Tripfiction for a Staycation – Travel to every corner of the world with my selection of women’s fiction books

(updatedAugust 2021)
How about some virtual travel seeing as travel is still very complicated in real life? Read my tripfiction recommendations for your staycation this year, and visit the world in these wonderful women’s fiction books.

Join me in Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Thailand, the USA, and many other countries

This post includes:

Worldwide – How Much Wine Will Fix My Broken Heart? by Kristen Bailey

The Falklands, Antarctica, Scotland & Australia – Call of the Penguins by Hazel Prior

USA – What Now? by Shari Low

TENERIFE – Sunrise on the Coast & Holiday in the Hills by Lilac Mills

AUSTRALIA – Chance of a Lifetime by Kendra Smith

AUSTRALIA – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty

SPAIN – Flip Flops, Fiesta & Flamenco by Donna Hepburn

FRANCE & ITALY –  The Get Away Girls by Dee MacDonald

THAILAND – The Backpacking Housewife by Janice Horton

ITALY – Last of the Summer Vines by Romy Summer

FRANCE – Not Quite Nice by Celia Imrie

USA – I Left My Tent in San Francisco by Emma Kennedy

USA – It’s Up To You New York by Tess Daly

HAWAII – Meet me in Hawaii by Georgia Toffolo

VARIOUS – I Heart series by Lindsey Kelk


photo of two women from behind sitting in deckchairs on a beach overlooking the sea reading books for a post about tripfiction for your staycation - women's fiction, rom com, chick lit

Tripfiction – the best women’s fiction books for your staycation

USA (Los Angles and New York) – What Now? by Shari Low

What Now? is the marvellous follow up to What If? and catches up with Carly Cooper and the gang 20 years later.

Recently separated from husband Mark, Carly struggles with the fact that her husband is taking the boys off on a USA road trip. Instead of being left to mope, her friends have arranged a surprise trip to Los Angeles to stay with old pal and ex in his luxury movie star home.

This book is just what is needed in the current climate where travel is not available. How I loved jetting off first class with the girls to LA, even if it was virtually.

Reading Shari Low book requires no effort and you are soon wrapped up in the characters and scenes. Much of it is very funny, but like life it has some sad moments too that generated more than a couple of tears. I love how What Now? is outrageous enough to get lost in the fiction, but real enough to resonate with it.

I enjoyed getting to know characters who have had cameo roles in other books, but are featured in more detail here. This time is was eccentric Auntie Val. What a scream she is.

Another 5 star read from Shari Low. Read my review of What If? HERE.  You don’t have to read What If? first as the basics from it is covered in the story, however, it’s such a good read, I recommend that you do.

blue book cover titled What Now? by shari Low picturing a woman with long blonde hair wearing a red dress with a trail of red hearts over the image

Worldwide – How Much Wine Will Fix My Broken Heart? by Kristen Bailey

How Much Wine Will Fix My Broken Heart? by Kristen Bailey is the 4th in the series of books about the Callaghan sisters. This book focuses on Grace the 4th youngest sister who sadly lost her husband, Tom, to testicular cancer and later went on to adopt her two daughters from Vietnam.

We get to experience both Grace and Tom’s journeys as they travelled the world, him straight from Uni and her after his death. Tom’s mum organises a memorial and many of Tom’s friends are travelling in from all around the world, so we get to hear their side of the experiences too.

This story is extremely moving. As with the three previous stories, it’s a great mix of sadness, real life experiences, and laugh out loud moments. You do not need to have read the other three but I highly recommend you do as they are all brilliant.

As an only child, this book makes me wish I had sisters. What a great relationship they have with each other. I love reading about them. I’m so looking forward to the next one which I presume will be about Lucy, the loose cannon😂.

How Much Wine Will Fix My Broken Heart? is a very easy 5 star read. You can find my reviews of all three previous books by Kristen Bailey by typing in her name in the search bar.

Antarctica, Australia & The Falklands – Call of the Penguins by Hazel Prior

Last year I read Away With the Penguins, a book which I found to be utterly charming and unique. When I got an email from the publishers offering me an advance electronic copy of the sequel Call of the Penguins, I jumped at the chance and it went straight to the top of my reading pile.

Whilst you don’t necessarily need to read Away With the Penguins first, I think it will make the sequel a far more enjoyable experience. Call of the Penguins continues in Scotland with 87 year old Veronica, her housekeeper, and Daisy, a young girl recovering from chemo.

Veronica is invited to co-present a tv programme about penguins. Eager for another adventure, she heads off to Australia and The Falkland Islands, whilst Patrick, Terry, and the team continue their work in Antarctica.

I won’t give any spoilers about the plot, but the story contains beautiful descriptions of the wild in Scotland, Antarctica, Australia, and The Falklands. It is filled with fascinating factual information about penguins, the environment, and the damage that humans are having upon it, whilst having a fictional storyline running through where we discover more about past lives.

Once again, Hazel Prior has created a fascinating and magical story. Call of the Penguins is a heartwarming, emotional read with an extremely important environmental message.

I look forward to seeing a copy of the final result which will include some no doubt beautiful illustrations.

Preorder for release in November 2021

book cover for call of the penguins by hazel prior depicting an old lady walking by the sea with a penguin

USA – It’s Up To You New York by Tess Daly

Holly is a customer service phone operator who lands herself a spot on Street Scout, a new reality tv show to find Britain’s next top model. The story follows the show, along with Holly’s relationship with boyfriend James who isn’t too happy about her taking part.

Holly heads off to New York for a weekend away with her best friend and the fairy tale begins. Or does it?

I really enjoyed this. Nice and light, and the short chapters make you just keep reading “one more”.

front of a pair of pink sunglasses to go in a  post for a collection of tripfiction for a staycation book reviews

TENERIFE – Sunrise on the Coast by Lilac Mills

This utterly charming book takes us to the island of Tenerife.

Sunrise on the Coast is actually pretty sad at the beginning as Sophie has just lost her mother to cancer. In fact, my eyes pricked on several occasions throughout the story. Sophie had cared for her mum right up to the end and her aunt persuades her to take a break before she decides what to do in the next stage in her life.

Whilst holidaying, she explores the island and comes across a temporary job as a live-in carer for Hugo, a pensioner who will be recovering from an operation.   I’ve said before that I love stories that explore friendships between different generations and this one ticks that box.  There’s also a big old Newfoundland dog called Paco who features in this story, so if you like reading books with dog characters, this might be for you.

The plot has a few twists and turns and of course, a slow-burn love interest that could go one of two ways.

I’ve never been to Tenerife but it is described with such clarity, and along with the factual information about the island and volcanos, I could picture it. Sunrise on the Coast is very well written, easy to follow and I’d definitely read more from Lilac Mills.

You might pick up a few Spanish phrases too.

book cover for Sunrise on the coast by Lilac Mills picturing a deserted beach with stripy deckchair and a villa in the background. This is for a post titled Tripfiction for your Staycation

TENERIFE – Holiday in the Hills by Lilac Mills

If you enjoyed Sunrise on the Coast and fancy another trip to Tenerife, then check out Lilac Mills’ latest release Holiday in the Hills.

This time we join Ivy, a forty-something established author who is sent off to Tenerife for 6 months by her agent. Ivy has recently split with her boyfriend who is also her publisher. Yes, awkward!

Ivy is delighted, not just by the villa with the infinity pool and fabulous views, but also by the handsome pool man, Sebastian.

The two become friendly but there is clearly something that we don’t know about Sebastian. We are drip fed hints to keep us guessing throughout this intense romance.

I spent a chilly autumn Sunday reading this an it was lovely to be reminded of warm sunny days. You could imagine the abundance of food described and picture the scenery throughout. I loved reading about the sightseeing and trips beyond the villa. I also enjoyed reading how the writing and publication process worked for the fictional author.

A pleasant easy romance read. Published October 2020 by Canelo

book cover for Holiday in the Hills by Lilac mills depicting the view of a deckchair by a pool with hills and blue skies in the background - Tripfiction books for your staycation

AUSTRALIA – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty was published in 2014 and set in a coastal town in Australia. It later went on to be a successful tv series starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon but was then set in Monterey, California instead.

This was a difficult book to rate and I would not recommend it to everyone. It should definitely come with a trigger warning. On one hand I loved It, but I found several aspects of the story quite disturbing to read, and would not have chosen to read this book had I known.

I loved the writing, the characters, the setting and the way the plot unfolded. It had me wanting to read more to find out exactly what happened next and whodunit!

I thought the way the uncomfortable subject matter was dealt with very well. It gave you some insight into why people put up with what they do, and will hopefully raise awareness.

That said there was lots of amusing content based around the different ranks of school mums that kept me reading more.

The Husband’s Secret was a 5 star read for me and I do enjoy Liane Moriaty’s writing style so will definitely try more of her books. I guess this one would be a 3.5/4 star read.

front of a pair of pink sunglasses to go in a  post for a collection of tripfiction for a staycation book reviews

AUSTRALIA – Chance of a Lifetime by Kendra Smith

Katie and Tom got themselves into big financial problems after years of wanting the biggest house, flashiest cars, impressive parties, and a nanny. Tom’s job has forced them to relocate to Sydney Australia.

Tom sees this as a chance to get themselves straight financially, and get their marriage back on track.  The reality of this chance in a lifetime is a different matter.

Relationships, friendships, temptations, parenting, and lots of dangerous spiders. This book is full-on, well written and gripping.

blue book cover of cartoon woman wearing a big hat overlooking Sydney Harbour the Chance of a Lifetime by Kendra Smith

THAILAND – The Backpacking Housewife by Janice Horton 

The Backpacking Housewife was not at all what I imagined it was going to be. It is not your traditional Chick Lit novel, more of a travel guide, nature programme and verbal holiday diary all mixed into one, especially as it is written in the first person.  Much of it feels like a non-fiction book as it is filled with so many interesting facts about Thailand and it touches on meditation, yoga, snorkelling, and wildlife.

In the story, we witness Lori trying new experiences after spending so long being the dutiful mum and wife, sometimes reflecting on how she was before the trip. Aside from the scenario which made Lori want to take off in the first place, it’s a very peaceful and idyllic book that will leave you either in a state of calm, or in one of excitement wanting to plan your own trip to Thailand. I did suggest to my husband that we consider it for our next trip but he rightly pointed out that I struggle living out of a suitcase and would not manage with just a backpack! I did enjoy experiencing it through a third party though.

A perfect summer read but would also be wonderful to read in the winter when it’s cold and grey. It was so easy to picture the tranquil beach settings. An easy to pick-up-and-put-down read.

front of a pair of pink sunglasses to go in a  post for a collection of tripfiction for a staycation book reviews


SPAIN – Flip Flops, Fiesta & Flamenco by Donna Hepburn

I was grabbed by the humourously written first page being a fifty-something menopausal woman myself, and boy do we need to laugh at ourselves when we reach that time of life.

Abby’s husband has run off with his secretary,  and her best friend Lou offers her the chance to go and live her dream in Spain. After dismissing it initially, she realises what a great opportunity it is and off she goes leaving her two grown-up sons to fend for themselves. The friends pack up their belongings and head off to the continent with a dog and two cats and a box full of shall we say “interesting” items.

Author Donna Hepburn is a self-confessed non-lover of chick lit but she’s managed to include all the ingredients needed for this style of story. Not wanting to give any spoilers you will read about the characters’ history, new and old friendships, love, and a bit of sauce served with some light humour. Add in a menagerie of hopeless animals, a bit of sadness and some slapstick comedy and she’s pretty much covered all bases.

I felt that the author’s confidence grew with the story and the style of writing improved greatly as it went on. Book two is already in the pipeline but you can buy this part one both in paperback and Kindle. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will look forward to the next one where Abby and Lou’s story continues.


ITALY – Last of the Summer Vines by Romy Summer

Before I start I would like to point out that this book should come with a health warning, YOU WILL PUT ON AT LEAST HALF A STONE AND FEEL PERMANENTLY HUNGRY whilst you are reading it! OMG the food in it, wow!

Last of the Summer Vines is about Sarah, a workaholic from London who thinks she inherits her late father’s castello in Italy, but when she arrives she finds that due to Italian law she will co-own it with Tommaso his business partner.

Initially, I had a bit of a dislike for Sarah as she seemed to think she had a right to her inheritance even though she admitted that she and her father had little to do with each other. (Oh, how often do we see that scenario in real life!) So, it took me a couple of chapters to really get going with this book and I was unsure that I was going to like it. But then I loved it!

This book has been written with such clarity that I could picture the setting. I loved the romance of Sarah living in and renovating the castello, and how her character progressed into someone that found her love of baking again and enjoyed life away from work in London. I loved the big family mealtimes with the importance of locally sourced fresh ingredients and just taking time to be with each other.

There is a bit of mystery to the story and I thought I knew the outcome about halfway through, but I just wanted to keep reading to see what happened next – it obviously wasn’t going to be as clear cut seeing as there was still lots left to read. The story is filled with anticipation.  I even found I was looking forward to seeing what fresh foods the delivery driver was going to bring for Sarah to bake with each day! Yes, see the above warning, this story is filled with the most mouth-watering mentions of food throughout. And wine of course!

Although this Romy Sommer book is fiction, I found I learned so much about Italy and its culture, and the whole wine growing process. And surprisingly for someone who is tee-total, I found it absolutely fascinating.  So, this gets a big thumbs up from me. A perfect summer read.

front of a pair of pink sunglasses to go in a  post for a collection of tripfiction for a staycation book reviews

FRANCE & ITALY – The Get Away Girls by Dee MacDonald

The Get Away Girls by Dee MacDonaldis a tale of 3 older women (all approaching 70, although one insists she’s only 60) who form a friendship after meeting at a flower arranging class. Keep reading 😉 … When teacher Connie decides to stop the class, the three ladies continue to meet in the local pub to get to know each other a little better.

Connie finds out that she has a heritage in Italy and decides to buy a camper van and go to investigate further as she has no ties now that she left her husband and all her children are now grown up.

Even though they don’t know each other that well yet Maggie and Gill invite themselves along too – Maggie to escape her partner who she feels is cheating on her, and Gill in the hope of finding romance.

This is a journey where the women find out more about each other as they travel through France and Italy. It is sometimes like a slapstick comedy that isn’t to be taken too seriously, but it has heart-warming and serious moments too.

Although the characters in the book are older, they could be in their 40s or 50s and this will appeal to any aged reader. I found it nice that older ladies still have the drive and a passion for adventure. Our bodies may start to wear out but our minds certainly don’t.

Unbeknown to me until afterwards, it turns out this is a follow-on book from The Runaway Wife, but it can be easily read as a standalone book. A nice light bit of summer reading.

I was grabbed by the dedication in this book “For female friendships everywhere”, something we must all treasure.

I also recommend The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane also by Dee MacDonald. It is about two ladies in their 60s trying to lose weight and find love. I couldn’t put it down. My full review appears on Living Life Our Way as a guest post.

Pink book cover with a cartoon VW camper van - The Getaway Girls by Dee MacDonald

I Left My Tent in San Francisco by Emma Kennedy

I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for years and had bought it because of my love of travel particularly in the USA. With a lack of travel happening this year, it seemed the perfect time to give it a read.

I Left My Tent in San Francisco is probably one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. It is based on the true story of two university graduates who set off for a working holiday whilst roadtripping around the USA.

The girls go from one disaster to another but learn important life lessons along the way. There are some serious aspects to the book, but it has several laugh out loud moments. I loved it.

front of a pair of pink sunglasses to go in a  post for a collection of tripfiction for a staycation book reviews

UK, USA & FRANCE – I  Heart Paris, New York, Hollywood, Las Vegas, London & Hawaii by Lindsay Kelk

The stories in the I Heart series by Lindsey Kelk follow the life of blogger/writer Angela Clark, and her friends/loves along the way. She stumbles from one disaster to the next in the glamourous world of journalism and fashion. Dates, weddings, jobs, births, and plenty of catastrophes – it’s all in this series as Angela visits, or in some cases moves, to each country. Join Lindsey Kelk in London, Paris, Las Vegas, New York, Hollywood and Hawaii.

collection of 6 books by author Lindsey Kelk - I Heart London Paris New York Vegas Hollywood Forever
You can read more about I  Heart Paris, New York, Hollywood, Las Vegas, London & Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk HERE

Celia Imrie – Not Quite Nice

I was familiar with Celia Imrie as an actress but this was my first read by her. A humorous tale about a group of Brits living in France, involving some sad moments and a touch of mystery too. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

front of a pair of pink sunglasses to go in a  post for a collection of tripfiction for a staycation book reviews

Meet me in Hawaii by Georgia Toffolo

Meet me in Hawaii follows on from Georgia Toffolo’s first book Meet Me in London. This time focusing on Malie while she works at her uncle’s surf school in Hawaii.

This book captures the feeling of Hawaii from the very start. The romance aspect starts soon afterwards. Malie comes across as a lovely person, despite her pain, and her rapport with the underprivileged kids that she teaches is evident.

You don’t need to have read Meet me in London first as the background is covered, but I recommend that you do. I believe this book opens up a series and we will soon be reading about Lily and Zoe, the other two friends from the group.
I felt that unlike the first book, this is more what I’d expect from a modern day Mills and Boon. It’s more romantic and swoon-worthy.  It’s a pleasant easy read that’s worth a go if you’re not looking for anything too taxing and want to escape to Hawaii.Released March 2020

front of a pair of pink sunglasses to go in a post for a collection of tripfiction for a staycation book reviews

I will of course be updating this post with new reviews when I find more tripfiction whilst on my staycation. It’s wonderful to be able to visit other countries around the world with a well-written women’s fiction book.

You may also like to read:

Turning Left Around the World by DC Moore

* Chick Lit Books set in Scotland

* Chick Lit Books set in Cornwall

* Books For Summer Reading


Author’s Twitter @KendraAuthor @DonnaHepburn66 @DMacDonaldAuth @JaniceHorton @LindseyKelk @LilacMills @ShariLow @ToffTalks @HazelPriorBooks

14 thoughts on “Tripfiction for a Staycation – Travel to every corner of the world with my selection of women’s fiction books

  1. I saw a comment somewhere recently with someone recommending that Kendra Smith Chance of a Lifetime book. I’d love to go to Oz as I’ve got relatives there, I think I’d love everything apart from the spiders!
    Great suggestions here. It’s wonderful to lose yourself in a good book, and even better when it can take you to different parts of the world so you can explore without leaving your chair.
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I may have to dip into the Italian book! We keep talking about where our next trip is going to be and Italy keeps coming up. Maybe it’s a sign…?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.