This week I want to do a post on my favourite books to read that are about holiday destinations, that I also tend to read while I’m on holiday! Everyone who knows me knows I’m a massive bookworm, I basically have a library in my bedroom, there are definitely more books than there are anything else! On that note, I knew that this list could become quite extensive so I’ve shortened it down!
Without further ado, I shall begin!
The Island, The Return, The Thread, The Sunrise – Victoria Hislop.
All 4 of these books are by one of my favourite authors, Victoria Hislop. All of them are set in Greece, apart from The Return which is set in Spain.
The Island follows the stories of families living in a fishing village on the Island of Crete, right opposite the island of Spinalonga. If your world history isn’t the best, Spinalonga was an island used as a kind of keep hold for lepers, when leprosy was quite prevalent and no one understood it properly. At the same time as centring around the village and the island of Spinalonga, the book looks at the effect that the second world war had on families around Greece. The Island was also made into a television series in Greece.
The Return again follows the stories of several families, living in and around Granada (near the Alhambra Palace), in Spain. This story is about the Spanish civil war and how that affects the different families in Spain. There’s also a back story set in modern day, in which one of the characters travels to Spain to dig up her family history and it’s all very cleverly linked together.
The Thread is set in the city of Thessaloniki on mainland Greece during the times when there was a huge switch around of populations, when Greeks had to return to Greece, and the Turkish had to return back to what was known at the time as Asia Minor. Hislop looks at separate families who suffer this turmoil, and interweaves it with a story again set in the present day, where a young man learns his grandparents history.
The Sunrise is set on the island of Cyprus. It is set mainly between 3 families, during the trouble between the Greeks and the Turkish, and looks at the city of Famagusta and how it was destroyed by this war between the two countries. This is the first of Hislop’s books that doesn’t have a present day family interweaving with the families of the past.
Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert.
I firmly believe that this book is one that should be read by every woman, whether they are going through crisis or not. It sounds crazy but this book has helped me a lot over the years and truly motivated me at times when I’ve found the going tough. I actually went through a phase of buying every woman i knew this book for their birthdays or for Christmas. It’s not really a fictional story s such, although the way it’s written makes it feel like it is. Elizabeth Gilbert basically decides she’s going to travel around 3 countries, Italy, India and Indonesia when things get tough… the book follows her travels and experiences in each of these countries as she goes. How she gets through rough patches. This is the book that made me want to go to Bali!
Island of Secrets – Patricia Wilson
I read this book while I was on holiday in Corfu this year. I was so absorbed in it I think I finished it in about a day and a half! This is again set in Greece, another set on the island of Crete and centred around the second world war. This book follows one family, both present day and in the past, Angie goes to visit her grandmother in Crete and there she learns of her family’s turmoil during the war, and after too. She also learns of her own mother’s past. This book is very similar to Victoria Hislop’s (hence why I bought it) but Wilson has her own style of writing and this is written very well and very emotively.
The Last Piece of my Heart – Paige Toon
This book is set between London, Cornwall and Thailand and is about a travel writer with a blog (I know!) She’s on a mission to revisit all of her exes and demand their pieces of her heart back so she can then feel whole and ready to marry her current boyfriend (who lives in Australia). In the process she gets offered a job, finishing the book of an author who prematurely died. She has to go and live in Cornwall to complete this novel and meets the dead author’s grieving husband and baby daughter. This book is so well written, you should probably hate the main character but you just can’t, by the end you’re really rooting for her. Also, it’s made me really want to go to Cornwall on a proper holiday and Thailand – which is somewhere I never really fancied!
Hearts of Stone – Simon Scarrow
This book is yet another one set in Greece (I have a thirst for knowledge about Greek history, if you hadn’t guessed!). It’s set on the island of Lefkas, and follows a german family along with several greek families during the second world war. It follows 3 main characters – 2 Greeks and 1 German who all become good friends living on the island together, but then war hits and they must be separated, swearing to meet up again once the war is over. However, they all become embroiled in the war in their own way, fighting for their own countries. This is similar to Hislop again in that the story is interweaved between the story of the past, and characters in the present learning of their histories.
The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
The Saffron Trail is set between Cornwall and Marrakech, somewhere I’ve always dreamt of going to.
It follows the stories of two girls who meet in Morocco and develop a close friendship whilst delving into their own pasts. The story switches between Cornwall and Morocco and has a lot of depth. It is quite a lengthy book, but has a lot of appeal to enable you to finish it. I’ve never personally read anything by this author before, but this book definitely left me wanting to read more of her work.
Among the Lemon Trees – Nadia Marks
This is a book which I’m reading for the first time at the moment – I’m about halfway through right now and I’m hooked – another set in Greece, on an island (I’m not sure which – it hasn’t been mentioned yet) right now the book is mainly a look into Greek islander life, and a look at how people cope with the break up of marriages – it’s also a look at love and loss. I’m really enjoying this book so far, and I hope to do a full review of it once I finish it!
So, that comprises my list of favourite holiday reads. As I said earlier, there are plenty more books that I could add to this list but i thought it best to keep it as concise as possible! That, and 10 books is plenty for you to be getting along with. Please let me know if you decide to read, or have already read any of these books and what your opinion is on them! Also let me know what your favourite books to sit and read by the pool are!
Thanks for reading!