Contemporary Women’s Fiction Set in London
One of my favourite genres to read is contemporary women’s fiction, especially women’s fiction set in London. As a woman in her twenties based in London, I find it is the most relatable fiction for me. Whilst fantasy and classics are great for escape, I personally enjoy coming-of-age and self-discovery much more fun to read about.
So, of course, I had to write a list of contemporary women’s fiction set in London.
A recent release from the bestselling author of the non-fiction Everything I Know About Love. Ghosts is a highly relatable women’s fiction novel about a woman in her thirties who is succeeding in all areas of her life, except love. Friends with babies, a father with dementia, a mother going through a mid-life crisis and a man who’s ghosted her all create a swirling drama we can all see one day happening to ourselves. All set in the backdrop of London, from Archway to Bromley.
Everyone loves this heartwarming read about two housemates who have never met, and it’s clear why. It’s a proper rom-com with a twist, and you root for the characters from day one. Everyone is likable and fun, and London is the perfect backdrop for this otherwise slightly odd rom-com. I can’t wait for this to one day be turned into a movie.
When her boyfriend announces he’s taking a job and leaving her, with no way to pay the rent of their houseshare, Elissa finds a slightly odd solution. She moves in with a pensioner. Initially, it’s as a way to save money to get back on her feet, but what starts as a slightly awkward, neither of us want to be in this situation kind of drama turns into a gorgeous little story about friendship and community.
I adore Emma Gannon’s work. I’ve read each of her non-fiction books and I listen to her podcast all the time. So when I discovered that she had a fiction novel coming out, I jumped straight onto that train. The story follows Olive, a woman whose friends are all settling down and having babies whilst she’s dealing with the realisation that she doesn’t want children of her own. This is an epiphany that many women feel like they are unable to admit, but Olive does. Although with consequences.
Emma Jane Unsworth’s writing is lyrical and utterly hilarious. The one-liners in her novels Adults and Animals are T-Shirt slogan worthy. Adults follow Jenny, a woman in her thirties who is apparently failing at life. She’s broke, her best friend and she are falling out, work isn’t going great and to top it all off her mad-mother has come to stay. It’s a hilarious look at a quarter-life crisis of a woman in the city.
I love Laura Jane Williams, not least because she’s an author that I work with, but also because her writing is amazing. Our Stop is a hilarious and feel-good romance all about the Rush Hour Crush column in the Metro – where commuters can reach out to people they saw on the tube and ask them out via the daily newspaper. What follows is a story of near-misses, sweet dalliances, and utter hilarity.
Queenie is a book set in the heart of London about a black woman going through a mental health crisis. There are tons of important themes in this story, not least the treatment of black women by men, healthcare systems, and even family. Culturally important, as well as hilarious this is a must-read for anyone looking for a women’s fiction set in London.
Promising Young Woman is a dark comedic women’s fiction novel about a woman who undertakes an affair with her boss. Kind of like Fleabag meets Secretary this story follows Jane Peters, who works in advertising by day but runs an advice blog by night. The love affair starts off passionately but later evolves into something damaging for all involved. An intensely gripping, multi-genre book that women who work in London should read.
The Cows starts off with a woman masturbating on the Victoria Line after a truly successful date and getting caught on camera. The story actually follows three very different women, who are all connected somehow. There are dark twists, a look at motherhood, friendship, and dating in the city as well as some good old-fashioned romance and comedy.
Expectation is a sharp look at what life is like for women in London, several years after they first move into the big city. From starting out in-house shares with your best mates to moving in with partners, having children, sleeping with the wrong people, and putting your job before anything else. There is a character for every woman in this women’s fiction novel set across the city.
Christmas movies and Christmas books are amazingly atmospheric to me, so add in London and you’ve got a winner. We Met in December is actually a book that I worked on at HarperFiction. It’s a sweet romance about two housemates who, funnily enough, meet in December and then spend a year dancing around the fact they’re attracted to each other. London is the third player in this romance and it’s the perfect addition. Kind of like Last Christmas (the film) meets Bridget Jones’ Diary.
Millie and Bella appear to be polar opposites. Bella has been recently dumped and is turning to social media to rub salt in the wound. #Blessed and #BestLife images circulating her feeds. Millie is a single mother of a son with a Premier League football player, who gets sent a ton of clothes and has a successful Instagram feed because of it. However, Millie’s life is a lie – she is struggling – and Bella is actually more successful than she thinks. London plays its parts as the perfect backdrop for imposter and comparison syndrome in this sweet women’s fiction.
And finally, a hilarious LGBT read for anyone looking to branch out their women’s fiction reading list. Kate Davies is an amazing writer! I adored every second I spent reading this genius book about self-discovery and sexuality. Julia attends a trendy party where she meets female artists who introduce her to more than composition and narrative. Soon she’s attending BDSM groups, lesbian swing dances, and more uproarious events across the city. Amazing.
What are your favourite women’s fiction novels set in London? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always keen to find new books set in my favourite city.