A Witch, a Boat, and a Bicycle

Where’s the Witch?

A witch, a boat, and a bicycle. What do they have in common? In V M Karren’s new book, The Witch of Drontenburg, they are all located in a small fishing village on the southern coast of the Netherlands. They are all part of a story about local superstition, growing up, and learning to let go of the past.

The book has everything to make a fun story–humor, suspense, and a touch of history–and takes just an afternoon to read. It’s part of a new series of European cultural short reads which Karren has created to help readers overcome the pandemic restrictions on travel.

Dutch national pastimes such as biking, sailing, and flea markets come alive in the book, as a group of boys take pains to avoid the fabled town witch. Jaap, an 11-year-old out-of-towner, is more skeptical and looks for evidence to prove the woman isn’t a real witch. Even HE nearly falls victim to her spells.

‘The Witch of Drontenburg,’ just released on September 17, 2020, was inspired by Karren’s experiences living in the Netherlands, his own childhood experiences, and those of his sons. Having emigrated to the Netherlands from America as a young adult, Karren saw the good as well as the humorous in Dutch culture, first-hand.

Karren characterizes Dutch culture as being ‘responsible to a fault,’ very practical, careful, and orderly. In the story, these traits come out in surprising ways! They sometimes in conflict with the playfulness and daydreams of young boys. The result is an engaging story, with endearing characters, that will place you on the ground in a small Dutch fishing village.

A Series of ‘Cultural Fiction’

With the spread of the COVID pandemic, traveling has been harder for everyone, but Karren has been drawing from his experiences living, studying, and working in various European lands, to create virtual travel experiences for readers.

The writer already produced another Kindle Short Read of ‘cultural fiction’ called Fate & Longing in Lisbon, which is set in an historic neighborhood of Portugal’s capitol. Other Kindle Short Reads set in France, Finland, Italy, and Russia are soon to come.

Traveling Europe through books is a great way to make European travel–with its fun variety and mind-broadening benefits–easy and accessible to all. This form of travel comes in a host of options; take a look at our Recommended Reading list for a few ideas. You can also travel Europe through our online book club: ‘Travel Europe Through Books,’ on either Facebook or Instagram.

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