There are few U.S. states with histories as rich and as storied as that of Massachusetts. From the arrival of the Mayflower to Plymouth Rock in 1620 to Boston’s pivotal role during the Revolutionary War, the “Bay State” has seen the rise and fall of many of America’s greatest historical and cultural moments.
It’s no wonder, then, that the same state has produced so many of our nation’s top writers, or that so many captivating novels have been set in Massachusetts over the years. Partnered with the fact that it’s home to 2 of the top 3 largest libraries in the United States, it’s clear that Massachusetts is heaven on earth for bookworms and lovers of literature.
As summer begins to wind down and transition into fall, we’re already dreaming of curling up with a good book on a crisp autumn day and getting lost in interesting plotlines. Add these 4 fantastic books to your reading list and we’re sure you’ll be ready to pack your bags and pay a visit to Massachusetts in no time (and what great timing – there’s no better season to visit than autumn!).
This classic American novel was written and set in Concord, Massachusetts, and details the lives of 4 sisters as they grow from childhood to womanhood while the American Civil War unfolds around them. The story is loosely based on the life of author Louisa May Alcott and, in fact, you can even visit the historic orchard house where Alcott wrote and set the novel.
The tale paints a picture of life in New England during the Civil War era and references many cultural norms that were popular in the region. For booklovers who are also history buffs (and who love to visit real-life sites that served as inspiration for authors) Little Women is a classic that can’t be missed.
For something a bit more modern, give The Lace Reader a try. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, where the famous Salem witch trials took place (bonus suggestion: give The Crucible by Arthur Miller a read to gain some relevant backhistory), The Lace Reader tells the story of a local woman who can foresee the future by studying the patterns in lace. If you’re looking for a read that’s a bit spooky, a bit witchy, and will have you dreaming of enchanting old Massachusetts towns, we highly recommend The Lace Reader as an enjoyable autumn read.
Author Alice Hoffman has a knack for weaving tales sprinkled with magical realism, folklore, and fantasy, and Blackbird House is no exception. The story takes place on a small farm on the outskirts of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and depicts the lives of its various occupants over a span of 200 years.
In addition to chronicling a dozen rich and interconnected storylines, Blackbird House also pays homage to Massachusetts' unique history and culture (including the American Revolution, the famous witch trials, and the geography and charm of Cape Cod). Give Blackbird House a read and we promise you’ll be dreaming of foggy and mysterious mornings on the Massachusetts coast in no time.
Set in a historic farmhouse near Boston, The Widower’s Tale follows the storyline of 70-year-old Percy Darling, who is newly retired and just beginning to enjoy his solitude in the scenic Massachusetts countryside. But a series of events unfold that bring Percy away from his quiet farmhouse to a variety of sites throughout Boston and Cambridge. While the narrative itself is fun and witty, it also conjures up images of Harvard scholars, Boston’s urban diversity, and the Massachusetts countryside’s restful nature. For a glimpse into modern Massachusetts’ culture and geography, The Widower’s Tale is a fun and interesting choice.
We don’t know about you, but this list already has us dreaming of an enchanting Massachusetts getaway! Get a dose of Massachusetts’ charm delivered straight to your doorstep with this month’s pack – sign up today!