9 Fantastic Book Series For Readers Who Love Italy And France

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post with a new list of books for intrepid travelers. Over the past couple of years I’ve been reading a few new series (new to me anyway) and more books in existing series, all with a travel oriented theme.

I love reading books set in Italy (obviously!) and in France where I have also spent an enormous amount of time over the years. I was explaining to a friend recently that for the most part I tend to read two types of books. When my brain has down time I like to read complex, fast paced thrillers (like Mark Dawson’s John Milton series and L.T Ryan’s Jack Noble series. I also enjoy Patricia Cornwall’s and Kathy Reichs’ books, and anything that moves quickly and requires more thinking to follow what’s going on.

But when I am super busy, which this year has been most of the time, I use books to quiet my mind and relax, so look for a different type of book. Mostly books set in Italy and France and other euro-locales. I am a voracious reader and blow through books quickly, so love reading on a Kindle (I have the Kindle Paperwhite). You can borrow library books on Kindle, you can access prime reading (free books from the Amazon library), and with no manufacture and shipping costs you can access books very inexpensively too. Often authors with big series will make the first in series free, and from there the books run anywhere from 99cents on promotion to an average price of $4.99. Heads up: as an author I can tell you I make the same amount of money if someone buys my books in paperback or as a kindle eBook, so don’t be thinking an author loses out if you buy eBooks!

Anyway, in no specific order the following are book series I’ve been reading over the past couple of years. They make great holiday/anytime reading for you too, and also make fantastic end of year gift ideas. Enjoy!

RELATED POST: 21 Books To Inspire Your Wanderlust

The Department Q Series

The Department Q series is a police series with a twist, set in Denmark. A course of unfortunate events leads the police department to create a one man cold case squad in order to get this trouble maker (Carl Mørck, our protagonist) out of their hair. They then give him a quirky Syrian immigrant and a schizophrenic girl as assistants, and somehow the three of them build their department into a brilliant case solving unit.

The main characters are diverse and quite nutty, but incredibly compelling. These books are so clever and so well written, with intriguing subplots. I’m about to start book 7 on 9 and am dreading finishing the series. Book one is The Keeper of Lost Causes, pictured above. See the series here on Amazon. It is also available as a library book on Kindle.

Philip Gwynne Jones Venice Series

The Philip Gwynne Jones Venice Murder Series is a murder mystery series with a twist. Nathan Sutherland is a slightly bumbling British fellow living with his temperamental attack cat in an upstairs apartment on the Street of Assassins in Venice. He works as a translator of boring DIY manuals, and is the British Honorary Consul of Venice, an unpaid and only marginally interesting position that at least gets him into some interesting cocktail parties. Throughout the series he stumbles into one murder mystery after another, somehow managing to solve them in the end. These books are hard to put down and have the added advantage of being set in the most unique city on earth, Venice

The first book in the 7 book series is The Venetian Game . Check out the series here on Amazon. Also available as a library book on Kindle.

RELATED POST: 15 Fabulous Books Set In Italy

The Murder In Tuscany Series

T.A Williams’ Murder In Tuscany series falls into the cozy mystery category. These are fun, breezy murder mysteries that are easy to read and superbly enjoyable. In book one, Murder in Tuscany, we meet Dan Armstrong, a recently retired British detective who has come to Tuscany on a creative writing retreat for Brits. A murder transpires and as an English speaking ex-cop he is able to help the local homicide detective. The two form a friendship and Dan decides to stay in Tuscany, setting up the rest of the series.

If you enjoy books set in and around gorgeous Tuscany you’ll love this fun series. At the time of writing this post there are 6 books in series with book number 7 on pre-order. Check them out here on Amazon.

The Tuscan Vineyard Series

34 year old Chicago ad exec Olivia Glass finds her life crumbling around her so takes her best friend up on the idea of spending the summer in Tuscany. While there she gets a job in a local winery, buys a round down farmhouse, and finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery.

The Tuscan Vineyard Series makes for fun, breezy reading with the backdrop of beautiful Tuscany adding to the splendor. These books are enjoyable reading for anyone who has ever fallen in love with Tuscany, dreamt about moving there or has wished they could fix up a rundown stone house in the Tuscan hills. The first book in the series, Aged For Murder, is free on Kindle, or 7.99 in paperback. Check it out here on Amazon. Author Fiona Grace has several other series including one set in Sicily which I have downloaded but not yet read.

Camilla Trinchieri Tuscan Mysteries

I recently started reading Camilla Trinchieri’s Tuscan Mysteries series and have been throughly enjoying them. Her protagonist is an ex NYPD homocide cop who relocates to Chianti to be with her family after his Italian wife dies. Of course he stumbles upon a murder, and then ends up helping the local carabinieri to solve it.

I am midway through this series and am thoroughly enjoying it. The first in series is Murder in Chianti, and is available on Kindle for 2.99. The series does seem to be available to borrow from the library on Kindle too. See the Tuscan Mysteries series here on Amazon.

RELATED POST: 14 More Books For Travel Lovers, Set In Italy

Bruno, Chief of Police

Zipping over to my other great European love – France, we now get to meet Bruno, Chief of Police. This 16 book series is a glorious romp through southern France where our hero, Bruno, a small town policeman, solves murders while juggling village life, cooking French food and enjoying local wines. Bruno lives in a remodeled shepherd’s cottage in the hills, grows his own vegetables, and lives a simple but pleasurable life. This is a lovely balance to the complexity of the murders he solves. This is a fabulous series and I am hoping author Martin Walker will keep Bruno’s adventures going for many more books!

See bruno Chief of Police here on Amazon.

The MAGGIE NEWBERRY Mysteries

I couldn’t really get into the first book in this series, but you need to read it in order for the rest of the series to make sense. And once it gets going it is fabulous!

Maggie Newberry is an Atlanta based ad exec (I think she was in advertising?) who comes to the South of France to bring her murdered sister’s body home. While there she discovers her sister had a child the family knew nothing about. With the help of a local conman she works to track down the missing child and figure out a more complex and dark mystery along the way.

The first book in series, Murder in the South of France, combines murder, mystery, and romance, setting up the entire series to follow. This is a tremendous series, 24 books deep at the time of writing this post, with more books on the way. Check them out here on Amazon.

RELATED POST: 10 Fabulous Books Set In Venice

The Stranded In Provence Series

Before I discovered the Maggie Newberry books I read Susan Kiernan Lewis’s Stranded in Provence series, and then her American in Paris books. All three series are highly addictive!

All three protagonists in these separate series hail from Atlanta and wind up living in France. This time the initially ditzy Jules Hooker has booked a trip to Provence with her boyfriend, thinking he will propose to her. When he backs out at the last minute she decides to come alone anyway. She then discovers she has booked herself into a remote Provençal village, far from the glamor she had envisaged. She is about to give up and head back to Atlanta when a dirty bomb is dropped in the Mediterranean, knocking out all electrics and communications for the foreseeable future. Now she is trapped in a village where she knows no one, in a country where she doesn’t speak the language, where cars and phones and microwaves no longer work. To top it off she finds a dead body and has to solve the murder in order to save herself.

Parlez Vous Murder is the first book in this series. From the beginning the premise is quite clever, and sets up endless complications for Jules as the series progresses. These books are lots of fun and are wonderful for anyone who loves the South of France

See the Stranded in Provence series here on Amazon.

The American In Paris/Claire Baskerville Series

This series is also by Susan Kierman Lewis with another clever premise. Claire Baskerville is a 60 something American woman with a genetic brain anomaly that makes it impossible for her to remember faces. She travels to Paris with her husband, who is then brutally murdered. Alone in the City of Light Claire now has to not only figure her way around the city, but also figure out who killed her husband. Making matters worse, the local police are hopeless. Claire then discovers her husband had a whole secret life, a financial crisis is looming, and she is going to have to hide out in Paris for the foreseeable future.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable series especially if you enjoy Paris. It’s fun to have a protagonist in her 60s too! The first book in this series, Dejà Dead is free on Kindle or $10.99 in paperback. Check the series out here on Amazon. There are 12 books in the series, with book 13 on pre-order for 2024.

15 Fabulous Books Set In Italy

When I am going to be traveling anywhere I like to read books set in that place before I go. It’s fun stumbling upon places you’ve read about and being able to recognize shops and restaurants and landmarks from a book, but also you can discover places you had never heard of before that may be close to where you are going or perhaps are just a train ride away. Adding these spots to your itinerary can end up being the highlight of you trip!

*I own a Kindle but before that read everything on the Kindle App (on my iPad.) Books purchased via Kindle (or using the Kindle App) are very inexpensive, averaging about $3.99 *Many authors will mark their first in series free and do box sets very inexpensively. *If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you get as many books as you want, for free. You can cancel at anytime and keep the books you have downloaded. A subscription to Kindle Unlimited is $9.99 *If you have Amazon Prime you not only have access to Prime TV, movies and music but also to free books and magazines. Amazon offers a free 30 day trial to Prime. Links: Kindle, Amazon Prime Free Trial , Kindle Unlimited Subscription

Books can help you get into the travel vibe, or when you get home can keep the magic alive for a while longer. Some of the books on this list are novels, others are autobiographies.

 The books on this list are all available on Amazon and have affiliate links.

Here are 15 books set in Italy:

1 Women In Sunlight by Frances Mayes

Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes

Four retired women decide to pool their resources and rent a villa in Tuscany for a year. As the story unfolds you get a look not only at Tuscany but also other parts of Italy, meet some fun local characters and get to enjoy the adventures and love affairs of the four protagonists. This book is fabulous and is wonderful for all ages. Women In Sunlight.

2. An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser

An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser

After a devastating divorce California native Laura Fraser eventually decided to go to Italy to visit some friends. Unexpectedly in the midst of her heartache she met a lovely and complicated man with whom she then embarked on an affair that lasted for years. This gorgeous autobiography is perfect for anyone who has ever secretly dreamt about finding a fabulous man while on vacation and having an affair with substance that continues as the years roll by. Over the course of several years Fraser takes you all over Italy and introduces you to some places you probably have never heard of before. An Italian Affair

3. Under Italian Skies by Nicky Pellegrino

Under Italian Skies by Nicky Pellegrino

Pellegrino has many books set in Italy and all are wonderful. This one finds her protagonist at a crisis point in her life. She stumbles across a house swap website, finds a beautiful old summer villa in southern Italy and is able to do a swap with her little London flat as the villa owner needs to work in London for a few months. The story that unfolds is just gorgeous and will leave you dreaming about a house swap of your own! This is one of several books Pellegrino has written that center around the same house, the Villa Rosa. Each of her stories set at the villa will leave you dying to spend a summer there. Under Italian Skies

4.The Venice Experiment by Barry Frangipane

The Venice Experiment by Barry Frangipane

After traveling to Venice several times Barry and his wife decided to take a year out from their life in Florida and live in the most unique city on earth. This book is different from most of the expat-living-abroad stories in that they rent, not buy and only spend one year. The story is delightful and funny and inspiring, exposing the reader to a slice of Venice most tourists don’t see. It is also incredibly relatable because they are just normal folk who bring their computers and work from home. They make you realize that you don’t have to have great wealth to do something like this, which opens up endless opportunities to those of us who would love to do something similar. The Venice Experiment

RELATED POST: 10 BOOKS SET IN VENICE

5. The Rome Affair by Karen Swan

The Rome Affair by Karen Swan

2017 and Francesca Hackett is living la dolce vita in Rome, leading tourist groups around the Eternal City and forgetting the ghosts she left behind in London. When she finds a stolen designer handbag in her dustbin and returns it, she is brought into the orbit of her grand neighbour who lives across the piazza – famed socialite Viscontessa Elena dei Damiani Pignatelli della Mirandola. Though the purse is stolen, Elena greets the return of the bag with exultation for it contains an unopened letter written by her husband on his deathbed, twelve years earlier.

Mutually intrigued by each other, the two women agree to collaborate on a project, with Cesca interviewing Elena for her memoirs. As summer unfurls, Elena tells her sensational stories, leaving Cesca in her thrall. But when a priceless diamond ring found in an ancient tunnel below the city streets is ascribed to Elena, Cesca begins to suspect a shocking secret at the heart of Elena’s life. The Rome Affair

6. Somewhere South of Tuscany by Diana Armstrong

Somewhere South of Tuscany by Karen Swan

Food and Travel writer Diana Armstrong buys and renovates a 400 year old home in a tiny town not far from Orvieto. Once again the cast of local characters is fascinating and fun, the local history is intriguing and you will be left wanting to buy your own home in Italy. I particularly loved when her friends would come visit from the US, and all the food shopping and preparation Armstrong does. Somewhere South of Tuscany

7. My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith

My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith

Paul Stuart, a renowned food writer, finds himself at loose ends after his longtime girlfriend leaves him for her personal trainer. To cheer him up, Paul’s editor, Gloria, encourages him to finish his latest cookbook on-site in Tuscany, hoping that a change of scenery (plus the occasional truffled pasta and glass of red wine) will offer a cure for both heartache and writer’s block. But upon Paul’s arrival, things don’t quite go as planned. A mishap with his rental-car reservation leaves him stranded, until a newfound friend leads him to an intriguing alternative: a bulldozer.

With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts the offer, and as he journeys (well, slowly trundles) into the idyllic hillside town of Montalcino, he discovers that the bulldozer may be the least of the surprises that await him. What follows is a delightful romp through the lush sights and flavors of the Tuscan countryside, as Paul encounters a rich cast of characters, including a young American woman who awakens in him something unexpected.

A feast for the senses and a poignant meditation on the complexity of human relationships, My Italian Bulldozer is a charming and intensely satisfying love story for anyone who has ever dreamed of a fresh start. My Italian Bulldozer

Glam Italia! How To travel Italy

Don’t forget my books! Both are best sellers and both are available on Amazon worldwide. Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy (Secrets To Glamorous Travel On A Not So Glamorous Budget) and Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome

Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome

8. Inferno by Dan Brown

Dan Brown Inferno

In the 4th story about symbologist Robert Langdon (Angels and Demons, Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol) he inexplicably wakes up in a hospital in Florence with a head injury, memory loss and an assassin hunting him down. With a mystery bound up in Dante’s Inferno, the story takes you through Florence then on to Venice as Langdon tried to figure out the clues left by a dead billionaire who had planned the release of a virus to cull the world population.

Not only an exciting and fast paced read, this book will inspire you to make your own Inferno walking tour of Florence. (Or join one of the guided Inferno walking tours!) Inferno

RELATED POST: HOW TO TRAVEL ITALY ON A REALLY TIGHT BUDGET

9. The Night Villa by Carol Goodman

The Night Villa by Carol Goodman

After a tragic shooting at the University of Texas, classics professor Sophie Chase along with her star pupil and some colleagues takes on an academic project in Naples. A villa has been discovered after being buried for nearly 2000 years in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, along with a trove of documents. The discovery leads them on a chase involving an ancient mystery, 1st century nobles and a slave girl at the heart of an ancient controversy.

Their billionaire benefactor puts everyone up at a villa he owns in Capri, from where this fast paced murder mystery moves back and forth across the bay of Naples with plenty of twists and turns. Whatever shocking events transpired in the face of Vesuvius’s fury have led to deeper, darker machinations that inexorably draw Sophie into their vortex, rich in stunning revelations and laden with unseen menace.

This is especially good for anyone who enjoys mysteries, Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, and will be traveling to Naples or Capri. The Night Villa

10. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Facing a post-divorce early mid-life crisis, writer Elizabeth Gilbert decides to spend a year traveling alone through 3 countries, Italy, India and Bali, in order to feed her soul, become more spiritually aware and shift her perspective on romance. The first third of this year takes place in Rome and focuses on the food she eats, the things she sees and the lifelong friendships she makes.

Eat, Pray, Love is a gorgeous book that spent 4 years on the New York Times Bestseller List before being made into a movie. Eat, Pray, Love

11. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

In 1962 while Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were making headlines in Rome, an ingénue arrives by boat to a little town just beyond the Cinqueterre. This beautiful story of an actress, a novelist and an innkeeper with a dream combines a little intrigue with 1960’s Hollywood and life on the coast of Liguria. Spanning 50 years, this is a gorgeous story will keep you engrossed until the last sentence. Beautiful Ruins

12. Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

This is first in a murder mystery series set in Venice. Local police detective Commissario Guido Brunetti investigates the murder of a much disliked but brilliant German conductor during the intermission at the La Fenice opera house. He works his way through the mystery with the backdrop of Venice, its culture and somewhat dirty politics. This entire series is tremendous, especially if you are going to or already love Venice. Death at La Fenice

13. Extra Virgin (Amongst The Olive Groves Of Liguria)by Annie Hawes

Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes

This autobiography is first in series about two sisters who decide to escape the dreary British winter and run away to a hilltop town in Liguria to work the season in a rose grafting business. (Not knowing anything about roses). Of course nothing goes as planned, but they fall in love with this crazy little town and end up buying a rundown cottage which is really not much more than a shed and costs them less than a used car.

With a non-existent budget they slowly renovate the cottage not only making it livable but also building themselves a new life.

This series is hilarious and inspiring and once again will have you planning to buy a little old place somewhere beautiful in Italy. Extra Virgin (Amongst The Olive Groves of Liguria)

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14. Head Over Heel (Seduced By Southern Italy)by Chris Harrison

Head Over Heel, Seduced By Southern Italy by Chris Harrison

Another first in series autobiography, this one will make you fall in love with southern Italian life.

When Australian Chris Harrison went to Dublin he never dreamed his life was about to change forever. He met the love of his life, Daniela and before he knew it moved to her southern Puglia town of Andrano.

This autobiography not only takes you through this gorgeous part of Italy with its whitewashed towns, olive groves, incredible beaches and cobblestoned streets, but also takes you along on his journey dealing with every day life. He has to deal with the infuriating bureaucracy and with Daniela’s mamma who is determined to convert him to Catholicism and build an extension to her house for them to live in.

Funny and engaging, this book will have you planning a trip to beautiful southern Puglia! Head Over Hell (Seduced By Southern Italy)

15. Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

The true story of Frances and her husband Ed buying and renovating an old home in Tuscany. Endlessly enjoyable more than 20 years after first being published, it will make you dream about buying your own villa in Tuscany. If you have watched the movie you can still enjoy the book as other than the house being called Bramasole, the town being Cortona and there really being a team of Polish workers, the two stories are vastly different. Under The Tuscan Sun

Are you planning on traveling to Italy any time soon (or ever)? My Private Members Newsletter comes out twice each month with helpful information for travelers to Italy. From foods you need to try to festivals happening to secret places most tourists don’t know about, it’s all in the newsletter. Join the newsletter HERE

© Glam World Publishing LLC

Why You Should Take Advantage Of The Kindle Countdown!

Do you read books digitally yet? Do you have a smartphone or a tablet? If so then you need to know about the Kindle Countdown!

Digital books on the Kindle App

Before you say “but I don’t have a Kindle!” don’t worry, neither do I.  I download books from Amazon.com to the Kindle App, which is free. It means I can read my books on any of my devices, from my Smartphone to my tablet (I use an iPad but it works on any tablet) to my laptop.

Initially I wasn’t into it, preferring to have the tangible experience of holding a physical book. But I also used to like playing music on C.Ds. Now all my music is digital, either coming to me via iTunes or Pandora.

I didn’t get on board with reading digital books until I started getting frustrated by having to waste space and weight on physical books while traveling. No one travel guide has everything you want, so I would end up with 2 or 3 travel books as well as however many novels I wanted to read while I was away. It was ridiculous.

So that’s how I got my first digital books. I got the Kindle App on my iPad (which automatically went to all of my devices) and started reading them there while traveling. After a while it just became the easiest way to read books.

My library connected with a service called Overdrive who then delivered library books to the Kindle App for me to read – it was (and is) fantastic!

kindle app logo

The Kindle App logo

When I wrote my book Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy my initial plan was for it to only be available as a digital book because I wanted everyone to have help at their fingertips while traveling in Italy. But Amazon has print-on-demand, so it made sense to offer it as a paperback as well.

Kindle Countdown Deals

As I started reading books on the Kindle App Amazon started sending me emails with other books I might like, at a discount.

The Amazon algorithm looks at the books you have liked and give 5 stars to and then finds books that other people have also bought when buying the books you enjoy. All good so far – but it gets better! Authors can’t really discount their hardcopy books too much because of the costs involved in manufacturing them. Digital books have no manufacturing costs, only a small downloading fee for the author, and as such can be discounted.

Amazon allows authors who meet certain criteria to do a Kindle Countdown every so often. This happens over the course of 5 days. The book will start as low as 99 cents or $1.99 and then go up in price by $1 each day of the countdown, before going back to the regular sales price.

When you buy books through Amazon on the Kindle App the algorithm will email you each week with Kindle Countdown book deals for books you would like. It’s fantastic! They know my favorite authors, so when there is a book at 99 cents or $3.99 or wherever it is in the sequence, I get an email and can download it with one click. It means that I can read a book for $1.99 or whatever the price is that day instead of paying $19.95 for the paperback.

This week my book Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy is on the Kindle Countdown.

Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy is available this week on the Kindle Countdown. Starting at $1.99 it will go up in price by $1 per day until Friday. On Saturday it will be back at its normal price of $9.95. All you need to do is download the Kindle App to your smartphone or tablet and the book will automatically be stored there. You won't lose space or data on your device. Happy reading!

Starting today, Monday October 22nd, the digital edition of my book is only $1.99. Tomorrow it will be $2.99. Each day this week it goes up in price by $1 and then on Saturday goes back to its normal price of $9.95.

This is the perfect time to download the book! If you have friends or family members interested in doing a trip to Italy at some point, you can even gift them a copy. All they have to do is download the Kindle App and the book will appear there under the All Books tab. It’s so easy!

Take advantage of the Kindle Countdown Pricing HERE

Amazon also offers a subscription plan for a service called Kindle Unlimited. With Unlimited you pay a monthly fee of (I think!) $9.95 and then can download as many books as you want each month for free. You can see details on it here:Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Happy reading!

xo