Mark Twain said, “Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.”
There might be some truth to that. It doesn’t matter if we are reading while we wait for our plane to arrive, while we ride on the train or if we are simply at home, reading has the amazing capacity of transporting us into different worlds we sometimes wished we were part of. When we read we become adventurers in an Amazonian jungle, safe keepers or rings, witches, sailors discovering new lands and anything else we could possibly imagine. When it comes to books and travel both seem to be intertwined, We read to travel and we travel to tell stories. While reading and traveling the possibilities are endless. And the opportunities for adventure are always present.
As a lover of books and all things travel I compiled a list of books written by Hispanic and Latino authors that we are sure will fire up your wanderlust.
As lovers of books and all things travel we compiled a list of Hispanic and Latino authors that we are sure will fire up your wanderlust.
- El tiempo entre costuras/ the time in between by Maria Dueñas
Written by Spanish writer Maria Dueñas,
El Tiempo entre Costuras or The Time in Between tells the Story of Sira, a young seamstress who in the course of her life will encounter love, adventure, political intrigue, danger and most important she will learn her role in the world.
The young dressmaker Sira Quiroga leaves Madrid in the months before the Spanish civil war, running away with her lover, they settle in Tangier, Morocco an exotic and vibrant city. Betrayed and abandoned she is harassed by the debts of her lover, Sira moves to Tetouan, the capital of the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco.
Aided by some shady friends she forges a new identity and manages to set up an exclusive atelier in which she serves the wives of wealthy men who hold key political positions.
Sira is recruited to work as a spy for the British, where she will spy on the wives of top Nazi soldiers. Sira’s destiny is linked to a handful of historical figures, among which Juan Luis Beigbeder – the enigmatic and scarcely known Foreign Affairs minister under the Franco government; his British lover, the eccentric Rosalinda Fox, and the naval attaché Alan Hillgarth, head of British intelligence in Spain during the Second World War. Between all of them, they will push Sira towards risky compromises in which the fabrics, the stitches and the patterns of her craft will become the visible facade of an incredible operation
2. It’s not love, it’s just Paris by Patricia Engel
This story is completely captivating. What’s not to like about a story from the point of view of a latina in Paris. For years the books that I read have been focused on the lives of white women. For the first time a book, outside of the classics like Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende had a latina woman, adventuring into the unknown and living the life I always dreamed of.
Written by Colombian American Patricia Engel It’s not love, its just Paris tells the story of Lita del Cielo, the daughter of two Colombian orphans who immigrated to the United States with nothing and made a fortune with their Latin food empire. Lita has been granted one year to pursue her studies in Paris before returning to work in the family business. She moves into mansion known as “The House of Stars,” where a spirited but bedridden Countess Séraphine rents out rooms to young women visiting Paris from all corners of the world to work, study, and, unofficially, to find love.
Lita meets Cato and the contours of her world shift. Charming, enigmatic, and weak with illness, Cato is the son of a notorious right-wing politician. As Cato and Lita retreat to their own world, they soon find it difficult to keep the outside world from closing in on theirs. Ultimately Lita must decide whether to stay in France with Cato or return home to fulfill her immigrant family’s dreams for her future.
It’s not love its just Paris is a book that will transport you to the streets of Paris where Lita must discover who she is and the path she must take.
3. La Ciudad de las Bestias by Isabel Allende
Step into the magical world of world-renowned Chilean author Isabel Allende. For years Allende has given us stories full of magic and intrigue. Following the style of magical realism, Allende mixes reality and magic in a way that few can. In her books magic is the norm and terrible mundane things become exciting. In this book, Isabel Allende tells us the story of Alexander Cold a fifteen-year-old American boy who travels to the Amazon with his grandmother Kate, who is a travel journalist. The expedition goes into the jungle in search of a strange giant beast. Together with his friend, Nadia Santos, and a centenarian indigenous shaman, Alex will know a surprising world and together they will live a great adventure. The young protagonists, Nadia and Alexander, enter the unexplored Amazonian forest, taking the reader by the hand on a journey without pause through a mysterious territory where the boundaries between reality and dream are blurred, where men and gods are confused and where the spirits go hand in hand with the living.
4. Dime Quien Soy by Julia Navarro
Spanish author Julia Navarro tells the story of a journalist who receives a proposal to investigate the hazardous life of his great-grandmother, a woman who is only known to have fled Spain, leaving her husband and her son shortly before the Civil War. To rescue her from oblivion he must reconstruct her story from the ground up, following the steps of her biography and fitting, one by one, all the pieces of the immense and extraordinary puzzle of her existence.
Marked by the men who passed through her life – the businessman Santiago Carranza, the revolutionary Pierre Comte, the American journalist Albert James and the military doctor linked to the Nazis Max von Schumann – the life of Amelia Garayoa is that of a woman who learned that in life you can not go back over the past to undo it. From Republican Spain to the fall of the Berlin Wall, through the Second World War and the dark years of the Cold War, this bourgeois and revolutionary, wife and lover, spy and murderer, will always act according to her principles, facing everything and making mistakes that will never end to pay.
Tell me who I transport us all over the world from Spain to France and many other places we never expected. Tell me who I am is a heartbreaking and captivating adventure that has exceptionally sharp and literarily unforgettable characters.
5. El mar de los hombres libres by Luis Vidal
Luis Vidal takes us in an adventure as he tells the story of Christophe Marchand. The story takes place in Napoleon’s France, a young man will become the voice of the people and rise up to defend the honor of an entire nation. Struggling to forget his past of lies, and fleeing from himself, Christophe Marchand crosses the seas as a soldier. After the adventures of French expansion, Christophe becomes a corsair, shipwrecked, western adopted by the natives of the tribe. Then he returns to his village and resumes the cookie business he started as a child. But the eternal hatred of Alexandre Basset gives no respite and Christophe must confront his past, with the woman he has never forgotten and with a revolution that claims justice for the hungry people.
6. Vida by Patricia Engel
Another story from author Patricia Engel. Vida tells the story of Sabina, as she navigates her shifting identity as a daughter of the Colombian diaspora and struggles to find her place within and beyond the net of her strong, protective, but embattled family. The book is divided into different chapters that explain Sabina’s life.
In “Lucho,” Sabina’s family—already “foreigners in a town of
in “Desaliento,” Sabina surrounds herself with other young drifters who spend their time looking for love and then fleeing from it—until reality catches up with one of them; and in “Vida,” the urgency of Sabina’s self-imposed exile in Miami fades when she meets an enigmatic Colombian woman with a tragic past.
We hope you like the group of books we compiled for you. Please let us know in the comments other books you think we should know of!
7. Palmeras en la Nieve by Luz Gabás
Author Luz Gabas tells the heartfelt story of Palmeras en la Nieve. This complex book takes us on different journeys experiencing the stories of Kilian and Clarence. In a beautiful and complicated way, the lives and stories of both of them become intertwined as both of them discover themselves and that love comes in the most unexpected of ways.
It is 1953 and Kilian abandons the snow of the mountain of Huesca to start along with his brother, Jacobo, the journey to an unknown, distant and exotic land, the island of Fernando Poo. In the bowels of this exuberant and seductive territory, your father awaits you, a veteran of the Sampaka farm, the place where one of the best cocoas in the world is grown and roasted. In this eternally green, warm and voluptuous land, the young brothers discover the lightness of the social life of the colony compared to a corseted and gray Spain, share the hard work necessary to get the perfect cocoa from the Sampaka farm, learn the differences and cultural similarities between colonial and autochthonous, and know the meaning of friendship, passion, love and hate. But one of them will cross a forbidden and invisible line and fall madly in love with a native. His love for her, framed in complex historical circumstances, and the special bond that is created between the settler and the natives of the island will transform the relationship of the brothers, change the course of their lives and will be the origin of a secret whose consequences they will reach the present. In the year 2003, Clarence, daughter, and niece of that pair of brothers, led by the curiosity of those who want to know their origins, plunged into the ruinous past that inhabited Kilian and Jacobo and discovers the dusty threads of that secret that will finally be unraveled.