Summer is here, the first true post-Covid summer that brings with it relative ease of travel, with no official pre- or post-arrival PCR testing required, but the anxiety from the last few years remains, a siren’s muted warning beneath the calm. I still wore my mask in crowded indoor spaces: the metro, trains, museums, and even the loo, but all went well. Smoothly even. I love traveling, like most people, but when the obstacles outweigh the benefits, it’s easier for my mental health to remain at home, listening to music, writing, reading, and dreaming about a future travel plan with little work involved to get there.

Traveling last week to visit friends in southern France was a dream. The lines weren’t too long, people were patient, and there was an air of tolerance thrumming beneath each of us, holiday-goers and -makers alike. The world seems to be getting back on track, but with a better mindset, open and welcoming. It was so nice to experience what felt like a new normal. Best wishes to everyone braving summertime travel, may your journey be filled with ease and your destination be full of happy moments to last a lifetime.


I am ecstatic that I will be at the Saint-Maur en Poche Literary Festival in France this weekend, 23-24 June, where I will sign copies of Filles de la Mer, the brilliant French edition of White Chrysanthemum. Check out their website to see the many, many amazing French and international authors who will be there. Many thanks to La Griffe Noire for supporting my novel! My book signing sessions are below:

Saturday, 23 June 14:30-16:30 and Sunday, 24 June 10:00-12:00

Robert Laffont


There is no greater beauty in England than its many coasts and seaside towns. Visiting during the off-peak season is a special treat as the vibe is relaxed and there are no lines in sight. Photos turn out better, too, with fewer people around to ruin the shot. In February, I visited Lyme Regis on England’s southern coast and lucked out with sunny skies and mild winds. Famous for fossil hunting along the Jurassic Coast, as well as the film about a French Lieutenant, the village was just what I had imagined. A quaint fishing village with beautiful old buildings, some centuries old, crammed along the coast for the best view and sailing vessels of all sorts lined up beside the sea waiting for summer to arrive. Each morning at 7am I awoke and strolled along the shore in the crisp dawn light to swipe my credit card in the parking metre so that they wouldn’t tow my rental car. It was a chore to be sure, but an enjoyable one as the views on that short walk to and fro were a magical start to my day. If only London had the equivalent for a morning stroll along the shore–the Thames doesn’t come close. There’s something about the sound of the waves breaking on the rocky shore, the maniacal clattering the rocks make as the water is sucked back out to sea, and the sunlight glinting off the horizon that can’t be replicated anywhere. A trip to remember for sure.

(In this photograph, the Golden Cap rises out of the sea along the horizon. It’s a bit of a hike uphill through muddy fields strewn with cow bombs to get to the top, but definitely worth it.)