The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchanan
How far would you go for the one you love the most?
A stormy love affair. A secret. A discovery that changes everything …
Louise Fenton flies to a devastated Thailand to search for her mother, missing following the Boxing Day tsunami. The only trace she can find is her mother’s distinctive bag. Inside it is a beautifully crafted atlas belonging to a writer named Claire Shreve. But what is the connection between Claire and Louise’s missing mum, and can the atlas help Louise find her?
As Louise explores the notes and mementoes slipped between the pages of the atlas she learns the story of a life-changing revelation, a tragedy and a passionate love affair. And she uncovers a secret that nearly destroyed Claire and the man she loved – the same secret her mother has been guarding all these years …
Wow! What a book! Starting with a gorgous book cover that urges you to turn the page.
The story begins with a woman caught up in the tsunami in Thailand, we can only imagine what her fate was.
Louise hasn't spoken with her mother in two years after a falling out. She knows her mum was in Thailand so she flies out to find her much to the horror of her disapproving and controlling husband.
While searching for her mum Louise finds her bag inside which is an atlas full of photos and keepsakes belonging to Claire Sherve who is presumed dead as body has been identified by a friend.
We then hear Claire's story and it's a heartbreaking one. I was so wound up about it because I really liked her and I knew what happened to her at the end.
We are taken through the story from Thailand to Exmoor, Serbia,Venice, Finland and Australia. Claire meets Milo and his extended family and although this may be the love she has been looking for it also comes with heartbreak.
There is so much more to this story and what a wonderful film it would make.
This is one of those books where I'm so anxious to tell you what happens next but I also don't want to spoil your enjoyment. I couldn't put it down. What a great debut novel from Tracy Buchanan, I can't wait for her next one.
I'm passing my blog over to the author Tracy who tells us how food can inspire her writing.
At the moment The Atlas of Us can be downloaded for kindle apps for 99p! 99p? Cheaper than a coffee and longer lasting.
We writers often talk about the beautiful sights that inspire our writing. But what about the food and drink we taste?
As a former travel editor, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some gorgeous places, meaning I’ve also been lucky enough to gorge on some fabulous food and booze. One friend who read THE ATLAS OF US said she left some chapters feeling ravenous due to the dishes my characters devoured while visiting different countries.
Below is a little taster (see what I did there?!) of some of the food and drink that has inspired my writing, in particular THE ATLAS OF US.
When I visited Serbia’s capital Belgrade, I came back a few pounds heavier because of the divine food there, from grilled meat dishes oozing with flavour to rich chocolate tarts that leave you begging for more.
But one memory that always sticks with me was my first experience of slivovica, a delicious plummy brandy that had my head spinning and my taste buds tingling.
It was a particular favourite amongst Serbs frequenting the underground ‘secret’ bars set up by people looking to meet in secret during the Kosovo war. As I sipped glasses of slivovica while out there, I felt like a proper revolutionary.
A few years back, I visited Iso-Syote in Finland. It’s in the north of Lapland so is even snowier and even colder than the rest of Lapland. First day I arrived, I was crying because my hands and feet were so cold (yep, I know, I’m a wimp!).
So when it comes to food, it needs to be hot and energy-boosting to make up for all the energy I expelled keeping warm. My favourite dish was what the Fins call lihapullat – in a word, meatballs. But not just ordinary meatballs. The most mouth-watering flavoursome little suckers you’ll ever taste.
With garlic and paprika and breadcrumbs thrown into the mix, they not only taste delicious but exude this amazing smell. So delicious I missed watching the Northern Lights one night just to get some lihapullat while it was still hot (no fear though, we saw the Northern Lights most nights while out there).
During a press trip to Umbria in Italy, I ate so much rich luscious food, I am not kidding you, I had to call NHS Direct when I got back as my tummy hurt so much from flavour overload.
During one meal, I indulged in seven courses and two bottles of Umbria ‘super wine’ including wild boar, cold meats and creamy bigoli truffle pasta (bigoli is like spaghetti as we know it but thicker).
|Photo credit to Marco Varisco (under creative commons licences)|
But it was the desserts that sent me over the edge and I particularly enjoyed Panpepato which Italians mainly enjoy at Christmas. It’s a fruity bread with all sorts of sinful ingredients from chocolate to honey to delicious candied fruit, all jumbled together to create an indulgent naughty pud.
Have you enjoyed any dishes while travelling abroad? Let me know by commenting.