With flights temporarily grounded and holiday plans on pause, the oncoming months of spring sunshine and the absence of our usual Easter getaway plans might seem a little bleak. But don’t fret, we’ve got you covered! We’ve specially selected ten perfect holiday destinations you can escape to from the comfort of your sofa.
Take a bite of the Big Apple
You’d imagined views from Brooklyn Bridge and donuts in Midtown Manhattan, but you’re more likely to be sightseeing whatever’s on your way from the bed to the fridge and gorging yourself on whatever ‘essential’ snack you’ve managed to pilfer because apparently we’re not allowed Easter eggs any more. With deliciously evocative writing, you can take a long weekend trip to New York with N. K. Jemisin’s latest novel, The City We Became. In this love letter to her city’s resilience, Jemisin imagines New York’s boroughs as avatars, living human beings who must reunite to help the city overcome hatred and rise up stronger than before.
'A glorious fantasy, set in that most imaginary of cities, New York' Neil Gaiman on THE CITY WE BECAME
'The most celebrated science fiction and fantasy writer of her generation... Jemisin seems able to do just about everything'
NEW YORK TIMES
'Jemisin is now a pillar of speculative fiction, breathtakingly imaginative and narratively bold'
Five New Yorkers must band together to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.
Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She's got five.
But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.
'The most critically acclaimed author in contemporary science fiction and fantasy'
'N. K. Jemisin is a powerhouse of speculative fiction'
What Athens in Greece, stays in Greece . . .
It may be grey outside, but you’ll be basking in the sun and taking a cursory look over your shoulder reading Patricia Highsmith’s superb psychological thriller The Two Faces of January. This cat and mouse tail will catapult you from the sun-drunk shores of Crete to the cluttered streets of Paris and take your mind off the actual mouse that’s self isolating in your kitchen cupboard.
Now a major motion picture starring Viggo Mortenson and Kirsten Dunst.
'Highsmith is a giant of the genre. The original, the best, the gloriously twisted Queen of Suspense' Mark Billingham
Two men meet in the picturesque backstreets of Athens. Chester MacFarlane is a conman with multiple false identities, near the end of his rope and on the run with his young wife Colette. Rydal Keener is a young drifter looking for adventure: he finds it in one evening as the law catches up to Chester and Colette, and their fates become fatally entwined.
Patricia Highsmith draws us deep into a cross-European game of cat and mouse in this masterpiece of suspense from the author of The Talented Mr Ripley.
Pass a good time in New Orleans
The closest any of us will ever get to New Orleans is probably lying in crumb covered pyjamas, drooling at Jon Favreau eating beignets in Chef, but with Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House you can peek behind the curtain of mystery that veils one of America’s most mythologised cities in this moving non-fiction debut.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION
'A major book that I suspect will come to be considered among the essential memoirs of this vexing decade' New York Times Book Review
In 1961, Sarah M. Broom's mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant - the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah's father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number twelve children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah's birth, the house would become Ivory Mae's thirteenth and most unruly child.
A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom's The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America's most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother's struggle against a house's entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the 'Big Easy' of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority and power.
Let Venice steal a pizza your heart
It would appear that Johnny Depp is not the only tourist to have ever met an unfortunate end in Venice . . . Escape to the sumptuous streets and canals of a city steeped in history and intrigue in Philip Gwynne Jones’ The Venetian Gothic.
'A riveting story of deception and corruption' Daily Mail
'A must for all Italy lovers' David Hewson
Even the most beautiful city on earth has a dark side . . .
It is November 2nd, 2017. All Souls Day. On the Day of the Dead, the citizens of Venice make their way to the cemetery island of San Michele to pay their respects to the departed. When an empty coffin is unearthed in the English section of the graveyard, a day of quiet reflection for Nathan Sutherland becomes a journey into the dark past of a noble Venetian family.
A British journalist, investigating the events of forty years previously, disappears. A young tourist - with an unhealthy interest in Venice's abandoned islands - is found drowned in the icy lagoon.
A terrible secret is about to be brought to light, and a deadly reckoning awaits on Venice's Isle of the Dead.
Praise for Philip Gwynne Jones
'An unputdownable thriller' Gregory Dowling
'Pure pleasure' Literary Review
'Clever and great fun' The Times
'An irresistible concoction of crime and culture' Daily Mail
'Superb - always gripping, beautifully constructed and vivid' Stephen Glover
'Sinister and shimmering . . . as haunting and darkly elegant as Venice itself' L. S. Hilton, bestselling author of Maestra
'Gwynne Jones' entertaining take on his beloved Venice is as delightful as a Spritz by the Rialto - a must for all Italy lovers' David Hewson
'It is no surprise to find that Philip Gwynne Jones lives in Venice... art and architecture interweave into a story that builds to an almost surreal climax' Daily Mail
'The Venetian setting is vividly described' Literary Review
'Un-put-downable . . . If you love Venice, you'll love this because you'll be transported there in an instant. If you've not been to Venice, read this book and then go' Reader reviewer, 5 stars
Though it is cold, grey and the beaches along the Thames are essentially muddy banks, for some reason people still like to holiday in the Old Smoke. So if London is your top Easter escape then Linda Grant’s A Stranger City is the perfect read for you. It’s a brilliant novel about the London of today – a shifting, exciting, dangerous place where people search for the meaning of home – a journey we perhaps now all find ourselves on.
WINNER OF THE WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE 2020 `A superb piece of writing about London life. Past Wingate winners include Zadie Smith, Amos Oz and David Grossman'
'[A] shimmering new novel . . . Grant's book is as much a love letter to London as a lament, an ode to pink skin after sunny days and lost gloves waving from railings' The Economist
'A compelling portrait of contemporary London, it's a novel fit for shifting, uncertain times' Suzi Feay, Financial Times
'A Stranger City feels like a very important novel for right now: no politically ponderous diatribe but a witty, sunlounger-accessible and deeply humanising story about people - about us - and the societal shipwreck we're stuck in' Evening Standard
When a dead body is found in the Thames, caught in the chains of HMS Belfast, it begins a search for a missing woman and confirms a sense that in London a person can become invisible once outside their community - and that assumes they even have a community. A policeman, a documentary film-maker and an Irish nurse named Chrissie all respond to the death of the unknown woman in their own ways. London is a place of random meetings, shifting relationships - and some, like Chrissie intersect with many. The film-maker and the policeman meanwhile have safe homes with wives - or do they? An immigrant family speaks their own language only privately; they have managed to integrate - or have they? The wonderful Linda Grant weaves a tale around ideas of home; how London can be a place of exile or expulsion, how home can be a physical place or an idea. How all our lives intersect and how coincidence or the randomness of birth place can decide how we live and with whom.
We’ll always have Paris
Dive into the streets of Paris this summer with Samira Ahmed’s Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know Best accompanied with a living room floor picnic, or crepes and French coffee (or failing that those packs of chocolate pancakes one of those viral iced coffees will do). On a trip spanning oceans and centuries, Samira takes you from Paris in the sun to the sandy dunes of the Ottoman Empire, with more than a smattering of art history that’ll satiate all those desires for the galleries and museums that have temporarily shut their doors.
It is August in Paris and budding art historian Khayyam should be having the time of her life - but even in the City of Lights she can't stop worrying about the mess she left back home in Chicago. Only when she meets a cute young Parisian - who happens to be a distant relative of the novelist Alexandre Dumas - do things start to get interesting, as she starts to unveil the story of a 19th century Muslim woman whose path may have intersected with Dumas, Eugène Delacroix and Lord Byron.
Two hundred years earlier in the Ottoman empire, Leila is the most favoured woman in the Pasha's harem. Her position is meant to be coveted; but she is struggling to survive as she fights to keep her true love hidden from her jealous captor.
Echoing across centuries, as Khayyam uncovers the scintillating truth of Leila's long-forgotten life, her own destiny is transformed forever.
Take self isolating a step too far . . .
Family driving you mad? Ready to get a flight to an island far, far away? Well, you’re in luck as Deborah Rodriguez’s Island on the Edge of the World will take you on a holiday to Haiti like no other. Step out into the bustling streets on Port-au-Prince and discover a country that may not boast wealth, but is rich in courage, strength and love.
Haiti. A poor country rich in courage, strength and love. As these four women are about to discover.
Charlie, the rootless daughter of American missionaries, now working as a hairdresser in Northern California. But the repercussions of a traumatic childhood far from home have left her struggling for her way in life.
Bea, Charlie's eccentric grandmother, who is convinced a reunion with her estranged mother will help Charlie heal.
Lizbeth, a Texas widow who has never strayed too far from home. She is on a daunting journey into the unknown, searching for the grandchild she never knew existed.
And Senzey, a young Haitian mother dealing with a lifetime of love and loss, who shows them the true meaning of bravery.
Together they venture through the teeming, colorful streets of Port-au-Prince, into the worlds of do-gooders doing more harm than good, Vodou practitioners, artists, activists, and everyday Haitian men and women determined to survive against all odds.
For Charlie, Bea, Lizbeth and Senzey, life will never be the same again . . .
Festivals might be cancelled, but Wilderness awaits
Anyone with any sense knows that the only things you’ll find in America’s remote motorways and national parks are serial killers and aliens and yet some of you still long to traverse those dangerous plains. In a tale that will perhaps lessen your longing for the outside world and remind you that not all road trips are a good idea, B. E. Jones’ Wilderness is the perfect suspenseful, psychological thriller to while away these sunny spring days from the safety of your living room.
'Reminiscent of Jane Harper's Force of Nature . . . This has hit thriller written all over it' Peterborough Telegraph
Two weeks, 1,500 miles and three opportunities for her husband to save his own life.
It isn't about his survival - it's about hers.
Shattered by the discovery of her husband's affair, Liv knows they need to leave the chaos of New York to try and save their marriage. Maybe the road trip they'd always planned, exploring America's national parks - just the two of them - would help heal the wounds.
But what Liv hasn't told her husband is that she has set him three challenges on their trip - three opportunities to prove he's really sorry and worthy of her forgiveness.
If he fails? Well, it's dangerous out there. There are so many ways to die in the wilderness; accidents happen all the time.
And if it's easy to die, then it's also easy to kill.
What everyone's saying about Wilderness:
'Fast paced and totally twisted. THIS IS A MUST READ . . . I absolutely loved this book. Perfect storyline and beautiful writing' NetGalley reviewer
'A dark, addictive thriller everyone should read this summer' Reader review
'A superb psychological thriller, with a deeply flawed lead character, pitch perfect storyline and tension that oozes off the pages as you read' booksaremycwtches
'Absolutely gripping and all-too believable' Reader review
'If you enjoyed Gone Girl, you'll love this. This is character-driven psychological suspense at its finest . . . This deserves to be a huge best-seller' Reader review
'Gripping original thriller about the fallout of an extra-marital affair! A MUST READ!!!' Reader review
'I absolutely devoured Wilderness! A brilliant psychological thriller with plenty of "love to hate" characters and lots of twists to keep you on your toes!' mychestnutreadingtree
'Boy, can this author write a dark and dangerous character!' Reader review
'I loved every little surprise, twist and reveal. Wilderness is a dark story of obsession, revenge and forgiveness!' Reader review
'A suspenseful story in a gorgeous setting - recommended!' NetGalley reviewer
'A terrific page-turner . . . I loved it' NetGalley reviewer
'It had an intensity that was at times unbearable, the tension taut, poised to snap at any moment . . . addictive' mybookishblogspot
'Brilliantly written from the first person perspective of a clearly dark and slightly disturbed central character, you can't help but feel empathy for, and to some degree, even start to root for!' Reader review
'A brilliant page-turner! Loved it' Reader review
'This dark, psychological thriller is full of suspense and is all about love, infidelity, naked hatred and revenge. The characters are well crafted and carefully developed . . . one of the best and most surprising endings I've read in quite a long time' NetGalley reviewer
'I loved this book' NetGalley reviewer
'Brilliantly paced character-driven drama/psychological thriller hybrid with a fascinating central protagonist . . . edge of the seat . . . a great read' lizlovesbooks
I’d love to go on a Trip-oli
Trying to recreate a ‘sun, sand and sangria’ moment with a paddling pool, factor fifty and the mulled wine you found at the back of the cupboard is one way of coping. Another would be to dive into Virginia Baily’s The Fourth Shore which will take you on a breathtaking trip from Triplo to Rome, all set against the idyllic backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea.
'Effortlessly enjoyable . . . an emotionally rewarding novel so succulent with detail that you can almost feel the Tripoli sand storms whipping across your face' Daily Mail
The Fourth Shore: the sliver of fertile land along the Tripoli coast, the 'lost' territory Mussolini promised to reclaim for Italy. Which is how, in 1929, seventeen-year-old Liliana Cattaneo arrives there from Rome on a ship filled with eager colonists to join her brother and his new wife.
Liliana is sure she was on the brink of a great adventure, but what awaits her is not the Mediterranean idyll of cocktail parties, smart dances, dashing officers and romantic intrigues she had imagined. Instead she finds a world of persecution, violence, repression, corruption and deceptions both great and small.
A child of fascist Italy, blown about by the winds of fascism and Catholicism, Liliana becomes enmeshed in a dark liaison which has terrible consequences both for her and those she loves most.
The Fourth Shore is the engrossing and intensely poignant story of Liliana's journey from Rome to Tripoli to a north London suburb where, as plain Lily Jones, she begins to uncover a secret she has buried so deeply that even she is far from certain what it is.
Praise for Early One Morning by Virginia Baily:
'As gripping as any thriller...really, really good' Daily Mail
'A big, generous and absorbing piece of storytelling' Samantha Harvey, Guardian
'A real treat' Philip Hensher, Observer
'Wonderful' Tessa Hadley
Time to get a Tan-gier
And finally, if you can handle the heat then it’s time to take off to Morocco to indulge in Christine Mangan’s Tangerine. To the sun-baked streets of Tangier we go, for murder and mystery! And you won’t even have to worry about sun cream.
'Girl on a Train meets The Talented Mr Ripley under the Moroccan sun. Unputdownable' The Times
The perfect read for fans of Daphne du Maurier and Patricia Highsmith, set in 1950s Morocco, Tangerine is a gripping psychological literary thriller.
The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the horrific accident at Bennington, the two friends - once inseparable roommates - haven't spoken in over a year. But Lucy is standing there, trying to make things right.
Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy, always fearless and independent, helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice - she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice's husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
Tangerine is an extraordinary debut, so tightly wound, so evocative of 1950s Tangier, and so cleverly plotted that it will leave you absolutely breathless.