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The Book Lover's Guide to London (Paperback)

London Photographic Books Colour Books White Owl Travel

By Sarah Milne
Imprint: White Owl
Series: City Guides
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9781399001144
Published: 16th November 2021


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Many of the greatest names in literature have visited or made their home in the colourful and diverse metropolis of London. From Charles Dickens to George Orwell, Virginia Woolf to Bernadine Evaristo, London’s writers have bought the city to life through some of the best known and loved stories and characters in fiction.

This book takes you on an area-by-area journey through London to discover the stories behind the stories told in some of the most famous novels, plays and poems written in, or about, the city.

• Find out which poet almost lost one of his most important manuscripts in a Soho pub.

• Discover how Graham Greene managed to survive the German bomb that destroyed his Clapham home.

• Climb down the dingy steps from London Bridge to Thames path below and imagine how it felt to be Nancy trying to save Oliver Twist, only to then meet her own violent death.

• Drink in same pub Bram Stoker listened to the ghost stories that inspired Dracula, the plush drinking house where Noel Coward performed, and the bars and cafes frequented by modern writers.

• Tour the locations where London’s writers, and their characters lived, worked, played, loved, lost and died.

This is the first literature guide to London to be fully illustrated with beautiful colour photographs throughout the book. This unique book can be used a guidebook on a physical journey through London, or as a treasury of fascinating, often obscure tales and information for book lovers to read wherever they are.

This book is brilliant, filled with interesting stories about authors and the books they wrote whilst living in London.
I know a friend in America who will absolutely love this book.

My only complaint is that my "to be read" pile is now ALOT longer. lol

NetGalley, georgina wyatt

A fascinating little book which is great to read in front of the fire on a cosy Sunday afternoon, you’re able to take in the facts and trivia around writers and authors based in and around London. The book is great in that it allows you explore the city by areas or parts of London, which enable you to pinpoint an area to forecast your visits. To be honest my favourite parts of the book were reading about Charles Dickens, Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. Now all I need to do is go and visit London, but at least I have a good book to take with me.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

The Book Lover’s Guide to London is an extensively researched guide to both authors and their literary characters’ connections to London. Organized by area, the book helpfully includes full-color photographs to supplement the text.

There are interesting stories here especially if you live in, or are planning to visit, London.

NetGalley, Diane Hernandez

This book combines my two favourite loves, books and London!
It's quite a brave book to write as the amount of books that must be set in London must be huge. The large range of books that is mentioned in it's pages are mentioned as an index at the back of the book by authors surname.
The guide, covers a large range of authors from different genres and covers the classics and contemporary books alike.

NetGalley, Helen Pickett

Beautifully presented guide to London and its writers, a handy guidebook for any book lover visiting the city, with plenty of anecdotes and trivia which will delight travellers both virtual and real.

NetGalley, Mandy Jenkinson

I love books like this, even just reading the titles and seeing the cover will see me learning forward to pick up a copy. I love the mixture of facts, fun and the images used to bring the different locations to life.

I am a huge book fan as anyone who knows me can verify so this book was always going to be one that caught my attention but it had so much more than I expected and it was literally jam packed with information!

I will be honest I started it one night and finished it the next morning and was then off making a list of the places I wanted to see that I had not done already so far – and for it to make me do that straight away, in that one act alone it shows why the book deserves the full 5 stars from me!

You can read it at home or use it as a guide book out and about on your travels – it was a book I thoroughly enjoyed, I loved learning more about the locations and settings and seeing the photos that helped bring some of the places to life too from what I have read in the past – I loved it and from cover to cover it was a fabulous read.

Read the full review here

Donna's Book Blog

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love to visit places following books and authors and this was the perfect guide to London. There's a long list of authors, both classics and contemporary.
I loved to lose myself in the places and learning something new, designing new travels in the future.
Riveting, well researched and informative.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

An interesting and entertaining book for literary walks through London, organized by areas of the city.

NetGalley, Anja Kwiatkowski

My favorite genre of book is armchair travel (a book that allows you to travel through the pages) and this book does that well. The photographs were an excellent addition and I would recommend this book for someone wanting to explore the literary side of London.

NetGalley, Julie DenOuden

This is a great book. I love literature and London is fascinating, so what a treat! Learning things about the author’s, their stories and the areas was fun and interesting. I like the photographs and illustrations. I recommend this book.

NetGalley, Rhonda Lee

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A real treasure of a book. If you love books and are interested in London with its rich history and culture this is the ultimate joy to immerse yourself in the guide from a cozy armchair where you can virtually escape to some amazing places with evocative description to match the fabulous photography. Equally it inspires to one go and actually explore the places illustrated.

NetGalley, Isobel Scott

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating Tales….
Interesting and well compiled reference work in the form of a city guide to many of the greatest names in literature and their London. Contains some really fascinating tales of these authors, playwrights and poets and their particular parts of the City. It’s a lovely piece of work enhanced with photography. Perfect for lovers of literature who are sure to find some gems that they may not have before discovered.

NetGalley, ruth giles

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


- The Book Lover’s Guide to London is a handy travel guide written by Sarah Milne. What makes it stand out among the sea of travel guides is Milne’s approach to the city. She prefers to stray from the beaten path—good!—offering the reader a new perspective concerning London. There are pictures of buildings and statues I never encountered before, curiosities, and anecdotes, each of them framed inside a nice graphic layout. What a refreshing take!

- The primary focus is on famous artists who used to live in London. Writers and poets, they’re all immortalized in their own district.

- Smart choice of structure. Every chapter is about a different section of the town, with subsections focusing on districts.

- Last but not least, Milne’s style is a delight. Reading The Book Lover’s Guide to London has been a pleasure.

Special mention:

- Covent Garden Market
- The Royal Opera House
- Trafalgar Square – the fountain!
- Charles Dickens Museum
- The Hardy Tree
- The Paddington Bear statue

NetGalley, Tissie Lilaclicorice

This is an interesting and informative handy guidebook for literary London. It features classic authors like Dickens and Keats but also more recent ones. The guide goes by neighborhood and lists where authors lived or worked and also where their fictional characters had important events. A few I had heard of, but most are new to me. I made a list of places to check out the next time I get to London!

NetGalley, Andrea Johnson

This is a good reference book about books, authors, and some interesting things that happened to authors while living in London. It is an easy read, not a dragged out full-length story about every single author and book, but some handpicked things that happened to the authors. It is not a novel, but just as it says, a guide to many parts and houses around London where famous authors lived and worked. I recommend this book to people fascinated by London literature and authors, and want to feel like walking the streets with them.

NetGalley, Tove R

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If you're a former English Literature major, or are obsessed with literary lives (I mean, Amanda and I straight up have a podcast about this), the new book The Book Lover's Guide to London is a must have. Author Sarah Milne's book is full of images, maps of areas, and fascinating facts about the lives of authors such as George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, and Graham Greene. You'll find fantastic stories about performers, learn about the pubs they drank in (looking at you Bram Stoker), and be able to locate some of the most famous (or infamous) locations for novels set in London.

This book blew my mind a little bit about just who used to come read at the British Museum before the library portion became the official British Library off site. The beautiful photographs, fascinating information, and delightful writing style make this an incredible gift for the writer or reader in your life.

NetGalley, Victoria Irwin

A great book which describes different areas of London and those authors and writers who were connected in some way. I am always interested in where a writer gets ideas from and London, it appears has sparked many a novel, poem or play.

There has been extensive research and pictures also add to the interest. Sarah Milne takes the reader through different historical periods to give a good overall knowledge of those that London has inspired.

NetGalley, Helen Finch

Every time I have gone to London with a family member or colleague we end up seeing the typical sites. With Covid, I haven’t been in two years and it’s time to plan my next trip around MY interests this time. When I saw this book, I knew it was going to help me plan my next trip…and add a few books to my reading list in preparation. Some will be a first read, but most will be a second or third read, but all will be a great way to prepare for my first trip in a few years. Any family that goes with me will have to complete their reading list too. I’m even adding a few sites for some of the other books I love and haven’t been included…it’s going to be awesome!

Give this book a read and you’ll be planning your next trip to London to be a literary themed trip too. Some cool features and tidbits as well as trivia that will keep you one step ahead of the rest of the visitors. I. CANNOT. WAIT!

NetGalley, Cindi Austin

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely adored reading this book about our great city London and all its grand history.

NetGalley, Michelle Coates

This is a great guide to London and lovers of books and is the perfect combination. It showcases the best of literature and places, facts, ect that tie in with London’s culture and is a fun interesting read for book lovers and Anglophiles alike.

NetGalley, Isla Weston

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A well-researched guidebook specifically for readers about London, jam packed with trivia that will help you win trivia night? Yes, please.

Happy, happy sigh. This fantastic resource is a fun read. From the well loved classics of literature to contemporary works, with interesting tidbits about authors and places, this wonderful guide is the perfect book for any book lover/traveler (or book lover/non-traveler).

I am definitely planning on obtaining a physical copy and bringing this title with me when I’m able to travel abroad. I loved this book!

NetGalley, Michelle Smith

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this title and highly recommend. I feel this will make an excellent addition to anyone’s book collection. Please be sure to go and pick this one up!

NetGalley, Bella Clarke

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I had the joy of visiting London many years ago, although I am now firmly in the category of armchair traveler. This book was quite a treat, as it brought back some of the locations I visited, as well as many that I have not. I think this book would be a delight for someone living in or visiting London-it would be a real adventure to walk along with this book and visit some of the many literary landmarks in the city. However, I'd recommend this book for anyone who loves literature. Anyone can enjoy the facts and anecdotes in this book.

NetGalley, Anna White

If ever a book was written that could combine two of my favorites, London and books, this is surely it! This title can be enjoyed by those in London or by armchair travelers. Divided by geographic areas, as for example, Central London or West London, readers can organize their read or walk to spend time where they most wish. The end of the book lists all of the writing included in the book and also contains a bibliography.

I was drawn to so many areas in my reading. I went to Soho, Charing Cross, Hampstead Heath, Belgravia and many more. Just a few of the authors about whom I read were Dickens, Virginia Woolf, and Sylvia Plath. There are many others. The reader’s fictional journey is enhanced by the many photographs that are part of this book.

So, book lovers, take a look when this one comes out. It is a fun read.

NetGalley, Joyce Laudon

As someone who loves literature and London, I was incredibly excited for this book! I loved the use of pictures throughout- I could definitely "see" some of the places referenced in my mind, but the pictures helped with those I couldn't/haven't visited yet. The author is certainly knowledgeable, and you can tell she is passionate about the subject.

NetGalley, Jessica Storoschuk

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this title and highly recommend. I feel this will make an excellent addition to anyone’s book collection. Please be sure to go and pick this one up.

NetGalley, Jill Scherr

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As both a book lover and a sometime Londoner (I lived there for almost decade in the 90s, miss it daily), I devour this sort of thing. Often, books like these leave me unsatisfied, their content shallow and skimming. Sarah Milne's wonderful guide to literary London, however, left me sated, if not stuffed to the gills - in the pleasantest way possible.

There's no snobbery or condescension here, and the content is pleasingly eclectic - it's not all Dickens and Shakespeare, which makes a jolly nice change. Contemporary authors are covered too, and the factoids are genuinely interesting; as I say, I'm a seasoned reader of London guides (helps with the second homesickness, see), and there's plenty here I'd never read before. Female authors are well documented, too - something that's often missing from other guides, depressingly.

Whether you're planning a literary pilgrimage, missing the city you once called home or just wish to immerse yourself in London's colourful wordy past (and present!), this meticulously researched and beautifully written book is the perfect love letter to literary London with which to do so.

NetGalley, Ophelia Sings

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love to travel and read at the same time so obviously I love reading about other places and cities. London is on my bucket list and always dreamed of going to 221B Baker St. This book is a travel book about books!

NetGalley, Krizia Anna Castro

A lovely collection of information and pictures of London dustricts with their literary connections. A good choice for book lovers.
Can be read as a guide book, dipping in and out discovering authors and their haunts.

NetGalley, L F

Great resource for the book lover planning at trip to London. This is organized by area of the city, so would make a great tour book to help you plan your days. I liked that there were references to both newer and older authors and novels.

NetGalley, Sarah Ferguson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

For anyone with an interest in London this book is an essential addition to their bookshelf. The research Sarah Milne has undertaken to produce this work is quite considerable... These and hundreds of facts are to be found in this brilliantly researched and illustrated book. There is also a useful index and comprehensive bibliography. As a London cabbie who's spent decades studying the capital, this book has been a huge resource of new knowledge.

NetGalley, David Styles

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Delightful book, filled with fascinating trivia about writers and their haunts in London. The book can be used as a guide for figuring out your own walking tours of parts of London, or you could read it like I did, just for its great descriptions, and literary connections of places! The factoids she provides aren't the usual tired anecdotes you've already heard, and the writers included are delightfully diverse, much like the city itself. She spans centuries, but I like the mix of writers and books, beyond the usual literary suspects of Dickens and Shakespeare when it comes to London ( though of course, you get plenty of them, how could you not!). I've got some excellent book recommendations from this. Highly recommended, it's a great , fun read that transports you to London!

NetGalley, Vansa David

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Because of stupid Covid I wasn't able to take my trip to London this year but thankfully I found this book. I was able to navigate the streets using my minds eye. This book is so wonderful with incredible facts about the city I love so much.

NetGalley, Blind Bat Books Bakunzi

I loved this quirky book that took me on a journey through the streets and landmarks of London based on famous authors and their connections to those streets and landmarks. I adored it and cannot wait to go to these places and look at them with new eyes,

NetGalley, Aria Harlow

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book does not purport to include all London authors, nor does it find every relevant location in London, but what it does do wonderfully is to find, and bring current, places referred to or frequented by London's great authors. Milne does this by selecting particular neighborhoods in London and then identifying authors associated with those locations. She throws in little tidbits about the authors, but the book expects you to know or be interested in the authors already. The strength of the book is in the details about the historical and current locations. If you are a reader who wants to see what "they" saw; stand where "they" stood, or feel what "they" felt, then the book is valuable. It would take a lot of independent research (and time) to replicate this guide for someone interested in seeing these particular sites. I need to go back to London, with this book particularly and spend a couple of weeks with it exploring. It is a perfect guide for a certain type of traveler.

NetGalley, Italo Svevo

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The incomparable literary capital of London has inspired so many authors and poets. As P. G. Wodehouse may say, one cannot throw a brick without hitting one! From Chaucer to present day, by neighbourhood area, the author describes in wondrous detail where they stayed and researched, lived, hung out and were tried for crimes. Along with juicy tidbits and descriptions, photographs and illustrations cause this book to shine. Plaques, statues, busts, signs and graveyards honour these writers. The vast majority of my favourite authors are mentioned in this book and I greedily read and savoured each word.

I had not know that the Senate House inspired Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four's Ministry of Truth, though it does look like the building I envision when reading it. Many literary greats hung out in the British Museum Reading Room, including Charles Dickens, James Joyce, Arthur Conan Doyle and Bran Stoker. The illustrious Bloomsbury group also met to debate, discuss and dissect literature...how awesome to be privy to such discussions! Several fabulous publishers are scattered about in these areas, too. Some writers chose to research in Soho for the seedier parts of novels. Oscar Wilde stayed on Regent Street but unfortunately later was tried and sentenced at Old Bailey. Discover who had a falling out near Covent Garden and who loved Shakespeare theatre. Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins had associations with The Strand.

We read about 221B Baker Street, where Thomas Hardy wrote and where Agatha Christie lived in several locations. Some homes were blitzed during the war so moves were necessary. The Olde Cheshire Cheese Club was mentioned in books by P. G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie and Anthony Trollope. Discover which author was surveilled by British Intelligence. Learn more about Daphne du Maurier's home. One of my favourite stories in this book (too many to count!) concerns Orwell and H. G. Wells.

British author lovers, pick up this wonderful, wonderful book! Such fun to learn about timeless influential writers, writers who left behind marvelous works and personal stories. What a great idea for a book. I will take it on the next trip to London.

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An absolutely gorgeous book full of historical facts, author biographies and titillating tidbits of facts that are unique to London. I loved learning what has changed to the buildings from the author life to today. Hairdresser shops and restaurants being curious changes. Gorgeous photography. I hope travel opens up again. This would be a divine guidebook to London!

NetGalley, Maggie Palner

I love all this British, so I was excited to see this book. And, with all that's going on in the world, this is a lovely way to travel across London without leaving the comfort of your couch. It was fun to read about the "story behind the story" from some famous authors and their most loved scenes. The books includes authors such as Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, and George Orwell. The reader is made to feel a part of some of the top Classics. If I ever get to London one day, it'd be fun to take this along as a guidebook.

NetGalley, Leslie McKee

As Covid 19 and Covid related travel bans drag on, books like this have become a life line, a way to travel vicariously through the pages of a book. This book has something for Anglophiles and bibliophiles alike, as readers can explore the stomping grounds, birthplaces, significant landscapes and final resting places of some of history’s best known authors.

NetGalley, Rosemary Smith

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sarah Milne’s The Book Lover's Guide to London is a wonderful, must-have resource if you are planning a trip to London. Full of stories, locations, and pictures, this guidebook can serve as your own personal tour guide in London. This well-written, beautiful book would also be the perfect gift for anyone who loves reading about authors and the literature they created. The next time I go to London, I plan on taking this book with me!

NetGalley, Jamie Lovett

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A 5-star read! The author’s meticulous research has delivered an illuminating and hugely enjoyable book. The Book Lover’s Guide to London begs multiple readings as well as a bucket-list tour of literary London.
The Book Lover’s Guide to London is an indispensable guide to the London literary scene – both classic and contemporary. Highly visual, it is a veritable mine of information of the capital’s literary history and a cornucopia of cherished authors, famous persons and fictional characters.
It presents a fascinating historical background of persons, places and events, as well as anecdotes and curious facts that are often revelatory. It offers a celebration of what remains as well as providing a wistful look at some long-lost landmarks.
This book is an essential travel companion and has enough information for the keen literati and the casual reader/tourist.
Having read it in one sitting, I was immediately inspired to not only tour London but also revisit many of the dozens of quoted novels on my bookshelves. I’ll be sure to buy a hard copy edition, which I can already envisage being crammed full of Post-It notes and highlighted sections.
Accompanying pupils on school trips to London will in future incorporate dozens more notable literary sites than had hitherto been the case!

NetGalley, Richard Lewis

This is a great book for people who love books and London. I really enjoyed this book and want to visit all the places of my beloved authors.

NetGalley, Sheila Treacy

I love London and am constantly amazed at how many ways there are to visit and look at the city. This guide focuses on book lovers. The book breaks London down into neighborhoods and in each section will tell you about authors who lived in the area or about stories that take place in the vicinity. For example Covnent Garden is where the Artful Dodger was a pick pocket it is also where Oscar Wilde was brought when he was arrested for indecency. I love seeing photos of neighborhoods I have visited and I've added some locations to visit on my next trip to London. Writers like Dickens get several mentions as he set books in London and lived in various locations. Sadly a lot of the buildings where writers lived no longer exist but the book will mention if there is a plaque noting the site.

NetGalley, Kaye Cox

The Book Lover's Guide to London is a wonderful guide for fans of British literature. The book goes neighborhood by neighborhood featuring the various authors who lived there or notable books and stories that took place there.
The descriptions are detailed enough to not feel surface level but short enough to be approachable. I appreciated that in addition to the great novelists, the book also featured poets, play writes, and essayists. I will say that there were a lot of names and book mentioned that I've never heard of, but I'm not well versed on my classics so that's a reflection of me and not the book. I've lived in London so I was familiar with the neighborhoods and had visited many of the locations referenced. It did add one location to my list of places to visit on my next trip to London, the Hardy Tree at St. Pancras Church Graveyard.

NetGalley, Kathryn Cox

If you know anything about London, you would know what a fabulously old city it is - chock full of old and historical buildings. In fact every corner seems to hold some significance! This is where this book comes in for literary fans. Amazingly, you can still find the buildings that housed writers like Yeats, Agatha Christie and many many more. This then is a great guide to bring along with you on your next trip to this great city. It's conveniently arranged by area. To be honest, I wouldn't go out of the way to see some of these places, but if I passed any of them, they would have been worth a glance or a photograph at least.

I liked that there are lots of colour photographs of the venues and also intriguing snippets about the writers associated with the place.

Definitely a must-have for the London visitor who is also a die-hard fan of classic literature.

NetGalley, Flora Fung

About Sarah Milne

Sarah Milne was born in Hastings but has lived in around London most of her life. Sarah is a life-long book lover. Since childhood, she has enjoyed discovering all about anywhere she visits (and dreams of visiting) through the area’s stories and literature. Sarah is a journalist and freelance writer with a passion for writing both fiction and non-fiction, especially when it is about stories and books!

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