The wonderful Mary Stewart has passed away. I've written about her previously here and here, but I just wanted to say that I'm . . . I'm so sad. The first line of the first Stewart book I read (which happened to be her very first book as well) reads, "The whole affair began so very quietly." I spent the summer after my freshman year of college devouring anything of hers I could get my hands on. One year, for my birthday, my husband tracked down beautiful copies of every one of her books. I went into my library last night and ran a finger along their beloved spines. And as I type this now I'm stepping off the plane in Paris with Linda, navigating the twisted streets of Provence with Charity, climbing the sun-dried ruins of Delphi with Camilla, and I think—my, what a legacy.
The first book to make it onto my best books I've read so far this year list was actually a surprise. Thanks to Bridgerton's massive success, Julia Quinn's name is everywhere these days. And I'm chuffed about the whole thing. That said, my Quinn reading up to this point has been sporadic at best. And I'd only read two novels in the actual Bridgerton series. So I decided to rectify that at the beginning of the year by starting with Eloise's story (the fifth in the series) because she is my uncontested favorite of the siblings. I had no idea what her story held, but I knew she would be a compelling lead. I also love the title and the role that letters play in the story. Eloise Bridgerton is tired of everything. She is tired of the endless inane whirl of life among the ton. She is tired of being paraded around and forced to dance and converse with all the wrong men. But most of all she is tired of being suddenly and unexpectedly alone after her best friend Penelo