Although it’s an excellent idea to research the places you’re going to when you’re travelling, I also find that reading historical books about an area can be just as interesting, if not more so, than researching the best restaurants and where to find the best photo ops.
Historical novels, or novelised histories rather, can sometimes be perfect when it comes to epitomising the atmosphere of a place. And this is why, after reading The Marriage of Opposites, I have eagerly added the island of St Thomas to my bucket list.
I spent years studying art but I always thought that Camille Pissarro was French. Thanks to Alice Hoffman’s novel, I now know that he was born on the island of St Thomas in what are now the United States Virgin Islands. At the time of Pissaro’s birth in 1830, the island was under Danish rules.