As you may have noticed, I love reading historical fiction. I enjoy reading about time periods other than my own, with different day to day tasks. I especially enjoy novels set either during or just after WWI and WWII. Give me a good period drama any day! And as I prepared today’s post of recommendations, I realized that many of my favorites are set in Europe. And so, without further ado, today I’m sharing eight historical fiction books set in either England or France.
Here we go!
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
You’ve likely seen my review of The Alice Network, as I’ve mentioned it a few times on the blog. This book was a little slow to start for me but quickly became one of my favorite books! It’s a beautiful drama following two women, one working as a British spy during WWI and the other searching for a long lost cousin in France after WWII.
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
This is a great first novel of a mystery series following a young woman working as a private investigator after WWII in England. I really enjoyed this story and found Maisie to be a bit like Sherlock Holmes! You can read my review here.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Fasten your seatbelts, because this book is quite the ride! This is one of my favorite books ever. It follows two sisters living in Nazi-occupied France during WWII. Each woman makes her own choices in order to survive the war and must learn to live with her decisions. Be sure to have Kleenex ready!
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
I really enjoyed this book about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Elizabeth Hadley, and their time together in Paris in the 1920s. This is a fantastic introduction to this relationship and a great way to learn more about Hadley as a person.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
If you’re looking for a fun escape, look no further than the Pink Carnation! This book is great because it follows two timelines: one in present day England as a young woman works on her thesis project, and the other in 1800s England. It’s funny, charming, sexy, and very entertaining!
Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
This is a beautiful story about two sisters searching for one another after WWI. Through a series of events, they are separated during the London bombings. I was really touched at the lengths to which they went to find one another and reunite.
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
You’ve likely heard of this excellent Sherlock Holmes retelling! In this first book of a new series, Sherlock Holmes is the detective alias of a young woman trying to support herself. This book is clever, funny, and delightful if you’re a fan of the Sherlock Holmes story.
The White Princess by Philippa Gregory
Gregory is well known for writing excellent historical fiction and this book is no exception! This story follows Elizabeth of York, her new marriage to Henry Tudor, and the missing heir to the throne. It’s exciting, fast paced, and enlightening!
That’s it for today! What historical fiction books would you recommend?