Last time I went to England I did a big literary influenced trip, so I found it easier to list literary locations I visited than to pick books for every single place. This time around I am going to actually give you some books. And while London has books aplenty to read when you are visiting, both with settings there or from there, such as Harry Potter or Sherlock Holmes, anything featuring James Bond or basically any number of texts you likely read in high school that were written by some Londoners; there are a lot of available options. So instead here are a few of my more recent favourites that you may or may not have heard of.
A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria/V.E. Schwab – This first in a series is one of the most perfect London reads, because the very world itself that Schwab has created is one in which multiple versions of London exist, but only those with the right magic and know how can travel between them. It’s wonderfully written and so creative, filled with fascinating characters across the three distinctly different versions of the city.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson – Also the first in its series, this book takes us on a journey around Whitecastle, a modern day ghost story that relives the acts of Jack the Ripper. It’s a fun, quick read that will leave you desperate to read the next as you start to see all the twisted ways London is haunted by its past and its present. I couldn’t get the next book fast enough.
Soulless by Gail Carriger – Most of Carriger’s books until recently have been London-centric, a paranormal steampunk romp of delight featuring foppish vampires, dapper werewolves, and hats of all variety. It’s clever, cheeky, and will make you wish you were drinking tea, so better have some at the ready. The whole series and related books (including Prudence as shown in the photo) are terribly enjoyable and will be sure to make you smile as you travel through a different version of Victorian London.
And to top it all off, all of these authors are beautifully entertaining to follow on social media, both as creators and as people. I highly recommend the books and associated Twitter/Instagram accounts!