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10 Great Romance Novels Set in London

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Claire Handscombe


Claire Handscombe moved from Europe to DC in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but actually – let’s be honest – because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan, and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives. She also hosts the Brit Lit Podcast, a fortnightly show of news and views from British books and publishing. Blog: the Brit Lit Blog. Twitter: @BookishClaire

Way back in 2012, London shocked many of us by being named Europe’s most romantic city.

Admittedly, a lot has changed since 2012, which was something of a golden era for the UK capital, with the Olympics coming to town and much of the city celebrating the Queen’s golden jubilee with flag waving and street parties. But still, the essential Londonness of London hasn’t changed; if anything, it’s cleaned itself up a bit since then. And if the buzz and gritty realities of a bustling city do it for you, then you’ll definitely find those in the Big Smoke — as well as quaint bookshops like the one where I work in Dulwich Village, and the glamour of the West End and Leicester Square film premieres.

As we’ve been taught by all the romantic comedies — including the one featuring another quaint bookshop — London is also a great place for serendipitous meetings. There are so many people here — the figure is creeping up to 10 million — that somewhere, there has to be your soulmate, right? That’s what I’m hoping, at least.

The thought of that is itself a little bit romantic. And many are the writers who’ve played into our daydreams — as well as, perhaps, their own — by setting their love stories in London. Here are 10 great ones for you to get started with.

Act Like It by Lucy Parker cover

Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series is a favourite among Book Rioters. Act Like It is set in the West End’s theatre scene, and its protagonists are stage actors who seem mismatched at first: a bad boy and an English rose. Is this romance for real? You’ll have to read the book and see.

Bearly a Lady by Cassandra Khaw cover

Bearly a Lady by Cassandra Khaw

If you’re a fan of paranormal romance, don’t miss this fun one: the story of a werebear fashion journalist who’s assigned to be the bodyguard to her boss’s nephew. It’s confusing, though, because he’s very handsome, but so is her high school crush, and, in fact, a colleague of hers is quite attractive too…

cover of Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall: several blue and red blocks containing white drawings of London landmarks. In the upper right corner is an illustration of casually dressed man, in the bottom left an illustration of a man dressed in a suit

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Here’s what Talia Hibbert has to say about Boyfriend Material: “It’s a fun, frothy quintessentially British romcom about a certified chaos demon and a stern brunch daddy with a heart of gold faking a relationship.” I mean, how can you resist that?

London, With Love by Sarra Manning cover

London, with Love by Sarra Manning

If you love One Day by David Nicholls, this is a book to pick up, ASAP. Like Emma and Dexter, Jennifer and Nick spend two decades falling in and out of love around the city. This one has rave reviews from many well known British authors, and at the time of writing, has a 4.11 average rating on Goodreads. You’ll have to wait till November to buy the hardback in the U.S., but the ebook and audiobook are available already.

One Day in December by Josie Silver

One Day in December by Josie Silver

This love story is one of my all-time favourites. When Laurie spots Jack from the top deck of a London bus, she does what she never believed was actually possible: she falls in love at first sight. And then her flatmate brings home her own new boyfriend, who turns out to be none other than the boy from the bus…

royal holiday by jasmine guillory

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

If you love not just London but also anything royal, don’t miss this one by the Queen of Romance herself, Jasmine Guillory. It tells the story of Vivian, who travels to England with her daughter on a work trip and meets Malcolm, the Queen’s Private Secretary. But is it just holiday romance and kisses under the mistletoe…or is this lasting love?

sofia khan is not obliged covercover

Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

When you’re asked to write a book about dating, it’s only natural to do a little research, right? You’re just being professional. Taking the task seriously. And that’s exactly what Sofia Khan is doing. Sort of…

Sorry I

Sorry I Missed You by Lorraine Brown

Rebecca and Jack aren’t looking for love. He’s pursuing a career as an actor; she’s got a lovely flat in Hampstead Heath and a high-powered job with, ahem, benefits. But obviously, fate has other plans…

This one doesn’t have a U.S. publication date (yet), but you can preorder a copy via — which is a great place to order UK books from as it provides inexpensive shipping to the U.S.

This time next year by Sophie Cousens cover

This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens

Quinn and Minnie were born on the first day of the 1990s, but Quinn beats Minnie by minutes, and as a result, gets a special celebratory grant from the government. For her whole life, Minnie has resented the person who got the money that could have turned her whole life around. And then they meet, over and over again. I loved this book.

When London Snow Balls by Hayden Stone cover

When London Snow Falls by Hayden Stone

Few things are more romantic than a snowy city, at least until it all turns a bit grey, and Charlie Renfrew is about to fall prey to its charms despite having sworn off dating. It’s okay, though — he and indie rocker Ben Campbell will keep it totally casual. He’ll wrap up his heart and protect it from getting broken again. I see no flaws whatsoever in this plan, do you?

Want to read more books set across the Atlantic? Check out 100 Must Read Novels Set in London. And if you want more romance, have a look at The Best Romance Books You’ve Never Heard Of.