Modern Novels, Romantic Fiction, Historical Novels and Holiday Reads set in Devon

Below you will find modern novels, travelogues, romantic fiction, historical novels and holiday reads all set in Devon. Just browse and see what you would like, then click on the book to place an order.

There are separate pages featuring Classic Literature, such as the Hound of the Baskervilles, Lorna Doone and Sense and Sensibility, and Crime Novels and Whodunnits, including by Anne Cleeves.

The Beach Hut, by Veronica Henry

On Everdene Sands, a row of beach huts holds the secrets of the families who own them – secrets of unrequited love, plain old-fashioned lust, childhood dreams and long-forgotten hopes…

‘FOR SALE: a rare opportunity to purchase a beach hut on the spectacular Everdene Sands. “The Shack” has been in the family for fifty years, and was the first to be built on this renowned stretch of golden sand…’

Jane Milton doesn’t want to sell her beloved beach hut, which has been the heart of so many family holidays and holds so many happy memories. But when her husband dies, leaving her with an overwhelming string of debts, she has no choice but to sell.

The Beach Hut follows the stories of the people who own the beach huts, families who come to Everdene each year, people who fall in – or out of – love, remembering their pasts, or trying to forget them…

Veronica Henry has brilliantly drawn together the comings and goings of life at the beach huts over one long, hot, lazy summer…

Other books in this series of novels set in Devon include:

  • The Beach Hut Next Door
  • Christmas at the Beach Hut
  • A Wedding at the Beach Hut

The Salt Path, by Raynor Winn

Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path. Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.

The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.


Also available as an audio CD:

The Second Sleep, by Robert Harris

1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artefacts – coins, fragments of glass, human bones – which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death?

As Fairfax is drawn more deeply into the isolated community, everything he believes is tested to destruction. About himself, his faith and the history of his world.

The Second Sleep has won many awards:

  • Times Best Thriller Book of the Year
  • Guardian Fiction Book of the Year
  • A Sunday Times FictionBook of the Year
  • Telegraph Top 50 Book of 2019
  • Mail on Sunday Book of the Year
  • An Express Best Book of 2019

The Postman Poet, by Liz Shakespeare

As a young boy, Edward Capern is desperate to read and write, but has to work an eighty-hour week in Barnstaple’s lace factory.

As a man, he dreams of writing poetry and building a fairer society, but these aspirations cannot put food on the table. He fears he will never be able to marry Jane, the woman he loves, and it is her skill as a milliner that eventually provides enough for them to set up a simple home together in Bideford. Edward’s fortunes change when he finds employment as a postman.

As he walks the Devon lanes, he begins to write poems and songs that express his delight in the countryside and the people he meets, but neither he nor Jane can foresee the profound impact his poetry will have on their lives.

Liz Shakespeare’s novel Postman Poet draws on historical research and Capern’s own writing to tell the story of Bideford’s real Postman Poet from obscurity to national renown, capturing the opportunities and inequalities of the Victorian age.

A Very Big House in the Country, by Claire Sandy

‘Holidays are about surviving the gaps between one meal and another.’

For one long hot summer in Devon, three families are sharing one very big house in the country. The Herreras: made up of two tired parents, three grumbling children and one promiscuous dog; the Littles: he’s loaded (despite two divorces and five kids), she’s gorgeous, but maybe the equation for a truly happy marriage is a bit more complicated than that; and the Browns, who seem oddly jumpy around people, but especially each other.

By the pool, new friendships blossom; at the Aga door, resentments begin to simmer. Secret crushes are formed and secret cigarettes cadged by the teens. The adults loosen their inhibitions with litres of white wine and start to get perhaps a little too honest …

Mother hen to all, Evie Herreras has a life-changing announcement to make, one that could rock the foundations of her family. But will someone else beat her to it?

A Very Big House in the Country.

The Cottage at Hope Cove, by Hannah Ellis

Lizzie Beaumont has it all: a great career, a wealthy fiancé, and the wedding of her dreams just months away.

But when her fiancé puts work before her again, she sets off for a week in the picturesque town of Hope Cove. She’s hoping for time away from the chaos to find herself. Instead, she finds Max. When the gorgeous guy next door asks her for decorating help, Lizzie finds herself all too eager to please. The week she expected to drag suddenly flies by, and before she knows it, she has to return to her other life. The life with the impending marriage and the fiancé she loves. Or does she?

One week with Max has left her questioning her life choices. Is her fiancé the man of her dreams, or just the man who asked? Now Lizzie must decide what her life will be. Will she go for the safe and predictable route, or take a chance on a man she hardly knows? No matter what she does, someone’s heart is going to break. She just doesn’t want it to be hers.

The Cottage at Hope Cove is Book One of Six in the Hope Cove Series

The West Country Trilogy, by Tim Pears

A trilogy of novels set in and around Devon:

The Horseman

1911. In a forgotten valley on the Devon-Somerset border, the seasons unfold, marked only by the rituals of the farming calendar. Twelve-year-old Leopold Sercombe skips school to help his father, a carter. Skinny and pale, Leo dreams of a job on the estate’s stud farm. He is breaking a colt for his father when a boy dressed in a Homburg, breeches and riding boots appears. Peering under the stranger’s hat, he discovers Miss Charlotte, the Master’s daughter. And so begins a friendship between the children, bound by a deep love of horses, but divided by rigid social boundaries – boundaries that become increasingly difficult to navigate as they approach adolescence.

The Wanderers

The beautiful, questing second novel in Tim Pears’ acclaimed West Country trilogy. Two teenagers, bound by love yet divided by fate, forge separate paths in pre-First World War Devon and Cornwall

Lonely and grieving for her exiled best friend, thirteen-year-old Lottie feels a prisoner. Her only solace is her study of the natural world around her father’s estate: the strange profusion of its plants, the beauty and brutality of its predators, its mysterious dances of life, death and survival.

Grazing on berries and sleeping in copses, Leo travels alone through the wild, strange tapestry of the West Country towards Penzance. But a wanderer is never alone for long – and when the gypsy waggons rattle into view, Leo is drawn into a colourful and dangerous world far beyond his imagination.

The Redeemed

A stirring, exquisitely rendered tale of homecoming; the final instalment in Tim Pears’s epic West Country Trilogy

It is 1916. Lottie Prideaux rides the winding lanes of her childhood on her motorcycle, defying the expectations of her class and sex as she trains to be a vet. Meanwhile young Leo Sercombe finds himself a long way from home, hauling coal aboard the HMS Queen Mary in the middle of the ocean. Here life is raw, bloody and vivid, with death never more than a heartbeat away.

As Leo and Lottie wander in this strange and brave new world, and as war, loss, violence and betrayal conspire to tear asunder the ties that bind the past, present and future together, can even the most fated of returns – and redemptions – hope to come to pass?

Ottercombe Bay, by Bella Osbourne

Escape to the Devon coast, a four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

The story is told in four parts, above, or you can buy the whole series in one book:

Parish Orphans of Devon series, by Mimi Matthews

Book 1: The Matrimonial Advertisement

Helena Reynolds will do anything to escape her life in London. Even if that means traveling to a remote cliffside estate on the North Devon coast and marrying a complete stranger. But Greyfriar’s Abbey isn’t the sort of refuge she imagined. And ex-army captain Justin Thornhill–though he may be tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome–is anything but a romantic hero.

He Needed Redemption…

Justin has spent the last two decades making his fortune, settling scores, and suffering a prolonged period of torture in an Indian prison. Now, he needs someone to smooth the way for him with the villagers. Someone to manage his household–and warm his bed on occasion. What he needs, in short, is a wife and a matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to acquire one.

Their marriage was meant to be a business arrangement and nothing more. A dispassionate union free from the entanglements of love and affection. But when Helena’s past threatens, will Justin’s burgeoning feelings for his new bride compel him to come to her rescue? Or will dark secrets of his own force him to let her go?

The Boy on Platform One, by Victor Canning

A young London boy has a unique gift for the effortless memorizing of words. His father, proprietor of a small shop selling secondhand books and antiques, uneasily uses Peter’s gift for commercial gain, while the apparatus of State Security steps in to exploit it for more sinister ends.

Competing pressures from the adult world create, unknowingly for Peter, a situation of mortal danger. Only luck and the resilience and sane instincts of a youth offer a possible line of escape.

Written by a master of the genre, this is a story of adventure and intrigue with a sharply contrasted background divided between the streets of Paddington and the tranquil countryside of Devon and Cornwall.

‘Victor Canning is one of the world’s finest story-tellers’ Good Housekeeping

The Midnight Rose

Spanning four generations, The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley sweeps from the glittering palaces of the great maharajas of India to the majestic stately homes of England. It follows the extraordinary life of a girl, Anahita Chavan, from 1911 to the present day . . .

In the heyday of the British Raj, eleven-year-old Anahita, from a noble but impoverished family, forms a lifelong friendship with the headstrong Princess Indira, the privileged daughter of rich Indian royalty. Becoming the princess’s official companion, Anahita accompanies her friend to England just before the outbreak of the Great War. There, she meets the young Donald Astbury – reluctant heir to the magnificent, remote Astbury Estate – and his scheming mother.

Eighty years later, Rebecca Bradley, a young American film star, has the world at her feet. But when her turbulent relationship with her equally famous boyfriend takes an unexpected turn, she’s relieved that her latest role, playing a 1920s debutante, will take her away from the glare of publicity to the wilds of Dartmoor in England. Shortly after filming begins at the now-crumbling Astbury Hall, Ari Malik, Anahita’s great-grandson, arrives unexpectedly, on a quest for his family’s past. What he and Rebecca discover begins to unravel the dark secrets that haunt the Astbury dynasty . . .

Lacey’s House, by Joanne Graham

‘A moving, sensitively written novel by a writer who has a magical way with words.’ –Maureen Lee

‘Authentic and intensely heartfelt… There is something in this novel for every woman.’ –Ruth Dugdall

Lacey Carmichael leads a solitary life. To her neighbours she is the mad old woman who lives at the end of the lane, crazy but harmless.

Until she is arrested on suspicion of murder.

When Rachel Moore arrives in the village, escaping her own demons, the two women form an unlikely bond. Unravelling in each other tales of loss and heartache, they become friends.

Rachel sees beyond the rumours, believing in her innocence, but as details of Lacey’s life are revealed, Rachel is left questioning where the truth really lies.

Prize-winning poignant novel about love and loss.

The Secret of Crickley Hall, by James Herbert

The Caleighs have had a terrible year… They need time and space, while they await the news they dread. Gabe has brought his wife, Eve, and daughters, Loren and Cally, down to Devon, to the peaceful seaside village of Hollow Bay. He can work and Eve and the kids can have some peace and quiet and perhaps they can try, as a family, to come to terms with what s happened to them…

Crickley Hall is an unusually large house on the outskirts of the village at the bottom of Devil’s Cleave, a massive tree-lined gorge – the stuff of local legend. A river flows past the front garden. It’s perfect for them… if a bit gloomy. Chester, their dog, seems really spooked at being away from home. And old houses do make sounds. And it’s constantly cold. Even though they shut the cellar door every night, it s always open again in morning…

The Secret of Crickley Hall is James Herbert s finest novel to date. It explores the darker, more obtuse territories of evil and the supernatural. With brooding menace and rising tension, he masterfully and relentlessly draws the reader through to the ultimate revelation one that will stay to chill the mind long after the book has been laid aside.

To Serve Them All My Days, by R F Delderfield

Miner’s son David Powlett-Jones returns from the carnage of the Western Front in 1918. He is shell-shocked and bitterly hardened by the violence of war. He begins life again as a master at a remote Devon school, controlling the destiny of boys barely his junior.

As the years pass David becomes a teacher of rare talent, begins to find peace, and is able to adjust to the changes which are overwhelming society. But soon he will have to face up to the prospect of another terrible war…

Travels With Boogie: 500 Mile Walkies, by Mark Wallington

Travels with Boogie is the story of two city slickers. One an unattractive but streetwise mongrel from Stockwell. The other the long-suffering author – and how they came to terms with England’s countryside and waterways.

First they had to survive against all odds as they embarked on a heroic journey up hill and down dale. Rucksacks full of Kennomeat. Along Britain’s longest coastal footpath – from Somerset to Devon, from Cornwall to Dorset. And they did it.

Then, undaunted, they took on the treacherous waters of the Thames. Not exactly as Mark had planned, however. This time his companion was to be the delectable Jennifer. But she was held up at the office, and when Boogie was dropped off at the kennels the other dogs complained.

Travels with Boogie is a witty and fascinating account of a mismatched couple and of the people they meet and places they visit.

The Sign of the Rose, by John Morey

A trilogy from John Morey, including settings in Devon:

The Sign of the Rose: At last! The love story of how it all started between Rose and Sean – the ANCESTORS of the Romani characters from ‘Rose: The Missing Years’ and ‘Finding Rose’. (If you have not read these already, they MUST be on your list after this magnificent romantic adventure.

We begin in Southern Ireland just after the Potato Famine before tracing the journey of our young couple along the banks of The Shannon as they escape to North Devon across treacherous seas, searching for their lost family.

From the mining town of Tavistock we are then taken to the thriving city of Leicester at the height of the expansion of the railways, but not before encountering the dangers and mysteries of Dartmoor in yet another dramatic event.

On the way they are joined by a bold Hanoverian stallion who shapes the destiny of Sean and Rosalee – as their guardian? protector? faithful companion? or mystical conduit to the fortunes of future generations? Here lies the link – but decades later – to the lives, loves and continuing heritage seated in their gypsy ancestry.

Previous readers of the first two novels say they enjoy the nostalgia and description of the locations built into the thread of each story – portrayals of real places forming the backdrop for each story line. ‘The Sign of the Rose’ is no different, with strong references to the Leicestershire village of Blaby, Mill Lane and Crow Mills, as well as Charnwood Forest.

The setting of Aylestone – as a rural village community before its integration as a suburb of the city – adds additional charm and is where much of the concluding drama takes place.

Ideally you may wish to read this saga before you progress to ‘The Missing Years’ and ‘Finding Rose’. However, if you have already enjoyed the first two, you will certainly find this a delightful read – adding depth and further understanding to the mysteries and revelations that unfold throughout the Series – ‘Love should never be this hard’.

Cod in Devon! by Sandy Fish

An Uplifting, Funny, Family Adventure (Surprisingly, it’s not about fishing!)

When you find yourself in that gap between a proper job and no job at all, when the everyday is unfamiliar and the law is a bit wild west it might be time to change, the question is: How?

When meticulous Janet Elliot closes the door on her life of crime, she finds herself in an unfamiliar world of questionable lawfulness. All she wants is a simple family reunion to clear the air, followed by the rest of her life as a hermit, on a beach, as far away from the public gaze as is humanly possible. But from the moment she turns up late, her painstaking plan is ripped to shreds. Forced into the public domain with a cast of unvetted strangers, Jan is out of her depth in someone else’s day. Why are the police still interested in her movements? What is the French connection? And why does so much happen in a public toilet?

With her sister happily skipping along on the shifty side of the fence, will Jan ever get the chance to say her piece and leave the past behind?

A heart-warming and funny family frolic through time and place and redemption.

From the author:Cod in Devon! has been repurposed to make it easier to entertain you on your travels. Cod and I have embraced the modern world and made ourselves available. Well, Cod is now available, reborn as an eBook to dance in the ether.

But, I digress, Cod will cheer, take you off on an adventure that you so desperately crave, make you laugh and maybe cry – in a good way of course. We’ll travel through Devon and Cornwall and perhaps spend rather too much time in the toilets but rest assured, hand washing is high on the agenda.

Modern Novels, Romantic Fiction, Historical Novels and Holiday Reads set in Devon

For crime novels and whodunnits set in Devon, see our separate page

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