Novels set in bookshops are mostly highly appealing to readers. We all love spending time in a bookshop, and almost all of us have a favourite bookshop we love to visit. So it’s very typical that we like reading novels set in bookshops. Whether it is about the booksellers or the regular bookish people because the stories are about books and reading, I love them.
There are romances, contemporary fiction, mysteries, historical fiction, and many more in this list of novels set in bookshops. Some are uplifting; some will make you dream about owning your own bookshop, and some are a little bit of drama. I hope you’ll find a book to your liking among novels set in bookshops. Enjoy!
Novels Set in Bookshops
The Rise & Fall of Great Powers – Tom Rachman
Nine-year-old Tooly is spirited away from Bangkok by a seductive group of outsiders who take her from city to city across the globe. At twenty, she is wandering the streets of Manhattan with a scribbled-on map, scamming strangers for her shadowy protector, Venn.
Now, aged thirty-one, she runs a second-hand bookshop on the Welsh borders and has found peace with her strange upbringing – until she’s called to return to New York to see her dying father.
Warm, hilarious and fizzing with intelligence, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers is a masterpiece about the search for identity among novels set in bookshops.
The Paris Bookseller – Kerri Maher
Young, bookish Sylvia Beach knows there is no greater city in the world than Paris. But when she opens an English-language bookshop on the bohemian Left Bank, Sylvia can’t yet know she is making history.
Many leading writers of the day, from Ernest Hemingway to Gertrude Stein, consider Shakespeare and Company a second home. Here some of the most profound literary friendships blossom – and none more so than between James Joyce and Sylvia herself.
When Joyce’s controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Sylvia determines to publish it through Shakespeare and Company. But the success and notoriety of publishing the most infamous book of the century comes at deep personal cost as Sylvia risks ruin, reputation and her heart in the name of the life-changing power of books. A gem among novels set in bookshops.
Bloomsbury Girls – Natalie Jenner
1950. Bloomsbury Books on London’s Lamb’s Conduit Street has resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the manager’s unbreakable rules. But after the turmoil of war in Europe, the world is changing and the women in the shop have plans.
The brilliant and stylish Vivien Lowry, still grieving her fiancé who was killed in action, has a long list of grievances, the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the head of fiction.
Loyal Grace Perkins is torn between duty and dreams of her own while struggling to support her family following her husband’s breakdown.
Fiercely bright Evie Stone was one of the first female Cambridge students to earn a degree, but was denied an academic position in favour of a less accomplished male rival. Now she plans to remake her own future.
As these Bloomsbury Girls interact with literary figures of the time among them Daphne du Maurier, Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, Vivien, Grace and Evie plot out a richer and more rewarding future. An exciting one among novels set in bookshops.
The Bookshop on the Corner – Jenny Colgan
Nina is a librarian who spends her days happily matchmaking books and people – she always knows what someone should read next. But when her beloved library closes and she’s suddenly out of a job, Nina has no idea what to do next. Then an advert catches her eye: she could be the owner of a tiny little bookshop bus, driving around the Scottish highlands.
Using up all her courage, and her savings, Nina makes a new start in the beautiful Scottish highlands. But real life is a bit trickier than the stories she loves – especially when she keeps having to be rescued by the grumpy-but-gorgeous farmer next door… Dreams start here. Set in Scotland among novels set in bookshops.
The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
A gem among novels set in bookshops. Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once home to the March family: fascinating, manipulative Isabelle; brutal, dangerous Charlie; and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But the house hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart…
Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past, and its mysterious connection to the enigmatic writer Vida Winter. Vida’s history is mesmering – a tale of ghosts, governesses, and gothic strangeness. But as Margaret succumbs to the power of her storytelling, two parallel stories begin to unfold…
What has Angelfield been hiding? What is the secret that strikes at the heart of Margaret’s own, troubled life? And can both women ever confront the ghosts that haunt them…? One of my faves among novels set in bookshops.
The Bookshop – Penelope Fitzgerald
In a small East Anglian town, Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop.
Hardborough becomes a battleground. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. Her fate will strike a chord with anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice. One with a film among novels set in bookshops.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
“Who the hell are you?” A.J. asks the baby.
For no apparent reason, she stops crying and smiles at him. “Maya,” she answers.
That was easy, A.J. thinks. “How old are you?” he asks.
Maya holds up two fingers.
Maya smiles again and holds up her arms to him.”
A.J. Fikry, the grumpy owner of Island Books, is going through a hard time: his bookshop is failing, he has lost his beloved wife, and a prized rare first edition has been stolen.
But one day A.J. finds two-year-old Maya sitting on the bookshop floor, with a note attached to her asking the owner to look after her. His life – and Maya’s – is changed forever. A popular one among novels set in bookshops.
The Bookman’s Tale – Charlie Lovett
Set in Hay-on-Wye, 1995 among novels set in bookhops. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books.
But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins.
As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays. A mystery among novels set in bookshops.
A Novel Bookstore – Laurence Cossé
Set in Paris among novels set in bookshops. Ivan, a one-time world traveler, and Francesca, a ravishing Italian heiress, are the owners of a bookstore that is anything but ordinary. Rebelling against the business of bestsellers and in search of an ideal place where their literary dreams can come true, Ivan and Francesca open a store where the passion for literature is given free rein. Tucked away in a corner of Paris, the store offers its clientele a selection of literary masterpieces chosen by a top-secret committee of likeminded literary connoisseurs.
To their amazement, after only a few months, the little dream store proves a success. And that is precisely when their troubles begin. At first, both owners shrug off the anonymous threats that come their way and the venomous comments concerning their store circulating on the Internet, but when three members of the supposedly secret committee are attacked, they decide to call the police. One by one, the pieces of this puzzle fall ominously into place, as it becomes increasingly evident that Ivan and Francesca’s dreams will be answered with pettiness, envy and violence. An award-winning one among novels set in bookshops.
The Sentence – Louise Erdrich
A gem among novels set in bookshops. Louise Erdrich’s latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls’ Day, but she simply won’t leave the store.
Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading with murderous attention, must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning. A magical realism among novels set in bookshops.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – Abbi Waxman
Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, an excellent trivia team and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
So when the father she never knew existed dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers.
And if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny and interested in getting to know her…
It’s time for Nina to turn her own fresh page, and find out if real life can ever live up to fiction… A humourous one among novels set in bookshops.
The Last Bookshop in London – Madeline Martin
August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and drawn curtains that she finds on her arrival are not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.
Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed–a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war. One set in London among novels set in bookshops.
How to Find Love in a Book Shop – Veronica Henry
For the ones looking for a romance among novels set in bookshops. Emilia has just returned to her idyllic Cotswold hometown to rescue the family business. Nightingale Books is a dream come true for book-lovers, but the best stories aren’t just within the pages of the books she sells – Emilia’s customers have their own tales to tell.
There’s the lady of the manor who is hiding a secret close to her heart; the single dad looking for books to share with his son but who isn’t quite what he seems; and the desperately shy chef trying to find the courage to talk to her crush . . .
And as for Emilia’s story, can she keep the promise she made to her father and save Nightingale Books? A romance among novels set in bookshops.
Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, but after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest.
The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything; instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends, but when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.
The Bookseller’s Secret – Michelle Gable
A historical fiction among novels set in bookshops. In 1942, London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss, the once sparkling Bright Young Thing is estranged from her husband, her allowance has been cut, and she’s given up her writing career. On top of this, her five beautiful but infamous sisters continue making headlines with their controversial politics.
Eager for distraction and desperate for income, Nancy jumps at the chance to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war. Between the shop’s brisk business and the literary salons she hosts for her eccentric friends, Nancy’s life seems on the upswing. But when a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, Nancy must decide if picking up the pen again and revealing all is worth the price she might be forced to pay.
Eighty years later, Heywood Hill is abuzz with the hunt for a lost wartime manuscript written by Nancy Mitford. For one woman desperately in need of a change, the search will reveal not only a new side to Nancy, but an even more surprising link between the past and present… For the fans of Nancy Mitford among novels set in bookshops.
Paper Moon – Rehana Munir
BOOKS. BOMBAY. ROMANCE.
When her estranged father passes away, Fiza, fresh out of college, discovers that he has left her a tidy sum in the hope that she will open a bookshop…
Overnight, Fiza’s placid life is thrown into a whirl of decor decisions and book-buying sprees, unconventional staff and colourful patrons, small pleasures and little heartbreaks, as the store — Paper Moon — begins to take shape in a charming, old Bandra mansion. To top it all, she is being wooed by Iqbal, a mysterious customer who frequents the shop, and Dhruv, her ex-boyfriend, her feelings for whom are still confused.
Can Fiza take charge of her life, reconcile with the past, and reach for everything that is hers? One set in India among novels set in bookshops.
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore – Matthew Sullivan
A mystery thriller among novels set in bookshops. What do you do when the life you’ve carefully built for yourself comes apart?
Lydia Smith lives a quiet life, spent in the company of her colleagues and customers at the bookstore where she works. But when Joey Molina, a young and mysterious regular, hangs himself in the bookstore and leaves Lydia secret messages hidden in the pages of his books, her world starts to unravel.
Why did Joey do it?
What did he know?
And what does it have to do with Lydia?
The Bookstore – Deborah Meyler
Set in New York among novels set in bookshops. Ardent and Idealistic, Esme Garland has arrived in Manhattan with a scholarship to study art history at Columbia University. When she falls in love with New York blue-blood Mitchell van Leuven, with his penchant for all things erotic, life seems to be clear sailing, until a thin blue line signals stormy times ahead. Before she has a chance to tell Mitchell about her pregnancy, he abruptly declares their sex life is as exciting as a cup of tea, and ends it all.
Stubbornly determined to master everything from Degas to diapers, Esme starts work at a small West Side bookstore to make ends meet. The Owl is a shabby all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters, such as handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke and George, the owner, who lives on spirulina shakes and idealism. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme-but will it be enough to sustain her when Mitchell, glittering with charm and danger, comes back on the scene? A romance among novels set in bookshops.
Severina – Rodrigo Rey Rosa
“Right from the start I picked her for a thief, although that day she didn’t take anything… I knew she’d be back,” the narrator/bookseller of Severina recalls in this novel’s opening pages. Imagine a dark-haired book thief as alluring as she is dangerous. Imagine the mesmerized bookseller secretly tracking the volumes she steals, hoping for insight into her character, her motives, her love life. In Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s hands, this tale of obsessive love is told with almost breathless precision and economy.
The bookstore owner is soon entangled in Severina’s mystery: seductive and peripatetic, of uncertain nationality, she steals books to actually read them and to share with her purported grandfather, Señor Blanco. One from a Guatemalan writer among novels set in bookshops.
The Secret of Lost Things – Sheridan Hay
One set in New york among novels set in bookshops. At eighteen, Rosemary arrives in New York from Tasmania with little more than her love of books and an eagerness to explore the city she’s read so much about. The moment she steps into the Arcade bookstore, she knows she has found a home. The gruff owner, Mr. Pike, gives her a job sorting through huge piles of books and helping the rest of the staff – a group as odd and idiosyncratic as the characters in a Dickens novel.
There’s Pearl, the loving, motherly transsexual who runs the cash register; Oscar, who shares his extensive, eclectic knowledge with Rosemary, but furiously rejects her attempts at a more personal relationship; and Arthur Pick, who supervises the art section and demonstrates a particular interest in photography books featuring naked men. The store manager Walter Geist is an albino, a lonely figure even within the world of the Arcade.
When Walter’s eyesight begins to fail, Rosemary becomes his assistant. And so it is Rosemary who first reads the letter from someone seeking to ‘place’ a lost manuscript by Herman Melville. Mentioned in Melville’s personal correspondence but never published, the work is of inestimable value, and proof of its existence brings the simmering ambitions and rivalries of the Arcade staff to a boiling point.
Based on actual documents the author found while doing research on Melville, ‘The Secret of Lost Things’ is at once a literary adventure that captures the excitement of discovering a long-lost manuscript, and an evocative portrait of life in a bookshop. An exciting one among novels set in bookshops.
Check out my other lists about books!
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- Autumn Books – 20 Cozy Novels
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- Spring Books – 20 Lovely Novels
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- Books Set in Museums
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- Novels Set in Ancient Egypt
- Novels Set in Bookshops
- Novels Set in Libraries
- Books Set in the English Countryside
- Books Set in Edinburgh
- Books Set in Oxford
- Books Set in Istanbul
- Books Set in Portugal
- Books Set in Egypt
- Books Set in Greece
- Books Set in Mexico
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- Novels Under 150 Pages
- Novels Under 200 Pages
- Novels About Older Woman, Younger Man Relationships
- Novels About Fortune Telling
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- Novels About Books
- Best Books About Books
- Novels About Vincent Van Gogh
- Novels About Leonardo da Vinci
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- Novels About Food
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Are there any novels set in bookshops you’d like to add to this list? Would you please share in the comments section below?