April 21, 2016

Wanderlust: Fiction Edition

A mark of a well-written book is when the reader feels as if he or she was instantly transported into the story's world. A vivid setting, born out of both the author's imagination and sometimes research is a powerful tool in their storytelling wheelhouse, and today I'm here to share five places I am just itching to visit thanks to some amazing novels.


Maple Valley, Iowa

Okay, so Maple Valley may not be a real place, but it is one of my favorite fictional worlds born of Melissa Tagg's vivid imagination, her love of Gilmore Girls and what she knows living in Iowa. The photo above is a shot of a studio lot in California--one of Warner Brother's. And if it looks familiar, that's because it's widely known as the beloved town of Stars Hollow, CT, home of the Gilmore Girls, Lorelai and Rory. Another beloved fictional setting of mine.

The Scottish Highlands

While most of Roseanna White's latest book takes place near Brighton, England, it begins in the Scottish Highlands at the home of Lord Kinnaird, his second wife and daughter, and the daughter from his first marriage and heir, Lady Rowena Kinnaird. The imagery the author used in the chapters set in Scotland was breathtaking and almost, almost for this wanderlusting reader, a distraction from the action and development of the characters. It was that good. Reminded me a lot of this photo above and of the Pixar movie Brave.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Yes yes, I've been here. Three times now. But I will never grow tired of this beautiful city of my heart. The photo above is of the Slyder farm and reminds me most of how Liberty Holloway's farm would have looked as described in Jocelyn's amazing (and my favorite of hers!) novel. The town is widely unchanged from how it was in the 1860's despite its scars from the battle and the surrounding farmland and battlefields are wide open living history still. I have not seen enough of Gettysburg nor do I think I ever will. If I could live there, I so would.

Richmond, Virginia

A city more widely changed from how it was during the Civil War and in Lynn Austin's epic novel that first inspired me to write Civil War fiction, Richmond I have not yet visited and it is near the top of my To Travel list. The photo above shows a sort of skyline as to how it would have been in the 1860's when Caroline Fletcher lived there in Candle in the Darkness. Oddly enough, yes, this Northern Belle is dying to see Richmond, despite the fact it was the capitol of the Confederacy.

Concord, Massachusetts

What, a third Civil War-set novel you ask? Heck yes. I've made no secret Little Women is my favorite novel ever, and so naturally to visit the town of Concord and especially Orchard House itself is on my bucket list to accomplish before I die. New England, on the whole, is on my list, but especially this historic small town that housed one of my favorite authors and was the inspiration for my favorite novel.

What are some places, real or fictional, you would love to visit?