It all started last summer when I wrote a gushing review of Ms. Belfer's latest novel A FIERCE RADIANCE. I absolutely adored everything about this historical novel -- from the characters, to the storyline, to the mystery, to the history and factual information, to the time period, and even to the ethical dilemmas that the characters faced. I thought A FIERCE RADIANCE was historical fiction at its best and I immediately knew it would rank right up there as one of my favorite books of 2010!
Needless to say, I was dying to go -- I just had to go. The problem is that I live in Central Pennsylvania, and it's about a three hour car ride from Manhattan. On top of that, I already had plans to go to New York City for a week at the end of May. How was I going to justify both trips? And that's where my awesome husband comes in. When I mentioned this opportunity for the walking tour to him, he said "Well it is Mother's Day weekend. Happy Mother's Day!" So our entire family made the trek to New York so I could go on this tour! He truly is the best (and he even bought me an iPad for Mother's Day in addition to the trip!)
So last Saturday afternoon, Ms. Belfer and her partner, her assistant Adam, Erica and Maya from Harper Collins, Alison from Alison's Book Marks, and I met up outside the gates of Christopher Park in Greenwich Village for our walking tour. As promised, Ms. Belfer took us on a 1 1/2 hour tour of the Village and we got to see lots of places from the novel including Claire's house, the street where her son learned to ride a bike, and the place where she first kissed her love interest. We also saw some gorgeous gardens (right in the middle of the city) as well as some cute cafes and restaurants. Ms. Belfer truly loves Greenwich Village and she's quite the expert about both the present day and 1940s buildings -- she had the cutest little tour guide book from the 1950s. I found the entire tour to be fascinating! And it didn't hurt that the weather was absolutely beautiful (except for a very brief little rain shower.)
Of course, I loved seeing the places that were mentioned in A FIERCE RADIANCE but there were some other highlights on the tour as well. Ms. Belfer took us by her local independent book store Three Lives & Company and introduced us to the owner. We also were very excited to see that A FIERCE RADIANCE was smack dab in the middle of the front window! In addition, she took us by Varsano's Chocolate where she presented each of us with a goodie bag filled with homemade chocolate. Just to let you know how thoughtful Ms. Belfer is (and she truly is one of the nicest people I've ever met), the chocolates were themed around the 1940s. One of the candies (a dark chocolate with raisins) was made using a mold from that time period, and another candy was a dark chocolate covered biscuit which was a very popular candy from the 1940s. My absolute favorite though, was a caramel covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. Oh my gosh -- this chocolate was by far the best chocolate I've ever tasted!
A huge thanks to Ms. Belfer and Harper Collins for giving me this wonderful opportunity!