Welcome back, book lovers! I am coming at you today from increasingly cozy weather and with plenty of enthusiasm to find that one book (or three) to curl up with this weekend. Let me be clear: it does not under any circumstances need to be even remotely cold for the olden curling-up-with-a-good-book to happen. But isn’t it so much nicer when it is?
This one is for my fellow Austenites. Believe it or not, SP Books is releasing limited edition copies of the legitimate, longhand manuscript of Lady Susan, the only complete surviving manuscript of our favorite drawing-room hypocrisy critic’s work. This beautifully bound gem is full of irresistibly human author details like Austen’s true-to-form calligraphy and, interestingly enough, essentially no margins or interlinear space, which likely suggests our favorite Jane may have been trying to economize on paper. Sign of the times? Gimme.
Do I really need to explain much here? The world does not have enough longhand manuscripts of proto-feminist authors who are also literary legends. In a largely digital world, the magic of a person’s handwriting—seeing it, recognizing it when it often comes in the mail, learning the many shapes and angles that vary from writer to writer—is no longer a part of our daily lives, and yet it carries such a nostalgic hit of personality; who wouldn’t to get a little closer to Jane Austen’s personality?
COFFEE SHOP READ
Lightbringer is the right book end in Claire Legrand’s beloved fantasy series The Emporium Trilogy. I am not dead inside, so I’m not going to spoil it for you, but here’s a little bit about the series: it’s perfect for dark fantasy and epic fantasy readers, it features two strong female leads, and the story is told from both of their points of view. In a world of ruthless assassins, dark prophecies, and elemental magic, two queens—one foretold to be a queen of light, and the other of blood—find themselves in an imperial feud to last millenia.
Some stories are so big, they don’t fit into 300 pages. There is something about committing to a compelling saga that makes you feel like the story has committed to you right back. Anyone who appreciates quality world-building, fantastic adventure, and full-fledged female leads would do well to pick up this book (start at the beginning—Furyborn—though!).
Finally, we have book thirteen of Evans’s archaeological mystery series—Wrecked, by Mary Anna Evans.
Archaeologist Faye Longchamp learns of her friend and colleague’s suspicious drowning in what was supposed to be an underwater archaeological site. When she inspects the area and finds no trace of the shipwreck her friend meant to explore, things don’t quite add up. Additionally, when Faye learns her daughter is being romanced by a potentially dangerous man, the situation escalates a layer beyond murder mystery.
Murder mysteries and archaeology have one core characteristic in common: they are both, in some capacity, a puzzle that the living have the task of putting together if they want to get to the truth. Put them both together and you have mental jumping jacks without the extra sweaty laundry.
Stay warm and stay reading!
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