The best books about London

Who picked these books? Meet our 725 experts.

725 authors created a book list connected to London, and here are their favorite London books.
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What type of London book?



By Len Deighton,

Book cover of Bomber

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Blackbirds

From the list on the London Blitz and the bomber war.

Who am I?

I lived in London for eighteen years and acquired an abiding affection for my nation’s capital. I wanted to write a sequel to Bluebirds and jumped at the chance of giving Bryan Hale an adventure where he could walk the streets that I knew and loved. The scars caused on the fair face of London by sticks of Nazi bombs landing in ragged lines across the streets and terraces may still be discerned from the incongruity of the buildings that have since risen to fill the gaps. London heals and thrives. Ultimately, I believe every English writer harbours an ambition to write a London novel. I did, and I did.

Melvyn's book list on the London Blitz and the bomber war

Discover why each book is one of Melvyn's favorite books.

Why did Melvyn love this book?

It is June 1943 and the RAF are mounting another bombing raid on Fortress Europe, part of the whirlwind that Arthur Harris had promised Germans would reap following the night blitz they waged against Britain. Deighton’s fictional account follows a single crew on a mission that would go horribly wrong, mixing their narrative with the stories of their adversaries in the air and their victims on the ground. Deighton writes with forensic clarity and at key points delivers events in a kind of literary slow-motion that drills the harrowing details into his reader. Set over a single twenty-four-hour period, and played out mostly in darkness, the drama is tense and exhausting. This is indeed a modern classic that illuminates the biggest contradictory moral dilemma of the war.

By Len Deighton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bomber as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic novel of the Second World War that relates in devastating detail the 24-hour story of an allied bombing raid.

Bomber is a novel of war. There are no victors, no vanquished. There are simply those who remain alive, and those who die.

Bomber follows the progress of an Allied air raid through a period of twenty-four hours in the summer of 1943. It portrays all the participants in a terrifying drama, both in the air and on the ground, in Britain and in Germany.

In its documentary style, it is unique. In its emotional power it is overwhelming.…

Muffin Top

By Tabatha Kiss,

Book cover of Muffin Top

Victoria Wessex Author Of The Curvy Vet and the Billionaire Cowboy

From the list on romance with curvy heroines.

Who am I?

I’m the USA Today bestselling author of nineteen romances including the He Wanted Me Pregnant! series of short, steamy, standalone reads, several of which feature curvy heroines. I believe there’s room in romance for heroes and heroines of all shapes and sizes and I love to see curvy girls find their one-and-only: someone who loves them exactly the way they are. I like my curvy heroines to be smart, witty, and have depth and I like my romances to be just the right mix of squee-inducing instalove and steamy scenes.

Victoria's book list on romance with curvy heroines

Discover why each book is one of Victoria's favorite books.

Why did Victoria love this book?

Muffin Top has been out for quite a while now but I still vividly remember reading it for the first time, the week of release. It was October 2016, I’d missed my train out of London and I had a full hour to wait. I grabbed a coffee and a copy of Muffin Top, which was at the top of the charts, and, sitting on a very cold platform, I got so engrossed that I very nearly missed my next train. I love the reversal here that the hero is the one running a bakery and that, although he’s former military, he’s just a big sweetie. I love the fact there’s a twist of suspense (without it detracting from the comedy and the romance) and it’s just delightfully moreish.

By Tabatha Kiss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Muffin Top as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


She walked into my bakery and my dough wasn't the only thing rising...

Long legs, a big chest, and perfect, round buns.
I'd give anything to roll with her and that adorable muffin top she's packing.

There's just one problem... and that's the Irish mob jerk who thinks he owns her.
To hell with that.

If she's gonna have a bun in her oven... it's gonna be mine.

He's a bad boy with a bakery. She's a BBW with a bar.
Muffin Top. It's a love story... with a twist!

Muffin Top is action-packed and sinfully…

London Overground

By Iain Sinclair,

Book cover of London Overground: A Day's Walk Around the Ginger Line

Julie Anderson Author Of Plague

From the list on secret subterranean London.

Who am I?

I've lived and worked in London for most of my adult life and am perpetually astonished, amazed, and fascinated by the city around me. It's histories, small and large, are a constant delight and surprise for me, and its hidden places of enchantment fire my imagination. So, when I came to write my first novel, for Claret Press, there was no other place where it could possibly be set and I chose central London which I knew very well and had layer upon physical layer of history. Given that it was a crime thriller, it had to use those hidden places, which mirrored the surface world, as part of the plot. Walk with me along one of London's lost rivers on my website

Julie's book list on secret subterranean London

Discover why each book is one of Julie's favorite books.

Why did Julie love this book?

OK, this isn't focused on the subterranean, but it does touch frequently upon underpasses and tunnels and is a personal journey, passing through the parts of London where the 'Ginger Line' - the London Overground railway -  runs. Sinclair uses his experiences to illuminate the changing city, a jumping-off point for explorations of places, their past, and present. His journey is bound up with writers and artists of all kinds. He, like Ackroyd, has an eye for the bizarre, but Sinclair has a sense of danger, real and modern, while Ackroyd summons the haunting past.

By Iain Sinclair,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked London Overground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Iain Sinclair explores modern London through a day's hike around the London Overground route.

Echoing his journey in London Orbital over a decade ago, Iain Sinclair narrates his second circular walk around the capital. Shortly after rush-hour and accompanied by a rambling companion, Sinclair begins walking along London's Overground network, or, 'Ginger Line'. With characteristic playfulness, detours into folk history, withering assessments of the political classes and a joyful allegiance to the ordinary oddball, Sinclair guides us on a tour of London's trendiest new transport network - and shows the shifting, changing city from new and surprising angles.

'He is…

London and the Georgian Navy

By Philip MacDougall,

Book cover of London and the Georgian Navy

Margarette Lincoln Author Of Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson

From the list on maritime London.

Who am I?

I was formerly Deputy Director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and am now a visiting fellow at the University of Portsmouth. I can safely say that I have spent some years of my life walking along the River Thames. The fascinating thing about maritime London is that our understanding of it is always advancing and changing – much like the riverscape itself.

Margarette's book list on maritime London

Discover why each book is one of Margarette's favorite books.

Why did Margarette love this book?

This book focuses on the myriad ways in which Georgian London and the Royal Navy were intertwined. Thousands of Londoners contributed to work that helped to keep the navy at sea; all understood that the navy protected maritime trade, on which London’s prosperity depended. MacDougall looks at bureaucratic links between the navy and the City, and at the practical business of supplying the fleet; he explores key geographical locations in detail and uncovers colourful personalities.

By Philip MacDougall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked London and the Georgian Navy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At a time when the Royal Navy was the biggest and best in the world, Georgian London was the hub of this immense industrial-military complex, underpinning and securing a global trading empire that was entirely dependent on the navy for its existence. Philip MacDougall explores the bureaucratic web that operated within the wider city area before giving attention to London's association with the practical aspects of supplying and manning the operational fleet and shipbuilding, repair and maintenance. His supremely detailed geographical exploration of these areas includes a discussion of captivating key personalities, buildings and work. The book examines significant locations…

Silent in the Grave

By Deanna Raybourn,

Book cover of Silent in the Grave

Karen Hanson Stuyck Author Of Death of an Unfortunate Woman

From the list on strong women solving mysteries in Great Britain.

Who am I?

I grew up loving stories set in the 1800s. I read Little Women six times, determined to become a writer just like Jo March. Eventually, I became one, writing everything from newspaper articles to medical brochures, short stories, and nine mystery novels. I set my latest book in 1819 Regency England. The myriad rules governing every aspect of proper behavior for “gently bred women” meant that any female refusing to conform faced scandal and ostracism from society. Any woman who managed to forge a life of her own design had to be strong, determined, and feisty—just the kind of female I want to read and write about.

Karen's book list on strong women solving mysteries in Great Britain

Discover why each book is one of Karen's favorite books.

Why did Karen love this book?

The book begins with the death of Lady Julia’s husband at a dinner party at their house. Both Julia and the doctor believe he suffered a heart attack. Only an enigmatic private inquiry agent, hired by her husband, thinks Edward was murdered. When Julia discovers a threatening note to her husband, she determines to find his killer with the help of the inquiry agent. Over the course of their investigation, Julia changes from a naïve young wife to a mature woman, confident in her abilities. I loved the wonderfully eccentric characters in this book. After Edward’s death, Julia’s sister consoles her, “Don’t fret, dearest. You have always looked striking in black.” 

By Deanna Raybourn,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Silent in the Grave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Go back to where it all began with the original Lady Julia Grey historical mystery series from New York Times bestselling author of Killers of a Certain Age, Deanna Raybourn.

“Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.”

These ominous words are the last threat that Sir Edward Grey receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, he collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept…

The Line of Beauty

By Alan Hollinghurst,

Book cover of The Line of Beauty

David C. Dawson Author Of A Death in Berlin

From the list on historical gay heroes.

Who am I?

I’ve read a lot of books that feature gay characters. These characters often partition into two main groups: angsty men who are victims of oppression or illness, or camp stereotypes who provide the light relief. I prefer to read about heroes who happen to be gay. That’s why I started writing novels. My recent books are historical novels inspired by real gay heroes. The feedback I get from readers indicates that there are a lot of people who want the same as I do.

David's book list on historical gay heroes

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

This book affected me very deeply because it’s set in the 80s and 90s when I was in my twenties and thirties. It describes with astonishing accuracy the political cruelty that abounded at that time. For me, the real hero of the book is Leo. He’s not only gay but also Black which makes him a double target for the prejudice of the time. The way he tackles it head on in the book is breathtaking.

By Alan Hollinghurst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1983, 20-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: Tory MP Gerald, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their two children, Toby - whom Nick had idolized at Oxford - and Catherine, always standing at a critical angle to the family and its assumptions and ambitions.

As the Thatcher boom-years unfold, Nick, an innocent in the worlds of politics and money, finds his life altered by the rising fortunes of the glamorous family he is entangled with. Two vividly contrasting love-affairs, with a young black clerk and a Lebanese…

Jemima J

By Jane Green,

Book cover of Jemima J

Kim Nash Author Of Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove

From the list on inspiring you to change your life.

Who am I?

Women’s fiction was my go-to genre after discovering Danielle Steele many years ago. I progressed from epic emotional family dramas to chick lit/romcoms, wanting to read books that made me laugh and gave that feel-good feeling. I love a happy ever after, and don’t mind knowing that the main characters will end up together because for me it’s all about the journey. I’ve been so lucky since being an author, to have received lots of emails and social media messages, telling me how much my books have either helped someone, inspired someone, made them laugh, given them hope, and generally left them with a warm feeling in their heart.  

Kim's book list on inspiring you to change your life

Discover why each book is one of Kim's favorite books.

Why did Kim love this book?

A brilliant thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining book, Jemima is a young lady who is in need of a number of life changes. 

She’s overweight, treated like a skivvy by her flatmates, and belittled by her colleagues.

She does embark on big changes in her life, and when she achieves the goals that she sets for herself, realises that it doesn’t matter how much you change the outside of your body, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

A definite life lesson and we should also just be kind, because we never know what is happening in someone’s life. 

By Jane Green,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Jemima J as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the addictive and uplifting story of reinvention, self-discovery and the meaning of true love from the bestselling author of Life Swap and The Friends We Keep

'Inspirational, uplifting, made me laugh and left me feeling very happy' 5***** Reader Review
'Compulsively readable' Sunday Times
'Perfect if you want to feel uplifted . . . So relatable' 5***** Reader Review

Jemima Jones is overweight. About seven stone overweight.

Treated like a slave by her thin and bitchy flatmates, lorded over at the Kilburn Herald by the beautiful Geraldine (less talented, but better paid), her only consolation is food.


Martin Eden

By Jack London,

Book cover of Martin Eden

F. Scott Service Author Of Playing Soldier

From the list on emotional conflict and post-war survival.

Who am I?

Living through the Iraq War compelled me to honestly challenge who I was, what I had believed in, and reshape who I am. One aspect to emerge from that is the belief that there is no good war. War is the worst of all endeavors, born from fundamentally weak minds that are blind to imagination and vision. But while I have had a passion for writing about war and speaking out against it, I feel it’s important for people to look beyond my work as just another veteran writing just another war book. In both of my books, the war is a character more than anything else. 

F.'s book list on emotional conflict and post-war survival

Discover why each book is one of F.'s favorite books.

Why did F. love this book?

While admittedly not a “war” book, Jack London’s masterful novel illustrates notions associated with war and society in an artful way. And he does it within two characters… a truth seeker and a believer in the establishment. From the rich and powerful to the impoverished with no voice, he clearly understood what is behind the masks we don in society. Fantastic read.

By Jack London,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Martin Eden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The semiautobiographical Martin Eden is the most vital and original character Jack London ever created. Set in San Francisco, this is the story of Martin Eden, an impoverished seaman who pursues, obsessively and aggressively, dreams of education and literary fame. London, dissatisfied with the rewards of his own success, intended Martin Eden as an attack on individualism and a criticism of ambition; however, much of its status as a classic has been conferred by admirers of its ambitious protagonist. Andrew Sinclair's wide-ranging introduction discusses the conflict between London's support of socialism and his powerful self-will. Sinclair also explores the parallels…

The Lady Jewel Diviner

By Rosalie Oaks,

Book cover of The Lady Jewel Diviner

Nellie H. Steele Author Of Death of a Duchess

From the list on historical fiction with a dash of magic.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved history, whether ancient or “modern.” Past societies and how humanity has changed over the years has always fascinated me. As a young mystery reader, I began with Nancy Drew and then quickly graduated to Victoria Holt. I’m not sure there’s a gothic fiction reader out there who won’t be familiar with that name. The stories are a wonderful blend of mystery, history, and a dash of the supernatural. Decades later, I’d write my fourth series, Duchess of Blackmoore Mysteries, in true gothic Victorian style.

Nellie's book list on historical fiction with a dash of magic

Discover why each book is one of Nellie's favorite books.

Why did Nellie love this book?

Magic and mystery, what a combination! With a murderer on the loose and a Regency England setting, get ready for manners mixed with magic. On top of that, there’s a dash of romance ala Victoria Holt that’ll keep you glued to the pages! This one really hits a lot of the marks gothic mystery readers will love. The mystery is really strong, and the characters are believable as is the blending of real world with magic. Ms. Oaks does a fantastic job of creating a page-turner that hits all the marks of classic historical, gothic mystery fiction.

By Rosalie Oaks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lady Jewel Diviner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Diamonds, Death, and Devonshire tea… in a magical Regency England

Miss Elinor Avely's proper upbringing cannot prepare her for the tiny, spinster vampire who crashes into her sitting room and demands to be fed with a sheep.

Elinor already has enough troubles without having to catch ruminants. First, her secret gift for divining jewels has landed her in scandal, exiling her from London society. Second, a nobleman of dubious repute wants her to find a cache of smuggled jewels, hidden somewhere along the Devon coastline. Last – and worst – she is invited to cream tea at the local manor.…

The Midnight Guardians

By Ross Montgomery,

Book cover of The Midnight Guardians

Abie Longstaff Author Of The Trapdoor Mysteries: A Sticky Situation

From the list on middle grade books of magic and adventure.

Who am I?

I am the oldest of six children – all girls! I used to make up imaginary worlds for my little sisters. We’d steal clothes from Mum and Dad for dressing up; we’d pull all the cushions off the sofa to make a show; we even used to put ribbons on the poor dog. Nowadays I write books with magic and fairy tales and adventure. I write for the child inside me; the child that loved an exciting, fantastical story. I have written over 50 books for children from picture book to middle grade, and I still love inventing imaginary worlds.

Abie's book list on middle grade books of magic and adventure

Discover why each book is one of Abie's favorite books.

Why did Abie love this book?

This book is beautifully written, with a classic feel. It’s set in wartime England and draws on old green magic and folklore, as well as the power of belief. The Midnight Guardians is a quest story, full of enchantment and warmth. Col’s three imaginary friends come to life to help him race across a snowy English landscape to save his sister. It’s a glorious book with excitement and danger as well as humour and heart.

By Ross Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Midnight Guardians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?





Sometimes at the darkest hour, hope shines the brightest...

When Col's childhood imaginary friends come to life, he discovers a world where myths and legends are real. Accompanied by his guardians - a six-foot tiger, a badger in a waistcoat and a miniature knight - Col must race to Blitz-bombed London to save his sister.

But there are darker forces at work, even than the Nazi bombings. Soon Col is pursued by the terrifying…

The Tree of Hands

By Ruth Rendell,

Book cover of The Tree of Hands

A.A. Abbott Author Of Lies at Her Door

From the list on psychological thrillers where women become strong.

Who am I?

Like most authors, I love reading stories as well as writing them. Being of a certain age, I’ve read plenty. For me, the best tales are those where women overcome deadly odds to create their own happy ending. Those are the books I aim to write too. My characters are much braver than me! While they grapple with challenges, I’m simply tied to a keyboard. Sometimes I take my laptop to a coffee shop (mine’s a flat white, please). I live in Bristol, in the English West Country, and have spent time in Birmingham and London. They all feature in my books and give them a strong sense of place.

A.A.'s book list on psychological thrillers where women become strong

Discover why each book is one of A.A.'s favorite books.

Why did A.A. love this book?

Ruth Rendell is famous for her detective stories, but she also wrote exquisitely nuanced and layered psychological thrillers. Exploring love, greed, and selfishness, The Tree of Hands is about two very different women. Benet has achieved success as a writer but is grappling with bereavement. Carol, a goodtime girl, didn’t plan to have two-year-old Jason and is relieved when he goes missing.

Benet is tricked into looking after Jason and falls in love with him before discovering his identity. There is a heart-stopping moment when Benet takes Jason to Carol’s local library, intending to leave him there to be returned to his mother. Benet thinks she is doing the right thing, while the reader knows how hellish Jason’s life will be. Can Benet’s love overcome her scruples?

By Ruth Rendell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tree of Hands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Edgar Award Finalist: In London, a missing child unites three mothers in grief, madness, and murder.
When Benet Archdale was a young girl in North London, her mother, Mopsa, made her nervous. The woman was unsound, and posed ever-present dangers. Yet Benet understood her sickness and forgave her threats. In pursuit of a relatively sane life as a novelist and loving single parent, Benet has since kept Mopsa at a distance. But it’s not only the sudden death of Benet’s two-year-old son that shakes her safe world. It’s the past. Mopsa has returned to be at her inconsolable daughter’s side.…

Book cover of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

A.E. Walnofer Author Of A Girl Called Foote

From the list on servants fake and otherwise.

Who am I?

None of us had any choice about where or when we were born, nor under what circumstances. Marie Antoinette could have just as easily been born the illegitimate daughter of a scullery maid as the archduchess of Austria that she was. That’s why the whole servant-employer dynamic has always intrigued me. Servants are, in fact, real people, always have been. Though they’re often treated as little more than sticks of furniture, servants have been overhearing, observing, revealing, and plotting a lot of fascinating things throughout all time.

A.E.'s book list on servants fake and otherwise

Discover why each book is one of A.E.'s favorite books.

Why did A.E. love this book?

Wellborn Margaret Macy is not used to hard work, so when she falls on hard times and disguises herself as a maid in a gentleman’s palatial home, she’s going to have difficulties. However, it’s not just a matter of getting the silver shiny as she also has to remain undetected by her employer…who tried to court her not so very long ago.

By Julie Klassen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Maid of Fairbourne Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Regency Romance and Mystery from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen

Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant…

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows,

Book cover of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Annie Lyons Author Of The Air Raid Book Club

From the list on WW1 and 2 fiction featuring brilliant female characters.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved history. When I wrote The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett in 2019, I particularly enjoyed writing Eudora’s flashback scenes set during the Second World War and decided, in my wisdom, to write a novel entirely set during that time. After a lot of research (disappearing down the occasional rabbit hole), I began to write The Air Raid Book Club, creating a cast of female characters who show quiet courage and incredible resilience as they support their community by forming a book club during the course of the war. It was a joy to write and I hope readers derive similar joy from reading it and the books I’ve recommended!

Annie's book list on WW1 and 2 fiction featuring brilliant female characters

Discover why each book is one of Annie's favorite books.

Why did Annie love this book?

This book ticks all the boxes for me in terms of great historical fiction.

Told entirely in the form of letters written firstly between writer, Juliet Ashton and the sublimely named Dawsey Adams, one of the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and then via letters from other members of the society. The fact that it is a book that brings Dawsey and Juliet together and then books and stories which are the backbone of this wonderful novel, makes it even more special.

However, it is the characters who really bring it to life and particularly that of Elizabeth Mckenna, the founding member of the society, whose brave but tragic story is gradually revealed over the course of the novel. This book is one to treasure.

By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beloved, life-affirming international bestseller which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide - now a major film starring Lily James, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton 'I can't remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one ... Treat yourself to this book, please - I can't recommend it highly enough' Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love To give them hope she must tell their story It's 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer's block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of…

Book cover of The Cater Street Hangman

Anastasia Hastings Author Of Of Manners and Murder: A Dear Miss Hermione Mystery

From the list on dark and stormy Victorian vibes.

Who am I?

I confess to a life-long interest in both the Victorian era and in crime, and I blame my dad for both. Dad was a Cleveland Police detective who introduced me to the Holmes stories at an early age. We read Doyle and we both enjoyed Basil Rathbone’s take on Sherlock in the old black-and-white movies. Dad also gave me my first chance to practice my detecting skills when on his days off, he’d load me into the car, buy me an ice cream cone (no doubt to keep me quiet), and take me for a cruise around the city looking for stolen cars.  

Anastasia's book list on dark and stormy Victorian vibes

Discover why each book is one of Anastasia's favorite books.

Why did Anastasia love this book?

I will admit it’s been a while since I read this, the first Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery.

The fact that I still remember it and include it on this list says something. The mystery is convoluted enough to keep readers interested and the story of the lead characters going against societal norms (young woman from a good family attracted to a “lowly” police inspector) is intriguing. 

Throw in the foggy atmosphere of Victorian London and you’ve got a real winner. Be aware, though, Hangman is the first of 32 Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels.

By Anne Perry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cater Street Hangman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the debut of the New York Times–bestselling Victorian crime series, Inspector Thomas Pitt seeks an elusive strangler among upper-class British society.

Panic and fear strike the Ellison household when one of their own falls prey to the Cater Street murderer. While Mrs. Ellison and her three daughters are out, their maid becomes the third victim of a killer who strangles young women with cheese wire, leaving their swollen-faced bodies on the dark streets of this genteel neighborhood. Inspector Pitt, assigned to the case, must break through the walls of upper-class society to get at the truth. His in-depth investigation…

The Madman's Daughter

By Megan Shepherd,

Book cover of The Madman's Daughter

Samantha Gillespie Author Of The Kingdom Within

From the list on young adult retellings that capture the imagination.

Who am I?

As a reader and an author, I prefer young adult novels because they tend to focus more on character growth and development than other genres, but I’m particularly drawn to both historical and fantasy period pieces in books and film. The medieval ages especially, with their castles and feudalistic way of life, have always fascinated me. This fascination was largely filled by reading and watching fairy tales and novel adaptations while growing up. Nowadays, I gravitate toward retellings like a moth to the flame, as I get to relive stories that have a special place in my heart in a fresh new way. 

Samantha's book list on young adult retellings that capture the imagination

Discover why each book is one of Samantha's favorite books.

Why did Samantha love this book?

This atmospheric novel, a retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, is a perfect blend of gothic romance and haunting mystery. It’s beautifully written, well-paced, and filled with unexpected twists. I love the feminist theme presented through the main character, Juliet, who is independent despite the hardships she endures, is not dissuaded from pursuing her passion for science even though it wasn’t proper for a woman to do so at the time. There is also an underlying theme throughout the book that expertly juxtaposes sanity and madness, eliciting the question of where the line should be drawn.

By Megan Shepherd,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Madman's Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of Libba Bray, this first book in a gothic suspense trilogy is inspired by H. G. Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau and has been hailed by New York Times bestseller Carrie Ryan as having "beautiful writing, breakneck pacing, a pulse-pounding mystery, and an irresistible romance."

Following accusations that her scientist father gruesomely experimented on animals, sixteen-year-old Juliet watched as her family and her genteel life in London crumbled around her—and only recently has she managed to piece her world back together. But when Juliet learns her father is still alive and working on a remote tropical island,…

Book cover of The Luckiest Lady in London

Julia Whelan Author Of Thank You for Listening

From the list on gateway romance for literary readers and writers.

Who am I?

Although I currently write romantic women’s fiction, because I came up in the Literary Fiction community, I frequently have writer friends ask me to recommend well-written Romance. Leaving aside the subjectivity of well-written and the snobbery inherent in the suggestion that Romance—a category they’ve admitted to never having read—isn’t generally well-written, I first have to explain that Romance has rules: While we often associate Romance with sex on the page, technically, it’s not a requirement. There are only two requirements, according to the Romance Writers of America: the love story has to be the central storyline of the book; and there has to be a happily ever after (HEA). 

Julia's book list on gateway romance for literary readers and writers

Discover why each book is one of Julia's favorite books.

Why did Julia love this book?

You like your small, introspective, architecture-of-a-marriage stories? Well, here’s the Romance version. Nothing really happens, plot-wise. It is simply a masterclass of two characters matched in every way that matters, ready to destroy everything they could potentially have because they’re scared of getting hurt. Humorous. Hot. Nerdy. Incisive. Affecting. This will introduce you to the basic foundation of Historical Romance—essentially, “the marriage plot”—in the quiet way you’re looking for.

By Sherry Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Luckiest Lady in London as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the superbly gifted Sherry Thomas comes this beautifully written romance about a marriage of convenience that turns inconveniently passionate...  

Felix Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth, is The Ideal Gentleman, a man all men want to be and all women want to possess. Even Felix himself almost believes this golden image. But underneath is a damaged soul soothed only by public adulation.

Louisa Cantwell needs to marry well to support her sisters. She does not, however, want Lord Wrenworth—though he seems inexplicably interested in her. She mistrusts his outward perfection, and the praise he garners everywhere he goes. Still, when…

Vile Bodies

By Evelyn Waugh,

Book cover of Vile Bodies

Anne De Courcy Author Of Magnificent Rebel: Nancy Cunard in Jazz Age Paris

From the list on the social history of the inter-war years.

Who am I?

Social history has always been my passion: unless you know how people thought, felt and lived, even down to how they dressed and ate, it is often impossible to understand why they acted as they did. And no period is as fascinating to me as the inter-war years; after WW1, the greatest conflict the world had ever seen, the upcoming generations determined to break barriers, discard the last vestiges of what they saw as hidebound custom, to invent new, freer ways of writing, painting, dancing - and to have fun. And for most of this post-war generation, there was nowhere like Paris.

Anne's book list on the social history of the inter-war years

Discover why each book is one of Anne's favorite books.

Why did Anne love this book?

This novel perfectly captures the frenetic pleasure-seeking ethos of the youth of the English upper classes after the horrors of WW1- unsurpsingly, as it is written by one of them.

Evelyn Waugh was one of the Bright Young People, as they became known, who tore round London in sports cars, snatching at policemen’s helmets for the treasure hunts they loved.

By Evelyn Waugh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vile Bodies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vile Bodies is both a celebration of the hedonism of the young and a warning to those who believe that their license to indulge is infinite, unquestionable and without consequence. A whole host of wonderful characters are introduced throughout Waugh's thought-provoking and satirical story, which follows protagonist Adam from the perils and pitfalls of being a gossip columnist to the trials and tribulations in attempting to secure his marriage to Nine Blount. Roll on an eccentric (verging on senile) potential father-in-law, parties as 10 Downing Street, high times at Shepheard's hotel, where the wine is always flowing (until your bill…

Book cover of Magnificent Women and Flying Machines: The First 200 Years of British Women in the Sky

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Author Of Bird

From the list on pioneering aviation.

Who am I?

My passion for flying old aeroplanes led me to the pilots who flew them in history, and my particular fascination is with the interwar period and the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’, which saw the establishment of the early commercial air routes and the historic solo flights by pilots flying basic machines and pushing themselves and their aircraft to the very limits of endurance to prove that it could be done. I was absolutely mesmerised by the stories of their bravery and obsession. My recommended books all share the theme of pioneering aviation as this has been a consuming interest for much of my adult life, both in and out of the cockpit. 

Tracey's book list on pioneering aviation

Discover why each book is one of Tracey's favorite books.

Why did Tracey love this book?

This is a lively history of the first 200 years of British women in the sky. 

Given that women were largely blocked by a hostile male establishment from participating in commercial and military aviation for most of the 20th century, this is a riveting account of the unconventional women who defied gravity and everything else to get airborne. Marvellous stuff!

By Sally Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Magnificent Women and Flying Machines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just eighteen months after two Frenchmen made the world's first ever flight, a fearless British woman hopped into a flimsy balloon and flew across the London sky for nearly an hour. Since then, many other remarkable British women have decided to defy traditional society and follow their dreams to get into the sky. Magnificent Women and Flying Machines tells the stories of the pioneers who achieved real firsts in various forms of aviation: in ballooning, parachuting, gliding, airships and fixed-wing flight - right up to a trip to the International Space Station! Full of entertaining adventure mixed with a wealth…

Down to a Sunless Sea

By David Graham,

Book cover of Down to a Sunless Sea

Justin Oldham Author Of Crisis at the Kodiak Starport

From the list on the environmental impacts of war.

Who am I?

I was a child of the Cold War. When the 20th Century ended, many of my peers and I thought we’d put the specter of annihilation behind us. As much as I’ve always been a fan of all things post-apocalyptic, I must acknowledge that we now face new threats that are just as much of our own making as the nuclear nightmare was. When I think about the future, I don’t see or foresee a dark and dismal end. I envision a bright future that will be a lot harder to achieve than we ever thought. I look forward to creating heroes and heroines who can make that future possible.

Justin's book list on the environmental impacts of war

Discover why each book is one of Justin's favorite books.

Why did Justin love this book?

The concept of life and death after a world war is given a twist when cold and darkness are more lethal than nuclear, chemical, or biological residues. Many of the most prominent characters are civilian airline pilots and other aviation professionals. I’ve spent much of my life around military and civil aviation. I don’t encounter characters like these very frequently. I like the way the author drew upon the knowledge and skills of these people to save humanity’s future.

By David Graham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Down to a Sunless Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The six hundred passengers and crew members aboard a jumbo jetliner are left without a destination and a country when nuclear war breaks out and spreads devastation around the world.

A collapsed economy and an increasingly savage society were causing thousands to abandon America. Captain Jonah Scott was a pilot, hired to fly some lucky refugees to London. But once in the air, nuclear war broke out, and Scott became responsible for the entire human race!

Book cover of The House We Grew Up in

Virginia Franken Author Of Half Sisters

From the list on suspense in a suburban setting.

Who am I?

I was born in the suburbs to the east of London and moved to California for adventure, only to end up living in the suburbs to the east of Los Angeles. Perhaps it’s because life is ultimately cyclical, or maybe I’m fated to live life inside a white picket fence. I suspect the real reason I’m here is because I secretly love it. Renegade sprinkler settings, trash day meltdowns, neighbor drama. For a writer, it’s all rich pickings. So far, the burbs have been where I’ve set all my novels and it’s also been fertile soil for the authors below.

Virginia's book list on suspense in a suburban setting

Discover why each book is one of Virginia's favorite books.

Why did Virginia love this book?

In England, we have the Queen who opens Parliament and then we have the Queen of Domestic Suspense and that is Lisa Jewell. Lisa has written a slew of phenomenal novels but The House We Grew Up In always comes first to mind whenever I think of her work. The quality of descriptive detail in this book means that years after I first read it, I can still picture every room inside the Bird house and recall every twist and turn in Lorelei Bird’s journey as she transitions from a normal mother in a messy home to a toothless hoarder living out of a depilated den. A fascinating read packed around secrets and lies and an examination of family dynamics. All that glitters isn’t foil-wrapped gold in this one.

By Lisa Jewell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The House We Grew Up in as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the #1 bestselling author of The Night She Disappeared, The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone


When a tragedy breaks a family apart, what can bring it back together?

The Birds seem to be the perfect family: mother, father, four children, a picture-book cottage in the country.

But one Easter weekend, something happens - something so unexpected, so devastating, that no one can bring themselves to talk about it.

The family shatters, seemingly for good.

Until, years later, they are forced to return to the house they grew…