A new Persephone in my life

First off, I’m thrilled to say that my Persephone for the Secret Santa exchange finally came today! I got Miss Buncle’s Book, which I have already read and loved, but didn’t have my own copy, so I’m so happy that Selena of my heart rang like glass chose it for me! Thank you Selena and it’s nice to meet a new blogger! She also sent me some lovely chocolates (which my husband claims were clearly meant for him) and bookplates. I was so anxious I wouldn’t get it before we moved, but here it is, to brighten up a day spent cleaning the apartment. (Still. It seems endless. We’ve been slogging through wiping down the sticky fridge, greasy stove, and dusty windows, cupboards, closets and walls for days now. Our furniture is all gone now, which reduced the cat to howls of distress, and we only have a blow-up mattress to sleep or sit on now, which keeps deflating, as they always do. The wrist I sprained earlier this year is sore again, but everything is still chugging along, thanks to chocolates, Miss Buncle and gift cards to bookstores from my family for Christmas. Pictures of all my new books to follow once I have my own computer again.)

Aside from that, I’ve finished The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia by Laura Miller and have been taking notes on it since, so obviously I’m inspired by it, especially the last third of the book where she discusses the inspirations for Narnia. I’m interested to explore some of the books mentioned and it reminded me that while C.S. Lewis loved Norse mythology, I prefer Greek mythology, especially the stories of Orpheus, Psyche and Persephone. Thanks as well for the fantasy recommendations, with those plus my Christmas books, many of which were fantasy, and a few books more found off the World Fantasy Awards list, I’ve got an stack I’m keen to get started on once the move is over! I’m also looking forward to getting back to regular blogging then too, so until then, happy reading and Happy New Year!

Tea With Miss Buncle

Eep! I’ve just found out two of my reviews were quoted in Persephone Books’ Autumn & Winter Catalogue Reader Comments section! (check it out here) This is such a thrill, as both reviews were for books I’ve adored and that have greatly enriched my life this year: Miss Buncle’s Book and Tea With Mr. Rochester (links to my original reviews in full).This definitely inspires me to order more of their books soon. Any recommendations for more cosy, cute and romantic Persephones?

Comfort Reading

I will admit I’ve been avoiding blogging here (for almost a month now), mostly because of the stress and busyness that’s been going on with my husband’s recovery from surgery. He was in the hospital longer than anticipated (two weeks instead of one), but luckily he’s back home now and things are slowly returning to normal, although he still won’t be able to return to work for over a month. I’ve only been back at work for a week now and with the return of my old routine, started to think about returning to book blogging as well.

Every fall I like to read something seasonally appropriate, whether it’s Persuasion by Jane Austen, a lot of poetry (especially by Keats and Yeats), or even the first part of Lord of the Rings one year. This year I began to want to read more classics from the 19th century, so I started rereading Anna Karenina, but after about a hundred pages, found it too sad for the circumstances and eventually moved on to Our Mutual Friend in an effort to read more Dickens. It’s actually the best Dickens I’ve yet tried (I’ve finished Bleak House and stumbled about halfway through both Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities) — it’s funny, imaginative and big-hearted, just like my grandpa who also loves Dickens (one of my reasons for continuing to try to read his books I admit), but again, after about 300 pages, the manipulative characters began to get to me and I put it down as too stressful also.

Finally, I said forget all this, I’m rereading Jane Eyre. But… remember her depressing early childhood? Yes, that also was too much for me. (And now maybe you see why I haven’t been blogging lately!)

I finally indirectly found a book I could finish through a visit to a new bookshop in my neighbourhood. They had Mariana by Monica Dickens on the shelf! A Persephone book that isn’t Miss Pettigrew! I was touched and despite having already read it this year (and I admit, having mixed feelings about it), my husband urged me to buy it, knowing quite well how much I do love my Persephone books. Bringing it home and deciding where it would go on the shelf brought up the secondhand copy of Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey I found this summer and I quickly proceeded to read it, sitting on the floor next to the bookshelf! I had been putting off reading it since all the blog reviews said there was a bittersweet edge to the story, but by this time, I was simply happy to be immersed in another cozy early 20th century British fictional world. The details in this charming little novella were what made it so soothing for me, the descriptions of flowers in every room, rooms laid out for tea, country girls inexpertly wearing makeup and the apparent caddishness of wearing emerald socks at a wedding. I wondered in the end at people who could be so little aware of their own feelings but it had a more thoughtful, than depressing, tone and all in all, it reaffirmed my desire to continue collecting and reading everything Persephone Books brings back into print.

I’m now back in the 19th century with Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, which is sweet and gently comic, about the only thing I’m up for right now! I’ll probably finish it soon and then may reread North and South or Bridget Jones’s Diary and I also have Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski from the library, another Persephone with a compelling cover!

Any suggestions on other comfort reads of yours would be very much appreciated.

Tea & Mystery

So this past week has been pretty stressful, but things are finally starting to look up. My husband’s still in the hospital after his surgery last Monday, but he’s slowly starting to get better and will hopefully be home sometime in the coming week. I actually got sick as well, probably from stress, with a sore throat, cold and cough. 😦 So I wasn’t able to visit him as much, but both our families have been supportive of us (and thanks to everyone who left comments on my last post!), so we’re getting through it.

I read P.D. James’s first mystery, Cover Her Face, while waiting for the man to get through surgery, since I knew I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything without a good plot. It was written in 1962, but actually set in the early ’50s I would say, there are several references to the changes in society since WW2. I’ve read one of her later mysteries, The Murder Room, but I enjoyed this one more, so my plan to sample various British mystery writers from the beginning of their various series seems to be going well.

By the middle of the week I took a much needed break from work and hospital visits and read the third Dorothy L. Sayers mystery, Unnatural Death, sprawled on the grass in the park next to my library, soaking in the setting summer sun and gentle breeze. It was refreshing and this book made me laugh even more than the previous one. Sayer’s plots so far aren’t quite as strong as Agatha Christie’s, I would say, but I do enjoy all the clever banter, so it’s a worthwhile trade off. Sayers introduces an older woman Lord Peter has hired to do some gossipy snooping for him and oh, her letters to him about the results of her sleuthing are hilariously over-italicized and punctuated! (No quotes though, since I’ve already taken it back to the library.)

I’ve since started The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West in an old Virago edition that I treated myself to this week. It’s a very detailed account of the lives of the very rich and titled in the last golden years before WW1 and reminded me most of The Age of Innocence combined with the movie Gosford Park. The old Victorian matrons still rule high society, but some try to escape their iron morality in affairs, while life in the old British country houses is kept up perfectly for these few pampered rich. The story focuses on a brother and sister, Sebastian and Viola (in a reference to Twelfth Night, even if they aren’t twins) and how they deal with trying to find their place in this society that seems as if it will never change, but is in fact on the very edge of changing forever.

I’ve also been rereading more of the short stories in Tea With Mr. Rochester, yes right after finishing it! They’re nice and short and beautiful, like a tiny bouquet of delicate flowers. Each has a slightly different fragrance than the others, some are love stories, some coming of age, some end with an odd relationship changing twist, one is even a ghost story and one makes me cry both times I’ve read it. Perfect calming before bed reading. I’m not really a fan of contemporary literary short stories (because they are deeply dull, basically) but I can see myself reading this little collection over and over, just to analyze each character yet again (a lot of her endings are rather a surprise) and to revel in the romantic writing.

Review: Sayers, Dexter, Towers, Bronte, Gaskell…

Since I’m rather behind on reviewing a few books I’ve read recently and since my husband is having his surgery on Monday (after which he’ll be in hospital for a week and then I’ll be off work for a week, tending to him), I won’t be around much for a while. Hence, I present a handful of mini-reviews!

First, I’ve just finished Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers, after deciding that soothing old fashioned British mysteries were just the kind of hospital waiting room reading I needed, only I’ve already rushed through one in my pre-surgery worry phase. I read Whose Body?, the first in the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, a few years ago and wasn’t that impressed with it, but this second one has hooked me and it’s nice to know there’s more cosy little mysteries to indulge in beyond Miss Marple. The golden age of detective fiction is really my favourite, with Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time (as a history student, I was fascinated by its reinterpretation of who really killed the princes in the Tower) and Malice Aforethought and The Poisoned Chocolates Case, both by the same author but published under different names (Frances Iles and Anthony Berkley). Many of these stories are innovative in the mystery genre (Malice Aforethought was one of the first to have the murderer as the protagonist) without being grisly and have the added advantage of much delightful Britishness. Dorothy Sayers has all this and she’s also quite clever (one of the first women to get a degree at Oxford and she later translated almost all of Dante), with a plot point resting on the French classic Manon Lescaut and amusing literary references like this:

He set down his towels, soap, sponge, loofah, bath-brush, and other belongings, and quietly lifted the lid of the chest.

Whether, like the heroine of Northanger Abbey, he expected to find anything gruesome inside was not apparent. It is certain that, like her, he beheld nothing more startling than certain sheets and counterpanes neatly folded at the bottom…

This indulgence in mystery novels was set off by picking up Colin Dexter’s first Inspector Morse mystery, Last Bus to Woodstock, which I started reading when I was only 25 pages away from finishing Villette! (More on that in a bit, but basically, it was too sad.) I’ve been watching Inspector Lewis on Masterpiece Mystery lately and enjoying the Oxford setting and academic and literary themed plots and when I found out it was a sequel to the Inspector Morse tv show and books (Lewis was the sidekick originally and has now become the main detective) and remembered further that I had bought the first book in the series at Oxford on my honeymoon (what bliss was that bookstore!), I hunted it out of the closet and read it. It’s a bit sexist and racist and the identity of the murderer is more than a little improbable in my opinion, but my fondness for decent family man Sergent Lewis (I’m not too fond of Morse yet, he’s too busy winking and leering at girls half his age in short skirts) and I suppose, my fondness for most British mysteries in general, quickly brought me through. Even if I have the time, I can’t read a big thick classic like Villette all at once, so it’s delightful to sometimes be able to gulp down a quick and exciting mystery, reading pleasantly for hours in bed. This has inspired me to get books from all the ‘Queens of Crime’ (Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, and Margery Allingham), plus some P.D. James and go on a mystery binge while I’m waiting around at the hospital.

And now… Tea With Mr. Rochester was an utter delight and I don’t know how to do it justice. I even took to carrying it around with me at work in the library during one particularly stressful day, just to stroke its soft, smooth dove-grey cover whenever I needed calming down. Then on my break I devoured two of the short stories, rushing through to see what happened (and I hardly ever rush through beautiful writing like that), even crying in the staff break room! The writing is romantic and old fashioned, like a grown up version of L.M. Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott. I’ve heard these stories called ‘samey’ but when I adore the style and subject matter, I don’t care. Most of the main characters are in the ‘literary daughter’ type (my favourite kind of type, personally), young girls full of imagination and notions from reading Jane Eyre, feeling a bit misunderstand by the more clever beautiful people, but eventually proving themselves in their own way, just as Jane Eyre herself does. Frances Towers also reminds me of Katherine Mansfield and Elizabeth Bowen, she didn’t write enough to reach her maturity as a writer as they did, but she has similar (although I would say more romantic) sensibilities. I’ve already reread some of the stories, individually some of them wouldn’t appeal to me, but altogether they are beautiful and celebrate the poetry of ordinary life, the beauty in small things. Here’s the beginning of ‘Strings in Hollow Shells’:

‘It’s divine to be here again,’ Sandra said, tossing her pill-box of a hat onto a table and burying her face in a bowl of roses. She seemed to be eating them up with her greedy carmine lips.

Sandra plays the part of city sophisticate, but her idea of living artistically is to “play the gramophone all day in the garden and read poetry”, instead of drinking ten cups of black coffee and smoking cigarettes. I much prefer the more Edwardian style of “soak[ing] myself in the view.” Here’s music being discussed in ‘Don Juan and the Lily’:

‘I mean Bach,’ he said, ‘and Beethoven… or Mozart. What’s he like? Like the conversation of tea-roses, or the bees in the lime-blossom?’

‘I think he sounds like witty people in the eighteenth century saying lovely things in a formal garden,’ I said, not knowing that such a thought was in my mind.

Altogether Tea With Mr. Rochester has got to be my favourite book of the year so far (with Miss Buncle’s Book not far behind) and I’m so pleased that Persephone Books has republished them and that other wonderful book bloggers have written about them, so that I could find the kind of innocent and beautiful books I so treasure.

So Villette may have to wait another day, although to quickly sum up: it was sad, it was long, it was rich and deep and I cried near the end and also was annoyed with the love story for not being the main focus of the story and there’s this great scene where someone gives Lucy Snowe an opiate to make her sleep, but instead she gets up and wanders about town at midnight and comes upon this big party in a park and wafts about, seeing various people she used to know, all as if it were a dream. That was unexpected, even from Bronte, and quite a nice touch. My edition also had a great introduction by A.S. Byatt, comparing it on some points to Mansfield Park, which I think is rather apt, I was already thinking it is to Jane Eyre what Mansfield is to Pride and Prejudice, obviously written by the same author, but in a more mature and melancholy mood. She also makes the excellent point that while Jane Eyre has a crazy alter ego / double in the attic, Lucy Snowe is both crazy and sane all together, in one person. This is Bronte’s last finished novel and her most matured work, written in extreme loneliness, but with extreme strength of will. It makes Jane Eyre seem rather tame, actually!

And finally for Wives and Daughters (almost done!), it’s less of a romance and more of an insightful and sweet family story. It analyzes a father and his two sons opposite a stepmother with one step and one real daughter. Most of the events are ordinary, even the romantic hero isn’t a brooding Byronic like Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester or even Mr. Thorton, but a practical man of science and yet it has its moments beyond the light and amusing. Mrs. Hyacinth Clare Kirkpatrick Gibson is certainly the most subtly manipulative stepmother I’ve ever read — in the miniseries she was grating but in the book actually funny, while Cynthia her daughter in the miniseries was quite charming while in the book you come to see her true shallow colours underneath much better. Molly the stepdaughter was too naive in the miniseries, but in the book her innocence becomes endearing, something you want to protect against all her stepmother’s machinations to treat her just like Cynthia so that no one will say she’s favouring her own daughter, when Molly only wants to be herself. The book describes parents over-valuing their beautiful, talented children and under-appreciating the ‘plodders’, the steady, faithful, loyal ones. The book also shows how Molly grows up, through some distress caused by her stepmother and sister, to become more mature and poised than the slightly silly and sheltered village women she’s grown up around.

Whew. Now it’s time to pick a new book to start!

Tea With Charlotte Bronte…

I’ve found a lovely pairing of books here. I’m half way through Villette by Charlotte Bronte, which is dark and rich and I don’t know why more people haven’t read it, when last night I just had to start reading my first true dove-grey birthday Persephone and it was… Tea With Mr. Rochester! And the second short story in the collection is the title story, so I had the delight of a lighthearted and insightful account of discovering the glories of reading Jane Eyre for the first time at 14, where love is “the most thrilling, glorious, and beautiful thing in the world.” Sigh. I’m definitely looking forward to savouring the rest of this collection of stories.

As for Villette, it’s making me admire Charlotte Bronte all the more. I could relate to Jane Eyre, but still thought Jane Austen was the better writer. Now there seems no point comparing them, Jane Austen is a lovely sunny tea party and Charlotte Bronte is a frighteningly beautiful thunderstorm, so it just depends what you’re in the mood for. In Villette, she really captures what it’s like to be dreadfully lonely and religiously morbid as the heroine Lucy Snowe (introverted with a strong will a la Jane Eyre) travels alone from England to the city of Villette in Europe (based on Belgium) and finds work as a school teacher in a girls school. Her time spending the holidays alone in the school when everyone else goes away on holidays and she eventually becomes sick with a nervous fever very much reminded me of a summer living alone in university, with all my roommates gone and I was so lonely, any human contact, even with a friendly grocery clerk, was longed for. Jane Austen may show the intricacies of social interactions better than anyone else, but Charlotte Bronte captures the heart’s desperation and determination. I want to race through it to find out what’s going to happen next with Dr. John and Lucy and M. Paul (a tiny bossy French Mr. Rochester!), but at the same time it is rich and heartbreaking, hard to read and yet beautiful.

The difference between her and me might be figured by that between the stately ship, cruising safe on smooth seas, with its full complement of crew, a captain gay and brave, and venturous and provident; and the life-boat, which most days of the year lies dry and solitary in an old, dark boathouse, only putting to sea when the billows run high in rough weather, when cloud encounters water, when danger and death divide between them the rule of the great deep. No, the Louisa Bretton never was out of harbour on such a night, and in such a scene: her crew could not conceive it; so the half-drowned life-boat man keeps his own counsel, and spins no yarns.

I dearly liked to think my own thoughts; I had great pleasure in reading a few books, but not many: preferring always those in whose style or sentiment the writer’s individual nature was plainly stamped; flagging inevitably over characterless books, however clever and meritorious…

Bunny’s Got Books

So I’ve been back from my holiday in Manitoba for a few days and it’s time to share my lovely holiday purchases!

1. A used copy of Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey!!!! I have been wanting to read this Persephone book for a while now and kept checking my library catalogue, hoping somehow they’d get their act together! But instead I found my own copy in a little secondhand bookstore in Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba called Poor Michael’s (there’s a photo below of the cosy interior). You never know (and how important to scour every inch of the fiction section!)

2. The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith and Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding. I don’t think I’ve ever read any 18th century novels, but sometimes I get curious about the novels Jane Austen and co. must have read that inspired them to write. Plus Oliver Goldsmith was mentioned in the notes for Wives and Daughters as influencing various aspects of Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing and the opening sentences had the same homey feeling as hers.

3. Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. I’m wanting to read more Victorian novels and this was recommended by Nicola at Vintage Reads. I also read a play based on it for a theatre history paper on Victorian melodrama — most plays from the Victorians (besides Oscar Wilde) aren’t studied anymore for good reason (check out Wilkie Collins’ adaptation of his own novel The Woman in White if you don’t believe me), but they are good good fun to read!

4. Jean Santeuil by Marcel Proust. This is an early unfinished novel of Proust’s and of course, I couldn’t pass it up. He writes more about lilacs!

5. Finally, The Victorian House by Judith Flanders. We drove into Winnipeg one day on our holidays (just to go to a bigger bookstore there) but none of the books in fiction were impressing me too much, so I skipped on over to history. Most history books aren’t in bookstores very long, so getting what interests me when I can is the way to go. I bought a copy of The Victorians by A.N. Wilson years ago and afterwards often asked myself why I got that instead of something fun and easier to read, but now years later, I’m reading it and glad to have a copy.

6. The bunny. I accidentally left some things behind at my in-law’s cottage and needed something to cheer me up! (Interestingly, I seem to write about bunnies whenever I go on holidays!)

Of course, after bringing a whole bag of books with me and buying more on the way, I only read Wives and Daughters all week. It’s a lovely holiday book, engrossing, light, funny and touching. I’ll review it soon.

Holiday books

So tomorrow evening my husband and I are off for an impromptu holiday at his parent’s cottage in Manitoba. Of course the first thing I had to do was pick what books I was taking!

So far (after pulling two big stacks of books off my bookshelves and then putting half of them back) I’ve settled on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, since I’ve been rereading them all this year, and a few fun books including an Agatha Christie, I Capture the Castle, The Brontes Went to Woolworths and my two new Persephones that I got for my birthday (and then forgot to write about): Tea With Mr. Rochester and Good Evening, Mrs. Craven. They are so coolly elegant in dove-grey I must take them with me whether I’m in an early 20th century short story mood or not.* I’m thinking of adding maybe a Victorian novel into the mix too (even though the odds of me reading them all in five days is zip) since Wives and Daughters is turning out so sweet and enjoyable, but not sure what. Perhaps ought to go with a Bronte novel, given my other reading choices above, but the ones by Charlotte I have left to read (Shirley, Villette, The Professor) don’t seem much fun. Neither does George Eliot. Maybe Vanity Fair or Cranford. Just in case. Any suggestions for fun light-hearted holiday reading Victorian novels? (I’ve already read Wilkie Collins this year, so probably not that and I don’t like Dickens much. But otherwise…? Historical Victorian novels count too.)

[*Last Saturday Claire of The Captive Reader and I had a mini Calgary book bloggers meet-up. We both brought a lovely Persephone book along as a way of spotting each other! It was wonderful to talk about obscure British books and trips to London and Paris and which Austen characters our parents are like and so much more! It’s lovely to find someone in my currently cowboy ridden city who shares so many interests, that book blogging and maybe Persephone books in particular, can bring people you’ve never met before and wouldn’t have met otherwise, but automatically get along with, together. Hopefully I’ve phrased that coherently as it is past midnight!]

I don’t know if I’ll be blogging much for the next week or just sitting back and enjoying the slow sweet pace of Wives and Daughters. I really don’t know why I didn’t read it sooner (I’d seen the miniseries and thought I knew the story and needn’t bother. Shocking I know.) but at least I get to relax into it now.

Birthday books!

It’s still a week to go until my birthday, but I cannot resist…! My mom bought me three books for my birthday over a month ago and my grandma sent me a bit of early birthday money, so I am unable to contain myself anymore, I must have a beautiful picture of my growing stack of delicious republished forgotten classics. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually found books I know I’ll love in a bookstore.

So here’s the list:

Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons, author of Cold Comfort Farm — my library still doesn’t have this one yet, so after a bit of impatient rechecking every few days to see if it was somehow there, I decided a birthday is the perfect time to indulge.

Wigs on the Green by Nancy Mitford — after enjoying Love in a Cold Climate recently and understanding all the Mitford humour even more thanks to Hons & Rebels by her sister Jessica, I wanted to begin enjoying everything Mitford and these new covers are particularly appealing, especially since Wigs on the Green is a parody of British fascism in the ’30s.

Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by the delightful D.E. Stevenson — my library does have a copy of this, but I cannot resist, especially as I currently do not have my own Miss Buncle’s Book! I must be able to hold at least one of her books to my heart, at any time I may wish to literally physically do so.

Love’s Shadow by Ada Leverson, The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson — once I’d read and loved Henrietta’s War then ever more of the charming and colourful Bloomsbury Group reprints have been joining my collection. And also my much treasured first Persephone book, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson.

All that plus a delightful new reading journal (it has sections for my biblio style and literary superlatives, plus such a nice cover) and some french macarons, which perhaps should have been savoured over one of my new books, but have already been gobbled up whilst sitting at the computer! The pink one was particularly delicious, I am happy to report — strawberry flavoured!

Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

So it seems I may be starting my very own private Persephone Reading Week here, as I just finished Miss Buncle’s Book this evening! I’ve got it plus To Bed With Grand Music and The Victorian Chaise-Longue, both by Marghanita Laski, all on inter-library loans, ordered during the official Persephone Reading Week at the beginning of May and I need to return them soon, so I’ve been busy reading and laughing excessively.

Somehow Miss Buncle’s Book (by D.E. Stevenson, her novel Mrs. Tim of the Regiment has recently been republished by the Bloomsbury Group too, so I’ll need to get myself a copy) is even more adorable than Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, at least to me! I want to give it a hug and we can become best pals and braid each other’s hair (and I’d better stop before I get too carried away on that note!) In some ways it’s similar to Miss Pettigrew, both feature older women who have to earn their living somehow, but Miss Barbara Buncle decides to write a book about all the people in her country village and she’s naive enough to capture their faults down to a hair and enrage a good half of them utterly. It’s delightful seeing the good changes that happen in the village as a result of her book and how everyone tries to figure out just who wrote about them.

It is absolutely refreshing to read a book with at least half the characters being genuinely nice, good people (the other half are amusingly and increasingly out of control in meanness) and with a few small gentle romances that are quiet and unsentimental. It’s adorable, it has fresh country air about it, old men say “hurrah!” in it (and how often does that happen, really?) and my library has the next book, Miss Buncle Married. Hurrah, as they say! I wish I had my own dove grey copy of it, but in the meantime, library copies are lovely. I’m not sure if quotes will really capture the magic of it, there are late night reading sessions in old leather armchairs next to crackling fires and grey tweeds are worn by breathless young girls and there are autumn bonfires and daffodils in spring and oh just read it, it’s the perfect cup of tea for what ails you.