Creepy Cross-Stitch – Lindsay Swearingen
I have been wanting to try my hand at these patterns for a while, so this fall I finally sat down to do it. I started on the “Dark Deco Pattern”: a dark, elegant, art-deco style flower pattern. With the instructions and clear patterns, it is relatively easy to make. What I like most about Swearingen’s patterns is the beautiful use of colors on dark backgrounds and the subtle macabre details she adds to everyday scenes; one has ghosts hanging out in a sunroom full of houseplants!
Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries – Heather Fawcett
Young academic Emily Wilde sets out to study the fairies of wintry Ljosland. She stays in a small village whose inhabitants are terrified of the fairies living in the nearby woods. Emily is not your average protagonist, as she, like the fairies, is elusive and hard to get to know, but this makes her an interesting character all the same. I like how Emily is so down to earth and her thoughts and worries are so recognizable.
This story is both adventurous and homey, haunting but heartwarming. I also enjoyed the dark academia vibes and the beautifully described scenery. Can’t wait for the second volume to come out in January!
The Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
This one I read a long time ago, but this year, I listened to the audiobook version. The looming threat of the hound, the dark moors, the mysterious characters and unexpected twists makes The Hound of the Baskervilles such an exciting story! I also like how well-described the characters are; Sherlock Holmes’ quirks and funny habits make them come to life. I also really appreciate how there is always a sense of comfort and coziness in these stories, no matter what happens. There must be at least one scene in every story describing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson chatting or bickering over some drink in their comfortable sitting room.
The Fairy Bargains of Prospect Hill – Rowenna Miller
A lovely story about two sisters, their complicated but strong bond, and their love for the family farm. Set in early 20th century America, big themes are industrialization versus idyllic life on the farm and the marginal position of women at the time. The Canner women are strong though, and clever, as they use their skill of fairy bargaining in times of need. The fairies of Prospect Hill are intriguing but dangerous creatures.
In this story, I found it interesting that fairy-bargaining is a craft passed on by the protagonists’ grandmother, great aunt and mother. It creates a sense of sisterhood and independence in a society and time where women could hardly own their own money. The story includes lovely and elaborate descriptions of the materials, rituals and rhymes used in the bargaining. I also loved how Miller quoted ancient folk rhymes and fairy songs at the beginning of each chapter. They are so enchanting!