Four Books Set in London

Who doesn’t love a literary walk through London? Now that summer is slowly coming to an end, let’s talk about books that make for perfect fall reading.

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Jemima J: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans by Jane Green

Jemima J was the very first book I ever read by Jane Green way back when. This book is an oldie (Hello, 2001, I’ve missed you) but such a goodie! It’s a charming story about a Londoner, Jemima. She is overweight and bullied by everyone around her because of it. When Jemima meets a handsome Californian, Brad, over the internet, she quickly re-invents herself as JJ, a sexy, thin, and glamorous girl. But then of course Brad insists on meeting JJ and that’s when the fun and misadventures begin. I think the story held up really well over the years.

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Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

I enjoyed reading Belgravia so much that when it ended I hugged the book. It’s set in London (specifically, a newly-created Belgravia) and follows the destinies of two British families. One family is newly rich and the other family is “old money.” Something happens (I can’t give it away as it will ruin the story for you) that forces the two families to intertwine with each other, much to the disdain of the “old money” family. It’s funny, heart-warming and fun to read. It really should be adapted for TV. I think the best part about this book is that Belgravia is a main character.

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Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs is the first book in a series about a private detective set in London. Since this is the first book in the series, it introduces us to Maisie’s present and to her past. In her present, she tries to uncover a horrible secret involving veterans of the Great War. In her past, we learn that she herself is a veteran of the war. She worked as a nurse in the trenches of World War I. We have vivid flashbacks of her nursing days in the trenches. I must say, I’ve read lots of stories set in the trenches of World War I, but this is the only book where the scenes jumped out at me. I could actually visualize Maisie’s blood-soaked dress hems. If you are looking for a new mystery/detective series, with a witty female protagonist, then please start here.

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Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

Was this the book that started the “chick lit” genre? I don’t know, but what I do know is that it was crazy enjoyable to read. It also made me fall in love with this type of story (single, living in a big city, job problems, guy problems, happy ending). Just like the title conveys, this book is written diary-style over the course of one year. Bridget writes about her dreams and desires, her weight issues, her guy problems… It’s really hilarious! Highly recommended!

Do you have any favorite books set in London? xoxo, Jane

Also, four books set in Paris.

xoxo, Jane

Pretty City London and my photography project

PrettyCityLondon by Siobhan Ferguson made me dust off my camera!! (I haven’t used it in years. I blame phone cameras.) This book has motivated me to once again explore the world I live in through the lens.

Unknown.jpegThis is such a fun book to read. And it’s fun to browse through the beautiful photographs of the various London neighborhoods. The book is worth it alone just for the fun and whimsical photographs.

It’s divided in four sections: Photography Tips, Neighborhoods (Belgravia is my fave), Pretty City London through the Seasons, and Bucket List of Things to Do in Pretty City London.

I’m really excited to get behind the lens again and I plan on sharing some of my photography in a new series next week! xoxo, Jane

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The Great Staircase at Kensington Palace

It was wonderful to visit Kensington Palace and to see the Victoria Revealed exhibit. Walking through the palace left me in awe of the history and the previous residents who wandered these halls. There was also a lovely tea room to enjoy. My only quibble about Kensington Palace is that the entrance fee is much too high for what little we see of the palace. That said, I savored every moment at the palace, especially this staircase.

The Great Staircase at Kensington Palace. The staircase was painted by William Kent and completed in 1724. The wrought iron balustrade is by Jean Tijou.

I wish I had thought to take a better photograph of the staircase, but below is a snippet of what the staircase looks like today (spoiler alert: it looks almost identical).

Kensington Palace.

Have you been to Kensington Palace? If yes, what did you enjoy the most?

xoxo, Jane

Trinket Tuesday: Persephone Books

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Not very far from the British Museum in London, there is this charming, little bookstore called Persephone Books. Persephone Books “reprints neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly) women writers.”

One day while my husband was in London during a business trip, he stumbled upon this little bookstore (he got lost while looking for a pub). Since his trip was coming to a close and he still needed to buy me a gift, he went in and chatted with the friendly booksellers, got a few recommendations and brought home three books as a surprise. And that’s how my love affair with Persephone Books began. Eventually, I made my own pilgrimage to Persephone Books.

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My beloved Persephone books.

I love books and bookstores, reading books and listening to others talk about books (booktubers are the best). So a bookstore that gives old stories a new lease on life by specializing in reprinting books long out of print goes to the top of my happiness barometer. If you love good books and want a unique bookstore experience, then next time you are in London, I recommend you pay Persephone Books a visit!

Links for your enjoyment: Persephone Books, Tea & Tattle podcast episode on Persephone Books (Tea & Tattle is one of my favorite podcasts and I cannot recommend it enough), Guardian article on Persephone Books, Bloomsbury area guide.

Trinket Tuesday is where I share some of the lovely things I discover during my travels, research or around town. All pictures are my own (unless I state otherwise). I hope you enjoy!

This iconic red pillar box

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When we were in London last, I made it my mission to locate the oldest post box. And I think I did! This one dates back to the era of Queen Victoria!

I love London and can’t wait for my next trip back, though it’s not anytime soon. But my next trip to the UK will be this summer when we travel to Scotland for my wedding anniversary. I’m so excited. Edinburgh, Highlands, Long Hikes, oh my! xoxo, Jane