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The very first time I left the country on a trip, I went far and hard! I crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a look up for new adventures in the old continent! I went with a friend and found another friend in Spain (Barcelona). I think the main reason we went there, besides my one friend that was there, was because thanks to the European Union you can go from one country to another on one single trip without much suffering.
Twenty-six years ago, on November 1, 1993, the European Union was founded in the Netherlands! This union is what developed an internal market that allowed one single currency, Euro (2002), and a region where you don’t need a passport to go from one country to the other. In commemoration of the original members of the union, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and (West) Germany, we are going to take advantage of the almost lack of frontiers to explore each country’s literary work thanks to Audible!
Belgium: On Black Sister’s Street
Debut author Chika Unigwe (2011) tells the story of four different women who left Africa for the riches of Europe, Antwerp, Belgium just to find themselves under the red-light district promising to make men’s desires come true. As their sorority becomes stronger, they are drawn together even closer by tragedy and secrets. In this contemporary novel, Unigwe tells through her African eyes a raw, vivid, and unforgettable story of illusion and annihilation.
France: The Nightingale
Set in Paris, 1939, Kristin Hannah publishes a historical fiction novel about Vianne, a wife who says goodbye to her husband believing that the war and the Nazis will not reach France. As the reality of war hits Vianne hard, she is forced to take the enemy on her house which will put her life at a constant risk followed by her terrible choices. In this historical telling, Kristen describes the horrors of war while giving a light of hope and love to those who were not forgotten by the war.
Italy: Angels and Demons
Wanderlust or just a strong desire to travel is what took us to this book! There is nothing like going to Italy, but there is nothing like following the steps of Robert Langdon in his investigation of the murder of some Vatican cardinals while being in Italy!
The Netherlands: Girl With a Pearl Earring
How many anonymous portraits are out there? People have wondered for centuries if that one person is real or not, and the famous and anonymous “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, one of Johannes Vermeer’s portraits, has been a target of this questioning, and it has exerted a particular fascination for centuries. Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer’s prosperous Delft household during the 1660s, when Griet, the novel’s quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master and then Vermeer employs her as his assistant and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. Finally! A proper answer to this historical fiction novel of who that girl is!
(West) Germany: The Book Thief
How many of you have gone to Germany? I envy you! and I wonder, how many people think of Germany without thinking about the Holocaust? For this selection, we have “The Book Thief” narrated from the perspective of Death; we go on a journey with Liesel, a little girl in Nazi Germany, who starts stealing books everywhere after her brother died. In a tumultuous era, Liesel learns two things: how to read and the dangers of doing so during the Holocaust.
Luxembourg: The Expats
This last one was not easy… I mean what do we know about Luxembourg? From Google, I got: one, it is a place I want to go, and two, it is almost rural with a lot of forests and natural parks. And in books? All we know is Kate Moore, and her struggle while being in Luxembourg. She has a secret and a double life, but then she migrates to Luxembourg with her husband whose job he cannot share nor she understands. She finds herself doing things she never did before. However, all her life starts changing when her husband gets distant, and a new American couple arrives. She is suspicious of the couple and is afraid that her past is closer to her than she thought!
Going to Europe? Then make sure to listen to at least one of these books! Which one would you pick?
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