Books set in Yorkshire you really should read

There are few things better than getting lost in a great book in the summer. So why not get lost in the locations that inspired them during your next trip away?
Visitors to York enjoying the warm weather while relaxing in York Museum Gardens.Visitors to York enjoying the warm weather while relaxing in York Museum Gardens.
Visitors to York enjoying the warm weather while relaxing in York Museum Gardens.

With its natural landscapes, vibrant towns and cities packed with culture, unique local characteristics and language and huge historical significance, it's no surprise that Yorkshire has been the inspiration and setting for some great novels over the past few hundred years.

Here are some recommendations of places to visit which have featured in classics and bestsellers.

The Offing by Ben Myers

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Set in Robin Hood’s Bay during a blazing summer in the wake of the Second World War, The Offing recounts a tender story of love and friendship between a teenage miner and an eccentric older woman.

Evoking the striking landscapes of the coast, Myer’s novel is an enthralling depiction of the journey from adolescence into adulthood.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Kate Atkinson

The story of a young girl growing up as part of a middle-class family in York and the generations of women who came before her was the first novel by Kate Atkinson, one of today’s most acclaimed writers. The museum in the title refers to York’s Castle Museum.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

A classic novel that helped to give Brontë Country in West Yorkshire its name, Jane Eyre is an epic 600-page account of Jane’s life, from young orphan to domestic bliss with Mr Rochester, through her experiences in her teaching career, bigamy, homelessness and more.

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The book has inspired film versions and stage adaptations including one this year at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

God’s Own Country, Ross Raisin

The Yorkshire moors are the backdrop for Ross Raisin's debut novel. This is the vivid and darkly unsettling story of Sam Marsdyke, a smart but disturbed teenage farmer who forms a friendship with a young girl who has moved to the area.

It’s written from his point of view and in strong Yorkshire dialect, and the sense of menace the bubbles away throughout is compelling. Whitby and Goathland both feature in the book.

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Emily Brontë only wrote one novel in her life, but what a novel it is. Her story of the passionate, and ultimately destructive love between the headstrong Catherine and brooding Healthcliff is a true classic of English literature. It is set on the dark, stormy moors – including Top Withins – above Haworth where the Brontes lived.

The Railway Children, E. Nesbit

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A story of eternal love, kindness and humanity, this children's classic recounts the lives of three children who are forced to move to rural Yorkshire after their father is falsely accused of spying.

The film version of the beautiful story featured the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.

If Only They Could Talk by James Herriot

To young Glaswegian James Herriot, fresh out of veterinary college, 1930s Yorkshire appears to offer an idyllic pocket of rural life in a rapidly changing world.

But even life in the sleepy village of Darrowby has its challenges for an interloper like him: from herds of semi-feral cattle and gruff farmers with incomprehensible accents.

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These classic memoirs from the Yorkshire vet are heartwarming and funny, showing Yorkshire at its idyllic best.

Sovereign, CJ Samson

The third book in the hugely popular Matthew Shardlake series, Sovereign primarily takes place in York in 1541 during Henry VIII’s state visit to the North. It also process through East Yorkshire including Home-upon-Spalding Moor.

Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak are already in the city, as a murder case pulls them into deeper mysteries around the royal family.

The Secret Garden, Francis Hodgson Burnett

First published in 1911, The Secret Garden is a children’s classic beloved by generations of readers. The book tells the story of Mary Lennox, an orphan who is sent to live with her uncle at Misselthwaite Manor on the foreboding Yorkshire moors.

Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is synonymous with fiction set in London but a chunk of his third novel is set in a Yorkshire school where Nicholas works with Wackford Squeers.