Staycation Fiction

Can’t get away to Europe right now? We’ve got you covered!
Here we bring you the perfect escape reads for your Staycation.

 

 

The Perfect NannyParis, France: The Perfect Nanny by Lila Slimani (Ebook)

When Myriam decides to return to work as a lawyer after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their son and daughter. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family’s chic Paris apartment, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a compulsive, riveting, bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, motherhood, and madness—and the American debut of an immensely talented writer.

Family AlbumLondon, England: Family Album by Penelope Lively (Audiobook)

All Alison ever wanted was a blissful childhood for her six children, with summers at the beach and birthday parties on the lawn at their family home. Together with Ingrid, the family au pair, she has worked hard to create a real “old-fashioned family life.” But beneath its postcard sheen, the picture is clouded by a distant father, Alison’s inexplicable emotional outbursts, and long-repressed secrets that no one dares mention. For years, Alison’s adult children have protected her illusion of domestic perfection-but as each child confronts the effects of past choices on their current adult lives, it becomes evident that each must face the truth.Penelope Lively’s novels of history, memory, and character have earned her a loyal legion of fans. Like Ian McEwan’s Atonement, this novel is a measured, thoughtful look at how events of the past, both small and large, seen and unseen, deeply inform character and the present. Quietly provocative and disturbing, Family Album is a highly nuanced work that showcases a master of her craft.

The Enchanted AprilPortofino, Italy: The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim (Audiobook) (Ebook) (Movie Adaptation)

Four very diverse women, all seeking revitalization from the dreary February rains of 1920s London, rent the small medieval castle of San Salvatore, nestled high above the bay of Portofino, Italy. Arriving at San Salvatore, they find it awash with the scent of flowers, its olive groves terracing down to the sun-warmed sea. Each has her reasons for desiring escape. Mrs. Wilkins and Mrs. Arbuthnot are glad to leave behind their insipid duties and unresponsive husbands. The elderly Mrs. Fisher wishes only to sit in the sun and replay her youthful memories, and the bewitchingly beautiful Lady Caroline Dester desires to have seclusion from all her adoring suitors. Amid the canopies of fragrant wisteria, in the sweet sunshine and melodious silence, fate has some surprises in store for all of them.

Night Train to LisbonLisbon, Portugal: Night Train to Lisbon by Emily Grayson (Ebook)

Night Train to Lisbon is a sensuous tale of the pursuit of love and passion against all odds, set in the 1930s when the world was on the brink of war and suspicion of loyalty, motivation, and intent — to both country and lover — was at flood tide. Carson Weatherell is a privileged young American woman traveling in Europe in 1936, courtesy of her aunt and uncle who live abroad and have kindly offered to show her the sights. A bout of illness and self-pity almost send her back to her sheltered Connecticut life, but on an overnight train to Lisbon, she suddenly can’t imagine returning home. On that train she meets Alec Breve, a young British scientist traveling with a group of colleagues — and in his company, Carson finds that she’s enjoying herself, certainly for the first time since she left New York Harbor, and quite possibly for the first time in her life. In Lisbon, Carson and Alec begin an intense love affair, but their bliss is threatened when Carson’s uncle reveals that Alec might be a spy for Germany.

An Elderly Lady is Up to No GoodSweden: An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten (Audiobook)

Maud is an irascible eighty-eight-year-old Swedish woman with no family, no friends, and . . . no qualms about a little murder. This funny, irreverent story collection by Helene Tursten, author of the Irene Huss Investigation series, features two-never-before translated stories that will keep you laughing all the way to the retirement home.

Ever since her darling father’s untimely death when she was only eighteen, Maud has lived in the family’s spacious apartment in downtown Gothenburg rent-free, thanks to a minor clause in a hastily negotiated contract. That was how Maud learned that good things can come from tragedy. Now in her late eighties, Maud contents herself with traveling the world and surfing the net from the comfort of her father’s ancient armchair. It’s a solitary existence, and she likes it that way.

The Dead HouseWest Coast of Ireland: The Dead House by Billy O’Callaghan (Ebook)

This best-selling debut by an award-winning writer is both an eerie contemporary ghost story and a dread-inducing psychological thriller. Maggie is a successful young artist who has had bad luck with men. Her last put her in the hospital and, after she’s healed physically, left her needing to get out of London to heal mentally and find a place of quiet that will restore her creative spirit. On the rugged west coast of Ireland, perched on a wild cliff side, she spies the shell of a cottage that dates back to Great Famine and decides to buy it. When work on the house is done, she invites her dealer to come for the weekend to celebrate along with a couple of women friends, one of whom will become his wife. On the boozy last night, the other friend pulls out an Ouija board. What sinister thing they summon, once invited, will never go.

SalRural Scotland: Sal by Mick Kitson (Audiobook)

Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife and a first aid kit using credit cards she’d robbed. She read the SAS Survival Handbook and now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter, snare rabbits and shoot an airgun. And how to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her.

Swallowing MercurySouthern Poland: Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg (Ebook)

While political change hums in the background, Wiola looks back on her youth in a close-knit agricultural community in 1980s Poland: the superstitions of the village women, rumored visits from the pope, the locked room in the dressmaker’s house. In prose that sparkles with the comedy of daily life, Wioletta Greg’s debut animates the strange wonders of growing up.

The Unbearable Lightness of BeingPrague, Czech Republic: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (Audiobook)

A young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing; one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover — these are the two couples whose story is told in this masterful novel. Controlled by day, Tereza’s jealousy awakens by night, transformed into ineffably sad death-dreams, while Tomas, a successful surgeon, alternates loving devotion to the dependent Tereza with the ardent pursuit of other women. Sabina, an independent, free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals — of parents, husband, country, love itself — whereas her lover, the intellectual Franz, loses all because of his earnest goodness and fidelity. In a world in which lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and by fortuitous events, a world in which everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence we feel, says the novelist, “the unbearable lightness of being”.

All the Light We Cannot SeeGermany & Paris, France: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Audiobook) (Ebook)

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

The Shadow of the WindBarcelona, Spain: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron (Ebook)

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets—an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.