30 best books set in Europe that will take you on a literary travel
Sometimes books are the best way to travel. If you’re looking for something new to read, this list of novels set in Europe will take you on a literary journey!
There’s something about books that just takes us away from our everyday lives, transporting us to new and exciting places. And when it comes to Europe, there’s no shortage of amazing destinations to explore!
The best books transport us to different places and times. They show us the beauty of the old world and the allure of new experiences. European history is rich, complex, and full of stories just waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking for a good book to read, look no further than this list of novels set in beautiful European cities!
Whether you’re looking for a captivating historical novel or a contemporary tale of love and adventure, these books will leave you longing for a vacation.
So pack your bags and get ready to explore some of the most beautiful and fascinating destinations on the continent! Here are 30 of the great novels set in Europe that will take you on a literary travel adventure.
Table of Contents
Best Upcoming Novels
One Italian Summer
by Rebecca Serle
When her mother passes away, Katy is left reeling. Carol had all the answers, and now she’s gone just when Katy needed her the most. To make matters worse, they’ve scheduled a once-in-a-lifetime mother-daughter trip to Positano, the idyllic location where Carol spent the summer before meeting Katy’s father. She has been waiting for this trip for years, and now she is on her own. But as soon as she sets foot on the Amalfi Coast, she can feel her mother’s spirit. And there Katy comes back to life, buoyed by the lovely waves, breathtaking cliffsides, kind locals, and, of course, excellent cuisine.
The Paris Apartment
by Lucy Foley
Jess needs a new beginning. Broken, alone, and without a job, she asks her half-brother if she could crash with him for a while in his apartment in Paris. Even if not thrilled, he accepts, but he’s not there when Jess arrives in his beautiful apartment – definitely out of his budget. But the longer Ben is away, the more Jess becomes curious about his whereabouts and the more questions she has.
Our Last Day in Barcelona
by Chanel Cleeton
Exiled from Cuba during the revolution, Isabela Perez has learned to shield her heart and defend her family at all costs. When she travels to Spain in search of her sister Beatriz, who has vanished in Barcelona, she’s pulled into her sister’s dangerous world of espionage. Still, it’s discovering a shocking family secret that will transform her life.
The Paris Bookseller
by Kerri Maher
Paris 1919. The remarkable story of how Sylvia Beach, a bookish young American, overcomes all the obstacles to bring one of the most important books of the twentieth century to the world, and how her new bookstore Shakespeare and Company, will influence the path of literature itself.
New Novels Set in Europe
The Lost Apothecary
by Sarah Penner
In her debut novel, The Lost Apothecary, Sarah Penner has created a terrific tale of witchcraft, secrets, and rebellion. Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London is the secret apothecary shop. Women across the city whisper of mysterious Nella, who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But her fate is jeopardized when her newest patron makes a fatal mistake.
The Island of Missing Trees
by Elif Shafak
The Paris Library
by Janet Skeslien Charles
A compelling novel told from two different POVs, about different generations navigating memories and helping each other overcome obstacles. Based on a true story, The Paris Library tells about Odile Souchet, a librarian at the American Library in Paris during WWII, who joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. Then there’s 14-year-old Lily living in Montana with her family and next door to an older Odile. When Lily asks Odile for an interview for a school assignment, they start spending time together, and as their connection and friendship grow, Odille’s previous life events are recalled.
by Alex Michaelides
The author of The Silent Patient returns with a new novel that tells the story of Mariana Andros, a group therapist, who becomes fixated on The Maidens, a secret society of female students, when one member, a friend of her niece’s, is found murdered in Cambridge. She is sure that professor Edward Fosca is a murderer, but he cannot be touched because of his popularity and charm. But when another body is found, Mariana is determined to stop Fosca, even if it costs her everything.
The Rose Code
by Kate Quinn
Kate Quinn, the author of The Huntress and The Alice Network, returns with another heart-stopping WWII novel about three very different women recruited to the enigmatic Bletchley Park, where Britain’s brightest minds learn to crack German military codes. Osla, a fiery debutante, determined to be more than a social girl by striving to decrypt enemy secrets. Mab, a self-made woman who hides her ancient scars and the squalor of her East-End London childhood by mastering the famed codebreaking devices; and Beth, a quiet local girl who trains as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts, is the outsider.
by Kristin Hannah
The Nightingale is an incredible and gripping story about two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, whose lives are altered drastically because of the war. The novel follows their fight for survival in terrible conditions and their struggle to resist German authorities. The sisters are very different from each other but are both strong women with the courage to fight back against the extreme circumstances they have been put under. The novel’s alternating timelines tell us about the sisters before the war and how it changed their lives forever.
The Midnight Library
by Matt Haig
In a stroke of midnight magic, Nora is given the chance to live out her regrets. She’s transported into an infinite library where there are books that tell you what your other possible lives could have been like – each with their own unique libraries and lessons learned in between…
Eleanor Oliphant is completely Fine
by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day, and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is fine. She has built walls around herself that are so high that no one can see over them, let alone climb them. And she likes it that way just fine. Until everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling IT guy from work, and something so simple as friendship cracks her world to realize that maybe fine isn’t enough finally. Eleanor Oliphant is completely unique in her great humor, terrible people skills, and unusual interests that lead to great conversation and friendships with those who choose to stick around. A few years later, this great story remains one of my favourite books.
All The Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the story of Marie-Laure during WWII and takes place in France and Germany. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind, and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea.
My Brilliant Friend
by Elena Ferrante
Now an HBO series: the first volume of Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels is a coming of age story about two girls, Elena and Lila, who are tied together by a fierce bond of friendship. The novel begins when they are just ten years old in Naples, Italy, in the 1950s. They grow up surrounded by poverty. Both girls grow up in difficult circumstances that give them a strong sense of self-worth and a lack of trust for other people, which they try to overcome throughout the novel through their close friendship with each other.
by Sally Rooney
Normal People tells about the relationship between Connell and Marianne against the backdrop of their adolescence in small-town Ireland and the years studying at Trinity College in Dublin. With sharp observation, prickly humor, and warm-hearted wisdom, the story follows their relationship and the struggles to develop their own identities while they are growing.
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A Great List of Thriller Novels
by Sarah Pearse
When Elin’s estranged brother and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at a hotel, where once was a sanatorium, she accepts. But when Laure is missing, Elin needs to trust her instincts to find her. But the more time passes, the less hope there is of finding Laure alive.
The Silent Patient
by Alex Michaelides
The novel begins immediately after a shocking crime with Theo being called in for an emergency at a psychiatric hospital where he works. The story then jumps back six months to how this came to be and then jumps forward again to what happens after these events. The police have been unable to discover what happened on the day Alicia shot her husband five times in front of dozens of witnesses, so she has been sent to the same psychiatric hospital where Theo works as a therapist.
The Family Upstairs
by Lisa Jewell
Shortly after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones receives the letter she has been waiting for her entire life. She quickly discovers her biological parents’ identities and that she is the only heir to their abandoned home on the Thames in London’s prestigious Chelsea area, which is worth millions. But she has no way of knowing that others have been waiting for this day as well, and she is about to collide with them.
Best Historical Fiction Books in Europe
by Jennifer Robson
Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to The Queen’s Dressmaker, a woman whose story has never before been told?
All The Flowers in Paris
by Sarah Jio
Caroline wakes up in Paris with no memories of her past life. So, searching for clues to her identity in her rue Cler apartment, she discovers a bundle of letters written by Celine, a young widow during WWII. As Caroline peels back the layers of the past, she finds a new purpose, but the story remains unfinished. Still delving further in her search for the truth, she encounters dark and terrifying truths.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
In 1946, London author Juliet Ashton is stuck now that her newest book has been rejected by her publisher. In an attempt to switch gears, she begins looking into a group of writers and book lovers on the island of Guernsey – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The society met once a month, sat around in one person’s house drinking gin and eating potatoes. Once Juliet gets in touch with the writer she’d been looking for, she decides she wants to visit the island to find out more about this literary club.
The Dictionary of Lost Words
by Pip Williams
Esme is born into a world dominated by words. She spends her youth in the Scriptorium; an Oxford garden shed where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are gathering words for the first Oxford English Dictionary. Motherless and insatiably curious, Esme’s room is hidden beneath the sorting table, unnoticed and unheard. When one day, a slip of paper with the term bondmaid flutters beneath the table, she saves it. After discovering that the term means “slave girl,” she begins to gather other rejected or disregarded words, finally noticing that words relating to women’s and ordinary folks’ experiences often go unrecorded. On her way to creating the Dictionary of Lost Words, she must leave the university’s safe and go out into the world to meet those people whose words will fill those pages.
The Last Bookshop in London
by Madeline Martin
Inspired by the true World War II history of the only bookshop to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a sweeping story of wartime loss, romance, and the enduring power of literature. As Hitler’s soldiers advance throughout Europe, London prepares for war. Grace Bennett has always wanted to live in the city, but nothing looks as she has dreamed when she arrives. As she starts working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop in the center of London, she will learn the power of storytelling to unify her town in ways she never imagined as the Blitz escalates, a force that wins over even the darkest nights of the war.
The Keeper of Happy Endings
by Barbara Davis
Soline Roussel has a lot of experience with happy endings. For generations, her family has had an elite bridal salon in Paris. It is believed that a bride who wears a Roussel gown will have a lifetime of happiness. But, due to the tragic losses suffered during World War II, Soline’s world and heart are in ruins, and her trust in love is shattered. She puts away her memories, as well as her broken dreams, in a box, trying to forget. When Rory Grant, an ambitious gallery owner, leases Soline’s old property decades later while struggling with her devastating loss, she discovers a box holding letters and a historic bridal gown that has never been worn. When Rory returns the keepsakes, they form an odd friendship, and strange parallels emerge between Rory’s and Soline’s lives.
Second Chance Escapades
Meet Me in Monaco
by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb
Meet Me in Monaco tells the love story of Sophie Duval and James Henderson. Set against Grand Prix weekend on the French Riviera during the wedding of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier, the novel has all the ingredients for a perfect historical romance: family secrets, royal intrigue, and plenty of glamour to keep the reader entertained.
One Summer in Paris
by Sarah Morgan
One summer in Paris brings two women together and changes their lives forever. One lives in Paris alone, while the other has just come to Paris following her divorce. One is adventurous and outgoing, while the other is cautious and reserved. Living in neighboring apartments above the bookshop, this unlikely pair offers each other just what they’ve both been missing. They came to Paris to find themselves, but finding this unbreakable friendship might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
Love & Gelato
by Jenna Evans Welch
Love & Gelato is a romantic novel that follows Lina, a girl who moves from America to Italy after her mother dies. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home. But once in Italy, she learns more about her mother- and herself. People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.
The Bookshop on the Corner
by Jenny Colgan
Nina’s passion and work is matching readers with the right book. But when she loses her job, she decides to move to a sleepy village several miles away, determined to start a new life. Then she buys a van and converts it into a bookmobile. And with that, she travels from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing lives one by one through the power of storytelling.
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What are your favorite novels set in Europe? Let me know in the comments below!