Saturday, June 29, 2024

Sloth Goes Places - England


Sloth Goes Places is a feature where I share books I have tracked from previous Literary Escapes reading challenge hosted by Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book.

Today we are looking at books set in ....


My favorite book this week was set in England. Though I have only had the opportunity to visit London, I love when I find books that take me to other parts of the country. My only fluent language is English, and many of the non-US authors I read are English and set their books in England. Below are some recent favorites. 

Jenny James Is Not a Disaster
 by Debbie Johnson
Published by Harper Muse on July 9, 2024
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

Sometimes it takes life falling apart . . . to piece yourself back together.

Single mum Jenny is on the edge of disaster. Her job is downsizing, her car won't start, her son is a teenager (enough said) . . . and it just won't stop raining. So when her darling cottage on the Norfolk coast literally falls off a cliff, taking all of her son's baby photos, her beloved couch, and almost taking Jenny herself down with it, it's the ridiculously traumatic cherry on top of her ridiculously catastrophic week.

With no job, no home, and the painful stirring of memories from when Jenny was alone, broke, estranged from her family, and pregnant, she takes a drastic step to start new. She and her eighteen-year-old son, Charlie, join their nomadic neighbor, Luke, and his dachshund, Betty, in his campervan on a road trip around England. From hiking historical sites to riding rollercoasters at amusement parks, each new stop drives Jenny forward and reminds her of the dreams she gave up long ago.

But more than that, each new destination--pulled from a hat based on random prompts like "Brontë sisters" and favorite songs--brings Jenny closer to her son, and the painful past she tried to outrun. As old wounds and difficult reconciliations open Jenny's eyes to the mistakes of her past, she is able to navigate what, and who, she would like to be a part of her future.

I loved so many things about this book, but one thing that made it so special was the road trip. Jenny, Luke, and Charlie all wrote things on slips of paper - places, people, things, books, movies, and they would base their destination on what was selected. This resulted in me getting to "see" so many places in England and I absolutely loved it. Nothing like the open road and a camper van to help bring one to a better place, physically and mentally. 

This Disaster Loves You
 by Richard Roper
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on February 1, 2024
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

From the author of Something to Live For , a poignant and funny story about a man whose wife disappeared seven years ago and his journey to find her or find out what happened, interwoven with the story of their relationship, revealing how sometimes the biggest secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves.

Twenty years of love. Seven years of absence. One journey to find out what happened.

Brian’s wife, Lily, disappeared from his life without a trace six years, eleven months, one week, and two days ago, but Brian never lost hope. Since her disappearance their once beloved English pub—and Brian’s livelihood—has been crumbling piece by piece. As the anniversary of her absence approaches, Brian desperately needs a sign. One doom-scroll on his business’s reviews later, he finds an active TripAdvisor account for PinkMoonLily1972 that he knows in his heart is his Lily.

Interspliced with Brian’s journey to find Lily is the story of their love—how it started, and the twists and turns that brought them to this moment. As Brian jumps from one destination to the next to find Lily, and the truth behind their story comes into focus, Brian comes back to life with the help of Tess, a sarcastic, kind, and surprising traveling companion. But in order to move forward he’ll need to decide—stay in the past or take a chance on something unexpected.

Brian was also on a journey to try and find his wife who had been missing for several years. He was following the route of reviewer PinkMoonLily1970, and once again, I was treated to many varied English destinations. It was such a thrill to see so much of the country, and I loved how this physical journey was helping Brian find some peace and closure. 

Once Upon a Leap Year
 by Anna Bell
Published by HQ on February 1, 2024
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

A gorgeous, high-concept romcom about finding love and daring to take a chance. After all, it’s all about timing. . .29th February 2000. Lucy’s never met another leapling until she encounters Noah also spending his once-in-four-years birthday on a disappointing day trip to Calais. There’s a spark that Lucy is sure Noah must feel too, and their friends insist they have amazing chemistry, but they’re both with other people. It can never be more than platonic and that’s OK.

Over the next twenty years, they’re at each other’s side through all of life’s big moments – weddings, babies, new jobs, family illness – but Lucy can never shake the feeling that they were meant to meet. . .

If Lucy is to find a love that’s rarer than a leap year, she’s going to have to take a leap of faith.

This book took place over a twenty year time span, so there is some traveling throughout the country though most of the story is London based. Those romances that take so long to come to fruition are both amazing and distressing for me. The ups and downs and missed opportunities make my heart ache, but when it happens, it's incredible. That was pretty much how it played out with this book as well. Absolute roller coaster ride, but well worth it. 

Have you read any books set in England?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I love the sound of the first 2 books, Sam. It is great to travel around a country in a book if you can't do it yourself. I am off to see if I can find them.

    1. YES! It's a definite plus when I read. Hope you enjoy them both, too.

  2. I've never been out of the US but these books do sound good.

    1. I want to go everywhere though I do not think I could handle a flight to Asia or Australia. Armchair travel is a great alternative.

  3. I adore England and go at least once a year!

  4. I feel like every other book I read is set in England! It's a very popular setting for me, although I've never been there. Would love to go someday!

    1. I think most authors who write contemporary fiction tend to set their books in their home countries. I know I read a lot of English authors. I would like to see more of the country. I only visited London (it was a London/Paris package). From all my reading, I know there is a lot more to see.