1. Prince Edward Island in Jane of Lantern Hill by LM Montgomery: LM Montgomery had a gift for describing the beauty of the world and the sense of home her characters had because of that beauty. Here’s one example, from Jane of Lantern Hill.
There was a tangle of sunbeams on the bare white floor. They could see the maple wood through the east window, the gulf and the pond and the dunes through the north, the harbour through the west. Winds of the salt seas were blowing in. Swallows were swooping through the evening air. Everything she looked at belonged to dad and her . . .
Dad did not always read from the masters. One day he took to the shore a thin little volume of poems by Bernard Freeman Trotter. “I knew him overseas . . . he was killed . . . listen to his song about the poplars, Jane: ‘And so I sing the poplars and when I come to die / I will not look for jasper walls but cast about my eye / For a row of wind-blown poplars against an English sky.’ What will you want to see when you get to heaven, Jane?”
“Lantern Hill,” said Jane.
2. Helstone Cottage in North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: Margaret returns to rural Helstone after living in a smoky, crowded city and is moved by its loveliness. I had the same feeling last month on leaving bustling, wintry Hamilton to visit my parents’ farm in British Columbia. ☺
But as she returned across the common, the place was reinvested with the old enchanting atmosphere. The common sounds of life were more musical there than anywhere else in the whole world, the light more golden, the life more tranquil and full of dreamy delight.
3. The place where Aslan is in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis: I could barely choke out these words while reading this part of the book to my son last month.
“Please, Aslan,” said Lucy. “Before we go, will you tell us when we can come back to Narnia again? Please. And oh, do, do, do make it soon.”
“Dearest,” said Aslan very gently, “you and your brother will never come back to Narnia.”
“Oh, Aslan!” said Edmund and Lucy both together in despairing voices.
“You are too old, children,” said Aslan, “and you must begin to come close to your own world now.”
“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me there, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are – are you there, too, Sir?” asked Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
4. The Shire in The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien: I don’t have a quote for this one, but I love the cozy English village feel of the Shire, with its tasty beer, convivial atmosphere and snug little homes with real fires burning in the fireplaces.
5. The Roman Empire in A Voice of the Wind by Francine Rivers: I’ve always found the ancient Roman Empire fascinating. This story moves from the Jerusalem temple as it’s being destroyed to the homes of barbarian warriors in remote Germania to the wealthy, pagan cities of Rome and Ephesus. Mesmerizing!
6. The High City in St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges: a glittering vision of the heavenly city.
There against the evening sky they saw a mountaintop that touched the highest heavens. It was crowned with a glorious palace, sparkling like stars and circled with walls and towers of pearls and precious stones. Joyful angles were coming and going between heaven and the High City.
7. The golden realm of childhood in The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot:
The two slight youthful figures soon grew indistinct on the distant road – were soon lost behind the projecting hedgerow. They had gone forth together into their new life of sorrow and they would never more see the sunshine undimmed by remembered cares. They had entered the thorny wilderness, and the golden gates of their childhood had for ever closed behind them.
8. Pemberley House in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: the splendid building that first made Elizabeth think of what it’d be like to be Mrs. Darcy. ☺
They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; – and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration.
9. London in Bleak House by Charles Dickens: O London, with its sprawling never-endingness and bustling crowds of people and no end of things to see and do!
I’m linking up with the Broke & the Bookish again for Top Ten Tuesday.