The right book can instantly transport you to anywhere — and anytime — in the world. Every Thursday, we recommend one of our favorite books with a strong sense of place so you can see the sights, meet remarkable people, go on exciting adventures, and feel big feelings. Bonus: You don't even have to put on pants.
This post is part of our 'Weekend Getaway' series.
This atmospheric story with a haunting aura, if not an actual ghost, is set in the wild and wooly landscape of Cornwall. Along the shore, waves crash in dramatic fashion against the appropriately craggy cliffs, while inland, a lush garden slowly reveals a mystery: a once-elegant manor house abandoned to crumble and keeping its own dark secrets.
You are going to love Alice Edevane. In the summer of 1933, she’s 16-years-old and on the razor’s edge between being a little girl and a young woman.
She’s bright, too inquisitive for her own good, and devoted to writing stories. But on midsummer’s eve, in the throes of her family’s glamorous annual party at their country estate of Loeanneth, Alice’s little brother Theo disappears. From that moment, Alice’s life is forever changed. The tragedy creates permanent fault lines in the family, and they abandon their Cornwall home forever.
Fast forward 70 years: Alice has enjoyed a career as a best-selling author, but she’s never forgotten Theo, nor has she laid to rest her suspicions about who was behind what happened that night.
One day, Sadie — a London detective exiled to Cornwall by her superior officer after a troubling case — stumbles on the abandoned house, frozen in time. Feeling lost and eager to redeem herself as a detective, she’d determined to find out what really happened at Loeanneth. Eventually, the timelines collide, bringing Sadie and Alice together to unearth the stunning truth.
This is a ghost-less ghost story: Every character is haunted by the events of that fateful midsummer’s eve. The disparate threads of this lush, wistful story come together for a very satisfying ending.
Alice dug into her pocket and pulled out her notebook, hurrying to make a note of the sensation and the day and the people in it, chewing on the end of her fountain pen as her gaze tripped over the sunlit house, the willow trees, the shimmering lake, and the yellow roses climbing on the iron gate. It was like the garden from a storybook — it was the garden from a storybook — and Alice loved it. She was never going to leave Loeanneth. Never. — Kate Morton
This modern Gothic thriller (512 pages) was published in October of 2015 by Atria Books. The book takes you to a English country estate. Melissa read The Lake House and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.
Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.
Top image courtesy of Alinea/Wikimedia.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is © 2021 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.