Books with Memorable Settings: Savannah, Nantucket and Ireland

by Julie on May 20, 2013 · 6 comments

Books set in Ireland Savannah NantucketI’m drawn to books with a strong sense of place. The kinds of books where the setting plays a major role, almost like a character.

So it’s not surprising that three of my favorite authors write books that fall into this category.

Mary Kay Andrews

I first discovered Mary Kay Andrews when I was getting ready to take a trip to Savannah, Georgia. I was looking for books set in Savannah to read while I was traveling and I discovered Savannah Blues. I’ve been reading Mary Kay Andrews novels ever since.

Mary Kay is  former journalist turned Atlanta-based author. Mary Kay Andrews is a pen name; her real name is Kathy Trocheck and she writes under that name as well (a series of books about Callahan Garrity, an ex Atlanta cop turned housecleaner). The novels she writes as Mary Kay Andrews are light, fun, and have strong, sassy female main characters.

The books are set in the south, in places like North Carolina’s Outer Banks (Summer Rental), Savannah (Savannah Blues and Savannah Breeze), and small Georgia towns (The Fixer Upper and Hissy Fit).

Her newest book, Ladies Night, is being released on June 4 and the main character is a lifestyle blogger. I can’t wait to get my hands on it, for obvious reasons. :)

Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand is a writer who lives on the island of Nantucket and sets her novels there as well.

I remember that the first Elin Hilderbrand book I picked up was on a Friday afternoon, in a Walmart, on the way to Lake of the Ozarks. But I couldn’t tell you which of her books it was, because I loved it so much I read a bunch of others in quick succession.

I chose her book, The Island, as my book club pick last year and every one of our members loved it, almost without exception. And Nantucket is on my list of places to travel to, entirely because of Elin’s books.

Her next book, A Beautiful Day, comes out on June 25, and I’ve got it pre-ordered from Amazon. I’ll have to finish Ladies Night quickly so I can read this one right away too.

Maeve Binchey

Years and years ago, Tom and I rented a little Irish movie called Circle of Friends. It was charming, as you’d expect a little Irish movie to be, and full of great characters. It may have been the first movie I ever saw with Colin Firth.

I discovered that the movie was based on a book by Maeve Binchey, so I sought that book out and read it. It was the first of many, many Maeve Binchey novels to come for me.

Maeve was an Irish writer whose books were all set there. She died last year, and I just finished her last book, A Week in Winter, which almost read like a series of short stories, although all around a single location: a refurbished inn in the west of Ireland.

I’ve loved every Maeve Binchey book I’ve ever read because her characters and settings are so richly drawn. I know if I’m ever in the mood for something sweet and charming with memorable characters that I will find it in a Maeve Binchey book.

Have you read any of these authors? Do you have a favorite book set in a memorable place?

Note: This post contains my Amazon referral links. If you purchase anything from these links I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

This post is part of One Project at a Time.






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{ 6 comments }

Janet May 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I love books set in a place that immediately makes you want to visit there. I’m a huge fan of Diana Gabaldons Outlander series that makes me want to visit Scotland! I also loved Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley, the sequel to Gone With The Wind which is set in Savannah AND Ireland. Have you ever read Twice Loved by LaVyrle Spencer? My favorite Nanticket book!

Julie May 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Janet, Outlander has been on my “to read” list for a long time and I even have a copy of the first book that I haven’t had time to read yet. Thanks for the reminder and the other suggestions. Haven’t read any of them.

Tammy May 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Mary Kay Andrews is my favorite! Can’t wait for her new book to come out. I have been wanting to read a Elin HIlderbrand book now I know that I have to do this very soon. I see in comments that Janet was mentioning Lavryle Spencer, I have loved her books as well. I love seeing what everyone else enjoys and then trying some of them out.

Julie May 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Tammy, you will love Elin Hilderbrand’s books. I promise. Sounds like I need to check out Lavyrle Spencer.

Richard Mason May 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I recently read a wonderful coming of age fiction novel by Max Zimmer called Journey (If Where You’re Going Isn’t Home) which takes place in a town just outside Salt Lake City, Utah in the 1960′s. http://maxzimmer.com/the-trilogy/
The story follows a teenage Mormon boy as he pursues his passion and dream of playing jazz trumpet. With Utah being largely Mormon territory you get an excellent and insightful sense of place. I absolutely loved this book from cover to cover and it gets my absolute highest recommendation.

Julie May 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Sounds like a great read, Richard. Thanks for the suggestion!

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