36 Books Set in + About Spain
We’re starting a new series on the blog this week: Travel Reading Lists! In this Travel Reading List series we will share a big list of books set in one country or state. Some of these are books I’ve read, but most of them are books that are on my own TBR (to-be-read) list; and for this installment we’re tackling books about Spain.
I don’t know about you, but my TBR list is always overflowing. I still love adding amazing books to it though, and I hope this list helps you find some books set in Spain that you’ll love. From novels to children’s books, I’ve tried to find all the best books set in Spain!
Novels Set in Spain
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Set in Barcelona in 1945, this best-selling mystery centers around a mysterious book and a boy who finds it. But when he tries to find out about the author of this book, he discovers someone has been destroying every copy of this author’s books. This one is high on my TBR list! For lovers of mystery.
The Time of the Doves by Mercé Rodoreda
During the Spanish Civil War, a young mother must learn how to survive the hardships that come when her husband goes off to fight and she must stay in Barcelona to care for her family, struggling to survive. For lovers of quiet and reflective books.
Hot Milk by Deborah Levy
Sofia has spent her life trying to understand her mother’s mysterious illness. As a last hope, they travel to the southern coast of Spain to get treatment from a famous doctor; but her mother’s illness gets worse and Sofia must also confront her own inner-life while trying to unravel what is ailing her mother. For lovers of quiet and reflective books.
The Dinner Guest by Gabriela Ybarra
This autobiographical novel reflects on two major events — the kidnapping and murder of the narrator’s grandfather by Basque terrorists and her mother’s cancer illness. This book juxtaposes private pain with public tragedy, and the title comes from the idea that every dinner has an invisible guest: death, who will eventually erase each member of a family. For lovers of quiet but dark books.
The Time in Between by María Dueñas
A young seamstress’s life is changed by war, both the Spanish Civil War and WWII. After a heartbreak, she re-creates herself in Madrid and becomes a sought after seamstress for the wives of Nazi officers. This book has political intrigue, espionage, and romance. For fans of WWII and historical fiction.
The Wonders by Elena Medel, Translated by Lizzie Davis and Thomas Bunstead
In Madrid, two women are driven by class and sex into the decisions they make for themselves and their families. In 1969, Maria is looking for a better life for herself. Years later, in 2018, Alicia is caught up in a protest she doesn’t quite understand, which Maria is part of. For fans of feminist fiction.
The Winterlings by Cristina Sánchez-Andrade
After the Spanish Civil War and their grandfathers murder, two sisters return to his cottage in Galicia. But secrets begin to come out, both in their own lives and in the community around them. For fans of gothic, historical fiction.
The Yellow Rain by Julio Llamazares
Set in a village in the Spanish Pyrenees, an old man, the village’s last surviving inhabitant, reflects on his life and those he has lost as he approaches his own death. For lovers of quiet and reflective books.
Homeland by Fernando Aramburu
Two families become enemies in the midst of terrorist violence from the ETA, the Basque separatist group. This novel is told in short, non-linear sections from multiple narrators. For fans of true crime in the political sphere.
Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton
This novel set in Spain is told from two time points. In 1964, Isabel is searching for her sister in Barcelona, suddenly thrust into a world of secrets. In 1936, Alicia is arriving in Barcelona from Cuba, just as Spain is on the cusp of Civil War. For fans of historical fiction.
The Queen’s Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile by C.W. Gortner
This a novel based on Queen Isabella, who begins her life in exile before she becomes heiress of Castile. A historical novel about her marriage to Fernando Prince of Aragon and how they bring Spain together despite the troubles the country faces. For fans of historical fiction.
Alberto’s Lost Birthday by Diana Rosie
Alberto has never had a birthday because he doesn’t know when it is. He was in an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War, and he has never had a party or presents; he doesn’t even know the date he was born. When his seven-year old grandson finds this out, he is determined to change this for his grandfather and the two set out on a journey through Alberto’s, and Spain’s, history. For fans of stories full of heart.
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Set on the Spanish island of Mallorca, the Post family is all ready for a vacation — until secrets start to come out from every member of the family. This book is the perfect beach read — sunny and witty. I love this book and it makes for a lovely beach read. Perfect for fans of quirky heartwarming books.
Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan
Set on the coast of Southern Spain, people from all over the world cross paths when they move into a brand new apartment complex. They are all dealing with their own issues, and their lives become entwined as they discover that maybe the coastal paradise isn’t all they want it to be. For fans of heartwarming stories.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
This classic novel is set during the years after WWI and centers around a group of ex-pats and Spanish bullfighting. Expect a lot of friends behaving badly. For lovers of classic literature and characters with questionable morals.
Take a trip to France with our list of Books Set in France!
Non-Fiction Books About Spain
The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the Worlds Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paterniti
Weaving a winding tale though the dry countryside of central Spain, this is the story a man and his family who have been obsessively making the world’s greatest cheese until one day their work is taken from them. This book is meandering, and that’s kind of the point — it’s meant replicate the feeling of hearing the story told in a cave with a big glass of wine and a hunk of cheese. This book is fascinating and fun, if a little long-winded. For foodies and lovers of long campfire stories.Note from Erin: This book is fascinating and fun, if a little long-winded. But like I said…kind of the point.
Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain by Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart and his wife become owners of a sheep farm in the mountains of Southern Spain. This memoir is about their adventures in farm life and the village around them, and sounds like a Spain version of Under the Tuscan Sun. For fans of ex-pat travel memoirs.
Roads to Santiago: A Modern-Day Pilgrimage Through Spain by Cees Nooteboom
A travelogue through Spain from a Dutch author who has adopted Spain as his second-home. Blending travel with history, culture, and art, this book will give you a complete picture of the captivating country of Spain. For fans of travelogues and history.
Pilgrimage to the End of the World: The Road to Santiago de Compostela by Conrad Rudolph
The Camino de Santiago is a popular pilgrimage, both for serious trekkers and religious seekers. Here, Rudolph blends history with memoir to tell the story of one of the most famous pilgrimages in the world. For fans of lyrical memoirs blended with a bit of history.
Only in Spain: A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir about Food, Flamenco, and Falling in Love by Nellie Bennett
When Nellie Bennett wants something more for her life than her department store job, she decides to take Flamenco lessons. It seems simple, but she discovers the world of Flamenco goes so much deeper than she expected and ends up flying halfway across the world to immerse herself in the authentic Spanish Flamenco experience. For lovers of light travel memoirs.
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
This is Orwell’s memoir of fighting in the Spanish Civil War and it doesn’t shy away from the atrocities he saw. For fans of thoughtful war memoirs, or if you want to know more about Orwell’s personal experiences.
Iberia by James A. Michener
This doorstop of a book might be the most complete book about Spain there is. While it was written in the 1960s and is therefore a bit dated, it still gives a complete history of the country and examines what has made Spain the country it is today. For lovers of long and comprehensive histories.
Voices of the Old Sea by Norman Lewis
After WWII, Norman Lewis settled on the coast of Spain. This is his memoir about three summers in a small fishing village, a look at Spain before it was hit by tourism. For fans of quiet memoirs.
The Factory of Light by Michael Jacobs
In 1999, Jacobs is looking for a house to rent in Andalucia. He settles in a small village and is swept into the dramas of village life and the lives of his neighbors. For fans of quiet memoirs.
Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past by Giles Tremlett
A travel memoir about the lingering trauma of the Spanish Civil War. Giles Tremlett travels through Spain examining and questioning the history of the war after mass graves were uncovered, trying to understand why so many people kept silent about what happened for so long. For fans of travel memoir with some political intrigue.
Children’s Books Set in Spain
The Three Golden Oranges by Alma Flor Ada, Illustrated by Reg Cartwright
A Spanish folktale about three brothers who must pick oranges from an enchanted tree and journey with them so they can each find a wife. Publisher recommended ages: 5-8 years.
The Little Matador by Julian Hector
According to family tradition, the Little Matador is supposed to become a bullfighter. But it he much more interested in drawing bulls and spends his days in the meadows with the animals. But one day his father has had enough and puts him in the bullfighting ring. Can the Little Matador win over both the bull and his father? Publisher recommended ages: 4-8 years.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, Illustrated by Robert Lawson
This is a classic children’s story about a bull who doesn’t want to fight. But what happens when he is picked to go into the ring in Madrid? This book would pair well with The Little Matador. Publisher recommended ages: 3-5 years.
Katie and the Spanish Princess by James Mayhew
Katie is looking for a costume idea. When she sees a painting of a princess in a museum, she steps into the painting and discovers a historical world. This book features the art of Velazquez, Goya, and Murillo. Publisher recommended ages: Preschool – Grade 3.
Lola’s Fandango by Anna Witte, Illustrated by Micha Archer
Lola’s is tired of living in her big sister’s shadow, so she begins taking secret Flamenco lessons. But will she be brave enough to share her skills with the world? Publisher recommended ages: 5-6 years.
Building on Nature: The Life of Antoni Gaudí by Rachel Victoria Rodríguez, Illustrated by Julie Paschkis
Set in Catalonia, this children’s book examines how nature impacted the famous Spanish architecture of Gaudí. Publisher recommended ages: 5-8 years.
Middle Grade and YA Books About Spain
Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska
Manolo was three when his father — a great bullfighter — died. While many expect him to follow in his father’s footsteps, he doesn’t want to become a bullfighter. Will he go into the ring or follow his own path? Either way, he must be brave. Publisher recommended ages: 8-12 years.
Adventures of Don Quixote by Argentina Palacios
An abridged version of Don Quixote and his adventure through Spain for young readers. Publisher recommended ages: 8-14 years.
Isabel, Jewel of Castilla: Spain, 1944 by Carolyn Meyer
An installment in the Royal Diaries series, this is a fictionalized version of Isabel of Castilla’s life told in diary format. This is a story about her teenage life — keeping her brothers, both claiming the throne, happy while resisting the marriage suggestions. Publisher recommended ages: 9-12 years.
Bird With the Heart of a Mountain by Barbara Maríconda
Set during the Spanish Civil War, sixteen-year-old Drina wants to learn to dance Flamenco. Her mother forbids it — but her mother is also holding a secret, which sets Drina on a journey to find out who she is. Publisher recommended ages: 12-18 years.
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
In 1957 Madrid, tourism is booming. But the dark side of the country’s history still lurks. Daniel, a tourist, meets Ana, a local, whose family still holds on the pains of the Spanish Civil War. Publisher recommended ages: 12-17 years.
We hope you find a great book (or books!) set in Spain from our list so you can feel like you are traveling there from the comfort of your own house — or wherever you are in the world!
Want more great reading around the world? Check out these 30 Books Set in South Africa!
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