her life.
In the aftermath of World War II, the lives of different individuals in the village become woven together as they work to preserve Jane Austen’s legacy and final home. The story has grief and loss, friendship and romance, and its just overall super heartwarming!
2. The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Of all the books set in England on this list, this might be my favorite of these England novels! (It IS the only book on this list I’ve read twice soooo….). This is essentially a loose adaptation of Will and Kate’s love story. The British crown prince, Nick, and Bex, the down-to-earth American, meet at Oxford, become friends, start dating, and fall in love.
Of course, since he’s the crown prince, the relationship comes with intense scrutiny, tabloids, gossip, and a whole lot of pressure. The whole story somehow felt so magical. I loved it!
3. The Heir Affair, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
The sequel to the Royal We! I didn’t like it quite as much as the first, but if you read the Royal We, of course you have to read the Heir Affair.
4. The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton
This novel flashes between present day Laurel, successful and living in London, Laurel growing up in the English countryside 50 years earlier, and her mother, Dorothy’s story in WW2 London, and how the lives and stories of Dorothy and her friends intertwined.
It’s not quite a mystery and it’s not quite a WW2 book, but the twists and turns had me on my toes! This book was so engaging and I flew through it! Highly recommend.
5. The Flatshare, by Beth O’Leary
Tiffy is broke and needs a cheap place to stay in London, so she rents a flat from Leon, who works nights and wants some extra cash. The deal: Tiffy gets the flats at night, Leon gets the flat in the daytime. What could go wrong?
The highlight of this book FOR SURE was the back and forth banter between the characters – it was just so clever and fun.
6. The Gown, by Jennifer Robson
This book is squarely historical fiction, and centers around two women who work as embroiderers at the Mayfair fashion house in London, the very fashion house chosen to create the wedding gown of Princess (soon to be queen) Elizabeth.
Miriam and Ann, the two embroiderers with complicated backgrounds, form a friendship as they work on the embroidery for the opulent wedding gown. The story revolves as much around their lives and drama as it does around the creation of the royal wedding gown.
I thought this book was fascinating!
7. Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan
Joy Davidson, an American writer, writes to C.S. Lewis, or “Jack,” about questions of faith. He writes back, and they begin a deep, yet platonic friendship through their letters, often centered around questions of spirituality and faith. After many years, Joy moves to England to be with Jack.
Their love story is slow and building, and is centered around a lot around books and literature. The book itself was a slow burn, but I personally never found it to be boring.
On the contrary, I loved this peek into the lives of a strong, independent woman, and one of the most famous authors of all time.
8. The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
At my library, this book is shelved under “juvenile fiction,” and while it is a great book for kids, I completely enjoyed reading it as an adult, as well.
Ten-year-old Ada lives in London at the beginning of World War 2 with her mother and younger brother. Her mother is ashamed of Ada’s club foot, so Ada is neglected and abused – she is never allowed to go outside, for example. When her younger brother is shipped out of London to live in the countryside, Ada sneaks out and joins him.
In the countryside, she experiences a whole new life and new experiences. The two siblings are taken in by an older woman, learn to read, and care for horses. Watching Ada gain confidence, battle the trauma of her childhood, and develop her personality was really sweet and rewarding.
9. The War I Finally Won, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The sequel to “The War That Saved My Life,” this continues Ada’s story. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll say that in this book Ada navigates new friendships and the increasing difficulties of World War 2, and was very good.
10. The Lost Queen, by Signe Pike
Languoreth, and to some extent, her twin brother Lailoken, the man who some think inspired the legend of Merlin, are the main characters in this middle ages story set in Scotland (so, not an exactly an English novel, but… I’m still including it).
Languoreth navigates the replacement of their ancient religion with Christianity, the political intrigue, and the threat of violence and war. While at times the book moved a bit slowly,
I really loved reading about this strong woman and how she worked to be a leader and fight for her people and heritage. Plus, the descriptions really made me feel like I was transported to the Scottish countryside!
11. The Forgotten Kingdom, by Signe Pike
This is the sequel to The Lost Queen. Again, I don’t want to say much and spoil the book, but I will say that the stakes are higher than ever in this book and Langoureth really has to come into her own. It’s a fun read!
Final Thoughts on My Favorite Books Set in England
While these are all books about England, there is a variety of genres and topics on this list – so there’s something for everyone. I loved these books in England and I hope you do too!