The Silver Travel Book Club is now proudly sponsored by Silver Travel partner Emerald Waterways, and as they say on their website: “we know that many of our guests are avid readers, never more so than when navigating the waterways of Europe on-board an Emerald Waterways Star-Ship. That’s why we’re so proud to sponsor the Silver Travel Book Club as they continue to bring fascinating travel-focused books to inspire passionate readers each and every month.”
As Silver Travel Book Club’s Literary Editor, I am excited to have been invited to join Emerald Waterways on their Enchantment of Eastern Europe cruise on the Danube, from Budapest to Bucharest in May 2019, and I’m hoping to enhance the experience through location-specific books which other Silver Travellers may enjoy reading with me.
Thanks to another collaboration between Silver Travel Advisor and partner TripFiction, I have identified some fascinating books – fiction, travelogues and memoirs – that will really help travellers to see some of the locations on the Emerald Waterways cruise itinerary through an author’s eyes. Let’s take a look at a few of these books below.
Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermor
The acclaimed travel writer’s youthful journey – as an 18-year-old – across 1930s Europe by foot began in A Time of Gifts, which covered the author’s exacting journey from the Lowlands as far as Hungary.
Picking up from the very spot on a bridge across the Danube where his readers last saw him, we travel on with him across the great Hungarian Plain on horseback, and over the Romanian border to Transylvania.
The trip was an exploration of a continent which was already showing signs of the holocaust which was to come. Although frequently praised for his lyrical writing, Fermor’s account also provides a coherent understanding of the dramatic events then unfolding in Middle Europe. But the delight remains in travelling with him in his picaresque journey past remote castles, mountain villages, monasteries and towering ranges.
Mrs Tuesday’s Departure by Suzanne Anderson
When Natalie and Anna, sisters and life-long rivals, hide an abandoned child from the Nazis, their deception resurrects the scars of a star-crossed love triangle that threats their safety and tests the bonds of their loyalty.
Hungary’s fragile alliance with Germany ensured that Natalie, a renowned children’s book author, and her family would be safe as the war raged through Europe. But, as the Führer’s desperation grows in the waning years of the conflict, neighbours now become traitors.
Beautiful but troubled Anna, poet and university professor, is losing her tenuous hold on reality, re-igniting a sibling rivalry that began with a poetry contest in childhood. It boils over when Deszo, Anna’s unrequited love, re-enters their lives with a promise of safety.
As the streets of Budapest thrum with the pounding boots of Nazi soldiers, danger creeps to the doorstep and the sisters’ disintegrating relationship threatens to expose the child they are trying to protect. In one night, Anna’s rash behaviour destroys their carefully made plans of escape, and Natalie is presented with a desperate decision.
Interwoven with Natalie and Anna’s story is Mila’s, the abandoned child whose future Natalie lovingly imagines in a story called Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure….a story that takes on a life of its own fifty years later.
The People We Were Before by Annabelle Thorpe
Yugoslavia, summer 1979. A new village. A new life. But eight-year-old Miro knows the real reason why his family moved from the inland city of Knin to the sunkissed village of Ljeta on the Dalmatian Coast, a tragedy he tries desperately to forget.
The Ljeta years are happy ones, though, and when he marries his childhood sweetheart, and they have a baby daughter, it seems as though life is perfect. However, storm clouds are gathering above Yugoslavia.
War breaks out, and one split-second decision destroys the life Miro has managed to build. Driven by anger and grief, he flees to Dubrovnik, plunging himself into the hard-bitten world of international war reporters.
There begins a journey that will take him ever deeper into danger: from Dubrovnik, to Sarajevo, to the worst atrocities of war-torn Bosnia, Miro realises that even if he survives, there can be no way back to his earlier life. The war will change him, and everyone he loves, forever.
Street Without a Name by Kapka Kassabova
After years on the outside, Bulgaria has finally made it into the EU club, but beyond the clichés about undrinkable plonk, cheap property, and assassins with poison-tipped umbrellas, the country remains a largely unknown quantity.
Born on the muddy outskirts of Sofia, Kapka Kassabova grew up under Communism, got away just as soon as she could, and has loved and hated her homeland in equal measure ever since.
In this illuminating and entertaining memoir, Kapka revisits Bulgaria and her own muddled relationship to it, travelling back to the scenes of her childhood, sampling its bizarre tourist sites, uncovering its centuries’ old history of bloodshed and blurred borders, and capturing the absurdities and idiosyncrasies of her own and her country’s past.
Danube Defiance by Jane Golden
Danube Defiance, by critically appraised novelist Jane Golden, is an enthralling mystery about an art heist involving ancient icon art.
Travel with super sleuth Jeni, as she ventures through the antique markets in New Orleans’ French Quarter and across the ocean to Eastern Europe’s bustling city of Bucharest and the Romanian countryside.
Jeni stumbles upon one clue that leads to others. Something doesn’t add up, and she gathers a few friends… an antiquities expert, a journalist, and a dashing New Orleans shopkeeper. Together, they follow a river of clues and dead bodies. But will the thieves get them first…?
Hopefully this will begin to stimulate Emerald Waterways passengers’ literary juices, ahead of the fascinating itinerary for their Enchantment of Eastern Europe cruise down the lower reaches of the Danube in May 2019.
And here are some articles from Silver travel Advisor writers, giving inside information about a couple of cities along the way:
Budapest by Mike Pickup
Winter adventure in Romania with Explore by Andrew Morris
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Emerald Waterways