If I had my druthers, I would do a lot more international travelling than I manage to do in reality. My mom and dad took a six month trip around the world when my dad finished his PhD and I grew up listening to stories of the places they visited, the things they saw, and the people they met. I’d flip through their pictures and beg to be allowed to look at their slides on my dad’s light box. Something about seeing the world called to me.
In fact, the plan was for my husband and I to do a mini-version of their trip when I finished my PhD. It wasn’t feasible to take six months, but we were planning for two. I’d researched the tickets and was plotting out our itinerary. Then we got a call asking if we wanted to adopt a little boy who was due to be born soon.
There was no question! Trip plans were shelved and nursery decorating commenced.
But I still dream of traveling.
That’s the beauty of books though. I can still get away whenever I want. And even if I have to pay full price, a book is a lot less than airfare. So as I’m sitting here looking at the summer stretching out in front of me with no vacation in the schedule for various and sundry reasons, I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite books that transport me to places I’d love to visit.
Australia and New Zealand are high on my list of places I want to go in real life (even though the more I read about Australia, the more convinced I am that everything there wants to kill you. And I’m not certain it’s a fantastic place for someone who is absolutely terrified of snakes to visit. Even still, I can’t seem to stop myself from making plans for someday.) It’s one of the reasons I love Narelle Atkins’ books. I think my favorite is The Bridesmaid’s Hero, because it’s not set on a glamorous beach or Sydney – but it’s got the small town feel that makes CCR so lovely but with enough that’s unique that you know you’re not in the US.
And of course there’s Kara Isaac’s books. My hands-down favorite of hers is Then There Was You. I read this one sometimes three or four times a year. It has everything you could want – a sassy heroine, a hunky hero, misunderstandings and mixed signals galore. And then a glorious, hilarious, but also happy-sigh-inducing ending that has, more than once, had me flipping back to the first page as soon as I’m finished with the last. Bonus? I get to travel to Australia and New Zealand when I read it. Two destinations for the price of one!
A little closer to home, just across the northern border in Canada, are Valerie Comer’s Riverbend Novellas. These books of hers are some that I don’t see mentioned very often, but they’re some of my favorites. They combine small town with Canadian winters (they’re not all in winter, but a couple are), and fun outdoorsy things that, at least here in the DC area, we don’t do a lot of.
And while Canada isn’t super different from the US, there are little things to catch that make me smile and realize that I’ve skipped over a border to someplace new.
Bonus? One of the bad guys shares my last name – it’s not every day the villain is named after you. (It makes me chuckle.)
Feel like heading a little farther afield? Why not scoot off to London with Autumn Macarthur’s Love in Store series. I adore this whole series, and the spinoff that heads north into Scotland. I was trying, for the sake of this post, to choose a favorite and I guess I lean a little toward Forget Paris, but they’re all so delightful and well worth your time.
Clare Revell is another whose books are set in England and leave you with a happy feeling of having traveled beyond your immediate environs. Not all of her books are straight CCR (she writes more romantic suspense, I think, than just romance) but I highly recommend both Married by Easter and Zara’s Folly if you’re looking for a quick trip to England and you’ve already read Autumn’s books.
Marion Ueckermann is an obvious go-to for armchair travels. She has books set in so many places I’d love to go. My favorites are Orphaned Hearts for a quick trip to an elephant sanctuary in Zambia and Helsinki Sunrise (set in Finland). With an honorary mention to Poles Apart, because it doesn’t seem right to leave it off the list.
Finally, because I have had the opportunity to travel here and there, I ended up writing a book set in Ireland myself. Kinsale Kisses is my offering to, hopefully, encourage readers to branch out and see what life is like away from the US. It has a lot of my favorite things about Ireland in it.
So who did I miss? Do you have a favorite author (or title) for when you want contemporary Christian romance that’s outside the usual US-based setting? Have you read all of the above? If not, what strikes your fancy? Is there a place you’d like to visit? Have you read any CCR set there?