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Books that became TV series

I love to read. I’d always prefer to read a book before I see the movie or tv version. But sometimes you see a tv series and don’t realise it was created from a book.  This list includes the books that have been turned into tv shows over the years.

Books genres that have worked well as tv series have been predominantly crime or mystery themed, but there’s also been a few from the fantasy genre, romance and historical styles. Not forgetting children’s books.

books that became tv series

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Books that became tv series

9 Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty. Set in a boutique health-and-wellness resort that promises healing and transformation as nine stressed city dwellers try to get on a path to a better way of living. These ‘perfect’ strangers aren’t sure what’s coming next for them. (Hulu / Prime)

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness. Based on the fantasy books about a historian who discovers a bewitched manuscript in the Bodleian library, trying to unravel the secrets in it. (Sky)

All Creatures Great and Small – James Herriott. Based on the memoirs of Herriot’s veterinary work and life, there have been 2 versions of tv series based on the books. (5)

Bridgerton – Julia Quinn. Based on the books about the 8 Bridgerton siblings as they go through life in Regency London’s society. (Netflix)

Bones – Kathy Reichs, loosely based on the Temperance Brennan forensic anthropologist novels (and on Kathy Reichs herself). (Disney+)

Dalgliesh – PD James’s Detective Adam Dalgliesh crime novels. (5)

Dexter – Jeff Lindsay’s crime horror series about forensic analyst/serial killer Dexter Morgan. (Prime)

Elementary – Arthur Conan Doyle. A contemporary version of the Sherlock Holmes books, (Sky / Prime for older series)

Game of Thrones – George RR Martin’s epic fantasy novels. (HBO / Now TV)

Gossip Girl – Cecily von Ziegesar’s young adult novel series 

Heartland – Lauren Brooke’s story follows Amy Fleming and her older sister Louise “Lou” Fleming on their Alberta-based family ranch, ‘Heartland’ and their family life.

Inspector Morse/Endeavour/Inspector Lewis – Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse books, along with his Sergant Lewis, set in Oxford. (ITV)

Killing Eve – Luke Jennings’ books about assassin Villanelle. (BBC)

Life After Life – Kate Atkinson. Telling of family life, with one of the daughter’s reliving her life over and over again, trying to (BBC)

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng. The store of the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and a mysterious mother and daughter who upend their perfect lives. (Prime)

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Kerry Greenwood. Bored socialite Phryne Fisher leaves the tedium of the London season for adventure in Australia (ABC)

Miss Marple – Agatha Christie. Mystery stories based on a little old lady crime solver. (BBC)

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon. Historical fantasy based novels. (Starz / Netflix)

Poirot – Agatha Christie. Eccentic Belgian Hercule Poirot works with the police uses his little grey cells to piece together who did the crimes. (ITV)

Poldark – Winston Graham. Historical books set in late 18th/early 19th century, about principled Ross Poldark who arrives back in Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War to take over his father’s failing copper mine, and finding his childhood sweetheart marrying his cousin. A series about upper and working classes, love, family feuds, economy and politics. (BBC)

Pretty Little Liars – Sara Shepherd. Young Adult books following the lives of 4 girls and their secrets after their teen group ‘leader’ disappears. (Netflix)

Ruth Rendell Mysteries – Ruth Rendell. Series based on the books about mysteries solved by Inspector Wexford. (ITV)

woman watching tv with a remote and popcorn, with lights in the background

Sanditon Jane Austen. Her unfinished novel was brought to life in tv, with Charlotte Heywood moving to Sanditon, a fishing village attempting to reinvent itself as a seaside resort. (ITV)

Sweet Magnolias – Sherryl Woods. Romance novel series (Netflix)

The Vampire Diaries – LJ Smith. Young Adult books series, centred on a young high school girl who finds her heart eventually torn between two vampire brothers. (Netflix)

The Witcher – Andrzej Sapkowski. From the series of 6 fantasy novels and 15 short stories, revolving around the “witcher” beast hunter. (Netflix)

This is going to Hurt – Adam Kaye. Based on the memoirs of Junior Doctor Adam (BBC)

Virgin River – Robin Carr. Based on the Mills & Boon romance books, where ‘lost’ people end up in the small town of Virgin River and meet their romantic matches. (Netflix)

Head to Amazon to find the books of your favourite tv shows.

Children’s books turned into tv shows

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket
  • Anne with an E – LM Montgomery
  • Baby-sitters club – Ann M Martin
  • His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
  • Horrid Henry – Francesca Simon
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
  • The Worst Witch – Jill Murphy
  • Topsy and Tim – Gareth and Jean Adamson
  • Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson

Which have you enjoyed? What’s missing from this list?

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  1. Such a great extensive list and adding some to watch too! I didn’t know Little fires everywhere had a tv series, really need to check it out! Thanks for sharing!

    1. It’s never ending I think, as soon as you find one series, there’s another of your favourite books adapted too.

  2. What a great list! I hadn’t realized there were so many! I see some favourites here too. I’m presently watching The Time Traveller’s Wife mini-series on HBO right now which was a book written by Audrey Niffenegger. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I suppose books do translate so well, as I was looking into this, more kept cropping up, and lots are just 1 film or tv episode rather than a series too.

    1. I didn’t get into the Witcher, but loved the others you mention. I’m just reading my way through Virgin River and Bridgerton books are in my TBR pile too. Books do work so well when adapted.

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