Setting Matching by Saralyn Richard

Setting Matching

By Saralyn Richard


Should your reading setting match the setting of your current book? Not really. Otherwise, how could you enjoy historical or sci fi fiction? But some interesting things have occurred to me in the past when I read a book that matched the situation I was in at the time.

The first time I noticed this phenomenon was when I was sick with the flu. The rather unfortunate choice of books on my nightstand included Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. As I coughed and battled high fevers, I read about the English plague of 1666, and I shuddered all the more with the tension of the book.

I read Suzanne Morris’ Galveston while sitting on the beach, only a few blocks from the Victorian homes described in that book. The sights, sounds, and smells of Galveston surrounded me in real life, as I read Morris’ descriptions of them.

I read Emilya Naymark’s Hide in Place during a cold snap. I could feel the biting wind and hear the crunch of the snow as I read. The chills of the book became actual chills for me.

Not exactly serendipity, after visiting the National Aeronautics & Space Museum (NASA), I decided to read Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff. I had a greater appreciation for the astronauts’ personal journeys as described by Mr. Wolfe, because I had sat in one of the space vehicles mentioned in the book.

Of course, it’s not a requirement to select a book based on its location, time in history, or season’s matching the one you are currently in, but there’s an extra surge of fun when the match-up occurs.

If you’re looking for a sizzling summer mystery, Bad Blood Sisters might be up your alley. All the tension begins on the Fourth of July. And Quinn’s family, who owns a mortuary and sometimes jokes about death, decides that this summer death stops being funny.

Whatever you’re reading this summer, I hope you’re having a great time. Can you think of examples of setting matching that you’ve experienced?



Saralyn Richard writes award-winning humor- and romance-tinged mysteries that pull back the curtain on people in settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools. Her works include the Detective Parrott mystery series, BAD BLOOD SISTERS, A MURDER OF PRINCIPAL, NAUGHTY NANA, and various short stories published in anthologies. She also edited the nonfiction book, BURN SURVIVORS. An active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn teaches creative writing and literature. Her favorite thing about being an author is interacting with readers like you. Visit Saralyn here, on her Amazon page here, or on Facebook here.


11 replies
  1. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    An interesting question, Saralyn. I prefer to read books set in places I’m not currently in, but would perhaps like to be. Tor example, I love reading books set in France.They take me back to times when I was lucky enough to be there.

  2. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    Your blog today is interesting, but I very rarely find myself in the same place or setting as what I’m reading. Probably, part of that is I read quite a few bios that jump around in terms of their settings, mysteries that may be set anywhere (rarely in Alabama), and women’s fiction/lit books that can be anywhere (although when they are in the South, I’ve probably been there).

  3. Lois Winston
    Lois Winston says:

    I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that took place in a specific location where I was at that exact time, but I’ve read many books that are set in states and cities where I’ve lived.

  4. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Beautiful cover. My TBR stack is about to fall through the floor! But this looks like a must-read. I identify often with books I read as in oh, of course, been there, done that. But a scenario that comes to mind is when I recommended a book by Dean Koontz (can’t remember the title) but in the opening there’s a plane crash. My friend dug out the book to read as she was in flight to Germany. She wasn’t very happy with me!

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