Did you know, 131 years ago today the Eiffel Tower was opened to the public at the World Fair for the first time?! What an exciting anniversary this is. Is the Eiffel Tower something you want to see? Or something you’ve already visited?! I will never forget seeing it for the first time and being utterly confronted by how positively enormous the damn thing is.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and this week’s prompt is about signs that tell others you’re a bookworm. But I hardly ever do the prompt because I have so many other exciting things to talk about. Instead, let’s look at:
Ten Amazing Books Set in France
France is a popular setting for books so I’m going to pick ten that jump to my mind today and talk about them and why you should read them!
1. Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein
This is a masterpiece of historical fiction that is well loved. Code Name Verity is about two British women during WWII. They are pilots and their plane crash lands in Nazi-occupied France. One of them, an undercover spy, is captured by the Gestapo and throughout the book she is forced to write a confession of who she is and how she came to be there. It’s a thrilling story that has your heart galloping the whole way through.
2. The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah
Another beautiful piece of historical fiction by the beloved Kristin Hannah, Nightingale highlights the moral struggle between hating the enemy but also seeing them as human. The main character has a Nazi soldier billeted in her house where she lives in Nazi-occupied France. She resists any attempts at cordiality and this is juxtaposed by the resistance efforts of her sister through varying chapters. But the reader is cleverly plonked into the MC’s shoes and forced to asked themselves how YOU would’ve handled this situation.
3. All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
This is a heartbreakingly good story, although only half of it qualifies for this list as the other half is set in Germany. Again, a WWII story in occupied France (what a theme I have going) this book exploded onto the bestsellers’ list. With one of the main characters a blind French girl trying to survive on her own once she is separated from her father, you internally combust as you make your way through the stresses of this story.
by A G Howard
For some light-hearted relief, I bring you Roseblood by one of my favourite authors, A G Howard. This is a Phantom of the Opera retelling and so is fittingly set in France. It’s nowhere specifically in France (I’m pretty sure) and mainly takes place in a finishing school – the French aspect is mostly irrelevant but I rather enjoyed this story and wanted to share it with you.
by Katherine Rundell
Katherine Rundell is my queen when it comes to middle-grade fiction. I’m addicted to her books and have read most of them – and enthusiastically keep up with her new releases. Rundell really has a way with characters and Rooftoppers is unlike anything else you’ve ever read. A young girl looking for her long-lost mother finds support in an unlikely band of vagabond children who live on the rooftops of Paris.
6. Die For Me
by Amy Plum
This is one of my favourite trilogies with some awesome characters and a beautiful setting. The main character is American, I believe, but after the death of their parents, she is sent with her sister to live with relatives in Paris. There, she meets a dashing young lad who turns out to be a Revenant. Revenants are paranormal beings with a very interesting purpose that I will let you discover for yourself.
7. Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice
by Kathleen Benner Duble
The title for this one is fairly self-explanatory. This follows two siblings who live on the streets of Paris during the strugglesome period before Paris beheaded its monarchy. An unexpected turn of events sees one (if not both, it’s been a while since I’ve read it) as Madame Tussaud’s apprentice. It’s really interesting how centrally woven this role is into the main story of the French Revolution.
8. Dragonfly in Amber
by Diana Gabaldon
This is a bit of fun to include this on my list. Dragonfly in Amber is the second book in the Outlander series and a huge part of it takes place in Paris. I loved exploring Paris in this era – Gabaldon does an incredible job of giving us a really honest look at what France was like during this time. To me, it seems like one of the most realistic accounts of this era that I’ve read yet.
9. The Gilded Wolves
by Roshani Chokshi
The Gilded Wolves is a fantastic book that benefits greatly from the rich setting of Paris. This tells us a story much in the same vein as Six of Crows with the most diverse and intriguing cast of characters – notably including an autistic character. This book is impossible to put down once the adventure is coupled with the intrigue and excitement of Paris during this time.
by Gita Trelease
One of the French-iest books I’ve read for quite some time. Teetering on the edge of the revolutionary era, this book actually follows the story of aspiring hot air balloonists which seems to be a topic coming ever more so into the popular eye right now. The main character also has a touch of magic to liven things up and we spend many pages gambling inside the walls of Versailles. I can’t wait to see what book two holds.
That’s a wrap!
Do you have a favourite setting?