One of the best parts of reading is getting to explore foreign lands and cultures. Here’s my list of Ten Books Set Outside the US. I tried to limit the fantasy books that are set in fictional worlds. I think these all count as backlist books for their authors, so here’s a chance for you to check out some older books. With the bonus that those which are part of a series already have the whole series available!
1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (see my review here) – set in Scotland this is one of my all time favourite reads. It’s in a second season of a television show and is one of those books I push on everyone. Read it!
2. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery – set in the lovely Prince Edward Island, Canada. Another of my all time favourite reads this is one of those books that I own multiple copies of. Anne Shirley is a classic character that everyone needs to read at least once!
3. Shadows by Paula Weston – set (mostly) in the fictional Pandanus Beach in Australia. This is the first book in the four book Rephaim series. I loved these books. They are action packed contemporary fantasy books with half-angels, demons and whole bunch of intrigue.
4. Every Breath by Ellie Marney – set in Australia. This modern teenage take on Watson and Holmes is fantastic. The characters are great and the mystery keeps you guessing. I did find it challenging at times to understand the Aussie slang…but that’s what I love about books set elsewhere.
5. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – set in the Galaxy. While this book starts on Earth, most of it is set elsewhere in the Galaxy. On planets you probably didn’t know existed. This classic sci-fi book is full of Adams wit and humour. If you haven’t read it yet, you’ll want to add it to your TBR.
6. Air Awakens by Elise Kova – set in a fictional world. This is a great high fantasy book. As with many fantasy books it’s set in its own world. With a library apprentice turned sorcerer, political machinations, and elemental magic this is a great read.
7. Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts – set in Ardmore, Ireland. While this might not be great literature, it’s a typical Nora Roberts romance. It’s got a romanticized view of Ireland but makes for an excellent read when you’re looking for some escapism.
8. Darkfever – by Karen Marie Moning – set (mainly) in Dublin, Ireland. The first in the Fever series this dark urban fantasy has fantastic world building and main characters that you’re not sure you even like. It’s dark, filled with fae, and seriously, I’m left wondering if I even like Mac and Jerricho. Yet, I love this series. Sometimes you need a break from the light and fluffy.
9. An Unwilling Bride by Jo Beverly – set in England. There’s nothing like a historical romance to take you to another country. This is part of the Company of Rogues series. Each book stands alone, but there are character and minor plot links between them. I enjoyed this. There’s decent characterization and while there’s a bit of a predictable plot twist towards the end it provides some lovely escapism reading.
10. The Wedding by Julie Garwood – set in Scotland/England. Once again, a historical romance to take us out of North America. If you haven’t read any of Julie Garwood’s backlist this is one I love. Set in the 1200’s it has the typical issue of outgoing female leads and stereotypical emotionally stunted men. But there’s some good humour in it and I definitely was entertained as I read.
So, my bookshelves clearly lean towards Canada, Scotland, England and Australia. I’m looking forward to checking out what some other folks are recommending as it’s always fun to read books with a less common setting.
What’s your favourite book that is set outside the US?