Book Rec Time

This summer, my little sister is going on World Tour with her singing group. Being a devotee of the theme reading concept, she’s looking for a romance novel set in each place they visit. England and France were easy enough, but Denmark is proving elusive. As is Japan. And a few other places.

I appeal to you for aid. Can anyone recommend good romance novels set in:

— Denmark
— Germany
— Italy
— Israel
— Japan
— the Middle East
— Russia
— Turkey

Any and all recommendations gratefully accepted! (Historicals preferred, but not mandatory.)


  1. Joanne M. on March 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons came to mind for Russia.

  2. Julie L. on March 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    For Japan, I loved Memoirs of a Geisha, although it not a real historical, it’s WWII, still it was great! Not too sure about Denmark, that’s tough, maybe Music and Silence by Rose Tremain? More like historical fiction than romance, I haven’t read it but it sounds good! Or maybe one of those many Viking time travel romances that are out there!

  3. Elizabeth on March 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I haven’t read the book yet, however it does have good reviews. The Royal Physician’s Visit by Per Olov Enquist is based on Queen Caroline Mathilde- a member of the British royal family and her marriage to Christian VII who in 1766 becomes king of Denmark. She has an affair with the doctor who is taking care of the mentally deteriorating king. The doctor ends up having absolute rule for 10 months through the king and his relationship with the queen.

  4. Carole on March 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    For Japan you could try Anna and the King of Dragons by Karen Harbaugh. It’s with a Dutch girl in Japan. I’ve been meaning to read that one.

  5. Jane on March 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    “The Devil in Music”, by Kate Ross, is set in Italy during England’s regency period. It’s the fourth of an all-too-short series of murder mysteries, but I read it before I knew that and had no problems.

  6. Carole on March 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Someone said something about it, it has some fantasy in it, like dragons and etc, but I heard its good.

    Also, for Japan, you could try The Last Concubine by Lesley Downer

    Check this website out, it has listings of romance novels in each country:

  7. Kiernan on March 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I suspect you’ve already read these, but maybe they just slipped your mind or your sister is hoping for something new.
    Italy – A Room with a View by EM Forster or Season of Storms by Suzanna Kearsley
    Middle East – The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart, Japan – Bundori by Laura Joh Rowland (More mystery than romance 2nd in the series about Sano Ichiro)

  8. Céline on March 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I have to agree with Joanne… The Bronze Horseman is a favourite of mine! Set in Russia, during WWII, one of the best books I’ve ever read!

  9. Elizabeth P on March 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander. Takes place in Russia up until the Russian Revolution in 1918. Great story about the sister of the Russian Empress.

  10. Andrea on March 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    The Book “The Exploits and Adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy” written by Elizabeth Aston is located to a good part in Italy, it’s a very entertaining Pride and Prejudice sequel. For the middle east maybe the Amelia Peabody Series written by Elizabeth Peters, mostly in Egypt, very funny historical crime novels with a good portion of romance. For Denmark the only book that comes to my mind is “Die verschwundene Miniatur” written (in German) by Erich Kästner, plays partly in Copenhagen. It was (in the Thirties) contemporanean, but now it’s become sort of historical, like PG Wodehouse. Not sure if it was translated in English!

  11. Danielle on March 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I think the Girl with Pearl Earring is set in Denmark or maybe it’s another Dutch country. Memoirs of a Geisha was a wonderful book set in Japan. I think for Russia there’s nothing like a little Anna Karenina.

  12. Ivy on March 13, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    How about “Of Nightingales that Weep” by Katherine Patterson for Japan? It is both historical and a romance.

  13. Kate P on March 13, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    For Israel, check out Edeet Ravel. She has three books set in Israel – “Ten Thousand Lovers”, “A Wall of Light” and “Look for Me”. All three are great, but “Ten Thousand Lovers” is my favourite.

    Another great book set in Israel is “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant.

    I also want to reiterate that the Bronze Horsemen is fantastic.

  14. Allison on March 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I don’t have anything original to add…just wanted to add my weight to the recommendations of Bronze Horseman…great book! There is a sequel also…I haven’t read it but heard it isn’t as good.

  15. Kayse on March 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    For Italy, I recommend “The Rossetti Letter,” by Christi Phillips. Like the Pink books, it’s a story within a story, with a modern heroine framing the story of the 17th century heroine. For Turkey, how about “Tears of Pearl,” by Tasha Alexander? I’m addicted to the Lady Emily mystery series.

  16. Am7 on March 14, 2011 at 1:54 am

    I recommend Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak for Russia. Sort of like GWTW.
    Also From Russia With Love which is set in both
    Russia and Turkey.
    You Only Live Twice takes place in Japan.
    On Her Majestys Secret Service takes place in Switzerland.
    I know they aren’t romance novels exactly…
    but there is some love
    and well you write spy fiction so I..
    googled Ian Fleming.
    But I honestly thought of From Russia With Love and remembered it was set somewhat in Turkey.

  17. AnneK on March 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

    For reading about the middle east, I recomend teh first three books in the Ethan Gage series by William Dietritch. In Napoleon’s Pyramids, Ethan is in Egypt; in The Rosetta Key he is in the Holy Land; and in The Barbary Pirates, he is in North Africa. I also recomend O Jerusalem of the Mary Russell series by Laruie R King.(This is an out-of-order book: second in Mary’s life, but fifth in publication.)

  18. Chartreuse on March 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Middle East — The Crocodile on the Sandbank — Elizabeth Peters
    Italy — Your Scandalous Ways –Loretta Chase
    Germany — Borrower of the Night — Elizabeth Peters
    ?Israel — The Source — James Michener
    ?Israel — A Fly Has a Hundred Eyes — Aileen Baron
    ?Denmark — Sharpe’s Prey — Bernard Cornwell
    Russia — The Storybook Hero — Andrea Pickens (= Cara Elliot)

  19. Jess on March 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Italy- the Rosetti Letter. I cannot suggest this book enough to people. I lovvvvveeee it almost as much as I love the Pink Carnation series

  20. Caitlin on March 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    The Copenhagen Connection – Elizabeth Peters is excellent, not as good as the Amelia books but still excellent.

  21. vanessa phelps on March 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    the Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall is a great romance novel that takes place in Russia in 1910

  22. Dawn on March 15, 2011 at 12:02 am

    For Japan, The Tokaido Road by Lucia St. Clair Robson.

    Denmark – Music & Silence by Rose Tremain, some of those scenes are still with me. It has many and varied characters, with the flutist coming from Ireland as the one whose life is changed by love, growth and Denmark’s court. My next pick would be Rosalind Laker’s The Golden Tulip

    Russia – This book I read earlier this year dealing with a couple today and in WWII Russia has a simplicity to this couple’s story that stay with you. The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean. Also, Daphne Kalotay’s Russian Winter.

    Italy – I like this next novel, A Venetian Affair by Andrea Di Robilant, in part because it is based upon the discovery of a cache of letters (Pink fans should appreciate that bit of life imitating life) by the author’s father that tell of their ancestor’s forbidden love in 18th century Venice and you also have Casanova. Need I really say more? Another selection is Robin Maxwell’s O Juliet.

    Germany – Okay, this is actually set in Austria, Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell. You have four daughters and their search for love, Mozart falling in love, his music, all together in this wonderful novel.

    That’s all I can think of right now.

  23. Samantha on March 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Try Forever in Your Embrace by Kathleen Woodwiss for a Russian romance. I haven’t read it forever, but thought it was awesome back when – spunky heroine and adventure.

  24. lAUra on March 18, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Hadassah: One Night with the King was set in the middle east. It is about Esther and King Xerxes.

    The Mark of the Lion Trilogy starts off in Israel, moves to Rome Italy and ends up in Germany. The 1st book is A Voice in the Wind. (I liked the 1st book best, but the others are very good too). By Francine Rivers.


  25. Ann F on March 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    These are more young adult books that many people lump into the adult category, but for the Middle East, Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind, Haveli and The House of Djinn by Suzanne Fisher Staples are a trilogy that have some romance and are absolutely amazing. The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli is set in Italy and the protagonist is Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. One book that is set in Russsia is Blood Promise by Richelle Mead. It’s full of romance but it’s the fourth in a series and you need to read the first three to understand it. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown is set in Italy, but lots of people have already read it. The Eight by Katherine Neville takes place partly in Russia I think. I read the book a while ago and can’t quite remember. And I definitely agree with The Red Tent. That was an amazing book!

  26. Ashleigh on March 24, 2011 at 12:59 am

    For Japan, The Tale of Genji. Not only is it (incredibly) historical, it is considered the first novel ever written!

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