Right now, three of my four children are driving across America, taking ten days to go from the East Coast to the West. One of them is moving to take a new job and his siblings decided to accompany him and see the nation. Thus far, they’ve visited the Civil Rights Museum in Alabama, hiked in the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana, slept on the banks of the Mississippi, and sat in the sand dunes of New Mexico.

My family took a similar journey in 1977, driving from San Francisco to South Florida. We’d previously crossed the country, driving from Michigan to San Francisco three years before, and I’ve always been grateful I’ve seen so much of the U.S.A.

Their trip got me thinking about romances that have portrayed places here vividly. I’ve never been to Seattle but Rachel Gibson’s Chinooks series brought that city alive. Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s Hot Shot gets the vibe and energy of early Silicon Valley down perfectly. Kate Meader’s work portrays a Chicago that feels exactly like the city I love to visit. I could go on and on but I’d rather hear from you.

What books have unforgettably rendered a time and a place in America to you? (Next week, I’ll ask about romances set elsewhere!)