If you like "Dear Exile" by Hilary Liftin...

Thanks for contacting the Central Rappahannock Regional Library for a
Book Match. There are so many wonderful facets to Dear Exile! I have
not found an exact match, but here are a few suggestions for books you
may like.

For the letters aspect between friends, two locales:

84 Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff
Helen Hanff, a vivacious New York writer with a passion for literature,
writes to a London bookstore in search of rare English classics. Frank
Doel, a good-natured, reserved Englishman, answers her request-- thus
beginning an extraordinary relationship that spans two continents and
two decades. (catalog summary)

For the letters aspect, between friends:

Beloved Sisters and Loving Friends: Letters from Rebecca Primus of
Royal Oak, Maryland, and Addie Brown of Hartford, Connecticut,
1854-1868, by Farah Jasmine Griffin
A riveting collection of letters written at the time of the Civil War
that chronicle the lives of two African American women from New
England: one who went to the South to found a school, the the other a
domestic servant who stayed in the North, in New York and New England.

Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena
Hickok, edited by Rodger Streitmatter
Collected for the first time, here are the intimate letters between
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickock, a friend she shared an
intimate and passionate bond with. (catalog summary)

For the letters aspect, with the writer also an educated woman who
settles in a more primitive place:

Letters from Honeyhill: A Woman's View of Homesteading,1914-1931, by
Cecilia Hennel Hendricks
The writer taught English at Indiana University before marrying a
disabled veteran of the Spanish-American War and going off to homestead
in Wyoming. Her letters home tell about building a house, doing farm
labor (it was cheaper to pay a schoolgirl for inside chores so she could
be ``hired man''), forming a rural cooperative, and joining the women's
clubs that built friendships and a community. She ran for public office
and was a friend of Wyoming's governor Nellie Ross. The style is
detailed, polished, and sometimes witty; Hendricks is not introspective
but likes to tell a good story. (Sally Mitchell, English Dept., Temple
Univ., Philadelphia)

For the travel, or other culture, aspect:

Driving Over Lemons, by Chris Stewart
Written by the first drummer for the rock group Genesis, this
wonderfully written account concerns a family making a life and
home in remote but enchanting southern Spain. (catalog summary)

The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia, by Paul Theroux
(Or any books by Theroux)
In this unique and hugely entertaining railway odyssey, Theroux vividly
recounts his travels--and the people, places, and landscapes he
encountered--on the Orient Express, the Khyber Mail, and the
Trans-Siberian Express, through such countries as Turkey, Iran, India,
Southeast Asia, Japan, and the Soviet Union. (barnesandnoble.com)

Notes from a Small Island, by Bill Bryson
When Anglophile Bill Bryson decided to move back to his native U.S., he
took one last trip around Britain to take stock of it and to analyze why
he loved it so much. (catalog summary). Humorous!

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, by Eric Newby
This frank and funny account of an ill-prepared Himalayan expedition,
taking the reader from London to the wilds of Afghanistan, is one of
the classics of travel writing. (catalog summary)

Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer,
Advisor to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia, by Janet Wallach
Just because it's so much fun to read about a Victorian lady cavorting
about in the Middle East.

For the Peace Corps experience aspect:

Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village,
by Sarah Erdman
Peace Corps volunteer Sarah Erdman spent two years in an African
village on the savannah, where sorcerers still conjure magic and market
day has the local women vying for bargains on bushrat. Funny, and
beautifully written.

For an intimate feel, and for a study of coping with cultural change:

On Gold Mountain: The 100-Year Odyssey of my Chinese-American Family,
by Lisa See
A family history tracing the route of the author's great- grandfather
from his Chinese village to the United States, where he married a
white woman and overcame the odds to become one of the richest Chinese
people on "Gold Mountain," the Chinese name for the US. (catalog

For fictional accounts, with tales told through letters:

Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, by Nick Bantock
It all started with a mysterious and seemingly innocent postcard, but
from that point nothing was to remain the same in the life of Griffin
Moss, a quiet, solitary artist living in London. His logical, methodical
world was suddenly turned upside down by a strangely exotic woman living
on a tropical island thousands of miles away. Who is Sabine? How can she
"see" what Griffin is painting when they have never met? (catalog
summary) This one is quite unique: The book actually has physical
representations of the correspondence inside!

The Mixquiahuala Letters, by Ana Castillo
Focusing on the relationship between two fiercely independent women --
Teresa, a writer, and Alicia, an artist -- this epistolary novel was
written as a tribute to Julio Hopscotch and examines Latina forms of
love, gender conflict, and female friendship. (catalog summary) This
is also an odd little book: The author suggests that you read the
letters in different orders, depending on whether you are conformist,
quixotic, or cynical!

And last, but not least, here's a shortened list from the publisher of
books which readers of Dear Exile may like:

Cat's Eye, by Margaret Atwood
Manhattan, When I Was Young, by Mary Cantwll
Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen
The Flame Trees of Thika, by Elspeth Huxley
The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
Happenstance, by Carol Shields
Fair and Tender Ladies, by Lee Smith

I hope these suggestions help. Let us know if they do not, or if we can
do anything else for you.

Michele R. Brown
Reference Librarian