Novels Set in Western Massachusetts
General Fiction | Historical Fiction | Mysteries | Young Adults | Other Lists
- Calabrese, Louis. A Means, Motive and Opportunity: A Novel of Conspiracy, Controversy, and Corruption, 1999 [SCL]
- Set in Springfield's South End.
- Chase, Mary Ellen. A Journey to Boston, 1965
- Polish immigrants in the Connecticut River Valley.
- Connolly, Sean. A Great Place to Die, 1997
- At the Black Dog Inn (outside Pittsfield) two friends get drawn into a hitchhiker's troubled past.
- Desai, Anita. Fasting, Feasting, 1999 [SCL]
- The eldest daughter of a middle-class family in India looks after her parents while her younger brother, attending college in Massachusetts, spends his summer with a suburban American family.
- Dew, Robb Forman. Fortunate Lives, 1992 [SCL]
- A son's last summer at home before leaving for college.
- Downing, Michael. Perfect Agreement, 1997 [SCL]
- Subplot dealing with the Shakers in Western Mass.
- Dubus, Andre. Bluesman, 1993 [SCL]
- Seventeen-year-old Leo comes of age in the summer 1967.
- Ehrlich, Max. Reincarnation of Peter Proud, 1974 [SCL]
- A college professor has flashbacks to his past life as Jeffrey Chapin, resident of Springfield in the first half of the twentieth century.
- Gordon, Noah. Matters of Choice, 1996 [SCL]
- A lawyer-turned-doctor moves her family from Boston to the Berkshires and falls in love with a former rabbi. [Third volume of a trilogy]
- Hodges, Hollis. Norman Rockwell's Greatest Painting, 1988 [SCL]
- Romance set in Stockbridge, where six former models for a Rockwell painting are planning a reunion.
- Lipton, Elinor. The Way Men Act, 1992. [SCL]
- Thirty-year old Melinda returns home from California to work in her cousin's flower shop.
- Lott, Bret. The Man Who Owned Vermont, 1987 [SCL]
- A soda salesman in Northampton buries himself in work after being left by his wife.
- Osborn, Karen. The River Road, 2002 [SCL]
- Tragedy strikes two childhood sweethearts home for Spring break. [Young adult]
- Picout, Jodi. Mercy, 1996 [SCL]
- In the small town of Wheelock, the police chief's cousin confesses to having killed his terminally ill wife.
- Read, Cornelia. The Crazy School
- Tough-talking former debutante Madeline Dare navigates the darker side of her tenure at a boarding school for emotionally disturbed teens, questioning the school head's credibility and forging an unlikely alliance with a small group of rebels.
- Reiken, Frederick. The Odd Sea, 1998 [SCL]
- A teenage boy searches for his missing brother.
- Roth, Philip. The Human Stain, 2000 [SCL]
- A professor at a small college in the Berkshires is accused of racism and forced to resign.
- Shea, Suzanne Strempek. Selling the Lite of Heaven, 1994 [SCL]
- A 30-something woman in Chicopee's Polish Catholic community tries to see her diamond ring after her fiance breaks their engagement to become a priest. Also set in Chicopee: Hoopi Shoopi Donna, 1996; Lily of the Valley, 1999.
Around Again, 2001. Robyn returns to the vacation spot of her youth, her uncle's farm near the Quabbin Reservoir.
- Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome, 1911 [SCL]
- A New England farmer must choose between his duty to care for his invalid wife and his love for her beatiful cousin.
- White, Michael C. Blind Side of the Heart, 1999 [SCL]
- A small town priest is accused of sexual abuse and murder.
- Duberstein, Larry. The Handsome Sailor, 1998 [SCL]
- Fictionalization of the latter half of Melville's life, set partially in the Berkshires as he works on Moby Dick.
- Farr, Judith. I Never Came to You in White, 1996
- Novelization of seventeen-year-old Emily Dickinson at Mary Lyon's Seminary at Mt. Holyoke.
- Fuller, Jamie. The Diary of Emily Dickinson, 1993 [SCL]
- Fictional diary of the poet for the years 1867-68.
- Landis, James David. The Taking, 2003 [SCL]
- A complex drama set in the town of Greenwich, doomed to be flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir.
- Porter, Donald Clayton. White Indian (Book 1 of a series)
- When Ghonka, leader of the Seneca tribe, plunders Fort Springfield, he spares the life of one infant and raises it as his own in the Ottawa tribe.
- Wackerbarth, Doris H. The Guardians: Pioneering in the Connecticut Valley, 1980
- The story of pioneer-settlers who protected local government officials in 1675 Hadley.
- Webster, Phyllis Smith. Hilltown: A Novel
- Experience the lives of ordinary townsfolk of rural Western Massachusetts in the 19th century.
- Weld, William. Stillwater, 2000 - Quabbin Reservoir [SCL]
- The last year of one of the five towns scheduled to be flooded, as experienced by 15-year-old Jamieson.
- Adamson, Lydia. A Cat With a Fiddle, 1993
- Cat-sitter Alice Nestelton investigates the murder of a pianist at a remote artists' colony in the Berkshires.
- Boyer, Rick. Gone to Earth, 1990
- Motorcycle gangs and unsolved murder at Doc Adams' newly purchased farm in the Berkshires.
- Blackmur, L.L. Love Lies Slain, 1999
- Working on the autobiography of a reclusive, aging painter, Galen gets drawn into mysterious family affairs.
- Connors-Wade, Joanne. A Thread of Evidence, 2005
- Based on the true story of a 1954 double homicide in the Forest Park neighborhood of Springfield. [SCL]
- Dobson, Joanne. Quieter Than Sleep, 1997 [SCL]
- And other Karen Pelletier mysteries, set at the fictional Enfield College.
- Gilman, Dorothy. Thale's Folly, 1999 [SCL]
- A young novelist investigates the strange mysteries surrounding his eccentric deceased aunt's farmhouse.
- Goldstone, Nancy. Mommy and the Murder, 1995
- Wall Street trader Elizabeth Halperin is the prime suspect when her estanged husband is murdered at a Halloween party at his new girlfriend's Lenox home.
- Higgins, George V. Mandeville Talent, 1991 -Berkshires [SCL]
- Young Manhattan lawyer sets up private practice in the Berkshires and investigates the 23-year-old unsolved murder of his grandfather.
- Langton, Jane. Emily Dickinson is Dead, 1984 [SCL]
- Murder mystery set at an Emily Dickinson symposium in Amherst.
- MacLeod, Charlotte. The Luck Runs Out, 1979.
- And other mysteries starring Peter and Helen Shandy of Balaclava Agricultural College.
- Stephan, Leslie. Murder Most Distressing, 1986
- Great-aunt Eunice is murdered while the entire clan is gathered at the family summer home to celebrate her 80th birthday. Also set in the fictional small town of Hampford: Murder R.F.D., 1978
- Sturges, Karen. Death of a Pooh-Bah, 1999 [SCL]
- Visiting a long-lost aunt in Northampton, Phoebe gets involved in a local production of the Mikado, ans soon finds herself investigating the murder of one of the lead players.
For Young Adults
All titles are available from libraries in the WMARS network. Those marked [SCL] can be found at the Springfield City Library.
- Griffin, Adele. Amandine, 2001 [SCL]
- Her first week at a new school, shy, plain Delia befriends Amandine, not anticipating the dangerous turns their friendship would take.
- Guest, Elissa Haden. Over the Moon, 1986
- Over protests from her family, sixteen-year-old Kate makes a difficult journey to see her beloved older sister, who ran away without explanation four years before.
- Lasky, Kathryn. Home Free, 1985
- Fifteen-year-old Sam's fight to save a wilderness area [the Quabbin] for endangered eagles helps an autistic girl return to reality and reveals her strange hidden power.
- Kwasney, Michelle. Baby Blue, 2004 [SCL]
- In western Massachusetts in 1976, still grieving and guilt-ridden over her father's drowning, twelve-year-old Blue is dealt another blow when her older sister, Star, runs away to escape their stepfather's violence against their mother.
- Yolen, Jane. Armageddon Summer, 1998 [SCL]
- Fourteen-year-old Marina and sixteen-year-old Jed accompany their parents' religious cult, the Believers, to await the end of the world atop a remote mountain, where they try to decide what they themselves believe.
Check out these other lists of Massachusetts-related books:
- MASS Murder: Mysteries and crime novels set in Massachusetts (1996-1998)
- Compiled by the Memorial Hall Library of Andover. See also Mass Murder Returns (2000-2003 titles).
- Local Authors and Illustrators from Western Massachusetts
- Listing of authors and illustrators from Western Massachusetts, compiled and updated by the Forbes Library in Northampton MA.
- Massachusetts Center for the Book
- Affiliated with the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, the Massachusetts Center for the Book awards annual book awards to local authors and poets and works to promote reading throughout the Commonwealth.
Please send any suggested additions to email@example.com
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