Traveling to St. Petersburg

SPAndrea here, The new year is bringing—huff, puff—not one but TWO new books from me! I’m excited to announce that A Swirl of Shadows, the latest Lady Arianna adventure is finally finished and will release on March 22! (You can pre-order here.) The story was particularly fun for me to write as a good deal of the action takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia.

A Swirl of Shadows-315I took a number of Russian history courses in college and have always found the country and its history fascinating. And I was lucky enough to visit during grad school and spend some time in St Petersburg—in the dead of winter, I might add, which seemed only fitting, as snow and cold weather seem a part of the Russian soul!

That Russian history intertwines so closely with Britain during the Regency era gave me the perfect opportunity to weave a plotline that would take Lady Arianna and Saybrook to the Imperial Court of Alexander I, which was a hotbed of international intrigue and scheming right after Napoleon’s exile as the rulers of Europe jockeyed for power and influence.


SP 6

MapSt. Petersburg, which became the capitol city of Imperial Russia in 1712, has a very interesting history, and one which exemplifies the age-old conflict between East and West that is such an integral part of Russia's cultural heritage.

Peter the Great, the legendary Tsar who believed that his country should look West rather than East, founded the city in 1703 after winning the swampy swath of land during a war with Sweden. Despite its less than ideal setting, the  location offered both the Neva River for domestic travel and commerce and access to the Baltic Sea—which the Tsar saw as giving Russia a strategic window to the West.

SP 4Peter had traveled throughout Europe as a young man and was enamored with the architecture of Holland, Italy and France. He wanted his new city to be “modern” and originally planned on basing its layout on the city of Amsterdam, as St. Petersburg’s waterways and islands suited the use of canals. However, one of the first architects to begin work in the city was Domenico Trazzini, a Swiss who designed the famous St. Peter and Paul Fortress and cathedral. The Tsar was pleased Trazzini was given more commisions. The style that developed became known as Petrine Baroque.

SP 1While Peter favored the Dutch styles, he also brought in Italian architects, and St. Petersburg soon earned the nickname of The Venice of the North. The pastel colors of the buildings and their classical Palladian style were in stark contrast to traditional Russian architecture—which horrified conservative Russians. That East-West tension was to continue into Alexander I’s reign.

Tsar 2The grandson of Catherine the Great, Alexander I came to the throne in 1801 after the assassination of his father. His education was thoroughly Western, based on the ideals of the French Philosophes, and for a time he was the darling of European liberals as he began making some social reforms. But he proved to be a very complex man. He was charming but mercurial—as shown by his changing sides several times during the Napoleonic Wars. After Napoleon was defeated, he turned more conservative and became attracted to mysticism—in many ways personifying the conflict many Russians felt between East and West.

Tsar portraitIn my story, Lady Arianna and Saybrook arrive in the city to help their old friend Tsar Alexander I with an intrigue that threatens his rule. (The Tsar has appeared in cameo roles in earlier books, where Lady A has saved him from his own worst instincts.) This time the threat is even greater.

Though the storyline is fictional, I’ve based it on real bits of Russian history. The plot revolves around a special medallion that has gone missing—and if Tsar Alexander doesn’t wear it at a special ceremony, legend has it that he will fall from the throne. Legend and traditions do have a strong hold on the Russian psyche—when a historic medal fell off Tsar Nicholas II’s uniform at a special ceremony, an old legend said it  an omen that he would fall from grace . . . and sure enough, he and his entire family were executed several years later by the Bolsheviks.

SP 3Religious icons also play a powerful role in Russian culture, as do savants and mystics. I’ve woven these elements into my story, basing my fictional female mystic on the real-life Madame de Krüdener, a Baltic German lady who held Tsar Alexander under her spell for a time and became his most trusted advisor. I’ve also used a famous icon by Andrei Rublev as a plot device, though my twist is purely fictional.

Sp 10Having walked through the city and the Winter Palace interiors, I had some strong memories of the experience. And a fabulous research book, Mrs. Adams in Winter, (based on the diaries of John Quincy Adams’s wife during her time as a diplomat's wife there) had a number of chapters on the colorful workings of the Imperial Court which proved invaluable. It was fascinating to learn that most aristocratic Russians had never learned to speak their native tongue. The "civilized" upper classes spoke French, while only peasants spoke Russian. Dress, manners and food were very French-influenced as well—yet more examples of a country wrestling with a split personality. With all the different factions plotting within the Imperial Court, it was a perfect place in which to set a mystery!

I really loved immersing myself into the history of the city, and tried to create a story that accurately captured the ambiance of the time and place. Do you enjoy learning about the history of a setting and place while you are reading a historical novel. Or are the characters and plot more important in capturing your imagination?

115 thoughts on “Traveling to St. Petersburg”

  1. I adore learning about historical facts in novels. A novel that sends me to Wikipedia, Google etc. is usually one I love.
    One of the most interesting aspects of the interconnection between French and Russian way of life was for me the serving of meals.
    Today a traditional French set menu as we in Switzerland understand it, is a 3 or 4 or 5 course meal, one after the other, with for example soup, first course, main course, cheese and dessert.
    But in the early 1800s the service a la francaise was to set everything on the table as the same time, whereas what we today think of as French dining was called service a la russe.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_%C3%A0_la_russe

    Reply
  2. I adore learning about historical facts in novels. A novel that sends me to Wikipedia, Google etc. is usually one I love.
    One of the most interesting aspects of the interconnection between French and Russian way of life was for me the serving of meals.
    Today a traditional French set menu as we in Switzerland understand it, is a 3 or 4 or 5 course meal, one after the other, with for example soup, first course, main course, cheese and dessert.
    But in the early 1800s the service a la francaise was to set everything on the table as the same time, whereas what we today think of as French dining was called service a la russe.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_%C3%A0_la_russe

    Reply
  3. I adore learning about historical facts in novels. A novel that sends me to Wikipedia, Google etc. is usually one I love.
    One of the most interesting aspects of the interconnection between French and Russian way of life was for me the serving of meals.
    Today a traditional French set menu as we in Switzerland understand it, is a 3 or 4 or 5 course meal, one after the other, with for example soup, first course, main course, cheese and dessert.
    But in the early 1800s the service a la francaise was to set everything on the table as the same time, whereas what we today think of as French dining was called service a la russe.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_%C3%A0_la_russe

    Reply
  4. I adore learning about historical facts in novels. A novel that sends me to Wikipedia, Google etc. is usually one I love.
    One of the most interesting aspects of the interconnection between French and Russian way of life was for me the serving of meals.
    Today a traditional French set menu as we in Switzerland understand it, is a 3 or 4 or 5 course meal, one after the other, with for example soup, first course, main course, cheese and dessert.
    But in the early 1800s the service a la francaise was to set everything on the table as the same time, whereas what we today think of as French dining was called service a la russe.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_%C3%A0_la_russe

    Reply
  5. I adore learning about historical facts in novels. A novel that sends me to Wikipedia, Google etc. is usually one I love.
    One of the most interesting aspects of the interconnection between French and Russian way of life was for me the serving of meals.
    Today a traditional French set menu as we in Switzerland understand it, is a 3 or 4 or 5 course meal, one after the other, with for example soup, first course, main course, cheese and dessert.
    But in the early 1800s the service a la francaise was to set everything on the table as the same time, whereas what we today think of as French dining was called service a la russe.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_%C3%A0_la_russe

    Reply
  6. I love it when I learn things I didn’t expect while reading. To me, one of the marks of a great book is if I had to google things while reading, and history is a favorite subject so it’s win-win. I even love looking at maps when setting is a real place. HA ha don’t even get me started on those old maps of London.

    Reply
  7. I love it when I learn things I didn’t expect while reading. To me, one of the marks of a great book is if I had to google things while reading, and history is a favorite subject so it’s win-win. I even love looking at maps when setting is a real place. HA ha don’t even get me started on those old maps of London.

    Reply
  8. I love it when I learn things I didn’t expect while reading. To me, one of the marks of a great book is if I had to google things while reading, and history is a favorite subject so it’s win-win. I even love looking at maps when setting is a real place. HA ha don’t even get me started on those old maps of London.

    Reply
  9. I love it when I learn things I didn’t expect while reading. To me, one of the marks of a great book is if I had to google things while reading, and history is a favorite subject so it’s win-win. I even love looking at maps when setting is a real place. HA ha don’t even get me started on those old maps of London.

    Reply
  10. I love it when I learn things I didn’t expect while reading. To me, one of the marks of a great book is if I had to google things while reading, and history is a favorite subject so it’s win-win. I even love looking at maps when setting is a real place. HA ha don’t even get me started on those old maps of London.

    Reply
  11. I think that the characters get more of my attention than the setting or the plot. But once my attention has been grabbed, I enjoy learning about new places and times.
    Thanks for this post, Andrea. I took a year of Russian language in college (of which I recall little) but never studied the history.

    Reply
  12. I think that the characters get more of my attention than the setting or the plot. But once my attention has been grabbed, I enjoy learning about new places and times.
    Thanks for this post, Andrea. I took a year of Russian language in college (of which I recall little) but never studied the history.

    Reply
  13. I think that the characters get more of my attention than the setting or the plot. But once my attention has been grabbed, I enjoy learning about new places and times.
    Thanks for this post, Andrea. I took a year of Russian language in college (of which I recall little) but never studied the history.

    Reply
  14. I think that the characters get more of my attention than the setting or the plot. But once my attention has been grabbed, I enjoy learning about new places and times.
    Thanks for this post, Andrea. I took a year of Russian language in college (of which I recall little) but never studied the history.

    Reply
  15. I think that the characters get more of my attention than the setting or the plot. But once my attention has been grabbed, I enjoy learning about new places and times.
    Thanks for this post, Andrea. I took a year of Russian language in college (of which I recall little) but never studied the history.

    Reply
  16. I absolutely adore a book that prompts me to look stuff up. It’s why I love ebooks: tap and your questions are answered. I also love novels that delve into a whole topic I’d never thought about before. And why I’m so fond of the Regency, when so much was traditionally interesting, or rapidly changing, or even downright new!
    I expect I’ll be tapping like crazy in A Swirl of Shadows. I spent a few days in St. Petersburg several years ago, and thought it was a place I could explore for weeks.

    Reply
  17. I absolutely adore a book that prompts me to look stuff up. It’s why I love ebooks: tap and your questions are answered. I also love novels that delve into a whole topic I’d never thought about before. And why I’m so fond of the Regency, when so much was traditionally interesting, or rapidly changing, or even downright new!
    I expect I’ll be tapping like crazy in A Swirl of Shadows. I spent a few days in St. Petersburg several years ago, and thought it was a place I could explore for weeks.

    Reply
  18. I absolutely adore a book that prompts me to look stuff up. It’s why I love ebooks: tap and your questions are answered. I also love novels that delve into a whole topic I’d never thought about before. And why I’m so fond of the Regency, when so much was traditionally interesting, or rapidly changing, or even downright new!
    I expect I’ll be tapping like crazy in A Swirl of Shadows. I spent a few days in St. Petersburg several years ago, and thought it was a place I could explore for weeks.

    Reply
  19. I absolutely adore a book that prompts me to look stuff up. It’s why I love ebooks: tap and your questions are answered. I also love novels that delve into a whole topic I’d never thought about before. And why I’m so fond of the Regency, when so much was traditionally interesting, or rapidly changing, or even downright new!
    I expect I’ll be tapping like crazy in A Swirl of Shadows. I spent a few days in St. Petersburg several years ago, and thought it was a place I could explore for weeks.

    Reply
  20. I absolutely adore a book that prompts me to look stuff up. It’s why I love ebooks: tap and your questions are answered. I also love novels that delve into a whole topic I’d never thought about before. And why I’m so fond of the Regency, when so much was traditionally interesting, or rapidly changing, or even downright new!
    I expect I’ll be tapping like crazy in A Swirl of Shadows. I spent a few days in St. Petersburg several years ago, and thought it was a place I could explore for weeks.

    Reply
  21. Kareni, like you, I need the characters to be interesting and engaging in a book, or no matter how appealing the setting, it won’t hold my interest.
    St. Petersburg is a fascinating city, so I hope readers will enjoy a “glimpse” of it as Lady A, Saybrook and friends untangle a diabolical mystery.

    Reply
  22. Kareni, like you, I need the characters to be interesting and engaging in a book, or no matter how appealing the setting, it won’t hold my interest.
    St. Petersburg is a fascinating city, so I hope readers will enjoy a “glimpse” of it as Lady A, Saybrook and friends untangle a diabolical mystery.

    Reply
  23. Kareni, like you, I need the characters to be interesting and engaging in a book, or no matter how appealing the setting, it won’t hold my interest.
    St. Petersburg is a fascinating city, so I hope readers will enjoy a “glimpse” of it as Lady A, Saybrook and friends untangle a diabolical mystery.

    Reply
  24. Kareni, like you, I need the characters to be interesting and engaging in a book, or no matter how appealing the setting, it won’t hold my interest.
    St. Petersburg is a fascinating city, so I hope readers will enjoy a “glimpse” of it as Lady A, Saybrook and friends untangle a diabolical mystery.

    Reply
  25. Kareni, like you, I need the characters to be interesting and engaging in a book, or no matter how appealing the setting, it won’t hold my interest.
    St. Petersburg is a fascinating city, so I hope readers will enjoy a “glimpse” of it as Lady A, Saybrook and friends untangle a diabolical mystery.

    Reply
  26. Thanks, Mary. I’m like you—I love learning new things at the same time as enjoying a story. And the Regency era really is such a interesting time, which so much upheaval in every aspect of society. I find it a great place in which to set a mystery, because change creates tension on any number of level, and for me that adds dimension to a story.

    Reply
  27. Thanks, Mary. I’m like you—I love learning new things at the same time as enjoying a story. And the Regency era really is such a interesting time, which so much upheaval in every aspect of society. I find it a great place in which to set a mystery, because change creates tension on any number of level, and for me that adds dimension to a story.

    Reply
  28. Thanks, Mary. I’m like you—I love learning new things at the same time as enjoying a story. And the Regency era really is such a interesting time, which so much upheaval in every aspect of society. I find it a great place in which to set a mystery, because change creates tension on any number of level, and for me that adds dimension to a story.

    Reply
  29. Thanks, Mary. I’m like you—I love learning new things at the same time as enjoying a story. And the Regency era really is such a interesting time, which so much upheaval in every aspect of society. I find it a great place in which to set a mystery, because change creates tension on any number of level, and for me that adds dimension to a story.

    Reply
  30. Thanks, Mary. I’m like you—I love learning new things at the same time as enjoying a story. And the Regency era really is such a interesting time, which so much upheaval in every aspect of society. I find it a great place in which to set a mystery, because change creates tension on any number of level, and for me that adds dimension to a story.

    Reply
  31. Since I enjoy reading about history, it’s also fun to see it appear in novels woven into a plot that pulls me into a country’s changing mentality.
    Sometimes it sends me to Google to get more details about a particular time in history and the cast of real characters involved in it.

    Reply
  32. Since I enjoy reading about history, it’s also fun to see it appear in novels woven into a plot that pulls me into a country’s changing mentality.
    Sometimes it sends me to Google to get more details about a particular time in history and the cast of real characters involved in it.

    Reply
  33. Since I enjoy reading about history, it’s also fun to see it appear in novels woven into a plot that pulls me into a country’s changing mentality.
    Sometimes it sends me to Google to get more details about a particular time in history and the cast of real characters involved in it.

    Reply
  34. Since I enjoy reading about history, it’s also fun to see it appear in novels woven into a plot that pulls me into a country’s changing mentality.
    Sometimes it sends me to Google to get more details about a particular time in history and the cast of real characters involved in it.

    Reply
  35. Since I enjoy reading about history, it’s also fun to see it appear in novels woven into a plot that pulls me into a country’s changing mentality.
    Sometimes it sends me to Google to get more details about a particular time in history and the cast of real characters involved in it.

    Reply
  36. I do enjoy hearing more about the settings of a novel, especially when it’s somewhere unusual, like St. Petersburg. It’s a city I’ve always wanted to visit.

    Reply
  37. I do enjoy hearing more about the settings of a novel, especially when it’s somewhere unusual, like St. Petersburg. It’s a city I’ve always wanted to visit.

    Reply
  38. I do enjoy hearing more about the settings of a novel, especially when it’s somewhere unusual, like St. Petersburg. It’s a city I’ve always wanted to visit.

    Reply
  39. I do enjoy hearing more about the settings of a novel, especially when it’s somewhere unusual, like St. Petersburg. It’s a city I’ve always wanted to visit.

    Reply
  40. I do enjoy hearing more about the settings of a novel, especially when it’s somewhere unusual, like St. Petersburg. It’s a city I’ve always wanted to visit.

    Reply
  41. During the rule of Tsar Alexander I Finland became part of Russia and was called Grand Duchy of Finland. There is also an interesting legend about Alexander I, according to which he didn’t die 1 December 1825, but instead, he supposedly became a monk.

    Reply
  42. During the rule of Tsar Alexander I Finland became part of Russia and was called Grand Duchy of Finland. There is also an interesting legend about Alexander I, according to which he didn’t die 1 December 1825, but instead, he supposedly became a monk.

    Reply
  43. During the rule of Tsar Alexander I Finland became part of Russia and was called Grand Duchy of Finland. There is also an interesting legend about Alexander I, according to which he didn’t die 1 December 1825, but instead, he supposedly became a monk.

    Reply
  44. During the rule of Tsar Alexander I Finland became part of Russia and was called Grand Duchy of Finland. There is also an interesting legend about Alexander I, according to which he didn’t die 1 December 1825, but instead, he supposedly became a monk.

    Reply
  45. During the rule of Tsar Alexander I Finland became part of Russia and was called Grand Duchy of Finland. There is also an interesting legend about Alexander I, according to which he didn’t die 1 December 1825, but instead, he supposedly became a monk.

    Reply
  46. I love learning about history while reading! Sense of place is so important. The reason I love reading on my iPad is that it’s so easy to look up things (or pronunciations)without missing a beat in the story. This book sounds fascinating!

    Reply
  47. I love learning about history while reading! Sense of place is so important. The reason I love reading on my iPad is that it’s so easy to look up things (or pronunciations)without missing a beat in the story. This book sounds fascinating!

    Reply
  48. I love learning about history while reading! Sense of place is so important. The reason I love reading on my iPad is that it’s so easy to look up things (or pronunciations)without missing a beat in the story. This book sounds fascinating!

    Reply
  49. I love learning about history while reading! Sense of place is so important. The reason I love reading on my iPad is that it’s so easy to look up things (or pronunciations)without missing a beat in the story. This book sounds fascinating!

    Reply
  50. I love learning about history while reading! Sense of place is so important. The reason I love reading on my iPad is that it’s so easy to look up things (or pronunciations)without missing a beat in the story. This book sounds fascinating!

    Reply
  51. I have pined for the chance to visit St Petersburg. It sounds as though the early part created by Alexander is a work of art.
    And I know that The Hermitage has treasures beyond compare.
    Thanks for the post. I loved learning about the contrast between the spiritual and the more practical aspect of Russian life.
    I hope that everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  52. I have pined for the chance to visit St Petersburg. It sounds as though the early part created by Alexander is a work of art.
    And I know that The Hermitage has treasures beyond compare.
    Thanks for the post. I loved learning about the contrast between the spiritual and the more practical aspect of Russian life.
    I hope that everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  53. I have pined for the chance to visit St Petersburg. It sounds as though the early part created by Alexander is a work of art.
    And I know that The Hermitage has treasures beyond compare.
    Thanks for the post. I loved learning about the contrast between the spiritual and the more practical aspect of Russian life.
    I hope that everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  54. I have pined for the chance to visit St Petersburg. It sounds as though the early part created by Alexander is a work of art.
    And I know that The Hermitage has treasures beyond compare.
    Thanks for the post. I loved learning about the contrast between the spiritual and the more practical aspect of Russian life.
    I hope that everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  55. I have pined for the chance to visit St Petersburg. It sounds as though the early part created by Alexander is a work of art.
    And I know that The Hermitage has treasures beyond compare.
    Thanks for the post. I loved learning about the contrast between the spiritual and the more practical aspect of Russian life.
    I hope that everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  56. For me the characters and plot are most important but I do like to visit the locales portrayed in books that I like. For example the Brother Cadfael mysteries are located in the Shrewsbury area of Shropshire. I note that there are now organised tours following Cadfael’s adventures.
    https://www.shropshiretours.com/tour/brother-cadfael-tours/
    When an author’s characters receive this much attention, I think that might be the ultimate accolade!

    Reply
  57. For me the characters and plot are most important but I do like to visit the locales portrayed in books that I like. For example the Brother Cadfael mysteries are located in the Shrewsbury area of Shropshire. I note that there are now organised tours following Cadfael’s adventures.
    https://www.shropshiretours.com/tour/brother-cadfael-tours/
    When an author’s characters receive this much attention, I think that might be the ultimate accolade!

    Reply
  58. For me the characters and plot are most important but I do like to visit the locales portrayed in books that I like. For example the Brother Cadfael mysteries are located in the Shrewsbury area of Shropshire. I note that there are now organised tours following Cadfael’s adventures.
    https://www.shropshiretours.com/tour/brother-cadfael-tours/
    When an author’s characters receive this much attention, I think that might be the ultimate accolade!

    Reply
  59. For me the characters and plot are most important but I do like to visit the locales portrayed in books that I like. For example the Brother Cadfael mysteries are located in the Shrewsbury area of Shropshire. I note that there are now organised tours following Cadfael’s adventures.
    https://www.shropshiretours.com/tour/brother-cadfael-tours/
    When an author’s characters receive this much attention, I think that might be the ultimate accolade!

    Reply
  60. For me the characters and plot are most important but I do like to visit the locales portrayed in books that I like. For example the Brother Cadfael mysteries are located in the Shrewsbury area of Shropshire. I note that there are now organised tours following Cadfael’s adventures.
    https://www.shropshiretours.com/tour/brother-cadfael-tours/
    When an author’s characters receive this much attention, I think that might be the ultimate accolade!

    Reply
  61. The more historical events and real people woven into a novel the happier I am. I love learning bits and pieces while reading a good story.

    Reply
  62. The more historical events and real people woven into a novel the happier I am. I love learning bits and pieces while reading a good story.

    Reply
  63. The more historical events and real people woven into a novel the happier I am. I love learning bits and pieces while reading a good story.

    Reply
  64. The more historical events and real people woven into a novel the happier I am. I love learning bits and pieces while reading a good story.

    Reply
  65. The more historical events and real people woven into a novel the happier I am. I love learning bits and pieces while reading a good story.

    Reply
  66. The characters and plot are most important to me, but I enjoy the historical context and information about location. Your historical research is excellent, which I really appreciate.

    Reply
  67. The characters and plot are most important to me, but I enjoy the historical context and information about location. Your historical research is excellent, which I really appreciate.

    Reply
  68. The characters and plot are most important to me, but I enjoy the historical context and information about location. Your historical research is excellent, which I really appreciate.

    Reply
  69. The characters and plot are most important to me, but I enjoy the historical context and information about location. Your historical research is excellent, which I really appreciate.

    Reply
  70. The characters and plot are most important to me, but I enjoy the historical context and information about location. Your historical research is excellent, which I really appreciate.

    Reply
  71. Qunatum, it’s so true that in some books, especially series, the sense of place becomes a character in itself. I love actually seeing and exploring a setting that has captured my imagination in a book. My first visit to Oxford was like that. I had read so many really engaging novels there there, and to walk through the streets and see the “dreaming spires” was quite a moving experience.

    Reply
  72. Qunatum, it’s so true that in some books, especially series, the sense of place becomes a character in itself. I love actually seeing and exploring a setting that has captured my imagination in a book. My first visit to Oxford was like that. I had read so many really engaging novels there there, and to walk through the streets and see the “dreaming spires” was quite a moving experience.

    Reply
  73. Qunatum, it’s so true that in some books, especially series, the sense of place becomes a character in itself. I love actually seeing and exploring a setting that has captured my imagination in a book. My first visit to Oxford was like that. I had read so many really engaging novels there there, and to walk through the streets and see the “dreaming spires” was quite a moving experience.

    Reply
  74. Qunatum, it’s so true that in some books, especially series, the sense of place becomes a character in itself. I love actually seeing and exploring a setting that has captured my imagination in a book. My first visit to Oxford was like that. I had read so many really engaging novels there there, and to walk through the streets and see the “dreaming spires” was quite a moving experience.

    Reply
  75. Qunatum, it’s so true that in some books, especially series, the sense of place becomes a character in itself. I love actually seeing and exploring a setting that has captured my imagination in a book. My first visit to Oxford was like that. I had read so many really engaging novels there there, and to walk through the streets and see the “dreaming spires” was quite a moving experience.

    Reply

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