These Atmospheric Romance Novels Are Too Perfect For Fans Of 'Death & Nightingales'

Jamie Dornan, the man of your dreams, returns to the screen again on Nov. 28, in a new BBC period drama. Based on the novel of the same name, Death and Nightingales goes deep into the Fermanagh countryside where a toxic love triangle plays out. Originally penned by Irish writer Eugene McCabe, the novel is a launching pad for what could be an incredible TV series. Whether you've already read it and know just what I'm talking about, or you're about to click the 'buy' button, you'll probably want to know about more books like Death and Nightingales. Here's my pick.

First off, what makes a book like Death and Nightingales? Well, a killer plot twist wouldn't hurt, neither would another dramatic love triangle, square, or hexagon. To compare to Death and Nightingales a book also needs to feel atmospheric, somewhere between moody and bleak, and a sprawling, rural setting wouldn't hurt either. You read books like Death and Nightingales to bury yourself into the fictional drama of other people's lives to in order to escape your own. And that drama better be angsty AF. So, here's my suggestion of books to help you fill that Death and Nightingales-shaped hole in your life.


'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Brontë

Ah, Wuthering Heights — the ultimate tale of angsty love in the countryside. That's not quite doing this classic the justice it deserves, but that's basically the bones of it. If you've not read it yet, make this your reminder. Taking place in the Yorkshire Moors, as opposed to the hills of Fermanagh, Wuthering Heights recounts the gothic love story of Cathy and Heathcliff — two star-crossed lovers who can't keep their hands off one another even in death and the afterlife. Like Death and Nightingales, it also features two conflicting families who are hellbent on tearing the lovers apart.


'The Wonder' by Emma Donoghue

It's no surprise that author, Emma Donoghue, author of what went onto become the Oscar nominated film Room, has some more bleak goodness up her sleeves. The Wonder, Donoghue's ninth novel, is a fitting next read, if you loved Room or Death and Nightingales. It follows the chilling story of a little girl who starves herself. Set in the 19th century Irish Midlands, the villagers and tourists become fascinated with this little girl's ability to survive without food. But, to their horror, they soon realise that what they're seeing is a child's slow murder in plain sight.


'Never Anyone But You' by Rupert Thomson

Rupert Thomson's 2018 novel Never Anyone But You tells the story of two women in love in WWI Paris — and it's a suckerpunch. The parisian streets are so lively they are almost a character themselves in this love story, but of course — it's not all baguettes and romance. As fascism begins to rise, they leave Paris for Jersey, where they campaign to take down Hitler's occupying forces. It's one part heart-swelling, two parts heartbreaking.


'One by One' in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden

One by One in the Darkness follows three Northern Irish sisters from Ballymena who come back to reflect on their childhood during the Troubles, right before the IRA ceases fire in 1994. It's another story of love and fraught relationships amid devastation, but it's also a love letter to Ireland's natural beauty and community. It's also just moving enough to make you want to call home.


'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maurier

Another classic to end on, and another pretty setting for another moody story. Daphne Du Maurier's Cornwall based classic Rebecca is the novel you should read if you weren't already made to in English class. After landing straight in the deep end by marrying the wealthy Maxim de Winter, Rebecca spends post-honeymoon life at his manor house on the Cornish coast. Sounds ideal, right? Well, throw in a super creepy housekeeper and the literal roaming ghost of your husband's ex, and things aren't nearly quite so idyllic.