Booksellers recommend fantastic fiction set across Britain and Ireland

Pack your book token! Although we miss going on holiday abroad, there's so much to love about the United Kingdom and Ireland. We asked booksellers across the country to recommend one great book set in their bookshop's local area, so you can travel the country through books this summer.  

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Date with Deceit

Tanya from Limestone Books in Settle, North Yorkshire: Date with Deceit by Julia Chapman

"#6 in the Dales Detective series, Date with Deceit is set in the fictional town of Bruncliffe, which everyone knows is Settle! It's a rollicking read, with well-loved and despised characters deceiving each other at every turn. Ending on a total cliffhanger, it's the most exciting book of the series so far."

Started Early, Took My Dog

Asher from Darling Reads in Horbury, West Yorkshire: Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

"Started Early, Took My Dog is set in nearby Leeds with references to famous buildings and landmarks of the city. As with everything Kate Atkinson writes, it's exciting, captivating and peppered with dark humour – a fantastic book!"

The Deception of Harriet Fleet

Paul from Chapter One Loftus in Loftus, North Yorkshire: The Deception of Harriet Fleet by Helen Scarlett

"The Deception of Harriet Fleet is set in Teesbank Hall in 1871, but is based on Preston Hall in Egglescliffe. The author’s husband is a teacher in a local school here and the book is an amazing read. It’s described as an atmospheric Victorian chiller, dark and brimming with suspense. It kept me guessing and wanting more and more; I described it to Helen Scarlett as 'Downton Abbey comes to Stockton'. It’s lovely to read about local familiar places, and I truly never guessed the ending!"

Essex Girls

Olivia from Maldon Books in Maldon, Essex: Essex Girls: For Profane and Opinionated Women Everywhere by Sarah Perry

"For profane and opinionated women everywhere, Sarah Perry's feminist defence of the Essex girl is a book we'll revisit time and again. From Rose Allin to Kim Kardashian, Perry shows us how the Essex Girl is not bound to her roots, that she stands for so much more than what one might think. A bestseller at our bookshop, and an informative celebration of a multitude of women, in all their outspoken and marvellous ways."

The Stranger Diaries

Sara from The Steyning Bookshop in Steyning, West Sussex: The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

"By the wonderful and witty award-winning thriller writer Elly Griffiths, this atmospheric mystery is partly set on the outskirts of a Sussex village near a looming derelict cement works where odd flashing lights at night unnerve teacher Clare Cassidy and her daughter who live in a cottage nearby. Add two murders at Clare's spooky old school where she has received creepy notes in her journal from a long dead academic and you have a thoroughly gripping read which as a bonus gives our bookshop a mention! And the lovely gay female Hindu cop who also starred has now appeared in a great follow-on, The Postscript Murders, set down the road in Shoreham-by-Sea."

 

The Vanishing Witch

Sasha from Lindum Books in Lincoln, Lincolnshire: The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland

"This is a medieval thriller set in a Lincoln of 1380. A mysterious widow arrives in the city with her children, shortly followed by a series of unnatural deaths and the talk soon turns to witchcraft. The sinister events take place against the recognisable backdrop of the city and readers can follow closely the setting of the story as they explore Lincoln's historical – and ghostly past. A great page-turning read!"

 

The Friday Gospels

Diane from ebb & flo bookshop in Chorley, Lancashire: The Friday Gospels by Jenn Ashworth

"This is a novel about family dynamics and the Lancastrian Mormon community – Chorley has an imposing and the second biggest LDS temple in the country. The author grew up in a Mormon household but abandoned the faith as a teenager. Black comedy and tragedy, missionaries, a memorable scene in Booths supermarket and brilliant writing."

The Manningtree Witches

Jo from Red Lion Books in Colchester, Essex: The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blakemore

"Set in Manningtree, Essex in 1643, The Manningtree Witches is an imagined and unsettling telling of the fear and menace faced by women during the English witch trials. Blakemore honours their doomed wisdom and wit with bold, beautiful and poetic prose. She is an award-winning poet, which shows in the rich language she chooses to tell her story."

Acts of Kindness

Jo from Devizes Books in Devizes, Wiltshire: Acts of Kindness by Heather Barnett

"Acts of Kindness is set in a sleepy Wiltshire village, no doubt based on the village where Heather grew up near Devizes! The plot involves a secret institution called OAK, which stands for Organised Acts of Kindness and it really did make me think about whether Random Acts of Kindness were, in fact, being carried out by OAK! The book is fun and a good summer read. I chose it as it has local interest and Heather was a customer in her schooldays, so I hope part of her wanting to be a writer may have come from my bookshop."

I Let You Go

Twitter Guy from Waterstones in Swansea, Wales: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

"Former CID officer Claire Mackintosh's brilliant crime fiction debut is a taut, intense tour de force. Set largely in a fictional (but recognisable) area of the real Gower, it's a perfectly paced psychological thriller, with perhaps the most audacious and breath-taking plot twist that you're ever likely to read.”

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency

Helen from The Barrister in Wonderland in Retford, Nottinghamshire: The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski

"The Strangeworlds Travel Agency is set in Nottinghamshire and local readers with keen eyes will spot the Notts references! It’s an exciting and unique portal fantasy for middle graders, with all the magic and mystery that comes with visiting strange new worlds. Just don't forget your suitcase."

The Lost Storyteller

Matthew from Blackwell's in Edinburgh, Scotland: The Lost Storyteller by Amanda Block

This is the very sort of beautifully crafted debut novel that I'd urge you to read by candlelight, preferably when a storm is forecast to rage against your bedroom window, which is exactly how I'll be reading it on my second time around *checks weather*.

When she was young Rebecca's father vanished without a trace, and apart from her own existence being an undeniable fact, all she has left of his memory is a book of seemingly inconsequential fairy tales. It is not until Rebecca decides to instigate a search for her lost father does she realise how much truth is to be found woven into each of the seven fantastical tales.

The Marlow Murder Club

Chantal from The Little Bookshop in Cookham, Berkshire: The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood

From the creator of BBC's Death in Paradise comes a new series. Seventy-seven year old whisky drinking, cross-word setting eccentric, Judith Potts, hears a gun-shot whilst out swimming naked in the Thames one evening. The local police believe it’s a case of suicide but Judith has other ideas and begins investigating with her trusty side-kicks, Suzie the dog Walker and Becks the Vicar’s wife. Together they make The Marlow Murder Club. The cosy crime novel is made all the better by being set in close by Marlow which Robert Thorogood brings to life.

The Henna Wars

Gabbie from Dubray Books in Dublin, Ireland: The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Set in south Dublin (partly our vey own borough of Dun Laoghaire!), Adiba Jaigirdar's The Henna Wars is one of those books that never leaves my mind. This coming-of-age novel explores some of my favourite themes: identity, community, culture, growing up and first love. Jaigirdar looks at the way multiculturalism in practice fails to serve those who it is bound to celebrate; she uses cultural appropriation and toxic friendships as starting points for broader conversations, complimenting the more light-hearted plot points with this additional depth. Equally thought-provoking and fun, this is one of my favourite reads by a local author.

Safe Harbour

Trish from Halfway Up the Stairs in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland: Safe Harbour by Marita Conlon-McKenna 

Safe Harbour by Marita Conlon-McKenna is a classic, telling the story of two children evacuated from London during the Blitz to the seaside town of Greystones in Ireland, where they stay with their estranged grandfather. The seafront of Greystones is totally recognisable even 60 years after the book is set! 

 

 

Caboodlers' Corner

Caboodlers' Corner

Browse quizzes, reading lists, and recommendations from our guest Book Doctors.

Caboodlers' Corner
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Travel plans this summer?

Don't forget your book tokens! There are hundreds of bookshops across the UK & Ireland, all of them ready to help you choose your next read.

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