Review by

Novel Destinations - Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West
(National Geographic) ISBN 978-1426202773 1426202776

This National Geographic book entices readers to travel to places that inspired and became settings for famous literary novels such as War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.

The travel guide provides information about 500 museums, houses, restaurants, bars, inns, gardens, cemeteries, tours and festivals connected to books, poetry and writers.

Novel Destinations is a well-researched and indexed compilation of locations connected with great authors.

Literary festivals

Part One identifies literary festivals, homes and museums that visitors can see on vacation. Each description lists address, phone number, website and months open.

Margin notes refer readers to other sections of the guidebook for more complete information. For example, the margin note next to Keats-Shelley House refers readers to pages describing cemeteries where Keats and Shelley are buried and information on how to rent the Keats-Shelley apartment for overnight accommodations.

Eating in Robert Louis Stevenson's home

Sidebars contain additional information on literary travel destinations. The sidebar for the Stevenson House in Monterey, California, for example, explains how visitors to Scotland can eat at the Robert Louis Stevenson House in Edinburgh.

Part Two describes ten locations made famous by novels, stories and poems. The chapter on Monroeville, Alabama, the hometown of Harper Lee, includes information on the Budget Inn, David's Catfish House, Sweet Tooth Bakery and the Old Courthouse Museum, all associated with Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird tickets

A sidebar provides information on how to get To Kill a Mockingbird tickets for performances by Mockingbird Players. Another sidebar provides driving directions to Monroeville.

Small, monochrome images illustrate some of the authors and literary destinations that they made famous.

The authors of Novel Destinations recount little-known facts. Agatha Christie, for example, was inspired to write Murder on the Orient Express by a 1931 train journey, when she was stranded in Greece by a local flood.

Another sidebar reveals that Mark Twain once entertained an unknown writer who was traveling from India to England via the United States. A year later, Twain learned from a newspaper clipping that his visitor was Rudyard Kipling.

Chateau de Monte-Cristo

Le Port-Marly near Paris, France, is the location of Chateau de Monte-Cristo, the countryside retreat of Alexandre Dumas, author of The Count of Monte Cristo.

The countryside near Ayrshire, Scotland, which inspired Robert Burns, appeals to readers interested in his songs and poems. Landmarks include the bridge over the River Doon (Brig o' Doon) and the Auld Kirk Alloway, made famous by his poem, Tam o' Shanter.

Paris Pantheon

The Literary Resting Places chapter identifies celebrity burial places such as the Pantheon in Paris, France (Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltair), Westminster Abbey in London, England (Robert Browning, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling), Highgate Cemetery in London, England (Karl Marx) and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott).

James Joyce Museum, located in a Martello 19th-century defensive tower outside Dublin, Ireland, honors the famous Irish writer and displays a collection of his personal items. In his book, Ulysses, James Joyce vividly describes Dublin at the turn of the twentieth century, capturing its daily life through the eyes of a typical Dubliner.

A Travel Guide - Novel Destinations


Part One:

  • Travel by the book
    • Read 'em and see: Author houses and Museums
    • All the wor(l)d's a Stage: Shakespeare's England
    • More Playful Destinations
    • Atmospheric Literary Landscapes
    • Southern Comfort
    • Poetic Justice
    • Literary Houses on the Prairie
    • Contemplative Places
    • Literary Adventures
    • Vampires, Ghosts and Ravens
    • Russian Raconteurs
    • Famous Last Words: Literary Resting Places
    • Vicarious Thrills for Mystery Readers: Murder and Mayhem
    • On the Trail of Agatha Christie
  • Novel Dispatches: Writer at home and abroad
    • Chronicler of the Jazz Age: F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Rugged Adventurer: Ernest Hemingway
    • An Innocent Abroad: Mark Twain
    • Famed Francophile: Edith Wharton
    • More and More, Never Apart: Henry James and Edith Wharton
  • Literary festivals, tours and more
    • Word Up: Toasting Favorite Authors
    • Literary Walks and Tours
    • In the Stacks: Libraries Worth Checking Out
    • Lit Fests: Celebrating the Printed Word
    • From Page to Screen
  • Booked up: Literary places to drink, dine and doze
    • Literary Lodgings in the U.S.
    • Literary Lodgings Abroad
    • Eat Your Words: Bookish Places to Sip and Sup
    • Big Apple Bars for Bibliophiles
    • Parisian Cafés of the Literati
    • England's Best Literary Pubs
    • Six Hemingway Watering Holes
Part Two:

  • Journeys between the pages
    • Bath, England:
      Unpersuaded: Jane Austen's Persuasion and Northanger Abbey
    • London, England:
      A Novel Character: Charles Dickens' David Copperfield
    • Paris, France:
      A Sacred Place: Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
    • Dublin, Ireland:
      A Shot in the Dark: James Joyce's Ulysses
    • Prague, Czech Republic:
      Bohemian Rhapsody: Franz Kafka's The Castle
    • Concord, Massachusetts:
      Family Ties: Louisa May Alcott's Little Women
    • Salem, Massachusetts:
      Mysterious Manse: Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables
    • Key West, Florida:
      Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not
    • Monroeville, Alabama:
      Small Town, Big Book: Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
    • Monterey and Salinas, California:
      California Dreaming: John Steinbeck's Cannery Row and East of Eden


Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon

More literary destinations made famous by authors:

Prince Edward Island Tour for Anne of Green Gables Fans

Harry Potter Locations in England

British Film Locations in National Trust Properties

Return to Travel Index