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Books Set in Eastern Europe & Russia

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Whether you found this list looking for Books Set in Russia or Eastern Europe, or as part of our Book Voyage reading challenge, we hope it includes the perfect book for you.

Eastern Europe: Its People, Conflicts, and Changing Borders

While many of the countries in the western half of Europe are very well known to Americans, as you journey further to the east the region holds more of an air of mystery. This is true in part because the western countries have historically been easier to visit, while many of the Eastern European countries were behind the “Iron Curtain” for much of the 20th century.

The fall of the USSR, in 1991, lead to the creation of more than a dozen new nation-states, and the names and borders of countries in this region have continued to shift and change over the past several decades. Although it’s easy to lump these countries together because of their shared history, the truth is that they are extremely diverse, and we are excited to explore their unique cultures through this month’s books.

Watching the news provides a big-picture view of current events and conflicts around the world, but books can help us better understand the everyday citizens who are caught in the middle. Especially in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we hope that our list of books set in Ukraine will help you learn more about this country’s past and present.

List of Eastern European Countries

Depending on the context – geographical, political, cultural, or historical – you’ll find various answers as to which countries are classified as “Eastern Europe.” In this region, there are numerous countries, like Russia, that straddle the border between Europe and Asia. Additionally, there are numerous countries on the European continent that are considered part of the Middle East from a geo-political perspective. We will be reading books set in the Middle East another month for the Book Voyage Challenge, so we have not included those countries on this month’s list.

For purposes of this reading challenge, we consider Eastern Europe to include the following: Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Czechia (formerly known as the Czech Republic), Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Albania, North Macedonia, mainland Greece (the Greek Islands are included with our Island Books), Georgia, Chechnya, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

Hand holding Between Shades of Gray over pink background with globe showing Russia

What Kind of Books are Included On This List?

We’ve compiled a list of books set in more than 20 different countries, including many of the best Eastern European novels, some wonderful YA books set in Russia and Eastern Europe, and plenty of historical fiction, memoirs, and fascinating non-fiction reads. 

We’ve worked hard to curate book recommendations that feature many Eastern European writers, and we’ve placed an emphasis on books that not only take place in Eastern Europe but also provide atmospheric descriptions that will really transport you to the country of your choice.

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

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, we may earn a referral fee from qualifying purchases.

Highly-Rated Books About Eastern Europe

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.

Join the Book Voyage Reading Challenge

Photo of the book voyage reading challenge printable with text about how to join the challenge. Clicking the image takes you to the reading challenge home page with text instructions.

Book Recommendations For Other Regions of the World

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.

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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Jerri Patton

Thursday 20th of April 2023

Two books I would highly recommend: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, which is being made into TV series and Red Notice by Bill Browder, both are very well written and most interesting books.


Thursday 20th of April 2023

I would like to add Dr. Zhivago, winner of the 1958 Nobel Prize for Literature. It had to smuggled out of Russia to get published.


Monday 7th of February 2022

There is also “A Night Divided” by Jennifer Nielsen.

Books Set in Western Europe - Book Girls' Guide

Saturday 20th of March 2021

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

Books Set in Asia: Northern Countries - Book Girls' Guide

Saturday 20th of March 2021

[…] “Northern Asia” for purposes of our Book Voyage. Since we grouped all of Russia in with Eastern Europe last month, we have not included Siberian Russia on our Asian list this month. In short, […]