Setting a book in a particular place creates a link, a special kind of magic. I can’t say it’s better than an ‘ungrounded’ book – both can be deep and meaningful, one easily transcending boundaries, the other not.
Here are some books set in England, but outside of London.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy: Wessex
Famous Five – Enid Blyton: Dorset
The adventures of Rhys by Beatrice Holloway are set in Wales, whilst her Towing Path series take in the canal waterways of England and life on narrow boats.
Christopher Hammond’s Passing Passions is set in Brighton.
Brian Cook takes us to the Yorkshire Dales in Home Ground with excursions to London and the Far East.
Leslie Tate in Love’s Register has us in York, somewhere by a lake, in a wood and Longsands (Long Sands) with excursions to London and elsewhere.
Castletown by P Symonloe takes us to a fictious town with royal links.
Evesbury in the English countryside (Isbury in Wiltshire) is the location for Archibald’s Aunt by John McDermott while Jane Lockyer-Willis’s On the Fiddle is set in Mallowmarsh in the Cotsworld.
For those who prefer a bit of non-fiction, there’s Jack Clamp’s History of the dissenting church in Potterspury and Yardley Gobion in Northamptonshire