Top 5 (and more) books set in countries that I’ve visited or lived in! And why Shanah is determined to torture me …again!

Hi dear friends,

Today is Tuesday and that means another Top 5 Tuesday post!

Last month was hell for me as Shanah asked us to post about books based on Hogwarts Houses!

Well today the torture is going on as she asked for our top 5 books set in our country!

 

You have to know that if we do have well known national authors, they rarely set their plot in my country which is ….Belgium! Yes yes I know that some president thinks this is a “hellhole” (trou à rat) but I swear there are many things my country is famous for!

To name a few:

chocolate (we make the BEST chocolate in the WORLD! You can’t deny it as Leonidas, Galler etc are famous around the world);

beer (I don’t even know how many breweries exist in my own country. Think Kriek, Jupiler, Leffe, Mardesous, etc.);

fries or crisps (I know they are called French Fries but they are a Blegian specialty);

waffles (Belgian Waffles);

surrealisme with the best example in “The Treachery of Image” “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” is a painting from Rene Magritte;

comics (Tintin by Hergé, The Smurfs by Peyo, Blake and Mortimer by Edgar P Jacobs to name a few;

-our art or compromises. Seriously we are always asked to negotiate in tricky and tense situations;

-our diamonds industry;

-our saxophones (saxophones have been invented by Adolph Sax);

-our castles (we have the highest number of castle per square kilometer!);

-…

Some of our authors are known abroad like Amélie Nothomb but I don’t think her plot is set in Belgium.

The only Belgian author known to set his plot in Belgium is Georges Simenon! Mind you he’s been quite prolific with around 100 stories published and many of them are about the “Commissaire Maigret”.

As I did not want to bore you out with five or more stories by the same author I decided to tweak the theme once again!

Today I will speak about my top books set in countries that I have either visited, either lived in!

First of all, countries that I have visited!

France was the prefered holiday destination for my parents. Neighborhood country we traveled by car to the south of France on the French Riviera to enjoy some sun and bath in the sea!

One of my favorite “adult” books set in France is also by one of its most renowned authors: Marc Levy!

Les Enfants de la Liberté “The Children of Freedom” was really fascinating as it showed the role played by children from migrants to free France.

Synopsis

A remarkable story of struggle and survival in World War II by France’s No. 1 bestselling novelist

Early in 1942, two young brothers join a Resistance group. All the members of the group are young, most of their families came from elsewhere in Europe or North Africa and all of them are passionately committed to the freedom of France and Europe. They find they are not welcomed by other French groups and thus Brigade 35 is formed. For most of them, their growing up, their falling in love, their sense of friendship and family are formed by their time with the group, and between moments of extreme danger and fear, a lifestyle of a kind of normality develops.

 

In young adult you have of course “Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins!

Synopsis:

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

 

 

Second country that I have visited twice already and want to go back hopefully next year: the USA!

In adult book, my favorite is Becoming by Michelle Obama! What better choice than a book by the former First Lady right?

 

In Young Adult my favorite happening in a small town in Utah is still Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Third country that I have visited many times: Italy.

I love the food, I love the history, I love the language, the singers and the art!

In adult book a little gem that I would like everyone to read: From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

Synopsis

Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

 

In YA books the one I want read which is very hyped Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Synopsis

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

 

Books from countries I’ve lived in

The first country I have lived in is England. I have lived several months in London to write my thesis and I’ve loved every second of it! Brits are really great people. I love their cool, their humor, their stubborness, their kindness, their originality, their … Truly it was a pleasure living and working there.

Adult book, one that I love even or because the male character is a hugely possessive and flawed Alpha: This Man series by Jodi Ellen Malpas.

Synopsis

Young interior designer Ava O’Shea has an appointment for a first consultation at The Manor with the owner, Mr Jesse Ward. She is expecting nothing more than an overweight, cravat wearing, well-to-do countryman, and on arrival, nothing would suggest otherwise. How wrong could she be? This Man is devastatingly handsome, charming and confident. He is also a conceited, hedonistic playboy, who knows no boundaries. Ava desperately does not want to be attracted to him, but she can’t control the overwhelming effect he has on her. Every instinct is telling her to run, so she does, but Jesse Ward is not so willing to let her go. He wants her and is determined to have her. She knows she is heading for heartbreak, but how can she run when he won’t let her?

 

In young adult I could have chosen Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma but I have often raved about it and I wanted to feature another little gem: You Against Me by Jenny Downham

It’s been a long time since I have read this one but I truly loved this smart and emotional story.

Synopsis

If someone hurts your sister and you’re any kind of man, you seek revenge, right?

If your brother’s accused of a terrible crime but says he didn’t do it, you defend him, don’t you?

When Mikey’s sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart.

When Ellie’s brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel.

When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.

This is a brave and unflinching novel from the bestselling author of Before I Die. It’s a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it’s a book about love.

 

The second country have lived in is Portugal. For six months I have studied painting in Portugal while also serving as intern in a bank. Lisbon was really a beautiful city with interesting history, good food and wonderful art. That’s also when I learned to speak Portuguese.

Unfortunatly I haven’t read any book set in Portugal but found one set in the country.

Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

Synopsis

A huge international best seller, this ambitious novel plumbs the depths of our shared humanity to offer up a breathtaking insight into life, love, and literature itself. A major hit in Germany that went on to become one of Europe’s biggest literary blockbusters in the last five years, Night Train to Lisbon is an astonishing novel, a compelling exploration of consciousness, The possibility of truly understanding another person, and the ability of language to define our very selves. Raimund Gregorius is a Latin teacher at a Swiss college who one day—after a chance encounter with a mysterious Portuguese woman—abandons his old life to start a new one. He takes the night train to Lisbon and carries with him a book by Amadeu de Prado, a (fictional) Portuguese doctor and essayist whose writings explore the ideas of loneliness, mortality, death, friendship, love, and loyalty. Gregorius becomes obsessed by what he reads and restlessly struggles to comprehend the life of the author. His investigations lead him all over the city of Lisbon, as he speaks to those who were entangled in Prado’s life. Gradually, the picture of an extraordinary man emerges—a doctor and poet who rebelled against Salazar’s dictatorship.

 

Pfew I did it again!

 

I hope next week’s topic will be easier.

Now do tell me what books would be set in YOUR country?

Thanks for reading!

Sophie

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32 Replies to “Top 5 (and more) books set in countries that I’ve visited or lived in! And why Shanah is determined to torture me …again!”

  1. Ohh I like what you did there !
    We also got to see where you went the most and lived in.

    I don’t know which ones I could even pick for mine either (Canada), apart of Anne of Green Gables out of the top of my head XD

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Kristina! As you can see I love traveling 😉 Maybe one day it will be Canada?

  2. This is such a great take on the theme and a great list! Back in high school I had a trip to Ypres and honestly me and my class spent all of out money on the chocolate!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Hahaha that does not surprise me Bethany! I eat some chocolate every day 😉

  3. Belgium is a country I’d love to visit some day. It looks so beautiful.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      You’d be most welcome Suzanne!!!

  4. Let me just say that Belgium is one of the most beautiful places! I would LOVE to go there so badly! And the food there is sooooooo good! The chocolate and beer especially! My European roots love chocolate and beer!
    Sorry for the torture. I promise there is a topic coming up that I’m putting in just for you. I figure that it will make up for all the torture. I bet that you’ll at least do a top 10….. or 20…..

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Oooh and now you have me intrigued about that topic Shanah! Should I take a day off to list them all? LOL

  5. Smurfs!!
    Wow, you’ve really been traveling! I’d love to visit Italy one day.
    I haven’t read any of the books on your list, though I do love books by foreign authors. I’ve grown very fond of Nordic fiction.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Nordic fiction is often renowned for its fantastic thrillers and crimes Julianna! Italy is agorgeous place! And if you go to Rome you’ll see history at every corner!

  6. I am a fan of both Welch’s books, and enjoyed all the French Kiss books (though Isla was my favorite). Making Faces had crying buckets. I am too poor to visit outside the US, but I am holding out hope to someday travel outside the US again. Loved all the Belgian fun facts

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well Sam we should swap home LOL But seriously US is huge so even if you stick to it you have so many places to see! My country is tiny!

  7. Wow. You have traveled a lot of places. The only place I’ve been besides the US is Canada.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well Laura Belgium is in the middle of Europe so to speak and it’s very easy to travel from my country to other European countries! US is HUGE!

  8. You’ve been to so many places. I’d love to visit Portugal and Italy some day. Loved that your post took us around the world!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      As a Latinx representative I am not surprised Alicia! These are truly beautiful countries.

  9. I visited Belgium very briefly years and years ago for a school trip and it was beautiful! I completely agree about the chocolate as well haha!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Oh I am so happy to know that my country is not totally overlooked Rose!

  10. First of all, I love Belgium! It’s such a beautiful country and the food is gorgeous!
    This week I also had a bit of a hard time – Austria is just as unpopular as Belgium it seems 😉

    Anyhoo, here’s my list of books set in Austria: https://thepunktheory.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/top-5-tuesday-books-set-in-austria/

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Becks I am happy not to be the only one outside of US/UK or Canada/ Australia!

  11. I got to visit Belgium two summers ago and I loved it! (Especially all the waffle shops and the castles!!) We made a big “U” Brussels –> Luxembourg –> Stuttgart –> Munich –> Nuremberg –> Frankfurt. It was an awesome trip and I definitely don’t think it was a “hellhole”

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Oooh a visitor! This pleases me enormously Brittany! If you come back another time I’d de delighted to have you!

  12. I totally envy how much you have traveled to many places. I haven’t really traveled anywhere. It’s harder over here when you’re average. I’ve read Anna and the French kiss which I totally adore.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well Nessa when your country is big staying “inland” can be more than enough!

  13. Oh, I would love to visit your country, Sophie! I’m a sucker for Chocolates and Waffles!
    Thanks for these recommendations! 😉

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      You are most welcome Raven and I would love having you!

  14. I would love to visit your lovely country, Sophie!
    For my country, Canada, I would recommend Loreth Anne White, Margaret Atwood and Louise Penny to name a few 🙂

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      And I would love visiting your country Jacquie! Maybe one day as my daughter plans on living in Canada once she’ll have her university degree (we have some years left as she will only begin uni next year 😉 )

  15. Oh, don’t apologize for your beautiful country, Sophie, which I’ve visited more times than I can count. Brugge, Antwerp, Brussels, cycling around the countryside. Had my picture taken at the Atom! I love Belgium. Shame about the books and authors … but then again, as you always do, you figure something out and have us all thinking, now why didn’t I think of that?

    Especially, as I cheated and did my Top 5 on one author, Louise Penny, because her series is set here, in Québec, my adopted home!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Where are you from Alexandra if Quebec is your adopted home? And if you do go back to Blegium one day we have to meet!!!

  16. I would LOVE to visit Belgium someday!! Most castles per square kilometer? Sign me up 🙂 Also loved your twist on this meme, great recommendations!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Jordyn! And I could guide you 😉

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