books that inspire travel

Ep 23: Books that Inspire Travel with Elizabeth from A Suitcase Full of Books

Do you ever read books that inspire travel? My guest today has three fabulous book recommendations based on books that she’s read that inspired her to travel. So, pack your bags and get ready to read!

Meet Elizabeth

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Elizabeth from A Suitcase Full of Books. Elizabeth is a former librarian turned travel blogging bookworm. Join her as she explores the real places behind our favorite reads, introduces you to your next favorite book, and discovers all the literary sights this world has to offer!

Ep 23: Books that inspire Travel with Elizabeth

You can listen to Episode 23: Books that Inspire Travel with Elizabeth here. Or click on your favorite podcast host below.

3 Books that inspire travel

Ready for not only some great book recommendations, but some great literary travel destination recommendations?

I have Elizabeth from A Suitcase Full of Books, a Literary Inspired Travel Blogger with me sharing three of her favorite books that have inspired travel.

Books mentioned in this episode

This article contains affiliate links to help you find what you need quicker and at no extra cost to you. I will be minimally compensated by the company.

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Destination: Prince Edward Island


‘Oh, it seems so wonderful that I’m going to live with you and belong to you. I’ve never belonged to anybody – not really.’

Eleven-year-old Anne Shirley has never known a real home. Since her parents’ deaths, she’s bounced around to foster homes and orphanages. When she is sent by mistake to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she wants to stay forever. But Anne is not the sturdy boy Matthew and Marilla were expecting.
She’s a mischievous, talkative redheaded girl with a fierce temper, who tumbles into one scrape after another. Anne is not like anybody else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special, a girl with an enormous imagination. All she’s ever wanted is to belong somewhere. And the longer she stays at Green Gables, the harder it is for anyone to imagine life without her.

blog post:

2. Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman

Destination: England


In this triumphant combination of scholarship and storytelling, Sharon Kay Penman redeems Richard III—vilified as the bitter, twisted, scheming hunchback who murdered his nephews, the princes in the Tower—from his maligned place in history.

Born into the treacherous courts of fifteenth-century England, in the midst of what history has called The War of the Roses, Richard was raised in the shadow of his charismatic brother, King Edward IV. Loyal to his friends and passionately in love with the one woman who was denied him, Richard emerges as a gifted man far more sinned against than sinning.

blog post:

3. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

Destination: the Island of Chincoteague, off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland


On the island of Chincoteague, off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland, lives a centuries-old band of wild ponies. Among them is the most mysterious of all, Phantom, a rarely-seen mare that eludes all efforts to capture her—that is, until a young boy and girl lay eyes on her and determine that they can’t live without her.

The frenzied roundup that follows on the next Pony Penning Day does indeed bring Phantom into their lives, in a way they never would have suspected. Phantom would forever be a creature of the wild. But her gentle, loyal colt Misty is another story altogether…

blog post:

Connect to Elizabeth


Instagram  @asuitcasefullofbooks

Other Resources You’ll Love

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Ep 19: Spooky books for a Halloween Vacation

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Transcript for this Episode

Because I know not everyone can listen, here’s a transcript of my conversation with Elizabeth

Becki Svare 0:02
Hey there, I’m Becki, and welcome to Literary Escapes Podcast, where we travel the world one book at a time. Today, I have one of my favorite bookstagrammers here with me to give us some literary escape book recommendations. I hope you enjoy the show.

So welcome back, everyone to our next episode of the Literary Escapes Podcast. I have bookstagrammer and travel blogger, Elizabeth with me today from A Suitcase Full of Books. Welcome, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth 0:36
Thank you. Thanks for having

Becki Svare 0:38
I am excited to have you. I love your Instagram page. So, tell me a little bit about yourself.

Elizabeth 0:43
Well, I am an Alaska-based travel blogger. And I like to blog and also video about literary destinations inspired by the books I’ve been reading.

Becki Svare 0:55
That is awesome. And being in Alaska, does that hamper some of your travel or does that make it trickier?

Elizabeth 1:07
Definitely, the city I’m in I’m in Juneau and it’s a landlocked city. So the only way out is by plane or boat.

Becki Svare 1:16
Oh, wow.

Elizabeth 1:17
It definitely hindered traveling during the pandemic.

Becki Svare 1:25
To get anywhere it takes a while, I’m guessing.

Becki Svare 1:29
So I definitely haven’t been doing a lot of travel recently. But we do when we can.

Becki Svare 1:36
I hear ya. And thankfully, books take you there when we can’t travel.

Elizabeth 1:40
Exactly. I’ve been doing alot of reading lately.

Becki Svare 1:45
And so you have a travel blog? Or a literary based travel blog? And that is called A Suitcase Full of Books dot com.

Becki Svare 1:56
Yep. You can find me at A Suitcase Full of Books dot com and also my Instagram, @asuitcasefullofbooks.

Becki Svare 2:03
And so you share destinations and books?

Becki Svare 2:07
Yeah, so I share destinations that are inspired by the books I read. We’re going to talk about at least three of those. But if you want more, you can find it on Instagram and the blog. And then I also share books that I haven’t been to the place that they inspire traveling yet, but want to go.

Becki Svare 2:31
That sounds really good. So what is the first destination you have for us today?

Becki Svare 2:35
I thought we would do today, three different countries. The first one, I’m going to start with the United States. And so the first one is Misty of Chincoteague. This is a book that was one of my childhood favorites. It turns out it’s based on a real place. So it’s based on Chincoteague, Virginia.

Becki Svare 2:59
See, I don’t know how I missed that one when I was a kid. I thought I read everything when I was a kid. So tell me a little bit about the book.

Elizabeth 3:13
Funny enough, I thought that it was a well-known book until I started talking to people and I found out that it’s actually not as well known as I thought. But basically Chincoteague, Virginia is a place where there’s an island called Assa Teague and there are feral horses that live on the island. They are wild except that they’re taken care of by the fire department of Chincoteague.

Elizabeth 3:38
So the horses do have vet care, so they will go and tend to horses that need care, but for the most part, they’re let to run wild on the island during the year. Except once a year during July, there’s a festival called the Pony Penning Festival and the horses on Assa Teague get rounded up, and they get driven across the channel from Assa Teague to Chincoteague. They get penned on Chincoteague for the week.

Elizabeth 4:12
There’s a law that only 150 head of horses can live on the island. And so in order to kind of cull the herd in a humane way, the fire department auctions off the foals to raise money for the fire department. The best part is, this is a festival that anyone can go to. It’s a lot of fun. So this is the background to this book.

Elizabeth 4:53
So, the author of this book Marguerite Henry went to this festival and was inspired to write this book. And it turns out that the book is essentially about horses in the roundup that were then bought by some children in the town. Misty was a real horse, but she was born in captivity. The author bought the horse Misty and she ended up book touring with the horse.

Elizabeth 5:47
It’s a really good book. It’s very cute. And then if you go to the island, you can actually see Misty today, because after she passed away, they taxidermied her and she is actually in the museum there.

Becki Svare 6:19
And these were written back in the 60s or 70s. Right?

Elizabeth 6:29
Yeah, something like that.

Becki Svare 6:33
So this festival has been going on for quite some time.

Elizabeth 6:37
Yes. Actually, when I went to Chincoteague, I stayed in the b&b where Marguerite Henry started writing the book. And so there’s now a room in the b&b with her name on it. So you can actually stay in the room where she started writing.

Becki Svare 6:51
That is so cool.

Becki Svare 6:58
But, like 1000s of people now go to this annual festival because of this because of the books.

Becki Svare 7:13
How interesting. So that’s in Chincoteague, Virginia.

Elizabeth 7:27
That’s one of my favorite places. It’s kind of a seaside fishing village. But then there’s the nature reserve and you can go to the nature reserve and see the horses. I would say that the best way to see the horses is actually to do a boat tour from Chincoteague and go around the edge of Assa Teague. Because usually they’re kind of hanging out in the marshes.

Becki Svare 7:45
Great, so Chincoteague, Virginia is our first destination. Where to next?

Elizabeth 8:10
So the second destination is Prince Edward Island, Canada. And another one of my favorites from childhood is Anne of Green Gables. I think this one is more well known. But it’s about a redheaded orphan who ends up on Prince Edward Island and sort of takes the little community by storm.

Becki Svare 8:36
I think it’s funny at the beginning of the book, how she kind of winds up there. The brother and sister that adopt her wanted a boy and they get her. She’s a rambunctious young girl, like you said, who takes the community by storm with her enthusiasm for life.

Elizabeth 9:03
Yeah, so based on the descriptions of the island, and also the film versions that I saw. I knew I had to go to PEI.

Becki Svare 9:14
So you’ve been there?

Elizabeth 9:15
Yes, I have been there. And it’s every bit as beautiful as described.

Becki Svare 9:23
Yes. I heard that.

Elizabeth 9:25
Yeah, and Anne has this way of giving names to things like the Lake of Shining Waters and the White Way of Delight. So when I went you know, the book had really hyped it up. I was like, I don’t you know. But, oh, no, it was amazing.

Becki Svare 9:47
That’s so awesome. I have heard that Prince Edward Island is beautiful and well worth going to. So that’s nice to hear.

Elizabeth 9:56
it’s definitely worth going for the views, driving around the island, seeing the red sands and cliffs and the lighthouses. But when you’re an Anne fan, it’s even more special because there are at least six different Anne locations that we went to. There’s the Green Gables Heritage Center, which is one of the author’s relatives. She lived nearby, within walking distance, but it looks like the Green Gables on the front of the book.

Elizabeth 10:44
And it’s been set up inside to look essentially like the movie set. So you go inside and you feel like you’ve walked into Green Gables. Matthew’s clothes are laid out on his bed and Anne’s dress with puff sleeves is hanging in her closet.

Elizabeth 11:06
The house that the author lived in is as a child is no longer standing, but there’s sort of a pit where it used to be. One of the things in the book is The Haunted Wood. Anne makes up this whole thing about these scary woods. And so there’s a Haunted Woods trail. So you go along the Haunted Woods trail, and then you get to the site that used to be where her house was.

Elizabeth 11:40
The book is fictional, but it kind of mirrors the author’s life. There’s also the birth house where the author was born. Her mother passed away shortly after she was born. And then her father left and left her with her grandparents. So there’s that house and then there’s another house that some other relatives lived in, that she would go too often and that has been turned into the Anna Green Gables Museum.

Becki Svare 12:11

Elizabeth 12:12
So there are several different house museums you can go to all related to the author or the book or a nice combination of both. Oh, I haven’t been back since, but the Green Gable Heritage Center has a huge new visitor center.

Becki Svare 12:37
That’s exciting. I think on Netflix there’s the Anne with an E series.

Elizabeth 12:46
And that’s good. Personally, I like the Megan Fellows version. But, I also like the Anne with an E version. They’re all worth it.

Becki Svare 13:03
So our second destination is Prince Edward Island. And of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. And so what’s our third destination?

Elizabeth 13:11
Our third destination is England, and this is a rather large book but totally worth it. It’s called The Sunne in Splendor by Sharon Kay Penman.

Becki Svare 13:11
So, how many pages is that? It looks like it’s about 3 inches.

Elizabeth 13:12
Yeah. Ridiculous. Says 1239.

Becki Svare 14:19
Holy moly. I can honestly say I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book that big yet.

Elizabeth 14:25
So, I had a reason to read it. Sharon Kay Penman is my favorite author. I love historical fiction. And this was her very first book.

Becki Svare 14:38
She had a lot to say.

Elizabeth 14:39
Yeah. If you read her other books, you can tell this is where she learned to write. But it’s really good nonetheless. So Richard the Third is famous mostly because of Shakespeare’s play. In Shakespeare’s play, the King is kind of maligned as a hunchback and an evil guy.

Turns out that Shakespeare’s play was written under the Tudor kingship. Richard the Third was the last of the Plantagenet kings, which means he was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth by a Tudor. And so when the winners write the history, they malign the losers.

Penman was actually a very big fan of the Plantagenet Dynasty, which is well known because of Richard the Lionheart and his brother John, because of the Robin Hood stories. So her books all take place during the Plantagenet Dynasty. And Richard the Third is the last of that.

And so she actually takes the view that Richard was maligned by history, and was actually not a bad guy. So it’s a very sympathetic look at Richard, and you come out of the book, really actually thinking, Oh, I really like him. He was very sympathetic. One of the other stories told about Richard is that he may or may not have offed two of his cousins.

Becki Svare 16:29
Cousins or nephews or something like that.

Elizabeth 16:31
Yeah. Nephews, that might have been it.

Becki Svare 16:33
And that was the two boys in the tower, right?

Elizabeth 16:35
Yes. The two boys on the tower. They disappeared and to this day nobody knows what happened. But her argument is that even if he did do it, he really didn’t do anything any worse than any of his predecessors.

It’s a really fascinating book. It’s really sympathetic. You get to kind of love Richard, and you come out of it going, Wow, I really hate Shakespeare right now.

Elizabeth 17:07
The interesting thing was that I was reading it at the same time that the king in the car park happened. And, this happened in Leicester, in England, and there was a dig and they found Richard the Third’s skeleton. So I was reading this at the same time as that I was watching that.

Becki Svare 17:32
Wow, Interesting.

Elizabeth 17:35
So I was glued to the news as they were doing the dig. Then they found the skeleton. They then took the skeleton out to the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was thrown into this pit when he was defeated by the Tudors. And he was kind of defiled by the winners. His hands were tied, and he was kind of thrown over the back of a horse and thrown in a pit and you know, they just wanted to get rid of the Plantagenets.

Elizabeth 17:33
And so what they did when they found the skeleton is they decided to bring him home and style. Maybe not home, because his home was York. He was found in Leicester, which is near Bosworth. They ultimately decided to leave him in Leicester where he was found but they decided to give him the kingly return.

Elizabeth 18:34
I was watching the dig on the news and reading the book. After they found him, they reinterned him in the cathedral in Leicester And they built this new two-story visitor center over the dig site. The first floor of the building is all about his medieval history and the second floor is all about the dig, and the modern tools, and the DNA testing. So after reading this book, I had to go there.

Becki Svare 18:40
yeah, wow. So when he was king, was he in London?

Elizabeth 19:28
I believe he was in York. His home was in York. I don’t know how much time he actually did spend in London.

Becki Svare 19:35
Okay, because I wasn’t sure like, where King lived at that time?

Elizabeth 19:40
Interestingly, a lot of the Plantagenets didn’t spend time in London. King Richard the Lionheart, it’s possible that he never set foot in England because his home was Normandy, France, because France was part of the Kingdom.

Becki Svare 19:39
The Tudor line is who still rules now?

Elizabeth 20:28
Yes, the Game of Thrones is based on the War of the Roses and the War of the Roses was sort of the end of Richard the Third. You had the red flower and the white flower representing the two different families. And so the Tudors have taken over.

Becki Svare 20:52
Such a tangled web they weave.

Elizabeth 21:03
I took the train from London to Leicester and spent a day there went to the visitor center, went to the cathedral and saw his tomb and is well worth the trip.

Becki Svare 21:15
That’s awesome. Okay. The book is, The Sunne in Splendor, a novel of Richard the Third by Sharon Kay, Penman. But, be prepared for some reading because it’s a big one. The news story, is that something that they could go watch again on YouTube or something like that?

Elizabeth 21:41
There’s a documentary called The King in the Car Park, I believe. And I, I can’t remember if it’s on Netflix, it might be on Netflix. But it’s out there.

Becki Svare 21:54
Okay. So that leads me to think that his remains were found in a parking lot.

Elizabeth 22:02
Yeah. It used to be apparently a church and he was buried or thrown in under where the singing used to happen in the building. But since then, it had been torn down and turned into a car park for a school.

Becki Svare 22:21
And they were digging it up for something.

Elizabeth 22:24
Well, no. Actually, there was a woman Felipa something I think, she was head of the Richard the Third society or something. They had somehow figured out that he had to be in this area. And amazingly, they found them on the first day.

Becki Svare 22:45
That is stunning.

Elizabeth 22:50
Penman writes these stories that, you know, she took facts from history that no one could have made this up in fiction. If you’d written this as fiction, no one would have believed you. And even in death, 500 years later, it was such a wild story that you wouldn’t have believed if you hadn’t seen them. It was like the first day of the dig and Oh, there he is.

Becki Svare 23:20
What an interesting story.

Elizabeth 23:23
Oh, and the reason they knew it was him was because of his skeleton. Because in Shakespeare’s play, he’s supposed to be a hunchback, but it turns out that he just had a curved spine. And so they knew the skeleton was his because the first day they bumped into a skeleton with a curved spine.

Becki Svare 23:43
Oh, wow, that is so crazy.

Elizabeth 23:51
But this one, because of its curved spine, they decided to do the DNA testing. And the dig happened, right at this juncture where it turns out, they were at the last point where the DNA from the skeleton would have been viable to test and there was one living descendant living in Canada somewhere that they were able to trace this family tree. And so it happened just like if they hadn’t done it at this point. They wouldn’t have been able to do it at all.

Becki Svare 24:29
It would have been an opportunity missed.

Elizabeth 24:37
Yeah. So, totally worth reading a huge book because it’s a crazy story.

Becki Svare 24:41
As a recap, our three destinations were the United States, which was Misty of Chincoteague, in Chincoteague, Virginia. And that one is by Marguerite Henry. Then Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery, and that’s in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Then The Sunne in Splendor, a novel of Richard the Third by Sharon Kay Penman, and that story takes place in England.

Becki Svare 25:17
I will have links to all three of those in the show notes so you can check them out. Sounds like it’s well worth it.

Becki Svare 25:25
So what are you reading right now?

Elizabeth 25:48
Right now, I just finished reading The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I just finished a whirlwind trip up the East Coast. Actually, I went to the east coast to do a tour of all four Edgar Allan Poe house museums. So I was reading Poe before this. We went through Richmond, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York to see all four Poe houses.

Elizabeth 27:29
We ended in Boston. The House of the Seven Gables, which inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, is in Salem, Massachusetts, which is just outside of Boston, and so we couldn’t pass up going there. Yeah, there’ll be a future blog post about that.

Becki Svare 27:47
Boy, what a great trip. And so I know that you are a big Harry Potter fan. That’s something that I think you and I share. So have you done any Harry Potter travel?

Elizabeth 28:18
Oh yes. A lot. Yes, I have been to Harry Potter World at Universal. I’ve been to the Warner Brothers Studio experience outside of London. And then recently, I went to New York to the new Harry Potter store. That was amazing.

They have these VR experiences. You get to sit on a broom and fly. So you had your headset and hand sensors and feet sensors. And, you’re kind of seated on this thing with like a half a broom coming out in front of you. And then, what you’re seeing in your headset is you flying over Hogwarts?

Becki Svare 29:09
What a fun experience. That’s very cool. Thank you for sharing all of that and I enjoyed hearing your recommendations to both read and visit.

Elizabeth 29:48
Thank you for having me.

Becki Svare 29:54
Thanks for joining me today on the Literary Escapes Podcast. If you enjoyed today This episode, and maybe we’d like some more literary escape book recommendations, then come check out the Literary Escape Society. We are a community of travelers who love books or maybe book lovers who love to travel. Either way, if you need an escape a literary escape, come join us as we read our way around the world together, one book at a time. Check out the show notes to learn more about the Literary Escape Society. And we’ll see you next time on the next episode.

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