Joanne Harris talks about her favourite literary escapes, which take the reader to new places without ever needing a passport
01
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her Eyes is a peerless thriller, in which Louise, a single mother and secretary, is drawn into a relationship, both with her attractive but moody boss, David, and with his wife, Adele, a damaged beauty with a mysterious past. Who is the abuser in this relationship? Who is the victim? What secret are they keeping? You won’t know until the end, which will hit you like a ton of bricks. I loved the way the suspense kept going right until the end, and how delicately the story walked the line between suspense and horror.

02
Edith’s Diary by Patricia Highsmith

Edith's Diary is one of Highsmith’s less well-known thrillers, this is a story of unreliable narrators, domestic unease and the blurred lines between fantasy and reality. I loved it for the wonderful voice of the narrator; her descent into self-delusion; the marvellous portrayal of the bleakness of domestic life in the ‘50s.

03
We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived In The Castle is the story of two sisters, living alone after the violent death of their family, in seclusion at the heart of a small American community. What is the secret that binds them? Why are they shunned by the community? And what will happen when their quiet life is threatened by the outside world? I loved it mostly for the delightful voice of the teenage narrator – probably one of the most appealing voices in American literature, and one of the most touching – and the marvellous descriptions of food that leap from the page straight to the tastebuds.

04
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch is the tortuous story of a boy who finds himself in possession of a lost masterpiece, and of what it comes to mean to him. I loved the marvellous rhythms of the language; the flawless characterization, the humour and the way the plot raced towards its inevitable conclusion… It helps you realise that is the journey, and not the destination, that really matters.

05
The Queen Of The Tambourine by Jane Gardam

The Queen of The Tambourine is about a lonely woman, Eliza, observes her neighbour’s life from afar. Then her neighbour disappears…. I love this book because of the perfect characterization; the wry humour; the extraordinary detail given to every event and every person. I also love the voice of the narrator, her self-importance, her lack of self-awareness, and finally, the revelation of her essential vulnerability.

Suggested Itineraries
China, Shangahai, traditional Chinese fan dance

From £4,370 pp

Classic China

Chengdu Beijing & Northern China Xian Shanghai & Surrounds China Asia

  • Travel in a sidecar through the hutongs of Beijing

  • Discover the Xi’an Terracotta Warriors

  • See pandas at the Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu

  • Take in the sights on a walking tour of Shanghai

  • Cycle around the narrow cobbled streets of Suzhou

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 10 nights
Cambodia, Koh Kong, island hopping, water boats

From £3,680 pp

Culture & Beach in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Cambodia's Coast Koh Kong

  • Head on a tour of Phnom Penh, taking in iconic buildings and history
  • Discover the Cambodian capital’s thriving street scene with a guided food safari of markets, restaurants and alleyways
  • Visit Kep’s early morning crab market and take part in a cookery class
  • Enjoy watersports and beach time on the island of Koh Russey
  • Go swimming in the waterfalls near to the luxurious Shinta Mani Wild

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 12 nights
Bukha fort in Musandam Oman

From £4,600 pp

Oman Cultural Tour

Muscat & the East Coast Nizwa & the Empty Quarter Oman Middle East & North Africa

  • Visit the buzzing town of Muscat
  • Drive through the imposing Hajar Mountains
  • Explore Wahiba Sands and its wildlife
  • Visit the picturesque fishing town of Sur
  • Spend a night under the stars in a luxury Bedouin encampment

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 7 nights
Destinations Featured in the Article
Merlion by marina bay in singapore, Marina Bay Sands background, Art Science museum

Singapore

One of the fastest growing cities in the Asia Pacific, Singapore offers dazzling diversity, laidback beaches, shopping, green spaces and incredible cuisine.

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