12 Spellbinding Books Set in Oxford

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Are you looking for books set in Oxford? These are some of the best books set at Oxford University or in the town of Oxford, England. Oxford is a historic place with a long academic and literary tradition.

Oxford is one of the oldest universities in the world, founded in 1096. It’s where the Oxford English Dictionary originated. It’s the alma mater of famous writers such as Oscar Wilde, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, Lewis Carroll, and many more. It’s one of the most prestigious universities in the world, known for arts and humanities.

In this Oxford book list, you’ll find books of various genres, from literary fiction to fantasy, but what all of these books have in common is that they take place at Oxford.

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12 Best Books Set in Oxford

Here are the best books set in Oxford to add to your reading list:

1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches is a fantasy book set at Oxford University. Diana is a scholar and a powerful witch who does not use her magic.

However, when she unknowingly recalls a magical book from Oxford’s Bodlein Library while doing research, she attracts the attention of a fantastical underworld who are desperate to get their hands on the book. This is a great fantasy story about witches, vampires, and other creatures.

2. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

The Dictionary of Lost Words is a fictional book loosely based on the real women whose work on the Oxford English Dictionary went unheralded by history.

Esme is a young girl who grows up in a world in which her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Fascinated, she begins to collect other words that have been discarded or neglected by the dictionary men.

3. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Brideshead Revisited is a novel that is set at both Oxford University and in an English castle called Brideshead.

The story novel follows a regular man and his entanglements with the wealthy aristocratic family whose son the narrator met at Oxford. It offers a look into the English aristocracy in the waning days of the empire.

4. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season is a fantasy novel that is set in Oxford in the year 2059. In this version of the future, a mysterious power called Scion rules much of the world, promising safety for all the citizens it deems worthy and wiping out clairvoyants wherever it can find them.

Paige is a clairvoyant whose power is discovered, leading to her capture. She finds herself trapped in Oxford, fighting to use her powers and stay alive.

5. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass is a children’s fantasy novel that takes place in Oxford. In this book, the author  takes readers to a world where humans have animal familiars and where parallel universes are within reach. There are different alternative versions of Oxford that are familiar yet different where this story is set.

6. Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Secrets of a Charmed Life is a historical fiction novel told between two timelines. In the present day, Kendra is an American scholar at Oxford who is interviewing an elderly woman for her research. In the 1940s, two sisters, Emmy and Julia, are sent from London to the countryside during the German bombing of the city.

7. An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears

If you are looking for an engrossing historical fiction mystery set at Oxford, you will enjoy An Instance of the Fingerpost. This story is set in the 1660s, when a servant girl confesses to a murder. But four witnesses – a medical student, the son of a traitor, a cryptographer, and an archivist – each finger a different culprit.

8. Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Bringing Down the Duke is a duke historical romance novel that takes place at Oxford University.

It follows Annabelle, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, who has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at Oxford. She finds herself falling for a duke, Sebastian, who is her polar opposite.

Read More: 9 Best Duke Historical Romance Novels

9. Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Tin Man is a novel that takes place in the town of Oxford. Ellis and Michael are twelve-year-old boys when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them.

And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more. A decade later, Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened between the two of them in the years between?

10. Blackout by Connie Willis

Blackout is a science fiction novel that is set in Oxford in the year 2060 and deals with time travel. In this story, time traveling historians are sent back to the past on regular missions.

But suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and the main characters in the story are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past.

11. The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch

The Last Enchantments is a book that takes place at Oxford University. After graduating from Yale, wealthy American William Baker goes off to Oxford for a year of studies. Soon, he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of unexpected friendships and romantic entanglements that threaten his safe plans.

12. Heresy by S. J. Parris

Heresy is a historical thriller that delivers a page-turning murder mystery set at Oxford University during the late sixteenth century.

It blends true history with fiction, following Giordano Bruno, who was a monk, poet, scientist, and magician on the run from the Roman Inquisition on charges of heresy at this time.

Best Books Set in Oxford

These are some of the best books set in Oxford to add to your reading list.

Get these best books set in Oxford here:

Have you read or do you plan to read any of these books set in Oxford? Do you have any favorite books set in Oxford that you think should be added to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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