Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bella at Midnight

In April, I reviewed the wonderful book Bella at Midnight, by Diane Stanley. It's a marvelous fairy-tale with some fantasy echoes scattered through it. I loved it so much (and it brought me such joy to realize someone in our day and age could still tell fairy-tales so beautifully) that almost as soon as I closed the covers, I found myself wanting to share the story with someone.

My own daughter is still too young (though I plan to read it with her in a few years) but my niece Hannah, a voracious reader, seemed just the right age. I decided to give a copy of the book to her for her eleventh birthday. She celebrated her birthday last week, and since she and her family happened to be visiting my parents (her grandparents) in Virginia, I mailed the book there. She got it on Monday.

What I didn't know was that Hannah and her family would be able to squeeze in a two hour visit with us on their way back to Illinois this past Thursday. This was a special blessing because they will soon be on their way to Taiwan, where they will be doing mission work in the next year. The two hours we had with them were all too short, but are hours we'll treasure. I was especially happy that the sweet girl and her youngest cousin (just four years old) played together so well.

But I think one of my favorite moments was when they first arrived. Hannah, looking so grown-up with a new stylish haircut, her beautiful eyes framed as always by her glasses (I always wished I had glasses when I was growing up, as they seem to fit book lovers' faces so well!) came toiling up our long stairs. She hugged me, and then she held up the book I'd sent her for her birthday just a few days before. Then she hugged the book, and announced with wonderful enthusiasm "It's great! I just finished it! I LOVED it!"

For book lovers, the only thing better than loving a book yourself is being able to share it with somebody else who loves it too.


Erin said...

Wow, Taiwan... That is quite an adventure! That's great that your neice enjoyed the book so much - still one I need to pick up one of these days! My aunt has given me so many books over the years, some of which - like Harry! - have become among my favorites. What a blessing to have an aunt with such an eye for great books!

janet said...

So happy to hear good things about this book, as it's on my daughter's summer reading list! I'll show this to her so she can get excited about it!

Beth said...

Yes, Taiwan! They're all quite excited about going, as this is a return to that part of the world for them (they spent several years in China when my brother-in-law was in the Air Force).

Hooray for book-loving aunts! I like being one of those.

In case you can't tell, we're back from Erie. :-) Just got in tonight, in fact, and I've been trying to catch up on email before heading to bed. It was wonderful to meet you and your Dad too!

Beth said...

Janet, I think your daughter will love this! It's an absolutely beautiful book, a challenging and creative narrative with characters you really care about. And lovely language. Bella reminds me a lot of Eowyn...