I am feeling overwhelmed by the world right now. It feels to me like everything is slowly dismantling itself and there’s nothing I can do about it. I have been turning to comfort reads this entire pandemic, but it feels this week as if it’s all I want – familiar worlds and people with big problems that are solved in ways that might be complicated, but are always right and just. A happily ever after (or mostly so) on the horizon. I thought I’d share what those are with everyone just in case you’re looking for reading material. Or maybe want to know a little more about my psyche and what I find comforting. I have five for you:
- The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery – Valancy Sterling, meek old maid under the thumb of her large family, finds out that she has a terminal illness. She is determined to throw off their yoke and fully live whatever time she has left, and does so with gusto, hilarity, and consequences that change everything. Not only is it delightful, but I have done a read-along with two different Montgomery enthusiast groups. It seems to be a favorite right now.
- Chalice by Robin McKinley – Mirasol and her fellow Circle members lost their Master and the former Chalice in a horrible fire that weakened the land they hold together. Now they must accept a new Master who is part fire-demon, hope the land and the people will accept him, and hope they can play politics long enough for everything to work out. But seriously, this book is full of pastoral peacefulness and makes me want to move to a forest and keep bees with my lover. If only Brian weren’t deathly afraid of bees…
- The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – While we’re on the subject of McKinley, you basically can’t go wrong with anything she’s written. This one has Harry Crewe stolen by hill people to lead an army against a foe that’s not quite human. Her road is hard, but her successes are rewarding. Most importantly, it carries the message that evil can be fought.
- Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones – Another who you can’t go wrong with. Charmed Life is about two orphan children who end up living in the house of the nine-lived enchanter called Chrestomanci. Much magical hilarity ensues, and it’s wonderful.
- Thornyhold by Mary Steward – Young woman inherits the house of a great aunt, who was known as the local witch, and has to deal with a nosy neighbor who might also have a sort of magic she’s not very careful about. It’s a love story, though, and a pastoral settling into a home of one’s own.
Happy reading. Or happy something… whatever you can muster in the coming weeks amid chaos and viruses that isolate us.