Modern Novels, Romantic Fiction, Historical Novels and Holiday Reads set in Dorset

Below you will find modern novels, travelogues, romantic fiction, historical novels and holiday reads all set in Dorset. Just browse and see what you would like, then click on the book to place an order.

There are separate pages featuring Classic Literature, such as the Thomas Hardy novels and The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and Crime Novels and Whodunnits, including Broadchurch.

The Wildflowers, by Harriet Evans

Richard and Judy Book Club summer read 2018.

Turn the page and find yourself in a Dorset beach house, the sun in your eyes and the sand between your toes.

This is the home of Tony and Althea Wilde – the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor of their generation and with a marriage every bit as stormy.

A gorgeous, epic tale of tangled family secrets and lies to keep you company on your own beach towel.

‘A wonderful, engrossing novel, full of the most vivid characters and a truly memorable setting. A triumph’ Sophie Kinsella

On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan

It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast.

At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come and, unbeknownst to them both, the events of the evening will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Secrets of the Tides, by Hannah Richell

The Tides are a family with dark secrets. Haunted by the events of one tragic day ten years ago, they are each, in their own way, struggling to move forwards with their lives.

Dora, the youngest daughter, lives in a ramshackle East End warehouse with her artist boyfriend Dan. Dora is doing a good job of skating across the surface of her life – but when she discovers she is pregnant the news leaves her shaken and staring back at the darkness of a long-held guilt.

Returning to Clifftops, the rambling family house perched high on the Dorset coastline, Dora must confront her past. Clifftops hasn’t changed in years and moving through its rooms and gardens, Dora can still feel the echo of that terrible summer’s day when life changed forever for the Tides.

As Dora begins her search for clues surrounding the events of that fateful day, she comes to realise that the path to redemption may rest with her troubled sister, Cassie. If Dora can unlock the secrets Cassie swore she would take to her grave, just maybe she will have a shot at salvation.

But can long-held secrets ever really be forgiven? And even if you do manage to forgive and forget, how do you ever allow yourself to truly love again?

Remarkable Creatures, by Tracy Chevalier

I don’t remember there ever being a time when I weren’t out upon beach. Mam used to say the window was open when I was born, and the first thing I saw when they held me up was the sea.

Mary Anning may be young and uneducated, but she has “the eye”. Scouring the windswept Jurassic coast near Lyme Regis, she find the fossils nobody else can, making discoveries that will shake the scientific world of the early 19th century. But science is a male-dominated arena, and there are many who disapprove…

She finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot: unmarried, middle-aged and middle class, and a fellow fossil enthusiast. If they can weather differences in their age and standing, and overcome professional envy, will true friendship prove the rarest find of all?

Travels With Boogie: 500 Mile Walkies, by Mark Wallington

Travels with Boogie is the story of two city slickers – one an unattractive but streetwise mongrel from Stockwell, the other the long-suffering author – and how they came to terms with England’s countryside and waterways.

First they had to survive against all odds as they embarked on a heroic journey up hill and down dale, with rucksacks full of Kennomeat, along Britain’s longest coastal footpath – from Somerset to Devon, from Cornwall to Dorset. And they did it. Then, undaunted, they took on the treacherous waters of the Thames. Not exactly as Mark had planned, however: this time his companion was to be the delectable Jennifer – but she was held up at the office, and when Boogie was dropped off at the kennels the other dogs complained.

Travels with Boogie is a witty and fascinating account of a mismatched couple and of the people they meet and places they visit.

A Perfect Match, by Rachel Knowles

Written by the author of the Regency History blog, A Perfect Match is a story of romance and adventure set in late Georgian London and Weymouth, when Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, was queen of fashionable society.

Mrs Westlake does not want her only daughter to marry well. She wants Alicia to make the brilliant match that will secure their places in fashionable society—the society that once shunned her. Determined to succeed, the ambitious widow is not above a little scheming in order to get what she wants. But Alicia has other ambitions. She is more interested in character than connections.

Having witnessed the misery that can arise from an unequal marriage, she is determined not to make the same mistake as her parents. She wants to marry someone whom she can both love and respect. She is not looking for a brilliant match—she is looking for a perfect match.

No Turning Back, by Susan Lewis

Eva Montgomery is at the peak of her career when she is viciously attacked by a stalker. While still traumatised, she makes the biggest mistake of her life – one she can never turn back from.

Sixteen years later, Eva has managed to rebuild her life in a way that seemed impossible after the attack. Her home in Dorset, high on the cliffs overlooking the sea, is as elegant as she is, but bears none of the scars. To an outsider, her world seems perfect in every way.

Then the past invades the present – with shattering consequences.

Hurt, frightened and confused, Eva struggles desperately to put right the terrible mistake she made sixteen years ago and finally break free from a past that nearly destroyed her.

The Salt Path, by Raynor Winn

Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path. Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.

The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER, WINNER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LITERATURE CHRISTOPHER BLAND PRIZE & SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD & WAINWRIGHT GOLDEN BEER BOOK PRIZE 2018

Also available as an audio CD:

Curiosity, by Joan Thomas

Joan Thomas’s superb, sensitive prose brings to life the young Mary Anning as she discovers in herself both a passion and talent for finding ‘curiousities’ and vividly portrays the hauntingly beautiful, yet often deadly landscape of the Dorsetshire coast of England, where the soft cliffs shear off without warning, exposing the fossil remains of creatures buried for millennia.

Curiousity is rich with historical characters whose passion for ‘fossilising’ brought them into sometimes unlikely contact.

Wyndcross: A Regency Romance (Families of Dorset), by Martha Keyes

Kate Matcham needs a fortune or a husband. She wants neither.

With a tainted inheritance in the balance, she receives one offer to become a scoundrel’s mistress and another offer of a marriage of convenience. Before resigning herself to a choice, she accepts the invitation to visit a childhood friend, considering it a last hurrah before embarking on a bleak future.

The visit goes sideways when she falls for the gentleman her friend intends to marry, a man well out of Kate’s league–and one who seems to be hiding something. Smuggling has overtaken the county, and it seems that everyone is complicit in the trade that killed her father.

One by one, her options dwindle as she struggles against her strengthening feelings for a duplicitous man, a determination not to hurt her friend, and keeping the promise she made long ago: to stand up to the people who killed her father.

What Doesn’t Kill You, by Laura James

Griff Hendry knows what it is to be strong. After a turbulent past, he’s dedicated himself to saving lives, working as a coastguard along the breath-taking shores of Dorset.

It’s Griff’s belief that everyone is worth saving – which is why he can’t forgive his father, Logan, for what he did.

Griff’s future is plunged into uncertainty when his wife, Evie, tells him she wants a separation. The revelation is a shock and leads Griff to question what Evie could possibly be hiding – and she isn’t the only one holding back. Griff’s troubled stepdaughter, Tess, also harbours a dark secret.

As the truth is uncovered, Griff is forced to accept that perhaps he’s never understood what real strength is.

Set at Chesil Beach and part of a series but it can be read as a standalone in any order.

Modern Novels, Historical Fiction and Holiday Reads set in Dorset

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