The Count of Monte Cristo ~

I always loved “The 3 Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo” is another by Alexandre Dumas. It’s a powerful book about loyalty, commitment, determination, strength of spirit, of seeking justice and yet not giving up hope. And along with that, if you like sword fights, revenge, disguises, deception, then it’s right up your alley!

“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.”

No truer words said! As the main character finds out, he finds his ‘truth’ in the most unexpected way, through the people he meets that come into his life only briefly and teaches him something at the moment he needs it the most. 

Edmond Dantes is unjustly framed for treason and sent to a prison fortress for 14 long years. A fellow prisoner is able to teach him all he knows, to figure out his purpose and to plan his vengeance on his duplicitous ‘best friend’ who stole is life, and love. With the secrets to the treasure of Monte Cristo, he is able to re-instate himself in society as the mysterious Count, surrounded by wolves in disguise, he learns to keep his enemies close….

So, no matter what, we must endure. Nothing is perfect in life or happens as we expect, it’s about our mindset when we face disappointment and adversity, and how we act that counts.

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“When you compare the sorrows of real life to the pleasures of the imaginary one, you will never want to live again, only to dream forever.”

~ The mystery of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ ~ 🖤🌹

‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is definitely a tale about escapism- Christine spends her whole life being coached by a ‘mysterious voice’ that mentors her to do better and achieve beyond what she thought possible, when she finally steps through the mirror and meets the man behind the voice, her illusion shatters and she is repulsed by his deformed face. 💀

Instead, she goes for her childhood sweetheart Raoul, and, the phantom realises that despite all he’s given her, she still turns away in horror. She pities him and yet still agrees to lay a trap, by going along with his grand plans for her on the stage, but in the end, his jealousy still destroys them (and the opera house which is also his home.) 🎼🎭

We see him as the villain of the story, but we also feel sorry for him, hiding away with no love and kindness- and perhaps it’s this forced solitude & space to develop his talents that turns him into a musical genius. There are many things to learn from it, that you can’t force love, that you can’t expect too much from anyone, yet also the power of forgiveness and also dedication throughout a lifetime. 🖤🖤

Another thing I love about the Phantom are the aesthetics, the opulent backdrop & historical references- after all it’s a theatre, the masquerade balls, the grandness, and of course, the amazing soundtrack!! Andrew Lloyd Webber really transformed it and made it his own- hence why it still stands the test of time. 👰🏻👻🎞⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

~ 𝔔𝔲𝔬𝔱𝔢 𝔠𝔬𝔯𝔫𝔢𝔯~

“They played at hearts as other children might play at ball; only, as it was really their two hearts that they flung to and fro, they had to be very, very handy to catch them, each time, without hurting them.”

“And, despite the care which she took to look behind her at every moment, she failed to see a shadow which followed her like her own shadow, which stopped when she stopped, which started again when she did and which made no more noise than a well-conducted shadow should.”

The world of Beatrix Potter

The tales of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle & Mr. Jeremy Fisher are probably two of my favourite (who am I kidding they’re all my favourite, ha)

🐸’s solitary life, talking to himself, his fear of being swallowed up by a giant creature of the deep when he’s innocently fishing upon a tranquil pond; and the motherly Mrs Tiggy Winkle, 🦔 her hospitality and helpfulness to do others washing in her little snug home in the hillside … but she still lets a visitor in.

I had the fortune of visiting Beatrix Potter’s home Hill Top Farm in Ambleside a few summers ago… it was cozy, with a quaint garden, cabbage/ carrot 🥕 patch and little lanes leading to the village that gave inspiration for her characters! Well what struck me was that the post box was miles away & she was very isolated (Back in the day when she wouldn’t be driving around or waiting for an hourly bus!) the map 🗺 inside this book shows an overview of all the areas around…

It was interesting to wander around the dark wooden panelled corridors of her house, see the little toy figurines in their cabinets, it all struck me as quite small and dark…. and tightly fitted, she would have to stoop down to cross the thresholds of many a doorway. But the solitude and tranquility suited her best, and that’s where I can relate!

Her ability to illustrate using watercolour her stories and antidotes of her woodland pets really are an inspiration and she never lost faith in the wonderful world she brought to life. Not only this but the stories showcase the best of the British countryside (I also started learning the theme song to the 90’s TV show on the piano- “Perfect Day” by Miriam Stockley) 🤓

In the end, she left her legacy to the National Trust after her death, including almost all the original illustrations of her books. Definitely a recommend to visit her home if you’re also a Potter fan like me! And since I owned most (but not quite all) her stories in their traditional white covered versions, this collection will definitely hold a special place in my heart! 🙂

My old and very faded portrait I’ve had since a young kid! ☝️