I thought I’d break up the Garden Bouquet project a bit (mainly because I don’t have much new progress to show hahaha!) and post about some inspiring authors this week! If you’ve been following the blog for a bit now, you probably know that I love books and get a lot of stitching inspiration from reading novels. If you’re new here, hello I’m Anne and I’m a bookaholic who loves embroidery. 😉 In any case, welcome to everyone! Today we’re having a lovely little tea party in which we will discuss 5 wonderful authors whose writing is inspiring. These authors craft beautiful worlds where you will want to lose yourself for hours, and emerge with new, fresh inspiration to live and create and find joy.
So pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable, and I will pour you a steaming cup of Earl Grey.
**Click on any book title with a link to read the full review on Goodreads 🙂
1. Lucy Maud Montgomery
“There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it, and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it to ourselves-so much in men and women, so much in art and literature, so much everywhere in which to delight, and for which to be thankful.”Anne of the Island
Of course, I simply must start this list of inspiring authors with the best of the best, the ultimate authority on all things inspiration – none other than L.M. Montgomery. Her books exude absolute beauty and loveliness. Have you ever read a book where each sentence was delightful? Each sentence somehow better than the next, so well-crafted yet never forced? That’s what Montgomery’s writing is like.
Descriptive, poetic, and yet utterly compelling in its simplicity, her writing flows naturally from page to page, transporting you to a time and place when life was simpler and people were happy. Famous for her beautiful descriptions of nature, Montgomery’s books are a complete delight to read and really make you want to learn to see and feel and appreciate nature for yourself (and perhaps attempt a line or two of poetry!). From giving imaginative names to places to describing nature in all its glory in a most loving way, the inspiration breathed into each of her books is endless.
Her stories are also filled with all the lovely little every day things that make us grateful to be alive. Baking pies, sewing a new dress, going for a walk over sun-drenched meadows, picking apples, the list goes on forever. Full of Edwardian charm and innocence, Montgomery’s books feature characters as endearing and loveable as her descriptions are, and I guarantee you’ll love it. There’s only one book of hers I haven’t liked as much as the others so far, but every single other one I’ve read was pure gold.
2. Louisa May Alcott
“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”Little Women
While we’re on the subject of all things simple and lovely, what could be more inspiring than Little Women? Not only does it have much to teach us in terms of life lessons, but who isn’t inspired to draw, or paint, or write, or sew, or launch their own theatre club with private mailbox after reading the book or watching the movie? Little Women makes me want to craft. To create. To Make Things. Also to find a sweet, loving husband, but that’s not the topic of this post 😉. It’s such an inspiring read for so many reasons, and makes me want to be productive and try new things just by following what the four heroines are up to.
Alcott definitely has a lovely writing style and I’ve enjoyed some of her short stories as well, but I find it’s really the subject matter and imparted bits of wisdom that make her writing inspiring. It makes you want to be better (and not just at crafts lol). Reading one of her stories really just makes you want to take action, and I love that.
The Quiet Little Woman is one of my favourites of her short stories so far. It was such a sweet story that brought tears of joy and sadness to my eyes.
3. Georgette Heyer
“It was growing late, and though one might stand on the brink of a deep chasm of disaster, one was still obliged to dress for dinner.”April Lady
As much as I love L.M. Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott, the love I have for Georgette Heyer’s books is just not the same. Probably my favourite author ever, Heyer has been crowned Queen Supreme of the Regency romance novel for her hilariously sublime portrayal of Regency life. Historically accurate yet undeniably escapist, Heyer’s novels are the perfect blend of comedy of manner, romance, and adventure. Ranging from mad romps through London or Bath (as in Frederica or Bath Tangle), to the quiet countryside (Venetia), there’s something for everyone to delight in. Her witty dialogue is unparalleled, and I warn you, you will laugh out loud at certain passages. 😉
When I first started reading Heyer’s books, I was really struck by the quantity of fascinating period detail she’d manage to weave through her stories. It never felt too much or too forced, it was just beautifully illustrated. You can see the glittering ballrooms, the fashionable dresses, the well-dressed gents as clearly as if you were looking at a painting. It’s amazing. And it never fails to provide ample historical sewing or needlework inspiration. One day, I will recreate Léonie’s presentation gown, or Frederica’s ball-gown for her sister’s come-out.
“With a Georgette Heyer you don’t buy a book, you buy a world. If its suits you, you settle down forever.”Time Magazine
I haven’t read all her books yet (she wrote over 30 historical romances!), but I already have so many favourites!! All the ones previously mentioned are top favourites: Frederica, Bath Tangle, Venetia, and These Old Shades, in which Léonie appears. And there are so many more!!
4. Jen Turano
“’I can cry at the drop of a hat.’A Most Peculiar Circumstance
‘You find hat-dropping distressful?’
‘If it’s a nice hat, and it has dropped in the mud, certainly. I could cry about that for days.'”
Someone once described Jen Turano as the American Heyer, and she was so right! Jen Turano is a modern-day author who writes fabulously farcical comedies set during the American Gilded Age (often taking place in New York or other such places where socialites dwell). As with Heyer, you enter into a wonderfully glamorous world full of witty repartee and screwball comedy. Her books are much less accurate and plausible than Heyer’s though. The emphasis is really on fun and comedy. Little of what goes on in her novels actually reflects life in 1880 New York, but it’s endlessly diverting and the characters are absolutely charming.
I’ll be honest, some of her books were a bit much for me sometimes, but I have such fond memories of the Ladies of Distinction series that I simply had to include her on this list! Even the books that I enjoyed less (usually because they were just a *tad* too silly, and I was probably in the mood for something more serious) still had that wonderfully escapist quality that I find so inspiring. If you’re into historical sewing recreation and you like Victorian-era fashions, Turano’s books are like a goldmine of inspiration. Think cascading bustles, elegant rows of buttons on bodices, and lacy parasols.
My favourite book so far is A Match of Wits, the fourth book in the Ladies of Distinction series, although the entire series is really good!
5. Laura Childs
“Pungent, orange-red Assams. Smoky, slightly sweet Ceylon teas. Fragrant Darjeelings from the steep slopes of the Himalayas. There were also sparkling emerald green teas from Japan, gyokos and senchas, that were a touch puckery and a bit of an acquired taste.”Shades of Earl Grey
And lastly, we will end this list of inspiring authors with Laura Childs, whom I just started reading last year. Specializing in cozy mysteries, Childs has written many murder mystery series, all of which have a theme. I’ve dabbled in her Tea Shop Mysteries, and they are so sweet and loveable! Those are perhaps not words one would associate with murder mysteries, but the Tea Shop books are as cozy as cozy can get! The puzzles are rather easy to solve, but the ride to the end is really fun, and filled to the brim with delicious tea tidbits, tea recipes, steaming tea pots, and pretty tea cups.
The stories are set in modern-day Charleston, South Carolina, and drip with loveliness, historic district charm, and all things tea. If pretty bone china, soft pastels, and dainty sandwiches are your aesthetic, you will love these books! The main character, Theodosia Browning, owns the Indigo Tea Shop, a picture-perfect spot that always ends up at the center of the action. Featuring delightful characters, intriguing mysteries, and endless cups of tea, these are the books to read for an ultimate cozy experience. As an added bonus, tea recipes are included at the end of each book!
So put the kettle on, dust out your vintage tea set, and invite a friend or two to sample your freshly-baked lavender-laced scones. These books will get you inspired to bake and cook and drink lots and lots of tea, guaranteed!
I’ve read the first four books of the Tea Shop Mysteries so far and enjoyed them all, but I’d say Death by Darjeeling and Shades of Earl Grey were my favourites so far.
Thank you for joining me!
I hope that between dreamy tea parties, Victorian fashions, Regency ballrooms, Louisa May Alcott’s wholesome portrayal of simple life, and Montgomery’s breathtaking nature descriptions, you will find a little something to inspire you! Whether it’s trying out something new or re-imagining something you already do, may the various inspiration from these authors bring you joy. I hope you enjoyed this post, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Did you also find them inspiring? What other books/authors would be on your list of inspiring reads?
Happy reading my friends!