The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

I adore Rachel Hawkins. She’s one of my favorite people to follow on social media and the anecdotes she tells of her family and cats make her tweets come alive with joy. It’s easy to forget that written words can have a person behind them, but she makes you feel like you’re part of the family with every post.

The Wife Upstairs is a modern day retelling of Jane Eyre, with a Southern Gothic twist. As someone who never had Jane Eyre on my high school reading list, but Hamlet three separate times, this was my first foray into the story. I’m not entirely sure of the base material, and I wasn’t particularly rooting for any of the characters, but I did enjoy the shifting narratives and descriptive writing Hawkins utilized.

Jane comes to a small town in Alabama looking for a fresh start. She’s a little shifty, not your average heroine, with a hidden backstory and a thing for kleptomania. She gets engaged to the resident hottie in the first third of the book, which means it all goes screwy from there.

The Wife Upstairs was not my favorite book of the summer, but it is perfect gloomy day reading. Hawkins is engaging, smooth, and swift in her storytelling, and you can tell she put her heart into it. I’m looking forward to her next ventures into adult lit, with Reckless Girls and The Ex Hex (or as she aptly describes it, Hocus Pocus but they F).

On Comfort Reading

Today I noticed that one of my favorite authors, Rachel Hawkins, started her own blog – The Sterling Hawk. She’s been one of my favorite authors for years and years, her Hex Hall series being my first nosedive into her work and I haven’t come up for air since. Her first post is about Macaroni and Cheese Books. Comfort reading – which is, in fact, the best kind of reading, in my opinion. I thought I’d write a little bit about my own kind of mac and cheese books.

I love comfort reading. I reread certain books all the time. I have an old friend who never really understood why – I guess because you know what’s going to happen so what’s the point? The truth is, that’s why I like them. The happy and sweet moments are ones I want to relive, so why not. A cup of coffee, a blanket, a fire loop on YouTube, and one of my beloved Aunt Dimity or Anne of Green Gables books makes for a really cozy time.

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Aunt Dimity’s Death by Nancy Atherton came out in 1992. I just found that out today. I was roughly six years old at the time, and this book didn’t come into my life until I was about fifteen or so. And as Atherton is still writing the series, I’m still reading it. It’s nice to know a new book will come out in a year or two, letting me dive back into the English countryside to visit with some lovely characters, try my hand at solving a new mystery, and learn a new delicious recipe for my trouble.

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The Anne of Green Gables books are my other comfort series. My cousin unloaded the set of eight books on me sometime in my preteens and I would go back to them over and over again as the years went by. From her mischievous girlhood to watching her blossom into a young woman and mother, right up til the final book where perspective switches to her youngest daughter, Anne has been by my side, allowing me to grow up with her and her children.

Don’t get me wrong – I love new releases. My preorder list on Amazon is kind of insane. But going back to a book is like visiting an old friend you know is always there for you.

i really want someone who’s as quiet and simple and distant as i am, i want someone who loves little things intensely and feels foreign in places where the veil is just a little too dense. i want someone to pull along with me out to the country roads and gardens and parks who wont jump around and yell, but who’ll link their arm in mine and whisper about how much they like the hat of the woman we passed, and about how much they’d like to lay out in the sun, and about how little they’d like to talk, and about how we should instead just sit breathing with our bodies pressed together, in complete and comfortable silence for as long as we please before getting up and roaming again, slowly and sweetly like the syrup drenching our early dinners and the honey poured into late night baths. and when it’s all over i want to spend my time gently longing for our next small adventure

I came across the above in my tumblr drafts. I’ve no idea who it came from or who it’s for, but I love its quiet beauty so much.