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Books Set in Western Europe

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For month two of the Book Voyage reading challenge, we will be reading books set in Western Europe! Of all the regions on our armchair travel journey, this is likely the one you’ve already read the most about outside of North America.

We worked hard to include plenty of variety, so you can still discover somewhere/something new to you!

30 Great Books Set in Western Europe - Book covers for Red Address Book, Fountains of Silence, and Paper Paris

Depending on the context – geographical, cultural, or historical – you’ll find various answers as to which countries are classified as “Western Europe.”

For purposes of this reading challenge, we’ve included the following: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.

If you stumbled on this post and aren’t already doing the challenge, we’d love you to join in! You can read all about the Book Voyage challenge, download your free printable map book tracker, and find new book lists for each month here.

As always, you are welcome to choose any book set in this region that you’d like, but to help you get started, we’ve compiled a great list of novels set in Europe’s western countries, as well as some YA historical fiction, memoirs, and non-fiction reads. We focused on finding book recommendations that will transport you to the country of your choice as you read.

If you love historical fiction, there are countless excellent books about life throughout Europe during both WWI and WWII.

We focused book recommendations outside of those time periods for the majority of the Western Europe list, but if you’re looking for European historical fiction set during WWI or WWII, you’ll find more great books on these lists: Books Set in the 1910s, Books Set in the 1940s, and Books Like the Nightingale.

Throughout the list, we noted those books currently available as part of the Kindle Unlimited subscription.

The Best Books Set in Western European Countries

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Members of our Facebook group, Read with the Book Girls and our email list have the option of logging their monthly challenge reads with us. If you need help choosing a book, we’ve added an infographic below that shows those readers’ favorite books set in Western Europe last year.

Inforgraphic of reader favorite books set in Europe

Next up, pick your book set in Eastern Europe or Russia!

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Tori Christensen

Friday 28th of January 2022

I'm interested that much of the historical fiction revolves around WWII--for an area with such a long history, I would have expected a wider representation.

Another theme I see is American comes to Europe to find out deep secrets.

Fascinating.

Melissa George

Friday 28th of January 2022

Hi Tori, that's an interesting perspective. We worked hard to give a wide range of books from 1900-present spanning Western Europe. 74% of the books have no relation to the WW2 era at all, and only 2 are entirely about WW2 (one fiction, one non-fiction). Another handful do have storylines that overlap somehow with WW2, all from different perspectives. The overall goal of the Book Voyage Challenge is to show a more contemporary viewpoint, so you are correct that none of the books cover the vast and important history of Europe before 1900.

If you're interested in reading more historical fiction from other time periods, we'd recommend checking out our Decades Challenge. And you're always welcome to read any book you'd like for the challenge, they don't have to come from our curated lists.

Jerri Patton

Thursday 20th of January 2022

I've read eight of these books, my favorite is 'The Splendid and the Vile'.

2021 Reading Challenge - Read Around the World - Book Girls' Guide

Wednesday 10th of March 2021

[…] February: Western Europe […]

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Saturday 20th of February 2021

[…] Next up, pick your book set in Western Europe! […]

Katie

Friday 12th of February 2021

I strongly recommend looking into The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne! My favorite book I've read in the past couple of years and gives a huge insight into Irish culture.

Melissa George

Friday 12th of February 2021

Thank you, Katie! I've heard great things about that and can't believe we never stumbled on it during our Ireland search! Thank you!

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