The Black Country – Evil Games – Angela Marsons

Screen shot 2015-11-05 at 16.11.43

Why a booktrail?

Early 2000s: Detective Kim Stone is about to face one of the most sickening cases of her career

Story

Detective Kim Stone and her team are called into resolve the case of a rapist who has just been found stabbed to death. However the case turns out to be anything but straight forward as there appears to be something much more sinister at work.

The investigation into a sick paedophile ring is not what Kim wanted or hoped to find herself working on. And someone appears to be doing their own twisted experiment. Detective Stone could be in real danger. For as the body count starts to rise, she has to face something of her own in order to try and stop the killing.

Place and setting

To see the nicer side of The Black Country visit this museum! http://www.bclm.co.uk/
To see the nicer side of The Black Country visit this museum!
http://www.bclm.co.uk/

The title says it all for there are some evil games going on in the aptly named (in this case) Black Country. You sure won’t find a more disturbing sociopath/psychopath stalking the streets in any other crime novel or at least it will be hard pushed to find one this horrific.

The Black Country might be a nice rural yet close to the city setting but this is merely a landscape in this case for utter depravity. The cat and mouse game that is going on across  the region between the police and the psycho is chilling and raw.

There are moments of humour as well though – chilling humour recalling childhood memories of a sort –

“I can see it in your face. You look like someone stole your Barbie doll and boiled it.”

DI Stone is the officer on the case and she and her team have her work cut out as there are many horrific crime occurring on her patch. Luckily DI Stone also manages to reveal some of her softer side and her adoption of Barney the dog is a real step forward in this direction. Nevertheless her dismissal and annoyance at times towards authority is where she really shines. You need a gut feeling to solve cases here it would seem.

The Black Country has never looked so dark!

Review

I thought that Angela Marsons had put the black into the Black County with her first book Silent Scream for the title is exactly what I did when reading it. Phew well at least I thought I could  read the second once the breath in my body had returned. The writing was so good and the tension so high I was addicted.

Well this second book is even blacker, darker and a lot more sinister than the first. Disturbingly so – still a great novel mind with vile being just as much a main character as the human ones ( well sub human for many of them)

I find novels about child abuse hard to read and often avoid them but Angela’s first book really made me change my habits – and I’m very pleased I did. The detail of the cases, the background and personal experience of the detective make for some interesting angles I’ve not seen in crime fiction before. It was like being inside the mind of a depraved and sick killer and it was gross but fascinating all at once. I hated them on sight and hoped that DI Stone would be able to stay balanced on that tricky line between fragility and complete collapse.

Evil Games – now there’s a title. Perfectly sums up what goes on here although “Oxygen Shortage” and “Curveball comes from nowhere to knock the wind out of your sails” could be alternative titles although not so catchy of course.

New York 1848 – The Fatal Flame – Lyndsay Faye

Fatal flame

Why a booktrail?

1848 – New York has always been the city that never sleeps but in 1848 it didn’t even have a chance – the violence and the fires kept everyone awake…

Story

New York in 1848 was a dangerous dark place to be. The notorious Five Points a pivotal part of 1840’s New York and the birth of its Copper Stars are once again the scene of dramatic intrigue and this time…arson

Copper star Timothy Wilde hates fire more than most since his family was killed in one and gave him a permanent scar. But this latest case sees him looking right into the heart of the flame – fires re being started ion the streets of the city for some kind of revenge and Wilde has to find out why quickly before the entire city goes up in flames.

It’s not going to be easy though – there is a lot to stoke the fires – stories of Revenge, murder and blackmail as well as past events from the first two novels in the series.

The Fatal Flame is a hotbed of explosive situations..

Place and setting

Five Points/The Tombs The Tombs - The Five points was the area around the areas of Civic Center and Chinatown. It occupied a full block, surrounded by Centre, Franklin Street, Elm -today's Lafayette, and Leonard Street. Today the Manhattan Detention center is there in White Street. Pell Street The site of the first fire The orphanage The orphanage - The Catholic Orphan Asylum is at the corner of Prince and Mott Street. The famous Bowery is said to be two blocks east. Nassau St and nearby Cedar Street Nassau St and nearby Cedar Street made up the area known as the Burnt District. This was where the textile manfacturing was centered. Cedar Street is about two blocks to the right.  Elizabeth Street The home of Detective Timothy Wilde  Thomas Street The home of Sally Woods Queen Mabs The brothel was located on the corner of Rose Street and Frankfort
Five Points/The Tombs
The Tombs – The Five points was the area around the areas of Civic Center and Chinatown. It occupied a full block, surrounded by Centre, Franklin Street, Elm -today’s Lafayette, and Leonard Street. Today the Manhattan Detention center is there in White Street.
Pell Street
The site of the first fire
The orphanage
The orphanage – The Catholic Orphan Asylum is at the corner of Prince and Mott Street. The famous Bowery is said to be two blocks east.
Nassau St and nearby Cedar Street Nassau St and nearby Cedar Street made up the area known as the Burnt District. This was where the textile manfacturing was centered. Cedar Street is about two blocks to the right.
Elizabeth Street The home of Detective Timothy Wilde
Thomas Street The home of Sally Woods Queen Mabs The brothel was located on the corner of Rose Street and Frankfort

This the city that never sleeps – just as well as it certainly needs to keep at least one eye open as an arsonist seems to be on a rampage around the city torching it at will.

New York policing and politics

The peculiarities of mid-19th century NYC politics and the formation of the New York police force are recreated vividly as are the workings of Tammany Hall – the Democratic political machine that dominated NYC politics at the time. Those fighting for high office did just that – fight – and the ‘war’ between them and the people, the police, was dirty, tiring and a battle of wills. Piest for example is described –

“as honest as the frayed cuffs on his frock coat”

Timothy Wilde however is the man to bring the copper stars, the Five Points, the Tomb and the struggle of police officers in such a desperate city to life. With the use of the Flash language, that used by criminals at the time and documented by the chief of police George Matsell, this is a history lesson which fully submerges you in time and place.

New York city 1848..

Newspaper snippets, political documents, and words from various sources open up each chapter giving an insight into the mood, opinion and politics of the time. In the following chapter a window opens up on women’s rights, the subject of mental health and the frightening truth that someone is lighting fires across the city and many people are dying whilst others are in danger.

This is a city of character  and it’s a character in its own right – the neighbourhoods, the brothels (mab houses) and manufacturing factories are full of noise, sweat, toil and dirt. Pigs wander the streets munching on anything they find. The tenements and the living conditions of people are symbols of various degrees of poverty -women especially have a raw deal and are constantly under the control of men, wild characters with no regard for their health and safety. Working conditions, if that’s what they can be described as, are not worth the paper they are written on.

Women in the city

Women worked as sewing girls in the Bowery or on the streets and the men who run these places are nasty characters with no morals. Life is one long, harsh struggle for almost everyone and particularly the case  if you’re female, Irish or coloured. Working conditions for seamstresses  – those enough lucky enough not to be forced into prostitution – were inexistant and conditions unregulated,wages minimal.

Review

This is exactly the kind of book to read if you love to fully immerse yourself into time and place. The level of research that Lyndsay Faye must have done to get such small details as authentic as they come is staggering and despite not knowing much at all about New York history before reading all three of her novels, I feel as if I’ve learned more via her books than any history lesson could have taught me. This books is akin to no ordinarily history lesson however – oh no – but rather like stepping into the past and wandering around the streets, with the odeur of dirt in your nose, the muck on your feet and the fear on the back of your neck.

How fascinating are the early years of the Copper Stars, the growth of the police force, the birth of Flash, the figure of George Matsell. Oh and my new friends –  Jim, Mercy, Symmes, Piest, Sally, Dunly, Mrs. Grimshaw, Tim and Val. Please don’t let this be the last in the series, I’m going to miss you all too much.

This needs to be on the big screen right now.

Susan Booktrailer

The Rebus Tour of Scotland

(C) Chris Watt  -Sunday Post
(C) Chris Watt -Sunday Post

Rebus goes a wandering….

There was an interesting article in the Sunday Post this week and it’s a paper I usually read but a kind neighbour came around with the magazine inside it which often features articles on books, authors and interviews of the literary kind.

I read it during Sunday Lunch and can honestly say that I feel as if I have sat down with Ian Rankin and chatted about his favourite places in and around Scotland – those that have inspired the Rebus novels and inspired Ian as a writer…

The Sunday Post article was long and very interesting but here is a potted history for Rebus fans to digest if you haven’t got a kindly neighbour such as mine..

Rebus' Scotland
Rebus’ Scotland

St Andrews

Ian went to a caravan park here as a child and would play cards with his family during the holidays. The experience and memories would later become part of Rebus and the types of holiday he has when he gets the chance

EDINBURGH

Oxford Bar

Now Edinburgh is the place to go for Rebus fans and of course the Oxford Bar on  Young Street in the city is the place Ian first went to when he started to write the Rebus novels and decided that this would be his local since “there were no bells and whistles, no juke box and no food. Just beer and conversation”

Visit: http://www.oxfordbar.co.uk/

Holyrood Park

Holyrood park features heavily in many of the Rebus novels and one of the police stations where Rebus works is here with a view of the Salisbury Crags and  Arthur’s Seat. This is where Rebus ‘ had a word’ with a murder suspect and you can feel the insolation and the fierce wind that would have battered that experience for them both!

Visit: visitscotland.com/holyrood-park-and-arthurs-seat

SHETLAND

Black and Blue is a novel featuring the oil industry and Rebus goes up to Sullom Voe and the Broch of Mousa. There is an iron Age roundhouse there and a lot of  history and culture. A bit of a culture shock from Edinburgh according to Ian but a fantastic place to explore and see another side of Rebus’s Scotland.

Kyle of Tongue

Rebus’ s daughter Samant lives up near Tongue and her husband is working at Dounreay as part of the team dismantling the nuclear plant. Ian Rankin loves to drive up here amidst the lunar landscape and it’s another link to Rebus and his life.

Glasgow

Rebus goes to Glasgow in one of the earlynovels and gives evidence but before he does so he spends a bit of time at Paddy’s Market. To find out more about working class life in the city that fascinates both Ian and Rebus, you should head here:

Visit : The People’s Palace Museum

That Rebus really is one great guide to Scotland – I am now off to give my lovely  neighbour an Ian Rankin novel as a thank you. It’s one I know he hasn’t got  – well he did have it but he left it in a pub once he said. He likes to read it “where Rebus might just walk in”. Might have been the Oxford Bar. In fact it probably was…

Geneva, Norway, Liepzig, Greece: The Storm Sister – Lucinda Riley

STORM

Why a booktrail?

1875, 2007: The epic second tale about the second of the Seven Sisters taking you from the shores of Lake Geneva, via Greece, Bergen/Oslo and Liepzig

Story

Ally D’Aplièse is about to compete in one of the world’s most exhilarating but dangerous yacht races, when she learns that her adoptive father has died suddenly. When she returns home to Geneva, she finds that along with her sisters, Pa Salt as he was affectionately known has left each of them a clue as to their true heritage.

Deciding to follow the trail and find out who she really is and where she comes from, she leaves behind her sailing life and her new love affair to venture out into the most thrilling yet nerve-wracking journey of her life. A journey that will take her to the mountains of Norway and right to the heart of a famous composer Grieg and  a  little unknown singer who changed the world.

But there are some questions left unanswered….for now.

Place and setting

LUCINDA

The Aegean Sea

Greece (Naxos, Mykonos, Macheres, the Aegean sea) chora

In the middle of the idyllic and peaceful Aegean sea, sailing from Naxos to Mykonos and everywhere in between, Ally is about to compete in the most gruelling and famous Yacht race in the world. She has fought to get where she is, in what is largely a male dominated sport. Falling in love with the skipper wasn’t in her plans but soon there’s is a perfect romance and the frantic and exciting world of yacht racing, the waves slapping up against the boat, the crew banter and the sheer hard work involved in such a sport are evoked with vibrancy – the sweat and toil, danger of it all – “ All sailors are in a dangerous game and one just never knows” says Theo.

Before stormy waters change her life for ever.

Atlantis, Geneva

The magical and somewhat majestic ‘ posh orphanage’ as the sisters call their home. A place on the shores of Lake Geneva where Pa Salt, an enigmatic millionaire took six girls and adopted them. What happened to the seventh remains a mystery. Ally returns her to sadness, finds the clues her father has left and reunites breifly with the sisters before heading off on her search for her own destiny – with a book translated from the Norwegian which her father intended her to read.

Norway

Engerbret cafe http://engebret-cafe.no/ Jens and Anna meet here The Ibsen museum http://www.norskfolkemuseum.no/ibsenmuseet Essential to both Anna and Ally’s stories OSlo - St Olavs Gate Anna first lives here when she moves to Oslo to sing Sankt Olavs Gate 13A 0165 Oslo, Norway 59.918079, 10.740765 The National theatre, Johanne Dybwads plass 1 http://www.nationaltheatret.no/ Where Anna sings...
Engerbret cafe
engebret-cafe.no
Jens and Anna meet here
The Ibsen museum
norskfolkemuseum.no/ibsenmuseet
Essential to both Anna and Ally’s stories
Oslo – St Olavs Gate
Anna first lives here when she moves to Oslo to sing
The National theatre, Johanne Dybwads plass 1
nationaltheatret.no
Where Anna sings…

Somewhere in the Telemarkt area of Norway, on the banks of a mountain, a young girl Anna gets the chance to sing in a prestigious musical performance in Christiana, (Oslo) Her journey there is unusual for a country girl used to herding cows all day but soon she is singing on the world stage and her story of her life and career unfold. Her rural life becomes one of fame and fortune and events soon turn into something much more dramatic.

Life in Bergen

Life here with the music scene and on the search into Grieg and his musical legacy is a joy to discover. As Ally discovers more, she revisits the places where those of years earlier once lived and worked. From the Grieg museum where the famous man once lived to the wonderful Frokehuset with its frog symbology, this is where the musical world comes to life and the stories of past and present truly merge as a black and white photo is placed on top of layers of colour.

Troldhaugen – Grieg’s home

griegmuseum.no/en

Edvard Grieg House, Troldhaugvegen 65, Paradis, Norway

Liepzig 

The story ends up in Liepzig where to tell you how would give too much away. The musical trail takes us here to a world of opera, classical music and theatre. The story of a star with his own former glory and link to the Grieg legacy who may just have the last little thread to unravel Ally’s past and reveal the truth behind her legacy.

Both Anna and Ally’s stories are woven together bringing their journeys to the ultimate destination that unites them in one destiny – that which Pa Salt left in his legacy.

STORM

REVIEW

Susan:

There’s always one author I just know I’m going to enjoy and after having read the first in the Seven Sisters series which I loved, I was intrigued to find out what would happen to the second sister Ally.

A long book yes but not long enough really. It’s an epic read in every sense of the word from the locations around the world to the journey it takes you on musically and physically. The tales of a famous composer and one of the seven sisters is magically woven together and it’s  a breathtaking journey.

I loved the idea of Ally travelling back to a place her father had left her clues about and as she read the book he had left her, then travelled to the place we’re taken back in time to when those events happened and from Anna and Jens to Pip and Grieg, the journey was fascinating and I loved getting to know each and every one of these people and how their stories linked together and across time.

Lucinda paints and writes music with her words for there is a lot of musical content in the book  – the passion of the behind the scenes preparation, the hard work involved and that tingle you feel when a solo voice emanates from the stage – every emotion, chill on the back of your neck and musical note in your ear is vividly evoked and more.

What a read – take your time that’s my advice and savour this journey. The amount of detail, research and twists and turns makes for an exhilarating journey with many shocks along the way. The writing is like the music it describes – uplifting, flowing along with a dramatic crescendo leaving you applauding loudly and wanting more.

The Black Country – Silent Scream – Angela Marsons

Silent-Scream-Angela-Marsons-570px

Why a booktrail?

2000s: It’s rather black and gruesome in the Black Country…

Story

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. A grave that each one has taken turns to dig. This had been part of their pact and now their secrets would be buried.

Years after this day, the Black Country is witness to what seems tp be a spate of horrific murders. The first victim? A local headmistress.

It’s when human remains are unearthed at a former children’s home, that D.I. Kim Stone realises with some horror that this murder spree started many years ago.

More victims, more of a desperate need to find the person responsible, but to do that Kim has to face the demons of her own past or it could all be too late.

Place and setting

Black Country - the novel opens up in Rowley Regis
Black Country – the novel opens up in Rowley Regis

The graveside

“Five figures formed a pentagram around a freshly dug mound. Only they knew it was a grave. Digging the frozen earth beneath the layers of ice and snow had been like trying to carve stone but they’d taken turns.”

This cold dark place with secrets buried is  a good start to a novel where digging up the past and burying secrets is the overall setting and tense atmosphere.

A derelict children’s home

There’s something especially morbid about the finding of bones at a children’s home and what that could mean. This is a creepy and chilling place now derelict and somewhat eerie since a professor has tried several times to get the site excavated but to no avail. Why would his requests be turned down time and time again? He wanted to see if he could find ancient coins but Kim like the reader becomes suspicious as to what this refusal really could mean.

A dark dark place

This is a novel of dark places and even darker situations. The Black Country it certainly is. This time the name suits the settings within.

The setting as well as the subject matter are dark and disturbing and there is more than a morbid sense of doom in the air. There are heartbreaking scenes, a real sense of despair as to why these events could happen and a horrific sense of reality. when the former staff turn up murdered as well….

Review

There’s so much to say about this novel but to say too much will spoil the thrills and spills that you’ll encounter. This novel both spooked and fascinated me as and that grave scene is still giving me the chills. I was a bit scared of Kim at first – she’s not your usual DI in a crime novel that’s for sure. I mean she doesn’t take any nonsense and really pushes the boundaries of everything she comes across, racing past them even in her motorcycle of choice.She may have a hard exterior but she’s definitely the one to have on your investigation.

The whole atmosphere of this book – troubled teens, a former home and the victims of the past really comes back to haunt. Having Kim in charge with her own demons really adds a sense of grim reality to it all as she has the sense and the knowledge to get to the truth, however painful that might be.

This is a complex, twisty turny read but one which will keep you awake long into the hours until you finish. It’s not a book for putting down. Amidst the darkness there is many a shining light in the form of Kim, her ‘sidekick’ Bryant and their joined banter which makes this a novel of many different layers and shades.

There is a gem shining in the Black Country you see and this novel is it.

Wicklow, Ireland – The Heart of Winter – Emma Hannigan

ireland 2

Why a booktrail?

2000s – Back to Wicklow, Ireland and the busy home of the Craig family and the Huntersbrook estate.

Story

Huntersbrook is the estate of the Craig family which has been in the family for years. It might not be the full estate it once was but it is still the house of memories and nostalgia for the siblings who have grown up there. There are plans to relaunch it however and the Christmas wedding of a popular actress should help get the place back  on its feet.

But plans have a way of being scuppered. The siblings should see to that. What with Pippa’s  raucous and reckless life spiralling out of control,  brother Joey’s personal struggles with his partner and business and then Lainey, poor Lainey who is dealt the most cruel blow of all. Does any of them have the chance to save their home as well as themselves?

Place and setting

Wicklow Wicklow Mountains Huntersbrook House is fictional but Russborough House near the Blessington Lakes is a close second we think! http://russboroughhouse.ie/index.php
Wicklow
Wicklow Mountains
Huntersbrook House is fictional but Russborough House near the Blessington Lakes is a close second we think!
russboroughhouse.ie

Huntersbrook house in Wicklow Ireland, is the the country estate you will want to visit. The cover shows it in its charming winter setting and as you open the cover and walk inside, the buzz of the places comes to life in exquisite detail.

It has a gate lodge, the two bed bungalow to the right of the entrance which reminds Pippa of the cottage from the novel Hansel and Gretel. Drive up the gravel path to the house itself however and the stunning Georgian facade, the Craig family jewel shimmers in the cool, crisp, Irish air.

Once inside the story of the siblings and the house itself warms your heart, and life seems to be centered in the busy bustling kitchen when the family comes back in order to save their history. Lainey lives in a house next door and she has always felt as if she ‘s never left home.

Told in alternate chapters through the eyes of Lainey, Pippa and Joey, their lives away from Huntersbrook will show the house and their view of it in a new light. How one house can unite a family, break it apart and fix it again. Home is where the heart is after all.

Review

The Craig family are back after we first met them in Driving Home for Christmas and this is the latest installment in their story. Now all adults, the siblings have led very different lives and have a very unique view and experience of their childhood home. How differently three people can turn out despite having had the very same start in life!

I hadn’t read Driving Home for Christmas before reading this installment in the Craig family story but I wished I had as although this did read as  a standalone I wanted to know these people more  and felt I had come to the party a little late.

I enjoy novels like this where the home, and the family home is at the centre and seems a really apt setting and story for Irish set fiction. I know Huntersbrook now and I would love to go back there and be a part of the family unit. The Christmas scenes in particular were heartwarming and I can honestly say that the word saga was written for this family as there’s plenty of it!

And I can’t finish without mentioning the gloriously sparkly cover! Aaah.

Susan (now living at Huntersbrook please Miss Hannigan!)

Stepping into a fictional world….

There are books where you just have to look at the cover and you want to step inside it, be part of the story and meet the characters for real. See their world through their eyes and become a part of it all. Recently three books have stuck in my mind and my mind’s eye as worlds that I like to think about and remember with a fondness:

BOOK-JOURNEYS

A travelling bus – USA

Oh the joys of a gap year travelling across a continent in a bus. What ever the reason for the journey it’s a fun and exciting way to travel and as soon as I saw this book cover with the bus, the map and the possibilities, I wanted to be a part of it.

There’s no other feeling like it – crossing lands and continents in a rusty old bus, a camper van if you’re lucky. The sense of utter freedom and escape, not to mention the excitement of the stops along the way. Stops on this trip include Hershey of Chocolate fame and Coffeeville? Is there such a place? Yes there is (two in fact) and so with the promise of a journey, chocolate and coffee, I was hooked….

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/the-last-bus-to-coffeeville-coffeeville-usa-j-paul-henderson/

A house on the cliff edge – Corsica

This is not the UK cover (that is just as enticing with a clear blue sea and a woman in a bathing suit just about to dive into the cool waters – well it made me want to swim!) but it’s this cover that got me. The lights on that house perched precariously on the edge of a cliff makes me wonder who lives there and why? What is this place and why is it on the cover? There is something very exciting indeed about a building in the dark with lights on and I just wanted to find out more. I was not disappointed when I finally entered the house!

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/the-book-of-lost-and-found-paris-london-corsica-lucy-foley/

A winter country retreat – Ireland

After the heat of America and hhe bus journey and the glaring sun of Corsica, a little cold wintery mystery is right up my street. The old house, the glittering cover and those people walking up to that grey house with the read door. I want to go there too and find out why Huntersbrook House is so important to the Craig family of the story. Hedgerows laced with frost? Countryside venue and Christmas just around the corner? The heart of winter sounds warm and cosy – the cover drew me in.

Which literary worlds and covers are enticing to you and why?

Capturing the moment…in books

Reading a book is like delving into a fancy dress box of sorts. There’s the fashion of the day, the food and drink, the objects from an historical setting, the music of the past all to savour and enjoy.

That’s what we like to do when we take pictures of our favourites reads  – showcase them in a setting which we create to highlight the essence of the book and story in question

The Tea Planter’s Wife

(c) the booktrail
(c) the booktrail

A story of a woman who moves to be with her husband on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka, a fragrant and mystical setting, only to find that some unexpected events will create a somewhat bitter taste…

The flowers, tea and tea cup represent the flavour of the novel.

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

ELEPHANT 2

There’s a baby elephant who is the star of the show and he comes to life right off the page! We wanted to reflect this in the photo and luckily our book was so evocative that Baby Ganesh just popped out of his own accord.

It took  a while to get him back in mind!

Letters to the Lost

LETTERS 2

A story of a war time love affair. A mystery solved many years later when letters are discovered from war time lovers. The bunting, tinned peaches and china cups were all lovingly evoked in the novel and frames the entire story in a very specific time period.

The Blue

Ship 2

A journey on a yacht which turns paradise into hell. Blue idyllic waters turn to cloudy, stormy seas and all the while at least one person on board feels trapped, like they;re inside a ship in a bottle and can’t escape. Travelling is only fun when you know and trust your sailing companions…certainly out in the middle of the ocean.

Susan

The booktrail

When the fictional and non fictional worlds collide

If travel be the food of love, read on…..

MAP-FICTION-AND-NON-

Whether you wish to visit a place where an author has set their books, or the places where he or she grew up, then literary travel is for you. From Poldark’s Cornwall to Charles Dickens’ London, there are plenty of places and museums to visit and indulge your senses.

There are places now that I associate with fictional happenings however that I can not see them in a ‘normal’ light now, nor would I want to, for they are the place where I have walked, talked, met, dined and following in the footsteps of my favourite characters.

Fictional stops  – Colombia and France….

Colombia

ChroicleGarcia Marquez, a giant of Spanish language fiction sets his stories in the fictional town of Macondo thought to be inspired by his real home of Aracataca in Colombia. Having read his novels set there, I only wish it were possible to visit for real (maybe with his magical realism I will be able to one day)

However, it was the village in Chronicle of a Death Foretold where I really wanted to go, in order to run and find Santiago and warn him of what was to come. This novel is set in a small fictional Colombia coastal town but the story was inspired by events in Sucre, Colombia that the author had heard about as a family he and his family knew were involved in similarly chilling events.

Paris  – St Sulpice

da-vinci-code2Just what is the power of fiction? Can fictional worlds and non fictional worlds ever be confused? Well the moment I visited Saint Sulpice I realised that yes they could….

Visitors from all over the world would come here and sit and trace their hands along the Rose line looking for the break where Silas had smashed his way through the floor …. of the hordes of tourists who would sit near the upside down pyramid of the Louvre…

World literature  – books set in iconic settings all over the world really can blur the line between real and fictional worlds. And that’s the best kind of literary travel there is.

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/the-da-vinci-code-paris/

Read this sign that the Church had to place inside close to the place where all the Da Vinci fans would go to visit….

Back Camera

Non fictional stops:

Scotland

Dan Boothby and the Island of dreams

book onePlaces inspired writers and inspire other writers to go there too. Kyleakin Lighthouse, for example in Scotland is the island where Gavin Maxwell once lived. He was the author of  A Ring of Bright Water– a captivating story about his relationship with three otters and the enchanting landscape of the Scottish highlands. Dan Boothby followed him in his footsteps and wrote his own diary of life there and the Maxwell effect……

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/writing-about-the-island-of-dreams-dan-boothby/

Food and a love of Iran

Jennifer Klinec is the author of  ‘The Temporary Bride’ in which she details her travels to Iran to learn about the food and the culture there. What she ends up temp bridgediscovering however is much more complex and unexpected entirely..

It’s the a story about love in so many ways – the love of food, the love and respect she has for Iran and a curiosity to get right under the skin of a fascinating country and its people. She is no naive traveller, she is rather a travelling ambassador of sorts who aims to discover the gems that are tucked away in family homes, markets, shops and steeped in tradition.

https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/if-food-be-the-sustenance-of-love-read-on-jennifer-klinec-and-writing-about-iran/