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Books Set in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

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If you’re joining us for our 2023 Read Around the USA Challenge, welcome! If you simply found your way to our website researching books set in your home state or your next travel destination, you’ve still come to the right place!

Below you’ll find a list of some of the best books set in New England, including Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Connecticut books will be included on June’s list.

three angled book covers of books set in New England

New England immediately conjures images of fall leaves and covered bridges. But for the challenge, we’ve compiled a wide range of reading options that dive deeper into life in each state. Our curated recommendations strike a good balance between historical fiction books, contemporary novels, and nonfiction books about New England.

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Book Set in New England

On the list below, we've grouped the books by state, and also indicated the time setting of each.

Books Set in Maine

Situated in the far northeastern corner of the United States, Maine is known for its rocky coastline, frigid waters, and lobster fishing. In addition, Portland, Maine, is home to a vibrant art scene, making it a destination for artists and visitors.

One of Maine’s most famous residents is author Stephen King. He was born in Portland, raised in Durham, and now lives and writes in Bangor. Most of his horror novels are set in fictional Maine towns - some of which, like Derry and Castle Rock, appear in multiple books. We haven’t listed any Stephen King titles on our list below, but you’re certainly welcome to read one for the challenge this month if you’d like.

Books Set in Massachusetts

The history of Massachusetts is inextricably intertwined with the history of the US. As one of the 13 original colonies, it was the landing place of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims in 1620, the site of the Salem witch trials in the late 17th century, and then the colonists protested with the Boston Tea Party in 1773.

This long history has left its mark on modern-day Boston. The landscape varies from the gas lights along the brick-lined streets of Beacon Hill to Harvard's Cambridge campus, which dates back four centuries.

The quaint islands off the Atlantic coast are a vacation destination for those living on the east coast and are the setting of numerous books on the list.

Books Set in New Hampshire

New Hampshire was the first of the 13 original colonies to declare independence from England. Upon adopting its own constitution in January of 1776, New Hampshire became the first free constitutional government in the world.

Since those early days, New Hampshire, despite its small size, has maintained a position of great importance in national politics. For the past century, it has been the first state to hold its presidential primary every four years (although this could be changing in 2024).

Beyond its place in politics, New Hampshire is known for its beautiful landscape and quaint small towns. It is the second most forested state in the US and has the shortest coastline of any coastal state (just about 18 miles).

Books Set in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US, but it boasts more than 400 miles of coastline. 

During the Gilded Age of the late 19th century and early 20th century, many of America’s wealthiest families summered in the seaside town of Newport, Rhode Island. They built extravagant mansions that have been historically preserved, and now draw a million tourists a year. It’s no surprise that many of the books about Rhode Island are set in Newport, or other islands, including Block Island.

Books Set in Vermont

The Green Mountain state is home to numerous elite boarding schools and liberal arts colleges. While researching books about Vermont, a major theme that emerged was dark academia and cold-weather thrillers, so you'll find a few of these on the list.

Poet Robert Frost moved from New Hampshire to Vermont in 1920 and lived there for more than four decades. He became the official poet laureate of Vermont, writing from his log cabin.

You are welcome to choose any book that you’d like to read for the challenge, but we hope that this list of books has given you a good starting point.

Members of our email list and Facebook group, Read with the Book Girls can log ratings for their monthly challenge reads. The logs provide us with data for the “BGG Reader Ratings” that are added to descriptions for future years. We’d love you to contribute your rating after you’ve finished your read this month.

Can you send me a printable list with the book titles but not descriptions?

This was a big request last year that we weren’t able to add to our plates in 2022. New for 2023, readers who support Book Girls Guide through our Buy Me a Coffee membership site will receive special monthly printable journal pages as a thank you bonus. The voluntary members (we call them our BFFs) help cover the cost of running the challenges so we can keep them free for everyone.

We’re so excited to be able to offer this fun perk this year!

The new pages will be pre-filled with every book title for the month, and include space for you to mark your interest level, make notes about whether you’ve requested the book from the library (or any other notes you’d like), and then fill in your rating. We’ll also include blank lines in case you have other books on your TBR (to be read) list that meet the prompt. We’d love you to sign up here!

That said, you’ll always find the most updated version of our recommendations with descriptions each month at no cost on our website. We do update the list and descriptions regularly based on reader feedback. But, we know some of you wanted to print the list to take to the library or bookstore, and we hope this helps.

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Join us for more free content, reading challenges, & discussion in the Book Girls’ Guide Facebook Group!

White diamond covering 4 book covers reading "30+ books Set in New England"

Mysti

Thursday 5th of January 2023

Hester is only available for pre-order via your link. It does not come out until October of this year. ☹️

Angela Rathbun

Thursday 5th of January 2023

Our link goes to the Kindle version, which is available now, as is the audiobook and the hardback. Hester has not yet been released in paperback (that's what is available for pre-order). Quite a few of our readers have already checked out Hester from their local libraries, as well!

Carolyn

Monday 2nd of January 2023

I’ve picked 11……. what a great list of books!!!!

Melissa

Sunday 1st of January 2023

First time in this group and I can’t wait to start reading! Seriously all of the books sound so good!

Joan Schmidman

Saturday 31st of December 2022

Loved Fellowship Point, our bookclub is reading it this month.

Lynndorian Swindell

Saturday 31st of December 2022

Good thing I am retired because I want to read so many of these! Is there a way to print off a list of titles and authors? I do appreciate the work that went into the choosing of all these books!

Angela Rathbun

Sunday 1st of January 2023

This was a big request last year that we weren’t able to add to our plates in 2022. New for 2023, readers who support Book Girls Guide through our Buy Me a Coffee membership site (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/bookgirlsguide) will receive special monthly printable journal pages as a thank you bonus. The voluntary members (we call them our BFFs) help cover the cost of running the challenges so we can keep them free for everyone.

The journal pages are pre-filled with every book title/author for the month, and include space for you to mark your interest level, make notes about whether you’ve requested the book from the library (or any other notes you’d like), and then fill in your rating. We’ll also include blank lines in case you have other books on your TBR (to be read) list that meet the prompt. You can see a sample of what the journal pages look like in this post: https://bookgirlsguide.com/read-around-the-usa/ (look below the list of monthly reading prompts).