Discover your holiday in the pages of a book
It doesn’t often happen but after finishing the final page of certain books, you find you long to linger in the setting. Here are five such books that have done that to us, spurring us to get online pretty quickly, searching for some holiday deals.
A Year in Provence: 25 years ago, Peter Mayle’s autobiographical novel not only kicked off a whole new glut of ‘Englishman living in the rural-abroad’ tales, but it inspired a crowd of Brits to buy that second home and try their luck. A witty account of life in southern France, its evocative descriptions of both the stunning countryside and the colourful locals will make you want to experience Provence for yourself.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin: topping the bestseller chart in the nineties, Captain Corelli bewitched its readers with the romantic descriptions of the Greek island of Kefalonia. The mythical birthplace of Odysseus, Kefalonia witnessed huge turmoil in the middle of the last century: Italian occupation during the Second World War, and a catastrophic earthquake in 1953. Architecturally, today’s island is therefore wildly different to the book, but the stunning beaches, the wild beauty of the countryside and the hints of paradise remain.
Wuthering Heights: a very different love story and a very different landscape to that of Captain Corelli, but the Yorkshire Moors attract legions of Bronte fans every year. Now a museum, the Bronte sisters’ home of Haworth Parsonage is surrounded by bleak moorland, the inspiration for many of their novels, and a crucial player in Emily Bronte’s classic. Haworth is a fantastic base for a hiking holiday with walks aplenty across the dramatic, blustery moors.
The Da Vinci Code: a huge bestseller of the early noughties, this Dan Brown thriller follows its hero as he races between Paris, London and Edinburgh, delving into the mystery surrounding the truth about the Holy Grail. Follow in the fictional symbologist’s footsteps and take in Paris’s magnificent Louvre and the haunting St Sulpice cathedral, then travel back across the Channel to Westminster Abbey and up to Edinburgh’s eerie Rosslyn Chapel where the book reaches its thrilling climax.
Miss Garnet’s Angel: set in contemporary Venice, this is the story of spinster Julia Garnet, seduced by the city’s intoxicating beauty and sensual religiosity. With a vividly described backdrop of Venetian churches, Renaissance art, barges, bridges and mysteries, words ultimately are not enough: you’ll want to see this spectacular city and its treasures for yourself.