Sarah Baxter takes you on a global journey through the real places that inspired great works of fiction in this Inspired Traveller’s Guide, Literary Places. Accompanied by beautiful, full-color illustrations by Amy Grimes, each chapter explores a different place and its relationship to the novel in which it is featured, from Dickens’ London to Salinger’s New York City. Covering 25 places, the book provides brief insights into the histories, authors, and fictional characters who exist there.
The illustrations are the highlights of this book. Amy Grimes’ illustrations are bright and bold, evoking the moods of each location and making up for any shortcomings in the writing. It’s a perfect book for a bibliophile’s coffee table, or even bedside table if you are in need of light reading before bed. Just paging through the illustrations is an enjoyable, stimulating experience.
But the written content of each chapter leaves something to be desired if you are a major bibliophile. I found myself bored with the chapters that covered novels I’d read. Sarah Baxter basically summarizes the novel in question and then discusses how the place is important to the novel, or in many cases, how the place has changed since the time of the novel’s setting or author’s life. In those cases, she wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already get from the novel itself.
However, Baxter did well curating the 25 places diversely, and I was pleased to see novels I had never even heard of. These are not all old white men of literary canon we are talking about but a diverse array of authors and places. As I read the chapters I was unfamiliar with, I found myself wanting to read many of the novels I had never heard of or wanting to visit places I’d never considered visiting before. For this reason, I would recommend this book to readers looking to expand their TBRs or travelers looking for a new way to look at traveling.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, White Lion Publishing, for review.