It is hard to think of anywhere better to set a story than our wonderful county blessed with abundant countryside and stunning coastline.

Dorset has been an inspiration to many writers including the world-famous Thomas Hardy and Enid Blyton. 

With the country in lockdown visiting different parts of our region isn't the best idea with everyone being told to stay at home. 

However, that shouldn't stop you from  exploring Dorset through literature with one of these top class novels: 

Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

Journey through the length and breadth of the county with Tess of the D'Urbervilles from Salisbury Plain to Dorchester.

If you're looking to explore the region then this book is for you - every significant event in Tess' life takes place at a fitting location across the county. 


When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall.

A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.

Famous Five, Enid Blyton

Take in Blyton's Dorset through the Famous Five novels, influenced by her many trips to the county over 20 years. 

It is said that Kirrin Castle from the first book of the series, Five on a Treasure Island, is infact based on Corfe Castle. 

Dorset Echo:

Image - Unsplash

Additionally, the island the castle is placed on is said to have taken inspiration from Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour. 

However, others think that Brownsea Island became Whispering Island in Five Have a Mystery to Solve.


Julian, Dick and Anne are spending the holidays with their tomboy cousin George and her dog, Timothy. Over on the island, they make a thrilling discovery, which leads them deep into the dungeons of Kirrin Castle on a dangerous adventure.

Broadchurch, Erin Kelly

Based on the BAFTA award-winning ITV series, filmed around West Bay, this novel is a little unusual.

Dorset Echo:

Image - Pixabay

The dramatic cliffs at West Bay and the deep ginger beach plays home to the murder mystery of Broadchurch.


In the sleepy British seaside town of Broadchurch, Detective Ellie Miller has just returned from vacation, only to learn that she's been passed over for a promotion at work in favor of outsider Alec Hardy. ... But Alec considers everyone, even Danny's parents, suspect in his death.​

Mr Rosenblum Dreams in English, Natasha Solomons

Take a trip back in time with Mr Rosenblum Dream in English, originally published as Mr Rosenblum's list. 

Set in WWII  a Jewish immigrant couple make a new life for themselves in England. On arrival they are greeted with a leaflet describing how to act like the English.

Jack acquires Saville Row suits and a Jaguar. He buys his marmalade from Fortnum & Mason and learns to list the entire British monarchy back to 913 A.D. He never speaks German, apart from the occasional curse.

However, one item on the list – membership in a golf club – proves difficult, as no golf club will admit him. So Mr Rosenblum decides to build his own on the Dorset coast.

Secrets of the Tides, Hannah Richell

Set in Seatown this stormy, dramatic novel follows Dora as she returns home to confront her past.  

Dorset Echo: Anchor Inn, Seatown, Dorset, UK.Picture: STEVE BELASCO/

Anchor Inn, Seatown, Dorset, UK.Picture: STEVE BELASCO/


Every family has a secret: a dramatic family saga with a dark thread of suspense lurking at its heart. Tides are a family with dark secrets. Haunted by the events of one tragic day ten years ago, they are each, in their own way, struggling to move forwards with their lives.

On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan

The iconic book On Chesil Beach is one of the standout stories set in the county in recent years. 

The Booker Prize winning 2007 novella was adapted by McEwan to form the 2017 drama directed by Dominic Cooke featuring Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle.

It tells the story of two virgins, Florence and Edward and their first disastrous attempt at having sex on their wedding night. This initial experience has lifelong consequences for them both.


It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms, they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come and, unbeknownst to them both, the events of the evening will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Have we missed off your favourite novel? Let us know in the comments.