A good book, or books, can really enhance your travels. I’m not talking guide books, but any book with a strong sense of place; fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction.
On my last trip to Germany I was on the trail of the Brothers Grimm for a story on the 200th anniversary of the publication of their Children’s and Household Tales.
When I mentioned to a friend I was heading on the Fairy Tale Route, she recommended a recently published book by Australian author Kate Forsyth. The Wild Girl is an historical novel about the heart-wrenching love story between Wilhelm Grimm and his later wife Dorchen Wild, who contributed many stories included in Grimm’s anthology.
I watched some online interviews with Forsyth talking about her painstaking research and was immediately hooked. I bought the eBook before I left for Germany.
Set during the Napoleonic wars the intriguing story draws much form its locale in Hesse-Cassel, where life was tough for both the Grimm and Wild families.
While the story may be fictional, the characters are real, and the locations, timelines, cultural and social attitudes are historically accurate.
Suddenly I couldn’t wait to see the street corners, half-timbered houses and elegant palaces Forsyth describes in the novel, many of which have survived the ravages of time and war.
While in Germany visiting the towns where the Grimms lived and worked, I was able to imagine them in the social context of the Grimm’s time, thanks to the vivid imagery in the book. It gave my trip so much more depth and enjoyment (as well as being a great read!).
What books have you read that have enhanced the enjoyment of your travels?
Visit Kate Forsyth’s website
The Wild Girl, by Kate Forsyth is available from Random House
Read my post about Grymm, a modern day fairy tale inspired by the Brothers Grimm.