From pirates to Spanish conquerors to a special role in U.S. civil rights, Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach have a long and illustrious history.
Over the past 500 years, the region has been governed under eight different flags. It has also been a hub for several industries. During the Civil War, Amelia Island’s railroad and port made the area a major U.S. shipping point. After the war, paper mills took over as the main industry even as the tourism industry began to take root, including in historic American Beach.
Today, Amelia Island is a popular vacation spot and retirement destination with a thriving dining and entertainment district, antique stores, and a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.
Given its colorful history and diverse residents through the years, it’s no wonder the region is the setting for many books — both nonfiction and fiction.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 books that either provide background on the rich history of Amelia Island or use its beautiful beaches and quaint entertainment districts as a backdrop for romance or solving mysteries.
by Dickie Anderson
Part cookbook, part photographic journal of the region, this collectible book includes recipes for local foodie favorites as well as photos by award-winning Amelia Island photographer Stephen Leimberg.
by Rob Hicks
During its colorful 500-year history, Amelia Island has played host to many historic notables. Learn about how they all contributed to the personality of this quaint, creative beach town.
by Suzanne Davis Hardee and Kathleen Davis Hardee Arsenault
This book provides a comprehensive history of the commercial growth of the Amelia Island region from the Civil War to the early 20th century.
by Marsha Dean Phelts
This in-depth history of American Beach uses personal interviews, photos, newspaper articles, memoirs, maps, and official documents to provide a detailed study of this African-American beach community.
by Gordon E. Hart
In this memoir of life on Amelia Island during the 1960s and ’70s, the author recalls what it was like growing up in a small beach town during this time of war, drugs, and muscle cars.
by Rob Hicks
Before Florida was a state, Amelia Island was a gateway between Spanish Florida and English colonists. Learn how Amelia Island transformed from one of the most important ports in the Western Hemisphere to a quaint resort community.
by Jane Marie Malcolm
Described as the place “where ‘Little House on the Prairie’ meets ‘Gone with the Wind,’” “The Goodbye Lie” trilogy (“The Goodbye Lie,” “Amelia Island’s Velvet Undertow,” and “Amelia Island’s Mark of a Man”) is a mystery/romance series that takes place during the late 1800s on beautiful Amelia Island.
by Rodney Riesel
In this three-book series (“Maintenance Required,” “High Maintenance,” and “Serial Maintenance”),retirees Rex and Gayle Langley plan to spend their golden years relaxing in Fernandina Beach but end up solving mysteries.
by E. Louise Jaques
Four women from very different backgrounds work together to solve the mystery of a murdered Amelia Island millionaire.
by M.S. Spencer
When bodies start washing up on Amelia Island’s beaches, a pair of park rangers dive into solving the mystery and finding the killer.
All of these books are available for purchase on Amazon.com in various formats (paperback, hardcover, or Kindle editions). Some may also be available as e-books from your local library or through an audiobook provider like Audible.com.