8 Books to read set in London

Welcome back to my Saturday Book Lists Series!

Check out my full collection of book lists here. And leave a comment below of a list you’d like to see in future!

Today I am sharing a few of my favorite books set in London. And I’m embarrassed that it’s taken me this long to write such a list! London is my favorite city in the world. I went on study abroad there, and we spent our first anniversary there as well. I even get to take my grandma back to my favorite city later this year! And I have actually written the first draft of a novel set in London (wow, it’s really hard to share that info with the world!) So you could say, I’m a bit of an Anglophile.

This is a bit of an eclectic list for a beautifully eclectic city. And it should have existed long ago. I am thrilled to finally present it to y’all today. Enjoy!

Hawthorne House Series by Kristi Ann Hunter // I love love love this historical romance series from Kristi. Every book is fantastic. And the settings primarily in early 19th century London are just lovely. If you love Jane Austen, read these!
BONUS: A Defense of Honor also by Kristi Ann Hunter (and the first book in a new series!)

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens // I read this one a few years ago and loved it! Dickens is a master storyteller–especially of the darker side of Victorian London. This one takes place in the Marshalsea Debtors Prison and describes the difficult lives of the people there. Until one day, Mr Dorrit inherits a fortune and seeks to find his place among London’s elite. Also a lot of lovely descriptions of Italy.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens // Dickens deserves to be on this list many times over. But my Dickens reading is still a bit small. This one is a favorite of my husband. I imagine most of us know the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge. And the descriptions of London’s poor and needy are as famous as Scrooge himself.

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers // I had never read this book (or knew it existed!) until the Saving Mr Banks movie came out. It’s quite a bit different than the films. But the essence is the same. I love the classic Edwardian London backdrop for the world’s most beloved nanny.

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild // I was destined to love this book because You’ve Got Mail’s Kathleen Kelly loves this book. It’s a lovely little children’s story about three orphaned girls who seek to help their adopted family through dance, acting, and more.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows // I love this book so much! It takes place both on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel and in London where Juliet lives and seeks to adapt to the post-WWII world. Written entirely in letters, it’s a lovely story about finding your place and making a difference in the world.

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley // This book mostly takes place in the English countryside. But it starts and ends in London during the tense, terrifying months of the Blitz bombings by the Germans. I haven’t read anything quite like this before and I loved especially our narrator Ada–and the way she sees the world.

The Gown by Jennifer Robson // This novelized account of the seamstresses that made then Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown. It’s set in two time periods, with the earlier one in post-WWII London. A fascinating time to read about!

Honorable Mentions: books with a bit of London:

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (there’s a bit of everywhere in this one!)
  • Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Callahan (primarily in small town NY and Oxford, but with some lovely scenes in London)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (what’s HP without Diagon Alley, after all?)
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (Without London and the war, there is no discovery of the wardrobe)
  • Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (while the story focuses on Neverland, the story begins in London)

On my TBR:

  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  • Arabella by Georgette Heyer

What are your favorite books set in London?


13 thoughts on “8 Books to read set in London

  1. hilaryelder

    I’m about to post my Ballet Shoes blog and I haven’t covered the ‘London’ angle, but it’s a good one. I grew up as far away from London as it was possible to be and still be in England and it held a mythical place in my imagined landscape, shaped at least in part by Ballet Shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: August Wrap-Up and September TBR – greenish bookshelf

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