Sunday, 2 September 2012

Travel Novels: Inspiring and Gripping Fiction Books Set in Unusual and Beautiful Places

Greek Church at sunset. Travel novels - inspiring fiction stories set in strange countries







For new insight into extremely unusual and mysterious parts of the world, read these gripping novels. Be inspired about new places to travel to, and see them from a totally different point of view.

FACT 1: I've still never been to the actual places these books are set in

FACT 2: I haven't been able to stem the flow of travel ideas and inspiration I've experienced since reading books like these

FACT 3: I've now visited places I never thought would be on my list

FACT 4: I still need to visit the actual places these books are set in...

Sun at Midnight - Rosie Thomas

Antarctic wilderness, totally undiscovered, freezing and stunning waste at the end of the world. This novel features a scientist's unexpected and lengthy visit to Antarctica and the relationships she forms with diverse people she encounters at the research station. Excellent plot with surprising twists and turns. Gripping and highly descriptive.

Click image to buy this book (U.K.)

Click image to buy this book (U.S.)
This novel inspired me to visit the frozen wilderness of Arctic Scandinavia and experience such an untouched natural beauty, almost totally deviod of human life. I now desperately want to visit the even more severe and unimaginably vast Antarctica (the Southern arctic) in summer, see the midnight sun, and stay long enough to appreciate such a wild place. It's the contrast between the purity, vastness and simplicity of the Antarctic waste with the rest of the teeming world that attracts me to have an enduring experience in Antarctica.

(See my articles on Iceland and Arctic Scandinavia)


The Mermaid and The Drunks - Ben Richards

Colourful, emotional and unpredictable Chile, beautfiul and mysterious, evocative and passionate. This novel focusses on a British young lady's return to her heritage home of Chile, and the drama she encounters on her Chilean travels as she meets people caught up in mysterious troubles, as she discovers her own parents' history. The novel evokes a dramatic, stunning and slightly frightening country with an addictive passion.

Click image to buy this book (U.K.)

Click image to buy this book (U.S.)

This novel has inspired me to visit Chile but this plan has now evolved into Argentina as I want to see the Perito Moreno glacier and Argentine Patagoina. It's the South American passion I also desperately want to experience and The Mermaid and The Drunks totally sells this to me.


The Island - Victoria Hislop

Historic and traditional Greek Islands, steeped in heritage. Complex stories from the past etched onto the arid and mediterranean landscape. The Island is a truly gripping story, capturing heart-wrenching and touching parts of life on Crete and its leper colony Spinalonga during the 30s, 40s and 50s. Very real and complex characters with almost tangible relationships and emotions. The intimate link between the people, their traditions and their land is beautifully realised.

Click image to buy this book (U.K.)
Click image to buy this book (U.S.)
I read The Island whilst I was in Kefalonia. The landscape and general 'Greekness' just made the experience even more rich for me, and I can't wait to book a trip to Crete, amongst all my other travel plans. The island of Spinalonga is possible to visit and is apparently just as Victoria Hislop describes.

(See my article on Kefalonia)



Stolen - Deborah Moggach

Manic, colourful and desperately heart-wrenching Pakistan. Mysterious, magical and dangerous. This is a novel that will simply capture your heart. Incredible insight into the experience of two young English children stolen by their Pakistani father and taken against their will to Pakistan. This descriptive and emotional story follows the English mother's journey to Pakistan, and her incessant and dramatic search for her treasured young children, through the melee of the city of Karachi.

Click image to buy this book (U.K.)
Click image to buy this book (U.S.)

I have definitley been inspired to visit this stunning, exciting and dangerous place, however the safety aspect is preventing me at this moment in time. I am half Pakistani and have never visited so it would be very interesting and enlightening, however this is perhaps best saved for a time in the future when it will hopefully be less of a volatile place, or a time when I have a little more experience of places like this.


About Grace - Anthony Doerr

Two amazing places: Wild, severe Alaska, and blissful St Vincent in the Carribbean. This novel follows the life of a father who flees his beloved infant little girl Grace and her mother due to a terrible premonition that he will play a hand in Grace's death whatever he does unless he never sees them again. The novel follows the main character David from his home in wonderfully magical Alaska to the colourful, tropical paradise of the Carribbean. These fantastic locations are so well entwined with the story you feel like you're right there with the lovable characters.  

Click image to buy this book (U.K.)

Click image to buy this book (U.S.)
This book has added to my love of the arctic, but also it inspired me to visit the Carribbean. Logistics of weather and hurricanes lead me to visit Aruba instead (it lies just outside of the hurrican belt) however the bubbly character and warm soul of Aruba is just as infectious as I imagine any other Carribbean island to be, each with its own originality. 

(See my article on Aruba)


The Kashmir Shawl - Rosie Thomas

Magical, unfamiliar, teeming India, and the mysterious and foreboding lands of Tibet. A recent and popular novel, this fantastic story takes its reader on a journey to India with a young Welsh lady on a quest to find out the unknown and beautiful story of her Grandparents' life in India as missionaries during the second world war. The experience of these wonderful and magical places through the character's encounters adds to the reader's sense of atmosphere and reality. The traditions, landscapes and cultures are beautifully captured and described.

Click image to buy this book (U.K.)

Click image to buy this book (U.S.)
I am desperate to visit Tibet and experience the mystery and spirituality. It is way up high on my list!


Travel-inspiring, gripping novels featuring strange and beautiful places and countries.

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