I’m going to tell you something personal. I have never read more voraciously than on my honeymoon. No, I did not neglect my husband, thankyouverymuch, but those 10 days we spent in 2001 in French Polynesia—on Tahiti and the nearby island, Moorea—turned out to be perfect for reading. We stayed in a beach bungalow for a week, then in a tres chic overwater bungalow, and I read so many books that week, it was pure heaven. Every morning we’d start our day with coffee in our bungalow (instant Nescafe coffee found at a local market that was really, really good, surprisingly) before setting out in the tropic heat for a walk into town for pastries and miniature bananas and pineapple. Then we’d head back and finish the afternoon with a swim and spend the rest of the day reading in lounge chairs on the beach or on the porch of our bungalow—drinking more coffee, of course.
I always think back fondly to this time—to the weather, the warm-and-fuzzy new-married feeling, and all those books. I can’t remember every book I read, but I do recall devouring The Thornbirds. When I ran out of books, I grabbed a few random titles stacked up in the hotel’s open-air lobby.
If you read my debut novel, The Violets of March, you’ll see a few nods to my time in Tahiti. And my next novel, The Bungalow, is set in Bora Bora. The title is inspired, in part, by my time in French Polynesia.
I’d love to go back—with a stack of books—but somehow I don’t think the experience would be as relaxing now that we have three boys (4, 2 and newborn). Someday.