Reading Recommendations

Here’s a quick guide to some of our favorite literary works from across Europe, including some of our own publications. Choose your prefered destination and “Travel Europe Through Books.We are continually adding to this guide, so watch for updates. Know of a good book for the list? Contact us HERE to submit your recommendation.


The Tales of a Fly-By-Night is a collection of anecdotal accounts of the author’s wanderings through Europe from his time as a young student to his eventual immigration to Europe with his family. With wit and humor he brings unique insights into the Old World continent.  

Armchair Travel contains three novellas: one set in Portugal, another in the Netherlands and the last in France. Each offers the reader an escape to these culturally-rich settings through a modern folk tale.  

Western Europe


The Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer & Annie Barrows. A look at everyday life in a Wartime Guernsey, including romance, written in letter form.

Remains of the Day from the nobel-prize winning Kazuo Ishiguro. This novel explores the difficult balance between duty and conscience, as demonstrated among the staff of a landed estate in post-World War England.

The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson. An historical and humorous look at the English language.


Transatlantic by Colum McCann. An historical novel that weaves the common history of Ireland and the US through figures such as aviators Alcock and Brown, abolitionist Frederik Douglass, and Good Friday Peace Accord broker George Mitchell. Fictional characters complete the novel for an intimate view of life in Ireland in different eras.


The Plucked Hen, by V M Karren. An eccentric chef in provincial France uses unconventional means to become the most celebrated culinary master in the nation.

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. A compelling parallel and relationship between a blind French girl and a German boy in Nazi-occupied France.

A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle. A man realizes his dream of moving in to an old farmhouse in a remote part of Provence.

The Seven Ages of Paris, by Alistair Horne. A comprehensive and thoughtful history of Paris, told in seven stages of time.

One teenage girl meets another who is living on the streets. Her parents allow the new friend to move in, causing both disruptive and positive effects.

A Woman of No Importance, by Sonia Purnell.  Biography of a true female American spy, one of the first in France during the Nazi occupation, reads more like fiction than non-fiction.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. THis historical novel, set in Nazi Germany, tells the story of an orphaned girl who steals books because she can’t resist the temptation to read. When the books begin to tell stories that help her build connections with others, they shape her life into something new.

The Sendai Test: Intelligence by C R Kennington. In this sci-fi thriller, a scientist in Germany secretly builds an intelligent artificial assistant to help him with his research. When he finds out that his assistant had also been helping an international company construct the most realistic virtual world ever made, Martin is thrown into the limelight.


The Witch of Drontenburg by V M Karren. In a small fishing town in the Netherlands, a group of young boys set out to prove that their town has a witch.  

Vermeer’s Hat, by Timothy Brook. A fascinating look into commerce and trade in the Netherlands during the 17th century, seen through the canvases of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.

The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom. A memoir set in occupied Netherlands detailing the heroic work of one family in the Dutch resistance.


War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans. Based on the journals of his deceased grandfather, the author delves into the dreams, sorrows, loves, and secrets of an artist and former soldier in World War I.


The Expats by Chris Pavone. A woman guarding a tremendous secret sees it beginning to unravel her newly established expat life in Luxembourg.

Scandinavia & the Baltics


The Lucky Finn by V M Karren. On the shore of an unnamed snowy lake, newlyweds Seppo and Lumi brave the dangers of the dark forest together with a bit of unwelcome help from the local fauna. The appearance of an enchanted visitor tempts Seppo to wish for things he knows he shouldn’t – but can’t resist.

My First Murder by Leena Lehtolainen. The first of the series featuring Helsinki cop Maria Kallio. Here Maria attempts to solve the murder case on the Finnish coast, where members of a choir are suspected of killing a choral group member.


A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman. A heartwarming and humorous story of a grumpy old man in Stockholm who, though wildly idiosyncratic, has an endearing side.


The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. A hilarious and all-too-honest look at what it’s like to live in “the happiest country in the world.” Journalist Helen Russell tells of her experiences living and researching in Denmark while her husband works for Lego.

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg. A crime thriller wherein a Copenhagen resident of Greenlandic decent uses the gifts of her upbringing to solve the investigation of her neighbor’s murder.


The Last Train From Estonia by Jaak Jurison. A harrowing memoir that plots the true experiences of a young Estonian boy and his mother, caught between the vices of the Soviet and Nazi empires.

Southern Europe


From Scratch, by Tembi Locke.  A memoir by an American woman who marries a Sicilian cook and learns how to navigate the course of family relationships despite cultural and racial differences. Contains recipes!

Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes. A memoir set in Tuscany, where a middle-aged couple choose to renovate and inhabit an old Italian farmhouse. Contains recipes!

Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr. Pulitzer-prize winning author tells the story of his time in Rome during a writing fellowship.


The Only Woman in the Room, by Marie Benedict.  Based on the life of Austrian-born actress Hedy Lamarr, this historical novel tells the story of how an ambitious and brilliant woman escaped her dangerous marriage to one of Hitler’s cronies, and used her talents to fight against the regime from whence she came.

The Mozart Code, by Rachel McMillan. “Murky espionage and burgeoning passion twine beautifully together in The Mozart Code’s superbly evocative prose—an enchanting read!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code


The Time in Between, by Maria Duenas.  A work of historical fiction that tells the story of a gifted Spanish couturier who leaves Spain for Tangiers, just as the Spanish civil war is taking hold.  

The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. A mystery/thriller set in a bookshop in Barcelona. An intimate look at this artistic city.

Uncertain Glory, by Joan Sales. Epic novel of the Spanish Civil War, written by one of Spain’s literary greats.


Fate & Longing in Lisbon, by V M Karren.  A Romantic Comedy set in Portugal, where a young, impulsive postman finds he’s redundant and dreams up ways to save his job.  

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa. A classic of existentialist literature from Portugal’s most celebrated poet.

Language of the Heart by Elizabeth Cadell. Written by the popular 20th century novelist: A romance springs up in rural Portugal between a handsome young estate owner and a woman who rides into his life on the back of a donkey!

Eastern Europe


The Deceit of Riches, by V M Karren. Historical thriller set in Russia directly after the dissolution of the USSR in the 1990s; based on the author’s first-hand experiences as a student in provincial Russia.

October Revelations by V M Karren. After a car-bomb attempt on her life, a young Russian journalist goes into hiding while writing to expose the corrupt elements in the Russian Parliament who want her dead.

The Deceit of Riches Trilogy by V M Karren. The Deceit of Riches, From the Rooftops, and October Revelations in a complete omnibus.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. A literary novel of profound beauty and sadness, showing in intimate detail how lives are affected by the Chechen war.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towels. A charming Russian aristocrat is exiled to the Metropol Hotel in Moscow at the dawn of the Soviet Empire.

A Train to Potevka by Mike Ramsdell. The memoir of a former American spy at work in Russia during the Soviet era.


From the Rooftops, by V M Karren. Crime Thriller set in Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Belgium, and Italy after the Romanian Revolution in 1989.  

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys. The coming of age story of a 17-year-old boy living in Bucharest under the oppressive Ceaucescu regime of 1980s Romania.

The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer. A ten-year-old girl escapes the difficulties of communist life by creating a fantasy world.


Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. A non-fiction account of the events surrounding the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in 1986, told like a suspenseful novel.

The Exile by Zinaida Tulub. Biographical look at the exile years of the Ukrainian national poet, Taras Schevchenko.

The Last Green Valley, by Mark Sullivan. Caught between Soviet and Nazi forces, a German-born family in Ukraine must face horrifying decisions about where to go next.


The Bridge at Andau by James Michener. A journalistic and thoroughly engrossing account of the events surrounding the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, based on interviews with eye-witnesses.

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