The best books set in France and recommended by a Francophile

Who am I?

Annemarie Rawson is a Francophile who lived and worked in France for several years with her husband, Steve, and has traveled to France many times. She loves the cities for the culture, history, and architecture but her heart is in the countryside where beauty is all around and where she met the genuine warmth and generosity of many who have little to give.

I wrote...

My French Platter

By Annemarie Rawson,

Book cover of My French Platter

What is my book about?

When Annemarie and her husband, Steve, leave their life in New Zealand to manage a 15th-century farmhouse in France, they have no idea they’ll end up homeless. No idea they’ll need to live in filth, rely on dilapidated equipment and deal with a belligerent boss. Will the mouth-watering food she creates, the wonderful people they meet and the glorious French countryside help them salvage their dreams of life abroad or will they need to rethink their future?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Little Paris Bookshop

Annemarie Rawson Why did I love this book?

This is a moving story of an eccentric bookseller who has his store on a barge. He seems to have just the right book to help each individual in their own lives while he is coming to terms with a past love and discovering more about himself and life. He also visits many lovely French villages on his travels on the barge.

By Nina George,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Little Paris Bookshop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international bestseller, translated from the German by Simon Pare.

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a 'literary apothecary', for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust…

Book cover of A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse: A Cookbook

Annemarie Rawson Why did I love this book?

If you like to cook and love France this book with its wonderful photography is also a coffee table book. Just looking through it will transport you to the French countryside where I lived and worked and adore. The recipes are not convoluted and are simple and delicious.

By Mimi Thorisson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Kitchen in France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With beguiling recipes and sumptuous photography, A Kitchen in France transports you to the French countryside and marks the debut of a captivating new voice in cooking.

"This is real food: delicious, honest recipes that celebrate the beauty of picking what is ripe and in season, and capture the essence of life in rural France."
—Alice Waters

When Mimi Thorisson and her family moved from Paris to a small town in out-of-the-way Médoc, she did not quite know what was in store for them. She found wonderful ingredients—from local farmers and the neighboring woods—and, most important, time to cook. Her…

Book cover of Chocolat

Annemarie Rawson Why did I love this book?

Chocolat is fabulous on several levels – set in a French village, chocolate of every description and flavour and it’s an awakening of the senses. The new chocolatier that sets up in the village upsets the straight-laced villagers with her tempting treats and understanding of each of their needs. It’s not long before they all ‘let go’ and allow their passions to come forth.

By Joanne Harris,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Chocolat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Even before it was adapted into the Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, Chocolat entranced readers with its mix of hedonism, whimsy, and, of course, chocolate.

In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows.

Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne's uncanny perception of its buyer's private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch?

Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation,…

Book cover of Suite Française

Annemarie Rawson Why did I love this book?

A very moving story set in France in WWII where the Jewish author herself became a victim of the holocaust and the second part of her story was written from manuscripts that had been hidden with her daughters. The family had to try to flee the Nazis, along with others and the book is haunting in its reality of how they all tried to survive the fear, atrocities, and hardship.

By Irene Nemirovsky,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Suite Française as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, "Suite Francaise" would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece. Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, "Suite Francaise" falls…

Book cover of The Nightingale

Annemarie Rawson Why did I love this book?

Another WWII story set in the heart of France. Kristin Hannah is such a descriptive writer and takes you so deeply into the story about two sisters, whose paths have taken completely different turns but both fighting for their country and survival. This book tells of the durability and bravery of women in shocking circumstances and the resilience inside us all.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked The Nightingale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women.

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women's stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah's…

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The Finest Lies

By David J. Naiman,

Book cover of The Finest Lies

David J. Naiman Author Of The Finest Lies

New book alert!

Who am I?

Anyone with siblings knows the deal. Your sibling becomes your first best friend and closest confidant but also your first competitor and fiercest critic. Navigating that relationship as a teen is fraught with peril. If done poorly, it can leave deep scars. If successful, it can teach you the foundations of how to build healthy relationships for the rest of your life. This theme has everything a writer needs to craft an emotional narrative, and these books do it best.

David's book list on sibling rivalry that will inspire you to reconnect

What is my book about?

A mysterious stranger traps teen siblings in a precarious game where each must overcome their embittered past for the other to survive.

This suspenseful, yet winsome novel explores the power of family and forgiveness. But take heed. The truth can cut like shards of glass, especially for those who’d rather avoid it. Sometimes, only the finest lies will do.

The Finest Lies

By David J. Naiman,

What is this book about?

High schooler Nicole Hallett has just about had it with her brother Jay, so when a mysterious man appears with an offer to replace him with a better one, she doesn’t hesitate. Nicole has always been impulsive, but this time, she finds herself in predicament far worse than anything she’s experienced. Just like that, an average snow day—usually filled with hot cocoa and snowball fights—is commandeered by the stranger, who forces the siblings into a dangerous game.

Confronted by past reflections, tested by present complications, and threatened by future possibilities, Nicole has until the end of the day to disentangle…

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Interested in France, the German occupation of Europe, and bookstores?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, the German occupation of Europe, and bookstores.

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