I read this just after I returned from a trip to London in 2005, and the details about traveling around Europe are exquisite. This is definitely a fantastic book for armchair traveling. I loved the path on which her aunt sent her, and the variety of tasks and visits she had to do. Surprisingly, the level of technology Ginny has access to holds up really well-- since she isn't allowed to carry it with her, she has to rely on internet cafes, which is the way many people still travel fifteen years later. Richard is a sad but wonderful character, and there are some funny things, like the family in Copenhagen Ginny travels around with, and Keith's friends and plays. The absolute best part of this is Ginny and her emotions-- she misses her aunt and wants to know more about her, she's brave enough to travel by herself but also a bit apprehensive, and she is able to realize that while her aunt was a complicated person with her own agenda, she really loved Ginny. There is an event in Greece (which I don't want to spoil) which was upsetting, but which still makes sense. It also makes sense that Johnson picked up the story again in The Last Little Blue Envelope (2011), which I will probably have to reread as well. My library has FIVE copies of this that are all more glue and tape than original book. This story was instrumental in making my daughters the kind of fearless traveler that I am NOT; Picky Reader traveled to Ireland to study by herself, and took trips to both Greece and Rome, partly motivated by her memories of this book.
Just one of those books that just hit me in the right place at the right time. It still circulates heavily in my library.