I’ve published posts before about books that are set in Cornwall and Scotland, so I thought it was about time we focused on books set in London. There should be something here for everyone: light hearted chick lit, contemporary women’s fiction, memoirs, and festive Christmas stories all set in London.
In this post by will find the following books set in London:
Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up by Alexandra Potter
The Story of Our Life by Shari Low
Parents & Teachers by Sara Madderson
Time Out by Emma Murray
Did my Love Life Shrink in the Wash? by Kristen Bailey
I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk
Love Will Save the Day by Kirsty Greenwood
London Calling by Mark Daydy
London Belongs to Me by Jaquelyn Middleton
Here to Stay by Mark Edwards
Real Life London
Humans of London
London’s Coolest Cats
One Way Ticket to London by Angela Kiss
Craving London by Jessica Stone
Christmas Books Set in London
One Week Til Christmas by Belinda Missen
Meet Me In London by Georgia Toffolo
It Happened on Christmas Eve by Kirsty Greenwood
Christmas at the Canal Boat Cafe by Cressida McLaughlin
The Christmas Project by Maxine Morrey
Fiction Books Set In London
Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up by Alexandra Potter – 5 star
I’ve read lots of Alexandra Potter books in the past, so when Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up appeared on my radar, I was keen to read it.
Forty-something Nell returns home to London after living in California for 10 years. Sadly, she has lost her business and her fiancé, and now finds that all her English friendships are very different to when she left. All her friends are now married with kids, whereas Nell is childless and single.
This book is very funny for forty and fifty-somethings, reiterating the things you say and think as you become middle-aged and you realise that you are actually turning into your mother. There are some moving moments too and it’s easy to feel compassion for Nell.
The story is told month by month for a year with Nell doing her best to keep a regular gratitude diary. I really liked this idea as it gives you encouragement that even when the chips are down, there are still good things in life, especially as much of it is tongue in cheek humour.
Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up has great characters including a dog named Arthur and an octogenarian named Cricket.
It’s a perfect story that demonstrates how your mind remains young even though your body ages. If you’re a woman of a certain age I’m sure you’ll be nodding and smiling all through it.
The Story of Our Life by Shari Low – 5 star
The Story of Our Life is set around the Richmond area of London. Twickenham, Kew, Heathrow, Notting Hill, the River Thames and numerous London locations all get a mention.
The story goes back to when Shauna and Colm met in 2001 to present day 2015/6. This style of story is not normally my preferred read but credit to the author for making it pleasant to follow and easy to make sense of.
As with all other Shari Low books that I’ve read so far, this story is very emotional and full of real characters and relatable life scenarios. Friends, family, romance, leisure, work and death.
It had several laugh out loud moments, and others that made me cry. People don’t always set out to hurt others, but for whatever reasons they do. It was easy to put yourself right in the story and it certainly makes you think about your own life and loved ones.
Another highly recommended emotive read from Shari Low.
You can read more from these characters in the One Day in Winter series.
Parents and Teachers by Sara Madderson – 5 star
As a former teacher, I was drawn to the title of this book but got far more than I expected. This steamy book from Sara Madderson focuses on the illicit affairs of the rich and famous with teachers of two London prep schools.
Set in a world of fashion, finance and movie stars, Parents and Teachers is a perfect bit of escapism for lockdown reading. The epilogue brings it bang up to date touching on how the priviledged and teaching staff coped with Covid.
Very different and highly recommended.
Time Out by Emma Murray – 5 star
Time Out is the very funny fiction book by Emma Murray. Half the book is set in Ireland with the other half set in Woodvale, South West London, a middle class area full of yummy mummies.
Like many/most mums, Saoirse is struggling to raise her young child and keep her marriage strong in this modern day world where women can seemingly have it all! Further pressure is added from the social media generation who are all so eager to show you where you’re going wrong, especially in the local Facebook group Vale Mums.
Saoirse is a ghostwriter and her agent persuades her to pitch a book on the real struggles of motherhood. She is unsure whether she is up to the task, but is she really any less qualified than an “expert”?
This book has a good blend of humour and real life struggles, and raises the importance of having one or two close friendships, along with calm and honest communication.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to read more from this author.
Did my Love Life Shrink in the Wash by Kristen Bailey – 5 star
Did my Love Life Shrink in the Wash? is the third book from Kristen Bailey about the Callaghan sisters. This story focuses on the life of Beth, her boyfriend Will, and their new baby Joe.
Whilst this is marketed as a laugh out loud book, it is as sad as it is funny. Kristen Bailey manages to mix humour with everyday life events in such a perfect way that keeps it real. Just like the first two books, I really didn’t want to put it down. It is full of believable characters, and I’m sure we would all like a sister or a friend like Lucy. She is hilarious.
Did my Love Life Shrink in the Wash? needs to be read by new mums, wannabe mums, and mums of older kids. I can guarantee you will all identify with the way newborns change your mind, body, and relationships. Parenthood is certainly not as easy as some make it look, and maybe some of the topics in this book need to be discussed more openly in real life. This story is so relatable with both the funny and tough sides to being a mum.
You don’t have to read Has Anyone Seen my Sex Life? or Can I Give My Husband Back? first, but I recommend that you do if you haven’t already. I don’t think it would matter what order you read them in as they all very cleverly overlap but cover a different storyline.
Now that I’ve read the stories of Emma, Meg and Beth Callaghan, I’m really looking forward to hearing about Grace and Lucy.
The story is set in London and quite a big part of the story is set at Christmas.
Released January 2021
Love Will Save the Day by Kirsty Greenwood – 5 star
Bess is a PT who is down on her luck when a handsome Hugh Grant lookalike mistakes her for someone who recently saved his life. Bess goes along with it and gets tangled up in the deceit, with it all being played out in the eyes of social media.
Set in Notting Hill, this fun romcom is all set for an explosive ending.
Released February 2021
I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk – 5 star
I Heart London is number 5 in the series, and Angela Clark has to return home to London even though she loves living in the USA. This is another very funny story, almost a slapstick comedy with Angela, friends, and family. What could possibly go wrong?
Everyone thought that this was the grand finale of the I Heart series as it culminated in a wedding (although I’m not saying whose), but thankfully more books followed. This can be read as a stand-alone, although I recommend the whole series. You can read more about Lindsey Kelk’s books HERE.
London Calling by Mark Daydy – 3 star
London Calling by Mark Daydy is a light read set in the 1990s.
It was fun to read and makes you realise quite how long ago the 1990s were ( I thought it was only a few years ago 😂).
The main character, Erin visits BBC Broadcasting House in London to apply for a scriptwriting job. Although she was unsuccessful on her first attempt, she hooks up with a couple of old friends whilst she was there. Realising that she’s going to have to persevere to get the job of her dreams, Erin moves to London.
It’s a story about determination, friendships and a bit of romance. I most enjoyed it for the trip down memory lane. It was interesting to read about the dress styles, politics, state of the world, pop stars and music, price of a pint, the tube stations, landmarks, etc.
Also on Kindle Unlimited
London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton – 3 star
London Belongs to Me by Jaquelyn Middleton is a story exploring relationships and friendships, as well as London.
Here to Stay by Mark Edwards – 5 Star
Although this is a psychological thriller, it’s set in Dulwich and is such a gripping read I had to add it in with this collection. Teacher and scientist Elliott thinks he’s struck gold with his new wife, and is happy for her parents to stay for a couple of weeks when they return to London. However, Elliott becomes more uncomfortable as they show no signs of wanting to leave and starts to investigate the family’s past.
This is a brilliant read where I was never too sure what was going to happen next. I thought it could only end up with murder or prison, but was kept guessing right to the end.
I really sympathised with Elliott and despised the in laws.
Mark Edwards has an extensive back catalogue, most of which are on Kindle Unlimited. Well written and easy to follow. I will definitely be reading more from this author.
Real Life Experience Books Set In London
Humans of London by Cathy Teesdale – 5 star
Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s 2010 project Humans of New York, Cathy decided to hit the streets of London for her own version Humans of Greater London (HOGL).
This wonderful book is filled with colourful photos of beautiful, inspiring, extraordinary, ordinary people who live or work in all areas of London. Some images come with a short interview and in others the subjects share a little more about themselves.
This book just made me want to do more for fellow man and the world we love in. Highly recommended.
(Also on Kindle Unlimited.)
London’s Coolest Cats by Carmen Harrington – 3.5 star
London’s Coolest Cats by Carmen Harrington details a 6.5 mile walking tour of London visiting some of the capital’s most interesting feline residents, starting with the big cats of Trafalgar Square.
One Way Ticket to London by Angela Kiss – 4 star
One way ticket to London by Angela Kiss is an amusing story of how a young woman travelled to London speaking no English to stay with friends and start a new life. Unhappy with her life in Hungary she wanted to learn English and better herself.
It was interesting to visit our capital city and witness the mannerisms of the English through the eyes of a foreign woman. Our addiction to tea drinking, the weather, saying sorry, and queuing were all evident. I used to think that everyone queued, but we have noticed that it’s always a free for all in other countries. It’s quite astonishing! 😉
I loved hearing about Angela’s shopping bargains at car boot sales. It was endearing to read how she buys from charity shops and then donates the difference of what she would have paid if it were new, so giving doubly to charity.
One Way Ticket to London is written with humour and intelligence as we follow Angela through her time in London – her jobs, homes and honest accounts of her relationships, even though she does sound like a women obsessed in some instances. Her recount of the doctor’s experience was hilarious.
It was interesting to hear her comparisons with Hungary and learn about how they celebrate Easter and name days.
I will admit, it took me a while to get into this book, but it gets funnier as it goes on and Angela’s confidence in London grows.
Also available on Kindle Unlimited.
Craving London by Jessica Stone – 3.5 star
Craving London is a rather unusual book telling the memoirs of a 30 year old American writer when she moves to London. She describes her love connections with men, food, and writing. Each chapter tells of an event, and many of them have a recipe attached. I particularly like the ones for cookies and brownies.
There’s an amusing section transcribing some of our British sayings, some of which I’ve had to translate to my own American friends in the past. Who knew a shared language could be so different? I love the way Americans generally have a pre-conceived idea of the British, and then find that we’re not all Mary Poppins and Mr. Darcy after all.
There is a series for dates throughout the book, but rather than romances developing, I found the experiences to be like the author was soul searching. Don’t expect a sexual romp around London, as Jessica was bought up to be a good Catholic girl who believed sex was sacred.
At about 3 hours of reading time, it’s easy to pick up and put down. This is more about food than travel, although there is a trip to Paris, Scotland, Spain, and Thailand. Only Thailand gets some focus on the travel experience. If you like reading about the human nature of “regular” people, you might enjoy this one.
Published November 2020
Christmas Books Set In London
One Week Til Christmas by Belinda Missen – 4 star
Australian travel writer Isobel arrives in London 10 days before Christmas wanting to experience everything that the capital has to offer.
She gets into a tangle with a dashing stranger (Tom) on the first day, and when she comes across him the next day, she wonders if it might be fate.
The pair continue to enjoy each other’s company in a jam packed week of activities. I liked the friendly light-hearted banter between Tom and Isobel, but there was always an underlying frisson between them. The only problem is Isobel is due to return to Melbourne for Christmas.
The 3 hour read is filled with festivities in London – Christmas markets, ice skating, Winter Wonderland, Liberty’s and lots more. All the usual landmarks get mentioned too so if you want a trip around London in a book, you might like this.
One Week Til Christmas is a pleasant romance that is easy to pick up and put down in between chores, or just read in one sitting in a lazy afternoon.
Meet Me In London by Georgia Toffolo – 5 star
Georgia Toffolo is a new author for me and I was quite surprised to find that Meet Me In London is a Mills and Boon book. Mills and Boon have quite a reputation for releasing romantic fiction for old ladies, don’t they? Well, they’ve moved with the times and can quite easily fit in with the modern-day chick lit genre now.
This story is about Victoria, an undiscovered clothes designer who works as a bar manager. Fate introduces her to Oliver who is the heir to a chain of department stores, and he asks her to be his fake girlfriend to get his nagging mother off his back.
The pair work together to make sure the new department store opening works with the existing London high street community, whilst trying to fight the feelings that their relationship is only temporary and not real.
I really enjoyed reading this. The writing style was easy, the characters were believable, and as I read this book, I could picture it all happening in a Christmas movie, as it is set in November and December with lots of festivity happening around them.
A passionate story of love and friendship recommended for the Christmas season.
Published 15th October 2020 by Mills & Boon/Harper Collins
It Happened On Christmas Eve by Kirsty Greenwood – 4 star
It Happened On Christmas Eve by Kirsty Greenwood is a light-hearted novella set in Notting Hill, London.
At work, she is known as the office grump. The only person in the office she actually likes is her boss Marcy, and when Marcy asks Phoebe to collect her son from the airport just before Christmas, she begrudgingly accepts.Adam then asks Phoebe to help him get some shopping in, where of course ,she can’t escape the city’s festivities. I recommend that you read this short novella to see if Adam will be able to thaw out the ice maiden!
At about 90 mins reading time, this is perfect for a lazy afternoon on the lead up to Christmas. It’s funny, romantic and incredibly festive.
Christmas on the Canal Boat Café by Cressida McLaughlin (parts 5 & 6) – 4.5 star
I’ve recommended The Canal Boat Café by Cressida McLaughlin before as parts 1-4 were one of my favourite reads of 2017. Parts 5 and 6 are about the canal boat gang as they meet up in Little Venice London for the Christmas season.
These novellas provide a bit of nature, mystery, romance, and friendship, as well as two lovely furry companions. I will give you advance warning that you may well get food cravings for macaroons, bacon rolls and gingerbread spiced lattes.
You don’t have to have read parts 1-4 first as there is a little bit of recap in the Christmas editions (although I recommend that you do because they are lovely stories).
The Christmas Project by Maxine Morrey – 3.5 star
The Christmas Project is a light hearted romance set in North London during December. Kate is a house doctor and is set up by her friend to declutter her brother Michael’s home in time for Christmas.
There’s definite friction between the two of them, but it’s obvious from the blurb of the book what will happen. Just sit back and enjoy the read which includes a trip to Covent Garden and a dog rescue.
That’s about it for now but I’ll be sure to add any other books I enjoy that are set in London. I’d love to hear your thoughts on London or if you’ve got any London books to recommend.
You may like to read some of my other location book recommendations including:
Or try some of these other books set in London:
A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen
A Rose Revived by Katie Fforde
From Notting Hill with Love Actually by Ali McNamara
Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Covent Garden in the Snow by Jules Wake
Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding
Authors’ Twitters @40somethingfkup @PortiaMacIntosh @ToffTalks @EMurrayAuthor @mrsbaileywrites @LindseyKelk @belinda_missen @Novelicious @CressMcLaughlin