I think it's safe to say we're all experiencing some level of stress right now. We could all use a little escapism right now, and immersing yourself in fiction is a great way to let your mind visit more pleasant times and places. I've chosen five of my favorite books that are comforting for me, and I hope they have the same effect on you.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I know, I know, this is my go-to recommendation. But hear me out: this novel is over 200 years old, and is still being adapted for film and television, inspiring spin-offs and modern-day retellings. There is a reason for this! On the surface, it's a romantic story using the common trope of enemies-to-lovers. Deeper down, it's a biting social satire of the Regency Era. Characters such as Mr. Collins, Mrs. Bennett, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh are hilarious caricatures that are still recognizable today.
Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
Really, any Tessa Dare book will do - they're all great comfort reads. This is one of my favorites. Clio Whitmore has become the laughingstock of London due to her prolonged engagement to the Marquess of Whitmore. When she inherits a castle, she decides it's time to break free and make her own life. However, the Marquess's brother Rafe is determined to keep her from breaking the engagement, even if that means planning the wedding himself. Sparks fly when these two go head-to-head in a series of hilarious misadventures.
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
You may have noticed I have a thing for Saucy Heroines, and Veronica Speedwell is the sauciest of all. After the death of her aunt, Veronica is free to fully indulge her passion - lepidoptery. Fate has other plans, as she discovers when she has to fight off an intruder and is helped and then whisked away by a mysterious German gentleman, who tells her she is in danger due to the secret of her origins. He leaves her with his friend Stoker, a former adventurer and current taxidermist, and is promptly murdered. Veronica and Stoker must partner up to find his killer in this first of a delightful series.
Death On the Nile by Agatha Christie
Speaking of delightful, Hercule Poirot is one of my all-time favorite characters, and Death On the Nile is one of his most iconic cases. Yes, it's a book about murder, but like all in this series, it's really a book about people. I listened to this one on audiobook, which is beautifully read by Hugh Fraser, the portrayer of Captain Hastings in the BBC series. Let his dulcet English tones whisk you away to 1920s Egypt where Poirot must discover the killer of a spoiled socialite.
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Boiled down to its essence, Middlemarch is the story of two people who marry badly in a small Victorian-era English town. Sounds boring, but again, it's the characters that shine. You really do get caught up in their stories. You will despise Rosamond (the absolute worst), root for Mary Garth, and roll your eyes at Dorothea. It's a nice long book to keep you company for awhile. Gentle, comforting, and low-stakes, Middlemarch is a perfect way to escape from reality.
We have all of these on ebook as well as eaudiobook, so you can enjoy them from the comfort of your home. Happy reading!