Wouldn’t you love to travel? To see the bright colors of India, stare at the ancient architecture of Egypt, or eat Gretel cakes in a cozy little restaurant by the sea? Oh wait. That’s right—we’re all quarantined.
I for one haven’t left my house in twenty days—yes, you read that right, twenty—and I’m getting a little stir crazy. Am I the only one? I doubt it. In light of this, Bethany House brings you a Grand World Tour, compliments of our talented authors! (And if you’re interested enough to complete your journey, the covers are all linked to Baker Book House, running a 30% off and free shipping special for online orders!)
Our first stop is A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy, which takes on a journey from Ithaca, New York to India and back again. The author draws on her own experience in that beautiful country to bring the setting alive. She makes it easy to wonder at the lush forests, colorful insects (don’t let that scare you), and strong Indian flavors right along with Nora, the main character.
Here is a sample of the exotic beauty found in A Mosaic of Wings:
“The oxen’s rumps swayed as they pulled the two-wheeled cart, which the driver had called a mattu vandi when he met them at the guest house in Madras. Above his head, Nora watched the dirt road wind into a copse of pine trees. All around them the hills dipped and lifted, disappearing into the hazy blue horizon toward the Nilgiri Mountains in the distance.
Nora raised off the floor a little. She could just spot the large lake thickly fringed by trees. Like jewels strung across a bangle, red-roofed houses crisscrossed the roads leading to and through the Kodaikanal hill station.”
A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy
Setting: Kodaikanal, India, July 1885
Next we have the West Indies in 1776, brought to you by Lisa Bergren. In her novel, Selah, the Caribbean comes bursting into full color and warmth, which is especially refreshing on these cool spring days. Who wouldn’t want to journey to this paradise? Although, as you will see if you read it, Selah is in for her own bit of world-changing drama.
Take a short excursion to Selah’s Caribbean home:
“Vervet monkeys chattered at them from the sprawling branches of a purple-flowered jacaranda tree, seeming to complain about the horses’ sudden appearance in their midst. A bird swooped overhead, crying out with his particular singsong call as if to make sure they admired his green, red, and gold breast. The wind rushed in gusts through the ferns and palms on either side of them. Selah closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, taking comfort in the sounds and sights of the island that had become her home.”
Selah by Lisa Bergren
Setting: West Indies island of Nevis, 1776
Leaving the lush greenery behind, we travel to Egypt, where Leif Metcalfe is trying to unscramble the mystery of his past. Not only does Kings Falling take us to the sand of Egypt, it is a world tour in itself, stopping in Africa, China, Taiwan, Afghanistan, The Netherlands, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Maryland, and Virginia.
But for our tour, we will only stop in Egypt:
“Crouched atop the mountain peak, he stared out over the rugged terrain. And that was putting it mildly. The ridges in this section of the Sahara Desert were serrated and forbidding. If you fell, you fell to your death. To his three were the glittering waters of the Red Sea. He shook his head. If he and his team had headed east, they’d have found water. Civilization. But they’d chosen the mountains for protection from the sun, heading south, then west.”
Kings Falling by Ronie Kendi
Setting: Jabal Shaib al-Banat, Egypt, present day
Heading back to the United States and a cooler climate, we come to Alaska. In Under the Midnight Sun, we see the proud face of mount Denali and all the flora and fauna surrounding him through the eyes of one of the first women naturalists, Taylor Hale.
Here is our sample of Alaskan beauty:
“Denali stood tall and fierce in the distance. Covered year-round in snow, today was a rare day when the High One allowed people to see him in his glory. A thin halo of clouds wrapped around his crown. The contrast of the massive mountain against the brilliant blue of the sky was glorious.
The air was still as everyone took in the grandeur before them. Lush valleys lay below them, covered in grasses of varying shades of green, the deep, almost black color of the spruce, and a riot of colorful wild flowers. Rivers snaked their way through the landscape like pathways leading to the great mountain. Thomas spotted the area where the Kahiltna Glacier cut its way down the mountain. Was there anywhere on earth that could compare to this? Was this what heaven would be like?”
Under the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse
Setting: Curry, Alaska, 1929
Remember those Gretel cakes I mentioned in the beginning? Well, we have finally come to the cozy little town by the sea where you can eat them to your heart’s content! Or at least read about eating them. The little town, weathered by the ocean and filled with lobstermen and history, has captured many hearts.
Here is your first taste of this idyllic town:
“And there it is. Down the green hill, the harbor curves in a smile. White houses dot the coast, where all is quiet, save the steady lap of waves. Offshore, a scattering of islands trail into the sea, right up to where the two peninsulas come together in a near-embrace around the protected cove. This is what makes this place a haven. Sailors seek it out as a “hurricane hole,” a place to anchor until fierce storms pass, protected as it is.”
Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes
Setting: Ansel-by-the-Sea, Maine, present day
That concludes our Grand World Tour. We hope you enjoyed it and will continue to discover the beauty of far-off places from the safety of your home!
We know that there are so many books we could have included on this list, but we’ll leave that to you! To win one of the books included on this list (your choice), comment with another book with a setting you’d love to visit. I’ll choose three winners on April 16th.