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There’s nothing quite like a book that transports you to another place or time. One that fills your mind with wonder or mystery or excitement. Books like these can be all the inspiration you need to turn the written word into your very own reality. We’ve compiled a list of books by Black authors that will have you planning your next vacation. Be it fiction or nonfiction, set domestically or internationally, these books and their lush surroundings are the perfect push to get you out exploring.
“Dear Haiti, Love Alaine” is a coming- of- age story co-written by two sisters. At the center of the novel is Alaine Beauparlant and, of course, the rich Haitian culture.
The novel focuses on Alaine’s first visit to the island. While there she learns about Haiti’s proud history and her own family’s secrets, which include a multi-generational curse. Readers are thrust into the rich sights and sounds of Haiti, the world’s first black republic, as they follow Alaine’s journey to find herself.
Love, magic and family are the focus of “Land of Love and Drowning.” The novel is set against the emergence of Saint Thomas into the modern world. It chronicles several generations of the Bradshaw family from 1916 to 1970 starting when 3 siblings are orphaned after a shipwreck. Magic and mysticism are at play as we watch this island family navigate love affairs, curses, loyalties and triumphs. The vibrantly written story will transport you to a lush landscape and have you craving to see it in real life.
This lighthearted romance is a fun read that is sure to leave you swooning. The 4th book in Jasmine Guillory’s 6 book series, “Royal Holiday” follows Vivian Forest as she tags along on her daughter’s work trip to England. Vivian is excited to play tourist in London but doesn’t expect to instantly fall for the private secretary tasked with giving her a private tour. Their flirtatious banter quickly snowballs into a full-on fling. You’ll love following along on this sweet romance all while getting a taste of life in London.
A domestic destination is the setting for “Pretty Things.” Described as dazzling, twisty and mesmerizing, this novel follows two young women whose paths collide at Lake Tahoe. Nina is a con artist looking to pull off her biggest scam yet in hopes of helping her sick mother. Vanessa is a privileged heiress trying to find her footing after a broken engagement. The two women both end up at the Lake Tahoe mountainside estate of Vanessa’s family. There, on the cold shores, these two brilliant women try to survive the greatest game of deceit they will ever play.
If Jessica Nabongo’s fear of visiting all 195 countries doesn’t inspire you to get up and go, we’re not sure what will. “The Catch Me If You Can ” chronicles the world traveler’s journey around the globe. This one-of-a-kind memoir includes photographs taken by Nabongo and catalogs some of the biggest adventures of her journey to visit all UN-recognized countries in the world. From a harrowing scooter accident in Nauru to dog sledding in Norway, Nabongo shows readers the highs and lows of this massive undertaking and shares advice on how you can start exploring too.
Paris has long called to artists and dreamers alike. In “Black Girl in Paris” we are introduced to a heroine from the American South who has set her sights on the city of lights. Her goal is artistic emancipation. To achieve it she experiments freely, taking on different personas from poet’s helper to thief. We see her heal the wounds of her broken heart, discover her sexual self and finally bring her dreams of becoming a writer to reality.
When two young sisters are exiled from their Brooklyn home for one summer they find themselves in their grandmother’s care in Barbados. The girls approach the situation quite differently. One puts their grandmother to the test wanting to go home. The other explores Barbados with the family matriarch and digs into their mother’s mysterious past. But everything comes to a head when the sister’s absent father reappears asking to reclaim his daughters. The girls are left with a choice, return to their Brooklyn home or remain in Barbados with the family they are just getting to know.
The Netflix series that went viral because of its tear jerking drama is actually based on Tembi Locke’s memoir by the same name. “From Scratch” is a story of great love and incomprehensible loss. The book chronicles three summers Locke spent in Sicily with her daughter following her husband’s death. The city where the couple fell in love and eventually left due to his family’s disapproval of their marriage, becomes the backdrop for Locke’s healing and reflections of love. As she reconciles with her in-laws, Locke discovers the healing power of food, the gift of a close-knit community and the light she needs to continue living life to the fullest.
Arielle Clay is a contributor for Travel Noire.
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