12 recommended reads for those traveling to Maine (or who want to)

If you're looking for a book with a strong sense of place, try one of these books set in Maine.

I love when a book whisks me away to a different time and place—if only in my mind. In recent weeks I just happened to read several stories all in a row that happened to be set in Maine: the forthcoming Olive Kitteridge novel Lucy by the Sea, Adam White’s The Midcoast, and Linda Holmes’s Flying Solo. One of my favorite stories in this year’s Summer Reading Guide is Alice Elliott Dark’s Fellowship Point. And one of my favorite books of last year was Susan Conley’s Maine-set Landslide.

I hadn’t realized a Maine setting was such a pattern for me. What is it about Maine?

“Back when I lived out of state, people always used to get excited when they found out where I was from,” explains the narrator of The Midcoast. I’m not surprised. There’s something fascinating about Maine, and judging by the plethora of novels set in the easternmost of the United States, I am not the only one who gets excited.

Maine is a place where people move for the views, the cost of living, and, in some cases, the pace of life (especially if you’re judging from some of the protagonists who appear in this book list!). Titles set here—especially the coastal stories—promise to be evocative and atmospheric, with a strong sense of place. And to many of us, including me, Maine is intriguingly unlike the places where we spend our day to day lives.

I have never been to Maine, and would very much like to visit. For now I’ll have to content myself with the rich literary offerings, and I have to say, that’s not a terrible consolation prize.

12 books set in Maine

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This Is What Happy Looks Like

This Is What Happy Looks Like

This is such a fun read for anyone who has a soft spot in their heart for a solid YA novel, and it's a must-read if you loved the movie Notting Hill. When Graham, the hugest of huge Hollywood teenage stars, mistypes an email address, his message ends up in the inbox of Ellie, a teenager girl in the small town of Henley, Maine (which is entirely fictional, though Smith originally intended to set the book in Camden). The two strike up a witty correspondence, even though (or really, because) she doesn't know who he is. When Graham's latest film is shot on location in her town, the relationship moves from online to real life. But the paparazzi make Graham's life miserable, and Ellie has secrets of her own. You could transport yourself straight to Maine by enjoying this quick read in one afternoon. More info →
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Maine

Maine

Sullivan began writing this book on a Maine beach, while visiting her best friend's family home. The home in this story is a character in its own right, and is modeled upon that home Sullivan once visited. This is the story of three generations of women in the Irish Catholic Kelleher family, with every woman facing plenty of her own struggles. The beach house holds the story together. The matriarch's husband won it long ago at gambling, and since that time the family has returned each summer to come together and air, or sometimes hide, their grievances. I can't do better than Publishers Weekly, who described this story as "a summer spritzer that's equal parts family drama, white wine, and Hail Marys." More info →
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The Stars Are Fire

The Stars Are Fire

Author:
This 2017 Summer Reading Guide selection is dark and a little melodramatic, but oh-so-discussable. After a scorching summer and months of no rain, the largest fires in Maine's history swept over its coast, from Bar Harbor to Kittery. In Shreve's claustrophobic domestic suspense we experience this real event through the eyes of Grace Holland, whose marriage is its own sort of natural disaster. Her husband came back from the war a little broken. So did her friend's husbands, yet they don't seem as cruel. When wildfires break out, her husband leaves to help dig a fire break, and Grace and her children flee to the ocean to escape the flames. When her husband doesn't return, Grace thinks she's lost him forever—and she's far from devastated. But then he returns, and the real trouble begins. More info →
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Empire Falls

Empire Falls

Author:
I included this book for the setting but it is no vicarious vacation. Russo's 2002 Pulitzer Prize winning story unfolds in the eponymous mill town in south-central Maine, run-down and nearly bankrupt, and ruled with an iron fist by the wealthy Whiting family. Though the mills are closed, the businesses are boarded up, and many of the citizens have up and left, many still long for, even expect, a return to the town's heyday—but that won't happen without Mrs Whiting's help, and she's never going to give it. This is ostensibly the story of one man, Miles Roby, who long ago put his dreams to leave town on hold because his mother got sick his final year of college, and now is stuck, running the Empire Grill for Mrs Whiting, hanging on only because she's promised to leave him the grill. When Miles stumbles upon a family secret, it prompts him to reevaluate everything, and changes the course of his (though not only his) life. But in the particular is found the universal, and this is also a poignant—and tragic—exploration of the human condition. (The ending of this book is brutal and merits a content warning.) More info →
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Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge

Who doesn't love a small town drama? Retired schoolteacher Olive is not keen about the way her small town of Crosby, Maine is changing. (Crosby is fictional; the town was so named as a tribute to Strout's college roommate., though literary sleuths suspect the town is based on Brunswick.) Through a series of interconnected short stories, we get to know Olive’s family and some of the town's residents as they grapple with their respective problems, including infidelity, suicide, eating disorders, domestic violence, and more. This may sound like a dismal collection but each story glimmers with care and compassion, even offering hope as prickly Olive comes to develop a better, more honest understanding of herself and those around her. This is one worthy of rereading. More info →
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The Last House Guest

The Last House Guest

Author:
Miranda says her primary inspiration for this novel—and its setting, the idyllic (and fictional) town of Littleport, Maine—was her family's childhood vacations to Bar Harbor. An unlikely friendship sits at the heart of this story: Sadie Loman is a summer person; her wealthy family owns most of the town's numerous vacation homes. Avery Greer is a lifelong—and year-round—Littleport resident. Relationships between summer people and true Mainers are unusual, yet the two have always been inseparable, all summer long. But then Sadie is found dead, authorities rule it a suicide, and Avery can't help but feel the community blames her for the loss. But then Avery finds Sadie's phone hidden in the rental house where she was the night she died, and Avery starts chasing down clues, trying to clear her name. Come for the story and Maine setting, stay for the unexpected twist. More info →
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The Next Great Jane

The Next Great Jane

Author:
This Jane Austen-inspired middle grade novel is full of Austen-isms and so much heart. 12-year-old Jane Brannen dreams of becoming a famous author someday, just like her idol Jane Austen. When bestselling author J. E. Fairfax comes to Whickett Harbor, Jane thinks it's the perfect opportunity to ask her about the secret to literary success. But then a hurricane rolls through, Jane misses her chance and gets thrown together with the author's snobby, science-geek son instead. In addition to an exceptionally annoying boy, the storm blows in bad news for Jane's future: her mother has filed for custody and intends to bring Jane back to California with her. Jane doesn't want to leave her beloved small town, so she sets her sights on finding the perfect match for her father and proving to her mother that Whickett Harbor is where she's meant to be. More info →
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Haven Point

Haven Point

Author:
A sweeping family saga about three generations of women and the summer home that divides and unites them. In the book’s opening pages a hurricane barrels towards the coast of Maine, but that’s not so unusual to the denizens of Haven Point, the snug community tucked into the rocky shoreline where three generations of Demarest women have found joy and suffered tragedy. Grandmother Maren has come to love the tight-knit community she married into, while her daughter and granddaughter found it to be snobbish and suffocating. The story unfolds in three timelines, set in 1944, 1970, and 2008, each closely following one generation of women, and illuminating the devastating secret that must be revealed before the hurricane makes landfall. Taking readers from the wartime corridors of Walter Reed hospital to the contemporary summer singalongs in the rec hall, this wistful debut is perfect for those who want to follow characters through their lifetimes, examine complex family relationships, or enjoy a good redemption story. More info →
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Landslide

Landslide

Author:
The setting of this short and breathtaking novel about a woman raising teenage boys under arduous circumstances in a small, rocky Maine town is largely inspired by the fishing village near Conley's childhood home. When her husband is confined to a Nova Scotia hospital after a terrible fishing accident, a mother is left to parent her teenage boys—"the wolves"—alone. But things have been hard for a while now: in this insular fishing community, the fish aren't biting like they once did. Money is perpetually tight. Not long before, the family was dealt a terrible blow, and one son is still wracked by grief. And even absent an immediate crisis, parenting teenagers is grueling. I did not want to put this down, although I paused many times along the way to text my fellow parents of teenage boys. I loved the evocative setting and bracing portrayal of a family on the brink. More info →
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Flying Solo

Flying Solo

Author:
Holmes's warm-hearted sophomore novel is set, like her first, in the made-up harbor town of Calcasset, Maine. You could say this book was written with a vicarious visit in mind: Holmes says she wrote it in 2020 and 2021 when she was at home and "couldn’t go to any of the beautiful places I love in real life, Maine included." If you like the sound of a woman reevaluating what she really wants on the cusp of turning 40 (with plenty of When Harry Met Sally references), a second-chance romance with a sexy librarian, an older role model who lived an amazing life on her own terms, and a love story involving a beautiful and mysterious duck decoy, this smart second-chance romance is the book for you. More info →
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The Midcoast

The Midcoast

Author:
This slow-burning debut set in the tiny coastal town of Damariscotta is thick with atmosphere and middcoast fog. Our narrator is a Nick Carraway type, a writer and English teacher named Andrew who is not considered a true Mainer by the locals because he moved there—at the age of 3. You're only a true Mainer, he explains, if your parents are born here. This book is the ostensible manuscript Andrew wrote about the Thatch family, particularly father Ed Thatch, to document the family's rise and fall after it all came crashing down. Ed is a true local, having grown up in Damariscotta, an accomplished lobsterman before he graduated high school. He's revered locally as the small town boy made good, one who achieved financial success by working harder than anyone else. But Andrew is just one of many residents who's begun to wonder how Ed could make so much money from lobster alone, and if something suspicious might actually be going on right under their noses. Part small town portrait, part crime story, with a nonlinear structure that artfully carries the plot. More info →
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Fellowship Point

Fellowship Point

A 2022 MMD Summer Reading Guide selection! Agnes Lee and Polly Wister have been friends their whole lives, growing up alongside each other in Philadelphia Quaker families and summering together in Maine. Agnes is beloved by the world as a bestselling children’s author, but not a living soul—including Polly—knows she also pens the popular and critically praised Franklin Square series. Polly knows Agnes sees her as a pushover, especially when it comes to her family, but Polly never lets on she’s wiser than her friend gives her credit for. When an enterprising (and nosy) young editor begins pestering Agnes to write a memoir, she sets in motion a chain of events that tests the women’s lifelong friendship, and threatens to expose the long-buried secrets each has so carefully kept from the other. If you want a big, rich, and immersive novel to whisk you away to the shore, this 592-pager is just the ticket.  More info →
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Which books set in Maine have you read and loved? Please tell us all about them in the comments section!

P.S. Emily Henry just announced her next book and it’s set in the great state of Maine! If you haven’t yet listened to our conversation on What Should I Read Next, it’s great. Listen in here to WSIRN Episode 332: Beach Reads for Book Lovers.

P.P.S. Enjoy 130 recommended reads for those traveling to New York City, Take a trip to the icy Arctic with these 8 awe-inspiring nonfiction books, and more literary tourism.

12 recommended reads for those traveling to Maine

129 comments

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  1. Karen DeVries says:

    Gary Schmidt, author of The Wednesday Wars, has a number of books for middle-grade (or older) readers in which the Maine setting plays a large part, including Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, Just Like That, Trouble, and Orbiting Jupiter. All of Schmidt’s books are wonderfully sensitive to the emotional lives of adolescents.

    • Mimi says:

      I love Gary Schmidt’s books! I read Just Like That last month and loved it. The Maine setting was like a character.

  2. Adrienne says:

    Great list! Years ago I read (and loved!) a series of books by Cathie Pelletier, all set in the fictional town of Mattagash, Maine. The series includes The Funeral Makers, Once Upon a Time on the Banks, The Weight of Winter, and The One-Way Bridge. I honestly don’t remember the details of the books, but I remember they were hilarious, witty, filled with quirky characters, and captured all the ups and downs of their nutty, every-day lives. Pelletier also wrote A Marriage Made at Woodstock, which is hands-down one of the funniest books I have ever read. This is set in Portland, Maine, and tells the story of Fred and Lorraine, who met at Woodstock and married but whose lives have since evolved in very different directions. He’s become a rather dull and stuffy accountant, and she is a passionate animal rights activist and psychologist. I think was written in the 1990’s so it is a bit dated, but it is still one of my favorites.

    My brother and sister-in-law moved to Maine last summer, and I’m thinking I need to plan a trip there to visit! Happy Reading!

    • Kate says:

      I was coming to the comments to mention Cathie Pelletier as well! “Quirky” is one of my favorite genres of books, and hers definitely fit the bill!

  3. Marie says:

    As a Canadian who drives down there every other summer when we’re not abroad, I can tell you that for us it’s the coast. We try to make it to at least one ocean every summer and the Maine coast and ocean are the closest to us. The small town atmosphere is a wonderful change from the big city life we live every day. Thank you for this list, there’s a couple I’m not familiar with that I will definitely look up and put on my beach read list that I pull out every summer ❤️

  4. LC says:

    As a Mainer, I think there’s good reason so many books are set here in my little slice of heaven.

    Monica Wood and One in a Million Boy definitely deserves a mention.

    And though I’m not a fan of many of his books, our most famous author is probably Stephen King.

  5. Emily says:

    I just finished Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore. Loved it. A great read with a very well described Maine setting.

  6. Marie says:

    Two other titles that came under my radar two weeks ago (while I was vacationing in Maine) are both titled Vacationland, one by a late night show writer, a memoir of sorts about his vacation adventures and the other one a fiction tale that I have not read yet by Meg Mitchell Moore.

  7. Leslie says:

    Hi Anne,
    I just got back from Maine (less than 2 weeks ago). I did the same thing that you did (found books to get me in the mood). I chose 2 Stephen King books. I had not read Stephen King in the past, but I was planning to visit his house in Bangor, Maine, so I thought I’d give them a try. His books are full of references to locations in Maine. You might want to add them to your list and visit his house!

    • Leslie says:

      Sorry, I was so excited by the title of your article, that I wrote my reply before reading your post. I assumed you were prepping for an upcoming trip to Maine. I’ll be adding books from your list to my TBR. Sorry for my overzealous initial response 🙂

  8. Emily says:

    If only it were true about the cost of living!! As a born and raised mainer I had to move out of state to have any chance at buying a house. Miss it constantly!

    I have a couple YA favorites set in Maine: The Last True Poets of the Sea but Julie Drake (Shakespeare retelling!) and Horrid by Katrina Leno (though I think the first is truer to the Maine vibes than the latter!).

  9. Dee says:

    Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons is another good Maine read.

    I’m not a YA or romance reader, but I’ve got to add This is What Happy Looks Like to my list because I simply adore Camden, Maine, although it’s been a lot of years since I was last there.

  10. Liz C says:

    Perfect timing – Maine has become my happy place, and a friend and I are returning for our annual mid-coast road trip next week! I’ve actually got The Next Great Jane already packed in my carryon for this one. I just finished a book titled Chickens, Gin, and a Maine Friendship: The Correspondence of E.B. White and Edmund Ware Smith that I picked up at Sherman’s in Bar Harbor last year, and I now know more about mid-century henhouse building than I ever thought I’d need to, but I still found the letters between these two writers to be pretty entertaining.

  11. Laura Ambler says:

    I love reading about a place before I visit! I have not been to Maine in years, but I know these will make me want to return.
    We visit Cape Cod fairly often and I’ve read many novels based there. Has helped me discover some places off the beaten path!

  12. Mimi says:

    Great list! I would add Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore. Just finished it and loved it. I could feel Maine in her descriptions.

  13. Stacy Wittenberg says:

    We visited Maine this summer for the first time and after returning I immediately began researching titles of books set in Maine so I could chase that “Maine Vibe”… love this list!!!

  14. Julie says:

    I grew up in Vermont and we traveled to Maine every summer for vacation. It’s been six years since we moved south and I miss it every summer.

    When We Were The Kennedys by Monica Wood is one of my favorite books that takes place in Maine.

  15. Merry says:

    For atmosphere, interesting characters, and life in coastal Maine circa 1940, read A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Cline. It’s about the woman behind the iconic Andrew Wyeth painting Christina’s World. And, no list about Maine is complete without The Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn Chute.

  16. Leeanne Chandler says:

    My favorite book set in Maine is “A Piece of the World” by Christina Baker Kline. I loved this story inspired by the icon painting Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth.

  17. Kate says:

    Great list! I enjoyed Mahalas Lane by Marianne Cushing, which takes place in mid-Coast Maine in the small community of Owl’s Head. I read it in June while we were staying in Owl’s Head! It’s a quick read that’s full of mystery and a sweet love story. The author brings to life so much of Owl’s Head, including the cute Owl’s Head General Store, the famous lighthouse, the gorgeous beaches, and the small islands right off the coast. I even walked over to the actual Mahalas Lane and recognized the house that’s “shaped like a boat” and is central to the story!

    • Laurie says:

      As someone from “away” (aka lived in Maine the last 20 years 🙂 ), I have enjoyed Christina Baker Klein’s books, especially Christina’s World, based on an Andrew Wyeth painting. Orphan Train is also based in Maine.

  18. Karen S. Troutman says:

    Great list!! I love Maine and we have visited several times. I might be due another trip soon. I added several from your list to my TBR. The Stars are Fire, Olive Kitteridge, Haven Point, The Midcoast, and Flying Solo. Thank you!

  19. Nicole Baird says:

    We grew up reading “The Worry Week” every summer dreaming of a Maine beach vacation. One of my favorites to read when longing for vacation, although my children argue the Penderwicks should take its place I simply inform them I’m ok with a tie on this debate. 🙂

  20. Megan Z. says:

    I recently read the first in a series- The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron. While the mystery was so-so, the descriptions of Maine were great (and focused more on Maine vs. Coastal Maine). I enjoyed it enough I want to read more in the series.

    • Jeri Bills says:

      I was just coming to talk about Paul Dorian’s books about Maine wildlife officer Mike Bowditch. There are 12 books in the series now. The author obviously loves the flora. Me fauna in his home state. It’s a good idea to read these in order.

  21. Reading aloud the Penderwicks series to my kids is what inspired my trip to Maine. Most happen in Massachusetts, but The Penderwicks at Point Mouette chronicles their vacation to Maine, and the lonely, breezy, moose-inhabited coastlines entranced me. I’m going back (and taking the kids this time) this fall, so I’m excited to have new inspiring Maine reads with which to prepare.

  22. Casey says:

    I really enjoyed a book of collected essays by E.B. White titled “One Man’s Meat,” in which he details his life as a new farm owner in rural Maine for a news magazine published in New York City. The essays run the course of several years through the 1930s and 40s. Really engaging reading.

  23. Pam M. says:

    For those who love Maine, please consider the Mike Bowditch series by Paul Doiron. Mysteries set in the Maine wilderness and its small towns, featuring a Maine game warden/investigator. Great sense of place and likeable protagonist. As a Mainer who has to live too far from ‘God’s country’, I love these books because they take me right back to pine trees, fog, rocky coast, and all that make Maine unique.

  24. Love this list! As a transplanted West-Coaster living in NH, I’m still soaking up everything about this region.

    I wanted to second (or 3rd or 4th!) Kline’s A Piece of the World, as well as add the classic by Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of Pointed Firs, which both contain rich details about daily life in an earlier Maine.

    • Christine G. says:

      I read “Country of the Pointed Firs” in college, and ever since then, I have wanted to go to Maine. It’s been a while since I graduated :), but I do hope to make it to Maine someday soon!
      cg

  25. Debbie says:

    I would add The Beans of Egypt Maine by Carolyn Chute and the classic, The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett.

    • Claudia L MacDonald says:

      The Beans of Egypt Maine by Carolyn Chute may be the first book I read which was set in Maine. It was oh, so familiar as I think there are many places in the U.S. which this story could take place. Olive Kitteridge: consider begin reading her first novel and read them in order. Kitteridge is an amazing writer. (I’ve visited Maine numerous times and now, one of my children (and a niece) and their family live in Bar Harbor. My favorite part of Maine is the northern, forested part. Glorious!

  26. Lanne says:

    A children’s book set in Maine came to mind first. Blueberries for Sal is my earliest memory of a book. Every summer my grandmother, mom, aunts,and cousins would go to pick wild blueberries (in northern NY, not Maine.) While my aunts, mom, and older cousins would pick berries, Grandma would read to us younger children so we didn’t wander off. Another book that comes to mind is a memoir by George Howe Colt The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Home. I love this list, both Anne’s recommendations and those in the comments.

  27. Angie Lugo says:

    I love Maine and just got back on Sunday from our yearly trip. This list will keep my vacation mindset going! I really enjoyed Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Authors ( and their Muses) by Terri Lynne DeFino.

  28. Suzy says:

    Oh, Anne, Maine is really a magical place! It always seems to me that Maine is a major character/player in every book set in Maine, unlike other books. I wish you could plan to come visit! Drive up the coast, not just to the southern beaches, but as far as Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. I moved to Maine 44 years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I love the people, the pace of life, the quality of life, the weather, and the uncrowdedness of it. When I first moved here, I felt I had gone back 50 years in time. I love that you’ve made this list, and it’s a good one. I’ve read many, but will put others on my TBR. No list is complete, as other readers attest, without putting Monica Wood on it! Especially When We Were the Kennedys, a memoir of when her father died when she was only 9, set in the real life western Maine town of Mexico. After having lived in Maine for so long, many books’ characterization of Maine people and their accent are cringe-worthy caricatures. But Elizabeth Strout, Richard Russo and Monica Wood get it right. Thanks for highlighting Maine, I couldn’t believe it when I opened your post!

  29. Sally says:

    Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore just came out this summer and it’s set in Maine. I LOVED both the setting and the characters – you really come to love and care about them. A definite must-read for if you’re interested in a Maine setting.

  30. Vivian says:

    Great list.. I just returned from vacation in Stratton Maine. I also just finished the book The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel, which was excellent. The book was recommended by a friend, and she said after reading it helped her understand her son more. I am taking away a few books & adding to my TBR list. Thank you.

  31. Andrea says:

    I’m a Mainer and this post and the comments brought me a lot of joy and new titles for my TBR! Most of my favorites have already been mentioned. I especially love all of Christina Baker Kline’s and Monica Woods’ books. For non-fiction, I would add Erin French’s The Lost Kitchen cookbook and memoir Finding Freedom, and Mill Town by Kerri Arsenault. And if you visit, please consider exploring the non-coastal areas as well! The northern part of Maine is incredibly beautiful and far less crowded 🙂

    • Ann says:

      Mill Town would pair well with When we were the Kennedys as it takes place in the same area.
      Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy is a young adult book that takes place during a not very pleasant episode in Maine history. My favorite Robert McCloskey Maine books are One Morning in Maine and Burt Dow, Deep Water Man.

  32. Taylor B. says:

    I am currently reading Lucy by the Sea and it is lovely… as long as you’re ready to read about life during the pandemic! I loved Oh William! as well (which also involves a brief trip to Maine). I’ve never read any of her other books, so just know you don’t have to read the other two Amgash series books in order to enjoy these two!

    • Taylor B. says:

      I should say you don’t have to read any of the other books from EITHER the Amgash or Olive Kitteridge series. Olive has just briefly been mentioned (I’m about halfway, so maybe she is mentioned more?), but the book is about Lucy and William… so I guess it has ties to both series? Goodreads doesn’t put it with either. So, read as a standalone! Why not!

  33. I just went to Maine and – without realizing it, one of the books I had just finished and the one I was currently reading were both set in Maine. It does have such a strong sense of place and seems to attract/produce a certain type of person that lends itself well to fiction! I’d add Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes (which I liked better than Flying Solo); It All Comes Down To This by Therese Anne Fowler; and a strong endorsement of your recommendation of The Stars Are Fire, which is one of the most engrossing books I’ve read in the last 10 years.

  34. Joanna says:

    I can’t believe how perfectly timed this list is! My family plans to vacation in Maine the end of August, and I will certainly need a bag of books to take along, so I am excited to try some of these. I am sad to see that Lucy by the Sea (by one of my favorite authors!!!) will be out a few weeks too late to take along, but I am hopeful that another one (or three or four) will be the right fit. My husband has been to Maine before, but it’s a first for me and our 5 children, so I am excited, and books can only improve the adventure, right?

    • Anne Bogel says:

      If you read Oh, William! you’ll get a small taste of Maine, and you’ll be all primed to read Lucy by the Sea (which is a follow-up to that story) when it comes out! Have a wonderful visit.

  35. Connie says:

    For classical lobstering and a great series, I always return to Elisabeth Ogilvie’s Tide books. I love to read repeating characters and the Bennetts are my favorite Maine family. Ogilvie also has some mysteries, YA, and historical novels, but the Bennett’s Island (actually Criehaven) stories are the best.

  36. Janice Cunning says:

    I was so excited to see Elizabeth Strout as a new book coming out. Wrote to tell my book club as we really enjoy her books and both Olive and Lucy are such great characters.

  37. Kate Cricco says:

    Great list, as always- I’m a big fan of the Mike Bowditch mysteries by Paul Doiron. Living in neighboring NH, it’s fun to know about mud season, black flies, etc!

  38. Christine Scott says:

    Night of the Living Rez is a new release by Morgan Talty that paints a vivid picture of life on the Penobscot reservation in Maine. It is dark and gritty but very accessible for any reader interested in Native American lit.

  39. Betsy says:

    I love the Maine setting! I’ve read many great books set there, including Elizabeth Strout and Stephen King novels. My sister lives in the small community of Cousins Island in southern Maine, and I’ve visited often. It is a magical place. I have Midcoast on my TBR list!

  40. Libby Miner says:

    I was going to mention Monica Wood’s books as well! Very good ones. I have a hard time reading many modern fiction books set in Maine as a native, born and raised. Unless a writer has lived here, I often find writers cannot capture the true Maine spirit and way of life. I tried to read the book set in Calcasset. I live two towns north of Wiscasset, and it just didn’t work or ring true for me. (I’m not sure of that writer’s personal locale.) I’m often hesitant to try newer Maine set books but may be willing to attempt a few from this list. You must come visit, Anne. It is so great here. If you ever want to do a list of children’s books, there are a plethora of those based in Maine that are wonderful. Below I added a link to my blog where I reviewed “When We Were the Kennedys” by Monica Wood. Also on my blog is a review of “The Magic Ship” by Sandra Paretti, a historical fiction story set in Maine on the eve of World War I in Bar Harbor, a hidden treasure.

  41. Jessica says:

    Love Maine, and books about Maine. One that I really enjoyed that wasn’t on this list is Margreete’s Harbor by Eleanor Morse.

  42. Jessica says:

    And I forgot to mention my most favorite children’s book, The Worry Week by Anne Lindbergh. Three sisters alone in their Maine house for a week..

  43. Ann says:

    Wow, from reading other folks responses here, I need to look into When We Were The Kennedys!

    I keep checking my local library in hopes they will start a wait list for Fellowship Point, but no luck so far.

    I am on a wait list for Vacationland!

    I started Flying Solo & was enjoying it , but for some reason my mind drifted after the part where she goes to get a coffee with the guy from the library. I may try to get back to it.

    Of course I loved Olive Kitteridge & the Anita Shreve book as well.

    I had a cousin in law from Maine & she & my cousin would always travel back up there to see the fall foliage. Her charming accent always stood out to me, being from Texas. She was a transplant for the latter years of her life.

    I too have always been fascinated by Maine & loved reading about it, despite never having been.

  44. Beth says:

    I’ve never been to Maine, but after reading Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan out loud to my daughter several years ago, I have always dreamed about seeing the Maine coastline. The story actually takes place in Kansas, but Sarah is from Maine and talks about it in the story with great love and vivid imagery. Patricia MacLachlan also authored my absolute favorite picture book, All the Places to Love.

  45. Colleen Bonilla says:

    I’m smack-dab in the middle of Flying Solo and loving it! I also loved Evvie Drake Starts Over, so I was excited when I saw that this second book was about to be released. Any book that makes me laugh out loud has my whole heart forever.

  46. Heidi says:

    My husband and I honeymooned in Maine, and spent our fifth anniversary there! We have family living there, and our daughter’s middle name is Acadia. We need to get back – it’s been awhile!

    For kids, or for those who want to see Maine as well as read about it, Robert McCloskey (of Make Way For Ducklings fame) wrote and illustrated a bunch of books set in Maine – Blueberries for Sal has already been mentioned, but Time of Wonder is my personal favorite.

    For older kids, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt is excellent.

    For grownups, Stephen King includes a lot of Maine in his books. Under The Dome is set in Maine, as well as portions of The Stand.

    • LC says:

      You have to get One Morning in Maine for your daughter before she loses her first tooth. Exceptionally sweet like Blueberries for Sal.

    • Karen says:

      Oh yes indeed, Time of Wonder is my favorite McCloskey too. I just quoted that at my son’s high school graduation (I am the school principal) .. “a little bit sad for the place you are leaving, a little but glad for the place you are going.”

  47. Yolanda Smith says:

    The Stranger in the Woods: the Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finley is astonishing! I don’t think I’ve seen it mentioned in the comments yet, and I’m kind of surprised. It’s quite the unbelievable tale!

  48. Karen says:

    I went to Bowdoin College in Brunswick. I could totally see that lovely town as the inspiration for the setting of Olive Kitteridge. Olive, Again, the sequel, is another gem from Strout. It’s been almost 10 years since so have been in Maine … time to plan a trip.

  49. Kathrine Gosselin says:

    I live in Vermont and visit Maine three or four times a year- sometimes more. One of the best Maine authors I’ve read is sadly deceased now but her books give an honest view of Island life in Maine. Her name is Ruth Moore. I haven’t read all of them but the four I have read have been excellent! Try Spoonhandle or Candlemas Bay .

  50. Carol says:

    Here’s a few more good Maine reads that I haven’t seen mentioned:

    Almost, Maine by John Cariani (Contemporary teen fiction)

    The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare (Kid’s historical fiction)

    Arundel by Kenneth Roberts (Historical fiction — and there’s several sequels if you want more!)

  51. Laura says:

    Thank you, Anne, and everyone else for the many recommendations for books in Maine! I have been down a rabbit hole! I would like to visit there someday. Until then, I can travel via books and YouTube. I really enjoy these literary travel posts!

  52. Kate says:

    A Year in the Maine Woods by Bernd Heinrich is a great non-fiction story of the author’s year with the flora and fauna of Maine. I’ve read it several times.

  53. Sandra Bradley says:

    For those who love a good classic novel, Sarah Orne Jewett’s “Country of the Pointed Firs” is an all-time favorite of mine. It’s a very understated and calming book, but the writing is superb. I pull this out when I need to be transported to a simpler time and a beautiful location.

  54. Ann says:

    Yay!!!!! I diligently kept checking and it paid off. My local library finally put up the wait list for Fellowship Point and I am at the head of the line.

    If this comes in before my upcoming trip, that would be perfect! I need to carefully choose a book to take along.

    Meanwhile I am still running around the streets of Lisbon/reading Two Nights in Lisbon.

    I need to lie low today after Mohs surgery. Family gone to collect my daughter from College. So maybe I’ll get to the end of this whodunnit or why they did it?!

  55. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for this list, I love literary tourism, especially since I’m planning a trip to Maine next month! I downloaded Fellowship Point to my kindle last night and started reading. I was immediately drawn in. Thank you!

  56. Barb Blom says:

    Here’s an old one that I don’t think anyone has mentioned yet.
    Pink Chimneys by Adreana Hamlin. This from my comments when I read it in 2017.
    “I enjoyed this historical fiction. The author’s primary work was that of a journalist which is obvious in the way she gathered the historical information and turned it into a narrative. The book was originally published in 1987, re-published in 2007 for the 20th anniversary and now has been reissued for its thirtieth anniversary. That is quite a record for a simple fiction book. The historical perspective on 19th century Bangor, Maine as it developed into a lumber capitol serve as framework to expose women’s choices, or lack thereof, for work, medical care, birth control and general lifestyle. The main characters were strong female personas with satisfying roles to inhabit.”

  57. Monica Wilson says:

    When I went to Maine six years ago, I read two books, one an historical novel, called “Pink Chimneys” about 19th century Bangor, the other one “The Lobster Coast”, a history of the coast of Maine and the lobster industry. I enjoyed them both! I also want to recommend a middle grade series of three books called “Oxbow Island Gang” about a group of friends who solve mysteries on their little island. These books were written by a friend of mine, Rae Chalmers, who lives on a Maine island and I thoroughly enjoyed them as they gave me a strong sense of place!

    • Monica Wilson says:

      Oh, and another Maine book that was a fascinating read. A true story about a man who lived off the grid in the Maine woods for 27 years, never connecting with another human. It is called “A Stranger in the Night”.

  58. Hannah says:

    Oh my goodness, you wrote that there is a forthcoming Olive Kitteridge novel and I got SO excited 😂 I’m thinking you meant to say a forthcoming Elizabeth Strout novel. I absolutely loved the Maine setting in the Olive books!

  59. Rebecca says:

    Some of my favorite Maine novels are the Tide trilogy, High Tide at Noon, Storm Tide, and Ebbing Tide by Elisabeth Ogilvie, about life on the fictional Bennett’s Island off the coast of Maine. There are further books in the series for those who get sucked in and want more!
    The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett is an oldie (1896!) but a goodie, about the people and community in a coastal town. The first time I visited Acadia National Park, I burst out, “Oh! It’s the country of the pointed firs!”
    And the Olive Kitteridge novels, of course!!!

  60. Robin says:

    Loved Olive Kitteridge,Empire Falls, and The Stars Are Fire. I’m currently reading The Midcoast and after spending a day in Damariscotta this summer, I wonder what the locals think of it.I really don’t care for any of the characters and hope it picks up soon. Halfway through. I lovedvthe setting for Maine, but story frustrated me. I have to have characters I actually care about.

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