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Books that capture the essence of 15 favourite holiday destinations

8th August 2015

The summer holiday season is in full swing…

Bags are packed and passports are ready. Relaxing and reading when away are great traditions, and we have selected fifteen books that really capture the essence of the places where they are set – all favourite holiday destinations. As you would expect from TripFiction, we have not always made the obvious choices and, as well as fiction, we have also included the odd Travelogue and even a Gastro cookbook…

The selections (in alphabetical order of location) are as follows. Enjoy!


Two ticketsTwo Tickets to Dubrovnik by Angus Kennedy. Australian wine writer, Andrew Johnston, goes to Dubrovnik to prepare an article for his editor on the wines and wineries of southern Rhône.  During his stay, he meets up with an old Bordelaise wine making acquaintance, Lucien Delasalles, and his step-sister, Niki Menèetiæ.  They meet a few times but Andrew, starting to fall for Niki, is warned about Niki’s brother, Jakov, and his unsavoury friends, by his landlady, Mme Gradiæ.  Nevertheless, Andrew gets to know Niki’s aunt and her family, and meets To see more TripFiction books set in Croatia, please click here.





SunriseThe Sunrise by Victoria Hislop. In the summer of 1972, Famagusta in Cyprus is the most desirable resort in the Mediterranean, a city bathed in the glow of good fortune. An ambitious couple open the island’s most spectacular hotel, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots work in harmony.  Two neighbouring families, the Georgious and the Özkans, are among many who moved to Famagusta to escape the years of unrest and ethnic violence elsewhere on the island. But beneath the city’s façade of glamour and success, tension is building. When a Greek coup plunges the island into chaos, Cyprus faces a disastrous conflict. Turkey invades to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority, and Famagusta is shelled. Forty thousand people seize their most precious possessions and flee from the advancing soldiers. In the deserted city, just two families remain. This is their story. To see more TripFiction books set in Cyprus, please click here.




Ghost RunnerThe Ghost Runner by Parker Bilal. It is 2002 and as tanks roll into the West Bank and the reverberations of 9/11 echo across the globe, tensions are running high on Cairo’s streets. Private Investigator Makana, in exile from his native Sudan and increasingly haunted by memories of the wife and daughter he lost, is shaken out of his grief when a routine surveillance job leads him to the horrific murder of a teenage girl. Seeking answers, he travels to Siwa, an oasis town on the edge of the great Sahara desert, where the law seems disturbingly far away. As violence follows him through the twisting, sand-blown streets and an old enemy lurks in the shadows, Makana discovers that the truth can be as deadly and as changeable as the desert beneath his feet. To see more TripFiction books set in Egypt, please click here.




SummertimeSummertime by Vanessa Lafaye. Florida, 1935. Heron Key is a small town where the relationships are as tangled as the mangrove roots in the swamp. Everyone is preparing for the 4th of July barbecue, unaware that their world is about to change for ever. Missy, the Kincaid family’s maid and nanny, feels that she has wasted her life pining for Henry, whom she has not seen since he went to fight on the battlefields of France in WWI. Now he has returned with a group of other desperate, destitute veterans on a government works project, unsure of his future, ashamed of his past. To see more TripFiction books set in Florida, please click here.





ArtemisThe Feast of Artemis by Anne Zouroudi. The olive harvest is drawing to a close in the town of Dendra, set in fictionalised Kalamata in the Peloponnese, and when Hermes Diaktoros arrives for the celebratory festival he expects an indulgent day of food and wine. But as young men leap a blazing bonfire in feats of daring, one of them is badly burned. Did he fall, or was he pushed? Then, as Hermes learns of a deep-running feud between two families, one of their patriarchs dies. Determined to find out why, Hermes follows a bitter trail through the olive groves to reveal a motive for murder, and uncovers a dark deed brought to light by the sin of gluttony. To see more TripFiction books set in Greece, please click here (and you can drill by region/island).





Early one morningEarly One Morning by Virginia Baily. A grey dawn in 1943: on a street in Rome, two young women, complete strangers to each other, lock eyes for a single moment. One of the women, Chiara Ravello, is about to flee the occupied city for the safety of her grandparents’ house in the hills. The other has been herded on to a truck with her husband and their young children, and will shortly be driven off into the darkness. In that endless-seeming moment, before she has time to think about what she is doing, Chiara makes a decision that changes her life for ever. Loudly claiming the woman’s son as her own nephew, she demands his immediate return; only as the trucks depart does she begin to realize what she has done. This is getting rave reviews! To see more TripFiction books set in Italy, please click here.



Majorca / Mallorca

Bread and OilBread and Oil: Majorcan Cultures Last Stand by Tomas Graves. On the island of Mallorca pa amb oli (bread and oil) is rubbed with garlic or tomatoes and salt, as it is in many other Mediterranean countries. Graves starts with this simple dish as a starting point to explore more cooking, traditions, agriculture, and historical influences that trace the dish back to Roman Times. This dish symbolises for the people of Mallorca their traditional roots and celebrates the resourceful nature, despite becoming a popular tourist destination and all the pressures that entails. To see more TripFiction books set in Majorca, please click here.





Heat of BetrayalThe Heat of Betrayal by Douglas Kennedy. In the heady strangeness of Morocco, he is everything she wants him to be – passionate, talented, knowledgeable. She is convinced that it is here she will finally become pregnant. But when Paul suddenly disappears, and Robin finds herself the prime suspect in the police inquiry, everything changes. As her understanding of the truth starts to unravel, Robin lurches from the crumbling art deco of Casablanca to the daunting Sahara, caught in an increasingly terrifying spiral from which there is no easy escape. With his acclaimed ability to write page-turners that also make you think, Douglas Kennedy takes the reader on a roller-coaster journey into a heart of darkness that asks the question: what would you do if your life depended on it? To see more TripFiction books set in Morocco, please click here.




Slave HouseThe Slave House, a short story by Charles Lambert. When Simon, a young gay English teacher, goes to work in southern Portugal, he doesn’t expect to find a country in the aftermath of a peaceful revolution, nor to have an affair with Elaine, a female colleague. As both the revolution and the love affair turn sour, Simon learns the truth of the words of his friend, Luis: that revolution is an experiment you make with your own body. To see more TripFiction books set in Portugal, please click here.




Sardinia / Corsica

Island escapeThe Island Escape by Kerry Fisher. Octavia Sheldon thought she’d have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow. But things didn’t turn out quite like that. Married to safe, reliable Jonathan, her life now consists of packed lunches, school runs and more loads of dirty washing than she ever thought possible. She’s not unhappy. It’s just that she can barely recognise herself any longer. So as Octavia watches her best friend’s marriage break up, it starts her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and get back to the person she used to be? Escape back to the island where she spent her summers? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her…? To see more TripFiction books set in Sardinia, please click here. And to see more TripFiction books set in Corsica, please click here.



South of France

NiceNot Quite Nice by Celia Imrie. Theresa is desperate for a change. Forced into early retirement, fed up with babysitting her bossy daughter’s obnoxious children, she sells her Highgate house and moves to the picture-perfect (fictional) town of Bellevue-sur-Mer, just outside Nice. Quite Nice. With its beautiful villas, its bustling cafes and shimmering cerulean sea, the village sparkles like a diamond on the French Mediterranean coast. Once the hideaway of artists and writers, it is now home to the odd rock icon and Hollywood movie star, and, as Theresa soon discovers, a close-knit set of expats. To see more TripFiction books set in the South of France, please click here.





Mr LynchMr Lynch’s Holiday by Catherine O’Flynn. ‘I’m looking forward to seeing you and Laura and getting my first taste of “abroad”. Eamonn Lynch stares at the letter announcing the imminent arrival of his father, Dermot. His first thought is: I’ll make an excuse, I’ll put him off. But it is too late. Dermot is already here, in southern Spain, and soon he’ll discover that Eamonn lives in an unfinished building site: that Laura’s left him: and that it’ll be just the two of them, father and son, for two long, hot weeks. Dermot doesn’t entirely recognise his son: how can he stay quite so long in bed? And where is Laura? Eamonn doesn’t seem to know quite what to make of his father’s arrival. To see more TripFiction books set in Spain, please click here.





Tunisian DreamsTunisian Dreams by Ivor Rawlinson. Celia, an ex-BBC journalist turned film director, is in Tunisia a year before the Arab Spring with her archaeologist boyfriend, Sam, looking for locations for her next film. She comes across a story she cannot resist. She does not know that it will change her life, blunt her emotions, but make her name. Whilst Celia is out of contact for weeks following her story, Sam thinks she’s found someone else and falls for the attractive and rich Alison Grainger. Sam, who has always been money conscious, has his own lucrative project: to turn one of Tunisia’s most interesting Roman ruins into a living Roman-era town… To see more TripFiction books set in Tunisia, please click here.





Birds without wingsBirds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres. Set against the backdrop of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, the Gallipoli campaign and the subsequent bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks, Birds Without Wings traces the fortunes of one small community in south-west Anatolia – a town in which Christian and Muslim lives and traditions have co-existed peacefully for centuries. When war is declared and the outside world intrudes, the twin scourges of religion and nationalism lead to forced marches and massacres, and the peaceful fabric of life is destroyed. To see more TripFiction books set in Turkey, please click here.




The TripFiction Team


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Blog cover photo from yalovemag.com

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