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

If you’re joining us for our 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!

2 tilted book covers with Boston Girl in the middle

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 are available here.

What Kind of Books are Included On This List?

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.

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.

Book Set in New England

On the list below, we’ve grouped the books by state, and also indicated the time setting of each. Connecticut books are available here.

About 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 Maine

Haven Point Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

95% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This novel introduces us to three generations of a family that spends summers in a seaside town on Maine’s rocky coastline.

Maren Larsen grew up in a small farming community in Minnesota, but in 1944, amid WWII, she was determined to do her part in the war effort. While working as a nurse at Walter Reed Medical Center, she’s swept off her feet by a doctor named Oliver, whose family summers yearly on the coast of Maine.

Twenty-six years later, in 1970, as the conflict with Vietnam rages, Maren and Oliver are at odds with their fiercely independent teenage daughter. Seventeen-year-old Annie has fallen for a man her parents disapprove of. By the end of the summer, the family has suffered a terrible tragedy, and Annie vows never to return to Haven Point, Maine.

In 2008, Maren’s grandaughter, Skye, arrives in Haven Point to help scatter her mother’s ashes. Skye has inherited her mother, Annie’s, view of Maine. Rather than seeing the coast’s beauty and enjoying the regattas, clambakes, and sing-alongs, Annie believes the people to be snobbish and petty. But Annie never told Skye the full story of what happened during the summer of ‘70.

The Book Girls Say…

This family story is told from the perspectives of Maren and Skye and jumps around between the three timelines. Readers say it’s not hard to keep the timelines straight, but you might want to consider a different option if you don’t enjoy novels that go back and forth in time. Some find it more difficult to follow the shifting timelines when reading the audiobook versus print or ebook.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Summertime Reads for Historical Fiction Fans

The singing trees book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

91% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

While this book starts in 2019, it soon goes back to 1969 and chronologically tells the story of Annalisa’s life until the end of the 70s. She is a passionate and talented young artist trying to find her voice as the country is affected by the Vietnam War.

Annalisa leaves her grandma and small town and moves to the thriving art scene in Portland, Maine. While her primary pursuit is art, she meets Thomas, an Ivy-league student with a much different background than her own. He up-ends her quest to become a museum artist in ways she didn’t expect. But her unexpected love may be unraveled by an unforgivable lie.

The Book Girls Say…

Readers say that this coming-of-age book is both heartbreaking and uplifting. The fashion and food will transport you back in time to the art scene of Maine in the 1970s. The author started his career as a songwriter, which becomes apparent through lyrical writing and the inclusion of references to the musicians of the era.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 11/21/2023
Fellowship Point book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

89% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Agnes and Polly have been best friends for generations. They are also part owners of a land trust for a peninsula of land on the Maine coast known as Fellowship Point.

The two friends have led very different lives. Agnes is a celebrated author of children’s books. Additionally, she wrote a series of novels under a pseudonym. Polly has three adult sons and is married to a professor with an inflated sense of ego.

Now in her eighties, Agnes wants to ensure that Fellowship Point will be permanently protected by donating the land to a trust. But doing so requires dissolving the generations-old partnership among the shareholders. Polly finds herself torn between the wishes of Anges and those of her sons.

When a book editor tries to convince Agnes to write her memoirs, long-buried secrets have repercussions for all of them.

The Book Girls Say…

This is a long book (nearly 600 pages), but readers say that the payoff is worth it if you enjoy character-driven books and are able to dedicate your attention to the story. It’s said to be a beautiful, slow-moving novel that you’ll want to savor. Those who don’t enjoy it prefer a more fast-moving plot than this introspective read offers.

When We Were the Kennedy's book cover

Book Summary

This short (235-page) non-fiction is a memoir with a strong focus on the town of Mexico, Maine. In the early 1950s, the Oxford Paper factory was a primary employer of the resistents, who were mostly Catholic immigrants. The father of the Wood family provided a good life for his wife and four daughters through his job as a foreman at the paper mill, so when he suddenly passes away, the girls are set adrift.

A few months later, the nation also suffered the loss of its handsome Catholic leader, John F. Kennedy, echoing the personal loss felt in the Wood home.

The Book Girls Say…

While this book is about the author’s childhood loss of her dad, it’s also a larger story about Mexico, Maine, and what it meant to be a company town.

A Piece of the World book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

95% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This atmospheric novel takes place in a small coastal town in Maine, and is inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting, Christina’s World.

Christina Olson was born at the austere home on a barren hill in Cushing, Maine, that her family had inhabited for generations. After nearly dying as a child and being incapacitated by ongoing illness, Christina could never venture beyond her small community, an austere house on a barren hill in Cushing, Maine.

For twenty years, the farm hosted painter Andrew Wyeth during the summers. Many of his paintings feature the family’s farm, but Christina herself would inspire his most iconic painting.

While Wyeth makes some appearances in the novel, this historical fiction focuses on Christina as it vividly imagines her life on the farm through the changing Maine seasons.

The Book Girls Say…

While many of our readers rated this book 10/10 last year, keep in mind that the book is slow-paced and has a melancholy tone. If you have any winter blues, skip this one in favor of something more uplifting.

For another literary read set in Maine, try the 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls by Richard Russo. It’s also well-written with great character development, but not recommended if you need to avoid books with depressing daily-life themes.

Saving Mrs Roosevelt Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

91% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Shirley lives in Maine and is frustrated by her limited ability to assist the war effort. When she learns about an opportunity for single women to join SPARs, the first female branch of the Coast Guard, she rushes to sign up despite objections by her father.

After rigorous training, she’s singled out for a special mission back home in Maine. The intelligence community has uncovered a plot against the first lady, and they need Shirley’s help to stop it.

The Book Girls Say…

Several reviewers noted that this Christian fiction feels like it was written for a middle-grade or young-adult audience. The writing is clean and simple, but readers enjoyed learning about the topic and most rate it highly.
While the book is listed as the third book in the Heroines of WW2 series, the books are all totally separate and even have different authors, so don’t feel like you need to read them in order.

About 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 Massachusetts

The Boston Girl book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

97% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Addie Baum was born to a Jewish family at the turn of the 20th century. Her immigrant parents were very concerned about America’s effect on their three daughters. Growing up in Boston’s North End, Addie is introduced to a progressive world of short skirts, movies, and celebrity culture. She also sees a new world of opportunities for young women and dreams of college and a career.

At 85 years old, Addie Baum’s 22-year-old granddaughter asks her how she became the woman she is. Her story begins in 1915 when teenage Addie lived in a one-room tenement apartment that she shared with her family.

The Book Girls Say…

The story of Addie’s life is told with compassion, a wicked sense of humor, and great attention to historical detail. Over 100 of our readers selected this book as their Massachusetts book for our Read Around the USA Challenge this year, and it received rave reviews. Numerous readers specifically mentioned how much they enjoyed the audio version of the book, and said that the narration and the accents added to the story.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Books that Span Multiple Decades

Book Summary

This book weaves together a haunting tale of past and present. In 1850 Massachusetts, Whittaker House was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Sadly, some people seeking freedom didn’t make it out alive – including Little Annie and Clementine.

More than a century and a half later, Whittaker House is now a vacation rental in the Berkshires. But many of those who visit the house are not there merely as tourists – they are contemporary Black women struggling to reconcile the legacy of slavery.

This haunted story is described as the perfect mix of history and paranormal suspense.

The Book Girls Say…

This is a short novel at just over 200 pages, but it covers a lot of ground – with many shifting points of view and storylines. If you prefer books written in a linear style, this one might not be a good pick for you.

HEADS UP: This book deals with many difficult topics, including rape and stolen babies.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 11/22/2023

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

Fall Books: 2023 Cozy Autumn Reading Guide

The Hotel Nantucket book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

96% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

If winter has you dreaming of relaxing days summering on Nantucket, you can grab any of Elin Hilderbrand’s books. But for this list, we selected The Hotel Nantucket because the back of the novel includes a detailed travel guide to Nantucket with hotel and restaurant recommendations.

The story takes place at a recently restored hotel with quite a history. In 1922, the hotel had a tragic fire, which killed a 19-year-old chambermaid, Grace. It degraded from a gilded gem to an abandoned eyesore in the following years. Thankfully, it has finally been restored by a billionaire from London.

He hires Nantucket native Lizbet as the general manager. She’s in charge of restoring the reputation of the hotel. This job can be complicated since it involves ensuring the staff gets along with each other, the guests, and the ghost of Grace. Grace is determined to keep up her shenanigans until someone acknowledges that her death in 1922 wasn’t an accident.

Hester book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

94% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This novel reimagines the story of the woman who inspired Hester Prynne from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter.

In the early 1800s, young seamstress Isobel sailed to the New World from Scotland. Her husband, Edward, has become addicted to opium, so they are trying to leave their secrets and debts behind. However, shortly after arriving in Salem, Edward leaves Isobel alone when he joins a ship as a medic.

When Isobel meets Nathaniel Hawthorne, they grow close. One is a muse, and one is a dark storyteller, but which is which?

The Book Girls Say…

Salem’s place in history is closely tied to the witch trials of the 1600s. If you are interested in reading more about the witch trials, we also recommend reading The Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian (although the witch trial in his historical thriller is set in Boston).

Caleb's Crossing Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

93% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

In this novel, the author has spun a vivid tale based on a true historical event. In 1665, a young man from Martha’s Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College.

The narrator, Bethia Mayfield, is growing up in the settlement of Great Harbor amid pioneers and Puritans. She yearns for education and opportunities that are closed off to her as a woman in the 17th century. At every opportunity, she sneaks away to explore the island’s beaches and observe the native Wampanoag inhabitants.

This is where, at the age of 12, she meets Caleb, the son of a chieftain. The two form a secret friendship that introduces them to each other’s world. Bethia’s minister father begins guiding Caleb’s education, ultimately leading him to Cambridge to study Latin and Greek among the colonial elite. At the same time, Bethia is forced to work as a housekeeper in Cambridge. This puts her in a position to observe the convergence of cultures that Caleb is encountering.

The Book Girls Say…

Geraldine Brooks is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Horse and The People of the Book (which was a popular choice among our readers in our Book Voyage Challenge).

Some readers find the beginning of this book to be slow and hard to get into because of the 1600s dialect used in the writing. However, almost everyone said it was worth sticking with the book and that you shouldn’t skip the historical notes at the end.

Things You Save in a Fire Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

96% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Throughout the decade’s challenge, we’ve seen the role and treatment of women continually evolve. However, Things You Save in a Fire confronts some of the biases that have remained into the 2010s.

Cassie Hanwell was a firefighter in Austin and loved her job. But when her mother asks her to move to Boston despite their strained relationship, Cassie’s experience at the new fire house couldn’t be more different.

With a lack of funding, poor facilities, and an old-school hazing culture, the firehouse is not happy to have a woman join their crew.

The Book Girls Say…

Katherine Center became one of our favorite authors over the past two years, and Things You Save in a Fire is one of her best! Some consider this book a simple romance, but we believe the other aspects of the story are more important.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 11/25/2023

About 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 New Hampshire

Unlikely Animals book cover

Book Summary

Emma is a natural-born healer, but dropped out of medical school. She’s returned home to help care for her father, Clive, who has a mysterious brain disease. As part of the disease, he has been hallucinating both animals and a long-dead naturalist, Ernest Harold Baynes. Ernest’s ghost has been giving Clive tips on how to live out his final days.

But caring for Clive isn’t Emma’s only challenge in her New Hampshire hometown. She also has a younger brother fresh out of rehab, and a childhood best friend who is missing. The police aren’t much help because the friend has been labeled a drug addict. Emma seems to be the only one with hope that she is still alive.

Together, Emma and her father accidentally set in motion a miracle that their opioid-suffering town really needs.

The Book Girls Say…

This book is described as a tragi-comedy about family, friendship, and the opioid crisis ravaging small towns.

Mad Honey book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

96% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Olivia has been raising her son, Asher, as a single mom ever since she fled her seemingly perfect marriage that was not as it appeared from the outside. When she left her abusive marriage to protect her son, she brought him to her small hometown in New Hampshire. Once home, she moved into her childhood house and took over her father’s beekeeping business.

Like Olivia, Lily is also familiar with starting over. She and her mom recently relocated to New Hampshire to give Lily a fresh start in her final year of high school.

Olivia and Lily’s lives cross paths when Asher begins dating and falls in love with the new girl in town. A few months later, Olivia is shocked to receive a phone call from Asher that he’s at the police station and Lily is dead. Asher is the only suspect in the case, but he insists he didn’t do it. Olivia is willing to give up everything she has to defend her son. But as the case moves toward trial, and as she discovers that Asher has hidden more from her than she realized, Olivia begins to question what traits her son may have inherited from his father.

The Book Girls Say…

Keep in mind that this story does not follow a linear timeline, instead jumping back and forth between the present and various points in the past. Be sure to pay attention to the beginning of each chapter, which tells you where that chapter’s events take place along the timeline.

Vote First or Die Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Since 1920, the residents of New Hampshire have been the first to cast their votes in each presidential primary. History has shown that a successful presidential run must start with a win, or at least a strong showing, in New Hampshire. On the flip side, NH is also the graveyard of failed political ambitions when candidates can’t figure out how to win over the voters in this state.

For a year and a half leading up to the 2016 Primary Day, reporter Scott Conroy followed the 2016 campaigns throughout New Hampshire. He got up close and personal with the candidates and voters. As a result, this book is filled with local insights and entertaining anecdotes from far-flung towns like Dixville Notch to the “big cities” like Manchester and Portsmouth.

The Book Girls Say…

Reviewers say that this non-fiction is an entertaining read, but there is some lighthearted ribbing of the people and places of New Hampshire. In addition to looking at the modern primary process in New Hampshire, it also provides a lot of historical information. It jumps back and forth between the past and present throughout.

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

96% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Amy Fox is a horror novelist with a major case of writer’s block. She’s heartbroken after recently calling off her fall wedding.

When she receives a call that her grandfather broke his wrist driving through a Dunkin Donuts (literally right through the front of the store), she has to return to her hometown of Autumnboro, New Hampshire, to care for him. But returning home runs the risk of bumping into Kit Parker – her childhood best friend and first love.

The Book Girls Say…

This book is light and sugary sweet, but it will transport you to small-town New Hampshire. If you’re looking for a quick and cute romance, this book fits the bill. True to a Hallmark-style romance, this book is a clean read. In fact, this book was adapted into a Hallmark movie in the fall of 2022, although the plot of the movie bears little resemblance to the book.

If you enjoy Pumpkin Everything, you can continue to enjoy the New England autumn via the sequel, Maple Sugar Crush.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 11/22/2023
The Good Daughters Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

80% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Ruth and Dana were born at the same small New Hampshire hospital on the same day. But the families they were born into couldn’t be more different, and neither feels they belong.

Ruth is an artist with an imaginative spirit. She’s the youngest of five girls in a farming family, but she yearns to break free from the confines of the farmland. Dana is a scientist and a realist, being raised by drifter parents. She yearns for stability that her family cannot offer.

This novel spans more than fifty years, and we see the ways that the lives of these “birthday sisters” parallel and intersect through the years, from childhood and adolescence to marriage, parenthood, and divorce.

The Book Girls Say…

This is a slower-paced book, especially at the beginning. It’s perfect for those who enjoy more character-driven reads.

WARNING: The Good Daughters contains difficult themes, including incest and abortion. Some readers last year expected more of a clean read based on the cover, but the author uses adult language.

About 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 Rhode Island

The Lost Summers of Newport book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

95% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Spanning the Gilded Age to the present day in three different timelines, this novel is set amongst the summer mansions of Newport, Rhode Island.

In the present day, you’ll meet Andie, the producer of a reality show called Mansion Makeover. She’s in Newport to renovate the once fabulous but now slowly crumbling Sprague Hall. However, she has more than construction problems. The mansion comes with a reclusive heiress who still lives in the house but insists that no one speaks to her and that no one touches the boathouse.

In 1958, you’ll meet Lucia, aka Lucky, Sprague, who fled Mussolini’s Italy with her grandmother. They return to her Nana’s Newport house, which she hasn’t seen since 1899. One night in the boathouse, she uncovers a shocking truth that changes everything she thought she knew.

In 1899, mining heiress Maybelle Sprague was taking singing lessons from Ellen, who had been hired to help polish Maybelle for her entrance into society. Maybelle’s stepbrother has just purchased a home among Newport’s elite and hopes to marry Maybelle off to an Italian prince. However, Ellen has a checkered past that the family doesn’t know about.

The Book Girls Say…

If you love the Gilded Age period, there are several other books set in Newport, Rhode Island on our Gilded Age book list!

Fellowship Point book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

89% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Agnes and Polly have been best friends for generations. They are also part owners of a land trust for a peninsula of land on the Maine coast known as Fellowship Point.

The two friends have led very different lives. Agnes is a celebrated author of children’s books. Additionally, she wrote a series of novels under a pseudonym. Polly has three adult sons and is married to a professor with an inflated sense of ego.

Now in her eighties, Agnes wants to ensure that Fellowship Point will be permanently protected by donating the land to a trust. But doing so requires dissolving the generations-old partnership among the shareholders. Polly finds herself torn between the wishes of Anges and those of her sons.

When a book editor tries to convince Agnes to write her memoirs, long-buried secrets have repercussions for all of them.

The Book Girls Say…

This is a long book (nearly 600 pages), but readers say that the payoff is worth it if you enjoy character-driven books are able to dedicate your attention to the story. It’s said to be a beautiful, slow-moving novel that you’ll want to savor. Those who don’t enjoy it prefer a more fast-moving plot than this introspective read offers.

Down City Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

95% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This true crime memoir paints a vivid portrait of Rhode Island, where the ghosts of mafia kingpins live alongside a community of stubborn people working hard every day to get by.

Leah Carroll’s story is that of a resilient young woman’s determination to learn the truth about the mother she never knew and the troubled father who raised her. Leah’s mother, a talented photographer, was murdered by two drug dealers with Mafia connections when Leah was just four years old. Her alcoholic father – a man she describes as “both my greatest champion and biggest obstacle” – died when Leah was just eighteen.

This memoir documents Leah’s life from her earlier years in the 1980s through the age of 32.

The Book Girls Say…

As you would expect, this book contains difficult topics.

The Islanders book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

93% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Anthony is a rising literary star, but he’s struggling. He borrows a friend’s crumbling beach house on Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island, hoping that the quiet solitude will be just what he needs.

Joy came to Block Island a decade ago after her divorce to build a new life for herself and her young daughter. She now owns the island’s beloved whoopie pie cafe, but a new-to-town food truck is threatening her business.

Lu and her surgeon husband spend the summer on the island with their sons while he commutes to the mainland hospital. A former corporate lawyer turned stay-at-home mom, Lu, is quietly working on a new project that is increasingly demanding of her time.

Throughout one summer on Block Island, the lives of three strangers become intertwined through romance, well-meaning lies, and secrets – but as June turns to August, the truth will eventually come out.

The Book Girls Say…

This Rhode Island book is a delicious read perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand-style novels.

About 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.

Books Set in Vermont

A Stranger in the Kingdom book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This novel, first published in 1989, tells the story of a brutal small-town murder in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The town hires a new minister after a phone interview. The Black minister arrives in town to find racial tension and religious strife. Soon, the minister finds himself on trial more for who he is than for what he might have done.

The minister’s 16-year-old son befriends the son of the local newspaper editor. The story is told through the eyes of the editor’s young son as he looks back on that fateful summer nearly thirty-five years later.

The Book Girls Say…

The area known as the Northeast Kingdom represents 2,000 square miles of Vermont, including some of the state’s most scenic and untouched locations. The author writes about this region as only a local can, and readers from the area say that he truly captured the spirit and culture of the Kingdom during the mid-fifties.

The murder trial in this book is said to be incredibly well written, making it perfect for fans of legal dramas. If you prefer coming-of-age novels, the author also wrote another book titled Northern Borders, which is set in the same region.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 11/22/2023
The Broken Girls Book Cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

100% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

In the 1950s, Idlewild Hall was the place for girls deemed troublemakers – those who were too smart for their own good and unwanted. Rumors swirl through the small town that the boarding school is haunted. After four roommates bond over their whispered fears, one of them disappears.

Six decades later, in 2014, journalist Fiona Sheridan learns that an anonymous benefactor is restoring Idlewild Hall. She can’t stop thinking about the night twenty years earlier when her older sister was found dead in a field near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. Then, a shocking discovery during renovations links her sister’s death to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past.

The Book Girls Say…

This book is part dark academia and part ghost story. If you are looking for other books with a dark academia vibe, consider Home Before Dark and Truly Devious.

Book Summary

Livvy is a talented pastry chef at an exclusive Boston dinner club. Unfortunately, her career goes up in flames when she manages to flambé not just a dessert, but the entire building. Needing to get out of town, she heads north to Vermont and the comfort of her best friend. She doesn’t intend to stay long, but that all changes when she’s offered a job at the Sugar Maple Inn. The owner of the Sugar Maple hopes that Livvy can help her reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status in the apple pie contest at the county fair.

Livvy and her dog, Salty, move into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property. She loves creating mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie, and she soon finds herself immersed in small-town life. She hits it off with Martin McCraken, a Guthrie native who has recently returned home to care for his father.

Soon, there’s another new arrival in town that makes Livvy question if she really belongs in Guthrie after all.

The Book Girls Say…

This novel is described as a perfect mix of Gilmore Girls, the 1980’s Diane Keaton movie, Baby Boom, and the Broadway musical Waitress. What could be better than that?

Like all good foodie books, this one will make you hungry, so grab a warm pastry and a cup of hot apple cider before curling up under a cozy blanket.

Also Featured on These Book Lists:

20 Cozy Fall Romance Books & Rom Coms

Count the Ways book cover

Book Summary

Eleanor and Cam met at a crafts fair in Vermont in the early 1970s – she was an artist and writer, and he made wooden bowls. Within four years, they were married with three children and living on a New Hampshire farm. Their life is exactly what Eleanor always dreamed of.

But then a terrible accident occurs, and Cam’s negligence causes it. Eleanor is unable to forgive her husband. As the decades pass, the five members of this family deal with discoveries and tensions – including a gender transition – that bring them together and tear them apart.

The Book Girls Say…

In addition to descriptively portraying New England, this book also traces the history of the late 20th century, including the computer age, the Challenger explosion, the AIDS epidemic, the early awakenings of the #MeToo era, and beyond.

Our readers warn that this book is great if you’re in an okay place to read a novel with a depressing feel. One reader said, “This book is a gut punch. It perfectly portrays a life full of tragedy from start to finish. It brought me to tears multiple times.”

Kindle Unlimited as of: 07/13/2021
Radio Free Vermont book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

90% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

This political fiction novel imagines a movement in which a band of Vermont patriots decides that their state might be better off as its own republic.

Seventy-two-year-old Vern Barclay hosts Radio Free Vermont, broadcasting from an “undisclosed and double-secret location.” With the help of a young computer prodigy, he uses his radio show to advocate for the idea of an independent Vermont.

He empowers an eccentric group of activists who carry out their version of guerilla warfare. This includes dismissing local middle school children early in honor of ‘Ethan Allen Day’ and hijacking a Coors Light truck to replace the stock with local brew.

But even as Vern’s idea gains traction, he must remain in hiding. In addition to being a political activist, he’s a fugitive from the law.

The Book Girls Say…

When we think of Vermont, we think of the state’s history as a pioneer in legislative issues, such as gay rights and environmentalism. While we generally try to steer clear of specifically political books, this one is a humorous work of fiction that vividly portrays the small but mighty state of Vermont. This book is certainly not for everyone, but it’s a short read we wanted to throw into the mix for those interested.


We hope you enjoyed this book list and found several books to add to your TBR (to be read list). If you’re choosing a book for our reading challenge, you are also welcome to read any other book that meets the challenge prompt.

If you have a suggestion for a book that you think would be a great addition to this list, please fill out this form.

You can read all about the Read Around the USA Challenge and sign up for a free printable challenge book tracker here.

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

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Angela & Melissa

The Book Girls are best friends who jointly read over 200 books per year. We started Book Girls' Guide in 2019 to help others de-stress and find joy through the power of a great book. We do in-depth research on thousands of novels and non-fiction titles each year to provide curated book lists covering a variety of genres.

Andrea

Tuesday 28th of November 2023

I'm pledging to do the States challenge next year. Like many dedicated readers, I buy way more than I can read. Looking through some of the lists I saw several books I've bought but haven't gotten to yet scattered through New England and Midwest settings. What a great way to read some of my backlog, that must have sounded good to me but I haven't got around to. Yet!

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