With two sons in college, I've had to quash my wanderlust lately, so I have discovered the benefits of "armchair travel." Of course, books will take you wherever you want to go! Try one of these novels for a budget-friendly excursion to a far-away land …
Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
In this retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan, Alys Binat has sworn never to marry--until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider. Darsee's brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one Alys saw at first glance.
Siracusa by Delia Ephron
An electrifying novel about marriage and deceit that follows two couples on vacation in Siracusa, a town on the coast of Sicily, where the secrets they have hidden from one another are exposed and relationships are unraveled. Siracusa unfolds with the pacing of a psychological thriller and delivers an unexpected final act that no one will see coming.
My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle
A final volume of all new writing, offers vivid recollections from his 25 years in the South of France-- lessons learned, culinary delights enjoyed, and changes observed. Mayle died in 2018.
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
Rachel Kalama, a spirited 7-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i. Here her life is supposed to end---but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
In 1922, Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, he is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors, and unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution in 1958.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Slasher meets satire in this darkly comic novel set in Nigeria about a woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.
The Beach by Alex Garland
The Beach is a subject of legend among young travelers in Asia: a lagoon hidden from the sea, with white sand and coral gardens, freshwater falls surrounded by jungle, plants untouched for a thousand years. There, rumor has it, a carefully selected international few have settled in a communal Eden. Richard sets off with a young French couple to an island hidden away in an archipelago forbidden to tourists. They discover the Beach, and it is as beautiful and idyllic as it is reputed to be. Yet over time, it becomes clear that Beach culture, as Richard calls it, has troubling, even deadly, undercurrents.
So there you have it. "Book" some time abroad and travel anywhere from Italy to Thailand, without a flight, when you are ready for your own armchair adventure. As for me, I'm going into the stacks to search out more books. This time, I'm thinking about time-travel …