Jun 6, 2016

Best Cities for Romance Readers

by Bronwyn Jameson

I love to travel. And because I cannot travel often enough, to enough fabulous places for my liking, I like to read about other people travelling...or simply living (and falling in love) in fabulous places which I then want to visit.  I dream about travel, and I plan travel adventures more often than I actually get to travel.

Hence, my inbox and social media feeds feature travel newsletters and magazines and read-me-and-dream articles. This recent headline in my newsfeed was perfect clickbait for me: Best Cities For Book Lovers .  Hands up if you would have clicked as well?

To save you clicking, I can tell you that the list includes:
  • San Francisco, inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road
  • London for Dickens and Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (amongst others)
  • Paris for Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (which did inspire my Paris visit)
  • St Petersburg: War and Peace, Crime and Punishment.
You get the picture: a nice list for literary classics...but what about something more contemporary or genre-based?  I'd expected to at least see The DaVinci Code!  Which got me thinking about the places which have inspired my travel plans or which would inspire future plans. 

And here is my list (not all cities, I cheated!) based on some of my favourite romance novels and authors: 

Bath: on my first visit to England I *had to* visit Bath and the Pump Room because of Georgette Heyer and many other Regencies. I pictured myself at an assembly with my dance card and reticule, expectations high. Happy sigh. 

London: one of my favourite London days was losing myself in the posh streets and squares of Mayfair and Belgravia, scoping out the fancy digs and imagining the streets populated with landaus and phaetons and curricles instead of European cars and nannies pushing posh prams. 

Paris: I defy anyone to read Laura Florand’s deliciously decadent “chocolate” series and not want to scour the city and iles for the confectionary shops and restaurants from this series. 

Provence: any Harlequin set in the south of France would capture my attention but there is one particular beauty by Susan Napier – Public Scandal, Private Mistress – which fires my dreams of a stay in a hilltop town within driving distance of the coast (with a handsome man in a sports car to squire me around, since we’re dreaming!) 

Puget Sound: not inspired by any one book but by many I’ve read over the years, by Jayne Anne Krentz in particular, set around the islands in the sound. 

Seattle: purely for Rachel Gibson’s ice hockey books. I mean, I will run into one of these hot guys just strolling around the city, right? 

Chicago: in the same vein I could say this is all about Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Chicago Stars football series but it’s as much about Julie James’ FBI/Attorney series (same general reasoning as Seattle, okay?) 

Coronado: all because of Suzanne Brockmann’s SEAL team books. 

Which place would you add to my list, inspired by which book(s)?


  1. Prince Edward Island, Bron! Inpsired by Anne of Green Gables.
    Never been but its on my list :-)

    1. Good one, Amy. A beautiful place as well!

    2. We have to stop with this twin thing, Amy. Though, if I'm brutally honest, I don't think the real Prince Edward Island could live up to the one that lives in my imagination. :-)

  2. Love your list, Bron. Hmm, that's a great question. I haven't spend much time in the Australian outback, so your Princes of the Outback series spring to mind.

    1. Good answer, Jen. :-) I was going to include the outback because of so many wonderful books, including the Lucy Walkers of my youth and some favourite Emma Darcy's as well as more contemporary rural romance.

  3. Hi Bronwyn

    You have named so many places that I would love to visit and yes because of books that I have read but I too would love to visit The Scottish Highlands and there have been many books that I have read set there one of them is MS Anna Campbell's debit Claiming the Courtesan

    Have Fun

    1. Oooh, what a splendid addition, Helen. I might add Outlander/Cross Stitch to my reasons for a Scottish visit.

  4. I love all of the places you mention, Bron! How much fun would it be to have the time and money to set off on a literary tour? Happy sighs.

    Dickens definitely had me eager to visit London. Heidi (and The Sound of Music) made me hungry for the Alps. And the Grimm Brothers had me eager to lose myself in the Black Forest. Authors have me constantly wanting to visit far flung places. :-)

  5. Unlimited books and travel? That would be my perfect life, Michelle. :-)

  6. I'm cheating with choosing a country, but it's the first that sprung to mind. I dreamed of visiting Africa after Out of Africa. Ok, I saw the movie first but that made me read the book and THEN I knew I had to go.

  7. Lovely idea to use books as the basis for travel, Bron. I think my travels to Greece, and my desire to see Provence owe a lot to the old Mary Stewart books I read in school.

    Definitely St Petersburg and the Bavarian Woods because of old romances, and yes, Bath and London because of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen.