Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books Set Outside The US. While seeing what books I’ve read that are set somewhere other than the US that were not sci-fi/fantasy/dystopia, I discovered that basically all of them were set in Europe. Sounds like something I should probably fix, so please send me recs!
Note: I decided to keep this list limited to classics, contemporary, and historical fiction. I excluded Harry Potter because I consider it fantasy, so don’t think it wouldn’t top this list otherwise. List is in no particular order.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” I was hooked on this suspenseful classic from the start. While the narrator references the estate in England where she’ll settle with her husband, the novel starts off in Monte Carlo with the her worldwind romance with Mr. de Winter, then they travel to his home shrouded in mystery.
This book set in WWII Germany gave me a new perspective of those who lived under Hitler’s oppression, not to mention it’s just an amazing read all around.
Another WWII story set in Europe, both France and England, as well as a prison camp. It’s a bit of a slow, layered read, but when everything ties together it’s pretty incredible.
Another book full of layers, that alternates between a WWII timeline and a 1990s timeline, all set in England. The WWII storyline focuses on children billeted and living at a castle, creating quite an atmosphere for those of us who don’t live anywhere near castles.
This feels a bit like a cheat for my criteria of non-fantasy since the location, Adria, is not real, but the story is a contemporary thriller so I decided to keep it on my list. And Adria feels like it could be a real coastal country in Europe, steeped in rich history.
All the WWII! So this starts in Lithuania, then Lina is forced to leave home and travels by train further north to a work camp, and ultimately, to Siberia. This book also revealed another chapter in WWII history I was unfamiliar with, including an interesting perspective from the characters who viewed Hitler as a lesser evil than Stalin.
I actually don’t recall where on land the book was set before the characters reach the Wilhelm Gustloff, but again, it’s definitely Europe, and the characters come from different nationalities. In this account of the worst maritime disaster that has been overshadowed by the Titanic, we see yet another glimpse into a largely unknown chapter in WWII’s history.
Let’s just say Russia sounds like a rough place to live.
Jane Austen books
All of Austen’s books take place during the Regency era in England, and we definitely get a very good feel for their society from her writings.
These mysteries set in late 1800s England are a delight to read and a peek into the culture of the time.
The plot of this book is largely centered around the politics of the French Revolution. I also love how Sharon Cameron reused these same elements in her retelling Rook.
What’s your favorite book set outside of the US?