All posts in the Books category

A romance novel sort of saved my life.

Published January 3, 2023 by Malia

This is a story that begins with TikTok. Specifically, BookTok.

I’m not sure how important this is to the story, but I feel like I need to explain what TikTok is like for me. At this point, I’m fairly certain that the TikTok algorithm is confused by me. I don’t really fit into any specific community. So, my For You Page is a bit of a mess. My little ADHD-fueled brain gets so much joy from the chaos. I’ll scroll through and go from a video about cleaning dryer vents to a guy in Florida watching sharks swim down the street. This will then be followed by people rating the bat-shit crazy level of items they’ve found at Goodwill. Sprinkle in loads of theater, archaeology, autistic/ADHD adult experiences, healthcare workers, Bluey, and evangelical deconstruction. And trust me, that list is barely scraping the surface of what I typically watch on there.

Now, sometimes the algorithm will think it’s started figuring me out and I’ll start having more of a specific type of video fed to me. In fall of 2021, I was getting a fair amount of BookTok videos where people were gushing over a certain romance novel.

Yup, that one. The one that we’ve all learned got its start as Reylo fanfic. Nothing wrong with that, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been very pro-fanfic since I first discovered it was a thing back in the early 2000s.

Anyway, I kept seeing these videos about this book, and I wasn’t very interested. I’ve been burned by book recommendations so many times, I’m very hesitant to base a reading decision on a stranger’s word. And yet, middle of November ’21, I found myself deciding to give the book a try.

When I say I went in with low expectations, that’s not an exaggeration. I fully anticipated that I would hate it, but I wanted to read a bit of fluff and knew that if it really was as awful as I was prepared for, I could toss it onto the DNF pile.

I didn’t hate it.

I REALLY didn’t hate it.

Was it the most well-written book I’d ever encountered? Nope. Did it give me all the feels and a happily ever after? Yes. Yes, it did.

My depression really got bad by early December ’21, and that was when I took to my bed (how’s that for a dramatic turn of phrase?). One of the only reasons I’d leave the blankets was to take the dogs out and feed all the pets. We headed into January 2022, and I’m not sure if I showered more than once that month. It’s entirely possible I didn’t shower at all. Things didn’t improve much when February hit, though I did start showering at least weekly, so that was a positive.

Everything changed Febraury 24th, 2022.

Throughout my entire stuck-in-bed depressive episode, The Love Hypothesis (which will be referred to as TLH from this point forward) had been the one thing that stopped me from completely giving up. During those few months, I read and re-read TLH more times than anyone probably should. Was it the most healthy coping mechanism? Some will probably say no. Whether healthy or not, I don’t really care at this point, because it helped me not completely give up on life and didn’t let the darkness win.

The book is told from Olive’s, the main female character, point of view (pov). While some romance novels will hop back and forth between the two main character’s pov, TLH only gave us Olive’s side. Adam, the other main character, we can only speculate about. Towards the end of January ’22, not having Adam’s pov really began to bug me. There was a story there that I needed to read.

So, I went to the internet and searched for fanfics that would fill this need. At the time, there were very few TLH fanfics, and the ones that did tell things from Adam’s pov were only short little glimpses into pieces of the story. That was not what I wanted. I wanted to read the entirety of TLH from his side.

The morning of February 24th, 2022, I awoke with my brain screaming that enough was enough. If no one else was going to give me Adam’s version, I’d write the damn thing myself. What happened next was the most insane ADHD hyperfocus experience of my entire life. I started the fic that morning and finished March 4th, 2022. If you’re counting that’s nine days. In nine days, I typed 63, 445 words. Just to be upfront, I wanted to stay as close to canon as possible, so I did use quite a bit of dialogue from TLH. However, I also wrote decent amount that wasn’t in the book. And it was all from Adam’s pov.

On a whim, I decided that maybe someone else would be interested in reading the fic, so as I finished each chapter I posted it to Archive of our Own (AO3). I did not think that it would be read by more than maybe two or three people. This really was something I was doing for myself.

I was dumbfounded when people started to read and leave kudos and comments. It wasn’t just one or two people, either. In fact, as I’m typing this, that particular fic has had almost 20,000 hits. It was overwhelming, but it was a good overwhelming. The internet is such a cesspool of hate, I was terrified when I saw the first alert that I’d received a comment. My fears were unfounded because people were so incredibly kind.

What all those wonderfully kind people didn’t realize is that those sweet words did a tremendous job of yanking me away from the dark abyss. Every day, I was less inclined to crawl under the covers and hope that I’d never wake up again.

Over the next few months, I wrote piles of fics. The quality varies from story to story. (Trust me, I’m under no illusion as to the level of skill I have when it comes to writing.) The majority of them are finished. I currently have a handful that are waiting for me to finish.

It’s still a little crazy to me that novel had such a huge impact on my life. Thanks to it, I’ve made great progress in figuring out what I’m doing with my life, and I’ve made friends with people I’d likely never have met if it had not been for that book.

Two final notes regarding this whole experience:

  1. If you want to read the fic that started it all, here you go: Fluke or Miracle? And from there, if you’re really wanting to read your fill of romantic cheese you can access my other fics. Fair warning, many of them have sexual content. It’s always consensual between adults, but it is still there and some of it is pretty explicit.
  2. While I do have a very soft spot in my heart for TLH, I have been fairly disappointed by the other stories Ali Hazelwood has published since TLH came out. Her novellas are okay. I have many feelings about Love on the Brain, which came out this past fall. The majority of which are not good. One of these days my anger toward the book will ease enough that I’ll be able to express my thoughts regarding it.

Finally, if you want to see my TikToks, you can find me here: Memary84.

Is that enough shameless self-promotion for one day? Probably.

Happy 2023!

Published January 1, 2023 by Malia

Shortly before I drifted off last night, I checked my phone and it said it was 23:23. For those of you who don’t read military time, that’s 11:23 p.m. (Years of working in healthcare converted my brain to operate on military time, and I tend to forget not everyone knows how to read it.) It’s not the first time I’ve fallen asleep before midnight on New Year’s Eve, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m sure that child Malia would be horrified that I don’t sit up, waiting excitedly for the clock to turn over to the new year. Staying up until midnight loses some of its magic once you are out of your teens.

And now, it’s 2023. This May will mark twenty years since I graduated high school. And before you ask, no, I don’t plan to attend my class reunion. I didn’t attend my 10 years, and now I avoid Facebook as much as humanly possible, so I won’t know if there are plans for a 20-year.

18-year-old Malia had very little direction in her life. Oh, I thought I knew what I should do with my life, but I was really quite clueless. I had a talent for music and the next logical step was to go to college to become a music teacher. Did I want to be a music teacher? I told myself I did. It made sense. People in my life were very encouraging that this was what I should do, and that once I finished my bachelor’s I should become a music therapist. The idea absolutely terrified me, but people in my life were gung-ho about the idea, and ever the people-pleaser, I tried to reconcile myself to the idea of this future. A future I swore I wanted to pursue.

Kids, if you’re reading this and find yourself in a similar position, learn this lesson from me. Never make decisions about your future based on what other people (even the most well-meaning, loving people) encourage you to do. You will regret it (and possibly end up in a mountain of debt).

I’m sure it will come as a shock to no one that I didn’t become a music teacher, let alone a music therapist. My epic failures at attaining any kind of college degree deserve their own blog posts (stay tuned for those).

I’ve spent the last two decades trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Trying to find a place I belonged. While I did eventually get my associate’s degree to be a vet tech, working in vet clinics is not the right place for me. I eventually landed in lab medicine. There are aspects of working in lab med that I adore. That said, there’s a level of stress in that environment that I just can’t cope with. The nightmare that was 2020 (a.k.a. Covid: Year One), cemented in me that lab medicine wasn’t where I belonged either.

2022 is the year when I finally figured out the puzzle of where I belong and what I should do.

The first piece started falling in place at the tail end of February. I began writing, and for months the words flowed out of me. Life got a little intense this past fall, and I wasn’t able to devote any time to writing, but now that things have quieted down again I’m ready to get back to it. My next post will tell the story of what actually happened on February 24, 2022.

The second piece fell into place in December. I auditioned to become a volunteer reader for Radio Talking Book Service ( I passed the audition, and when I went into record for the first time, I fell in love. I feel like I finally found a place where I actually belong. And the joy I feel doing this has made me decide to revisit something I started trying to do back in 2020.

Back when the pandemic got going, I briefly did something I called Bad Accent Storytime. I was making live videos reading public domain books. Why the bad accents? I wasn’t intentionally doing bad accents, but I knew I have no skill when it comes to doing accents and just decided to own it. The effort was short-lived, mainly due to the fact that my job took over my entire life.

I want to go back to reading books on stream. No attempts at accents this time.

Now, I know in my last post I made a big deal out of how I hate that question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. I still hate that question, and while I have absolutely no idea where I see myself in 5 years, I do have plans for this year. What better day than today, January 1st, to share those plans?

#1. Finish and self-publish three novellas. I currently have 3 planned. One I’ve almost finished the second draft, one is still in its first draft, and one currently only exists as an outline.

#2. Revive my Twitch channel and stream live readings.

#3. Post new blog posts a minimum of once a week. While I’d like to be ambitious and say I’ll post new content every day, that’s just not realistic. However, once a week is.

Here’s to 2023. Let’s make some content and do some good!

Reading is Fun?

Published July 25, 2014 by Malia

When this year began, I decided that instead of just  re-reading all the books I always re-read every year, this year I would make an effort to read things I’ve never read.  I’ve done pretty well so far.  Mostly, I’ve been reading a combination of fantasy, YA,  and graphic novels.  The graphic novels have proved to be worth my time.  (Bone was absolutely fantastic, but Watchmen was a really bizarre read.)  The YA has been a bit hit and miss.  I’ve enjoyed discovering the books by John Green and Rainbow Rowell.  Then there are books like The Selection series, which I’ve only stuck with because I felt like I should finish what I start.  They’re typically books with a good idea, but the execution is poor.

Then there are books like the one I just tried to read.

About a year ago, I heard that Marvel was going to be publishing two chick-lit novels.  One about She-Hulk, the other about Rogue.  The idea was that it would introduce female non-comic readers to these comic characters and thus make them want to go read the actual comics.  In theory, a decent idea.

At least the covers are pretty?


I recently got my hands on both novels, and thus far I’m not impressed.  I got about  1/3 of the way through The She-Hulk Diaries, and completely gave up.  The author is quite fond of using the term OMG.  OMG should only be used in the rarest of cases, and certainly not as the way you start nearly every sentence two or more of your characters say.  I’ve read books with shallow characters before, but the author barely even tried to cobble together a personality for the heroine, let alone any of the secondary characters.  Honestly, I don’t have high expectations for chick-lit.  I expect fluff, and average writing.  These are two things that should not have been hard for the author to accomplish.  However,  I spent the better part of the week trying to get somewhere in the book, constantly telling myself that it had to get better, I finally threw my hands up in frustration and went running back to the safety of Jim C. Hines’ Goblin trilogy.


I’ll take Jig the Goblin and his fire spider any day over a menagerie of vapid characters unable to think about anything more important than a smoothie.

A Book List For Mila Pt. 4

Published January 18, 2014 by Malia

The requested theme this time?  Books that are funny.  I don’t typically read books that are considered funny, but I’ve come up with what I consider to be humorous books.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir

Okay, I’m not just putting this first because my ad for my blog went live on the author’s blog ( this week.  This book is written by the author of the blog I just mentioned.  I can honestly say that this book is the funniest book I’ve ever read.  I read it over my breaks at work, and I usually ended up laughing so hard I would be in tears.  This led to co-workers thinking that something was terribly wrong.  Anyway, not quite sure where this rabbit trail is going, but the point is, this book is hysterical.  It’s filled with stories of taxidermy, animals, arm condoms, HR, and her struggles with mental health issues.  One word of warning, the author cusses a lot.  I know that bothers some people, and doesn’t bother others.  Personally, I think the content is worth the read.


Tina Fey has got of be one of my very favorite female comedians, and her book was a fantastic read.  What I really appreciated about the book was that she showed her journey from being a drama nerd to being a successful writer.  She doesn’t gloss over things like her time spent working at a YMCA at weird hours, or being part of the comedy minority (mainly, being a female).

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  (And Other Concerns)

Okay, I’ll be honest, I’m currently reading this.  I’m half-way through, and I can honestly say I love this book.  She’s incredibly down to earth.  She’s really honest about not fitting in, and when she has made decisions that could have been incredibly career damaging. Also, the story of her going on a Broadway audition with zero dance experience is fantastic!

James Herriot’s Dog Stories

This book is a collection of stories from the All Creatures Great and Small series.  This book runs the gambit from absolutely heartbreaking to rolling on the floor laughing.   I personally recommend the stories about Tricky Woo and Cedric the Boxer.

Pretty Much Anything By Dave Barry

I’ve been a Dave Barry fan ever since I was a little kid.  If you’re looking for a good laugh, you really don’t have to look much further than his stories on toilet snakes, parenthood, and things that would make a good name for a rock band.  He’s also has a blog ( that has all the news you wish wasn’t true…

Snickers From The Front Pew

This is one of the best books I’ve read regarding growing up a PK (mine will be just as awesome…provided I ever finish it).  They cover everything from food to church sports leagues to trying not to laugh during funerals.

And that pretty much does it for me for tonight.

A Book List for Mila Pt. 3

Published December 27, 2013 by Malia

I’ve missed a few weeks, but I’m back with my book suggestions!  This week, I’m focusing on four fantastic books by one of my very favorite authors.

Strong Poison

It’s quite clear that the mystery novelist, Harriet Vane, is guilty of murdering her ex.  However, when the jury disagrees on a verdict, and she gets a 30 day reprieve.  That 30 days is just enough for Lord Peter Wimsey to set about trying to prove her innocence (and to fall in love).

Have His Carcase

Okay, mild spoiler, this one comes about two years after the events of Strong Poison and does feature Harriet Vane and Lord Peter.  Harriet finds a body on the beach, and Lord Peter shows up to help investigate the murder which proves to be a bit tricky considering that the body disappears.

Gaudy Night

True story, I read

my mom’s copy of this novel so many times I wore it out and had to buy a new one (which I’ve done a decent amount of wear to, as well).  I think she’s relieved I finally got this on my Kindle.  This is definitely my favorite of the four.

When Harriet returns to her alma mater to attend a reunion, she ends up getting mixed up in a poison pen mystery.  It’s a different kind of mystery novel, because it’s more about the choices people make and how they affect other human beings.  Also, there isn’t (but there is) a murder to be found in the book.

Busman’s Honeymoon

I can’t say much without giving away important spoilers.  Here’s what  I will say, this is a classic whodunit.  An unpleasant man is killed, and almost everyone seems to have a motive.

There are two additional novels that were based on writing Sayers did, but never completed.   I’ve not read either novel, so I can’t speak to how well they fit with the first four novels.

A Book List For Mila, Pt. 2

Published December 7, 2013 by Malia

This week I present a random jumble of books I thought of during the week!

The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This is the best $3 I have ever spent on a book.  It’s a book of fictional correspondence between an author and various residents of Guernsey.  It tells the story of the German occupation during WWII, and as charming as the novel is, it certainly does nothing to romanticize the history.

Jane Eyre


If I had to pick an all time, #1 favorite novel, this would be it.  This was the first “real” novel I ever read, and it has amazed me how every time I read it, it’s completely fresh.  Even though I know what’s going to happen.  So, what’s it about?  It’s a memoir of an orphan.  She talks about growing up in a relatively loveless environment, but the story really picks up when she goes off and becomes a governess at mysterious Thornfield Hall, employed by the even more mysterious Mr. Rochester.  This is a love story, morality story, and mystery novel all rolled into one.


This is the 20th century update of Jane Eyre.  Extremely creepy, with a decent amount of suspense.  The book starts at the end of the story, and you take a journey in order to learn what leads to the narrator stating, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”  Every time I read it, I find myself changing my mind as to whether or not it’s a ghost story.  Also, you must read it because Mrs. Danvers is one of the most overlooked villains (at least in my opinion) of all time.  She’s conniving, manipulative, and pretty much a psycho.

Death Comes As The End

This is my all time favorite Christie novel.  I don’t think it’s very well known, but it’s definitely worth a read.  It takes place in ancient Egypt, and all within one family.  Family members start dying off horribly, and the whodunit presents a cast of suspects that even includes a ghost (and you totally accept it because it actually makes logical sense).

The Scarlet Pimpernel

I would list this as my #2 favorite novel of all time (it’s a tie with Lord of the Rings, which I know is a trilogy, but Tolkien meant it to be one novel, and that’s how I’ve always viewed it).  British aristocrat has a band of followers (other British aristocrats) that help smuggle French aristocrats out of France.  Leader of band is married to French actress who may or may not still be faithful to the French revolution.  There’s romance!  There’s intrigue!  There’s pepper!  See, now you’re intrigued.  You’re thinking, “Why did she mention pepper?  Is it important?”  And it’s going to drive you crazy until you read it and find out for yourself.

The Phantom of the Opera

Long before the musical or movies, there was the novel.  For non-musical fans, the novel involves a lot less singing.  However, it presents a wonderful view of the Paris opera, while also serving up a pretty fantastically creepy plot.

The One With The Werewolf

Published December 4, 2013 by Malia

(What follows is a real conversation I let myself get sucked into today.  The topic was all the books person A was assigned to read in high school and didn’t.  I tried very hard to keep my mouth shut, but I only have so much restraint.)

Person A: Then there was that one about a werewolf.

Person B: Beowulf?

Person A: Yeah, that one.

Me: There are no werewolves in Beowulf.  (I swear I was being quiet.  I honestly thought no one would hear me.)

Person A: Yeah, well, there’s wolves in it.

Fortunately, I had a legitimate reason to leave at that moment, so I was saved from saying anything else I might regret. I know that not everyone is book obsessed like I am, and I know that I should have just kept my mouth shut.  It would have been the polite thing to do.  Then again, I suppose blogging about the encounter isn’t terribly polite either.

Oh well, at least I know what happens in Beowulf.  

A Book List for Mila, Part 1

Published November 30, 2013 by Malia

So, I’ve been promising my friend Mila that I would compile a list of book recommendations for her.  I thought it would be fun to share the list with others as well.  By no means is this a complete list (or a long one, for that matter), but I’ve got to start somewhere.  Also, I’m not including some books that I know she has already read (like Lord of the Rings).  


Okay, stick with me, because by far this is going to be the silliest sounding book series I list.  This series follows the adventures of several different animals living in a medieval world.  The stories are brilliant and heartbreaking.


There are 40 books, so far, in this series.  The books cover everything from technology to insurance.  A very humorous take on serious fantasy novels.

The Wheel of Time

There are 14 books in this series, and it’s a very long, very detailed story.  I’ll be honest, I’ve not gotten very far in this book series.  However, what I’ve read has been quite excellent, and everyone I know who has finished it has really liked it.

A Song of Ice and Fire

This is a fantastic series, but be prepared to have your heart broken.  Don’t get attached to characters, because it’s likely they won’t survive.  A word of caution, this series doesn’t shy away from describing anything.  Definitely not child friendly.

-Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson’s Peter Pan Series

Initially, I didn’t want to read these books, because much as I love Dave Barry, I didn’t think the overall idea of an update to a classic story was a good idea.  I was wrong.  If anything, these books have made me love the original even more.

Okay, that does it for this week’s list.  I’m thinking I’ll make this a weekly thing, until I have shared all the books & series that I can come up with.

Random Saturday Musings

Published January 27, 2013 by Malia

Jane Eyre has been on my mind quite a bit lately.  She has always been my favorite female character from literature.  The book is a fabulous tragic love story.  I don’t know why I’m drawn to the tragic.

Spoiler alert for anyone who doesn’t know the story…

About halfway through the book, Jane realizes that she isn’t just Mr. Rochester’s friend, but she’s also in love with him.  This is fine and dandy, except for the fact that he’s engaged.  One night they end up in an intense discussion regarding the fact that Jane needs to go to Ireland, since Mr. Rochester will have no more need of her being governess to his ward.  Jane ends up making a pretty impressive, impassioned speech.  No matter how many times I read it, I tear up.  And, because it’s just such a great chapter, I’m just going to post it here:

A splendid Midsummer shone over England: skies so pure, suns so radiant as were then seen in long succession, seldom favour even singly, our wave-girt land. It was as if a band of Italian days had come from the South, like a flock of glorious passenger birds, and lighted to rest them on the cliffs of Albion. The hay was all got in; the fields round Thornfield were green and shorn; the roads white and baked; the trees were in their dark prime; hedge and wood, full-leaved and deeply tinted, contrasted well with the sunny hue of the cleared meadows between. 

On Midsummer-eve, Adele, weary with gathering wild strawberries in Hay Lane half the day, had gone to bed with the sun. I watched her drop asleep, and when I left her, I sought the garden. 

It was now the sweetest hour of the twenty-four:- “Day its fervid fires had wasted,” and dew fell cool on panting plain and scorched summit. Where the sun had gone down in simple state–pure of the pomp of clouds–spread a solemn purple, burning with the light of red jewel and furnace flame at one point, on one hill-peak, and extending high and wide, soft and still softer, over half heaven. The east had its own charm or fine deep blue, and its own modest gem, a casino and solitary star: soon it would boast the moon; but she was yet beneath the horizon. 

I walked a while on the pavement; but a subtle, well-known scent– that of a cigar–stole from some window; I saw the library casement open a handbreadth; I knew I might be watched thence; so I went apart into the orchard. No nook in the grounds more sheltered and more Eden-like; it was full of trees, it bloomed with flowers: a very high wall shut it out from the court, on one side; on the other, a beech avenue screened it from the lawn. At the bottom was a sunk fence; its sole separation from lonely fields: a winding walk, bordered with laurels and terminating in a giant horse- chestnut, circled at the base by a seat, led down to the fence. Here one could wander unseen. While such honey-dew fell, such silence reigned, such gloaming gathered, I felt as if I could haunt such shade for ever; but in threading the flower and fruit parterres at the upper part of the enclosure, enticed there by the light the now rising moon cast on this more open quarter, my step is stayed– not by sound, not by sight, but once more by a warning fragrance. 

Sweet-briar and southernwood, jasmine, pink, and rose have long been yielding their evening sacrifice of incense: this new scent is neither of shrub nor flower; it is–I know it well–it is Mr. Rochester’s cigar. I look round and I listen. I see trees laden with ripening fruit. I hear a nightingale warbling in a wood half a mile off; no moving form is visible, no coming step audible; but that perfume increases: I must flee. I make for the wicket leading to the shrubbery, and I see Mr. Rochester entering. I step aside into the ivy recess; he will not stay long: he will soon return whence he came, and if I sit still he will never see me. 

But no–eventide is as pleasant to him as to me, and this antique garden as attractive; and he strolls on, now lifting the gooseberry- tree branches to look at the fruit, large as plums, with which they are laden; now taking a ripe cherry from the wall; now stooping towards a knot of flowers, either to inhale their fragrance or to admire the dew-beads on their petals. A great moth goes humming by me; it alights on a plant at Mr. Rochester’s foot: he sees it, and bends to examine it. 

“Now, he has his back towards me,” thought I, “and he is occupied too; perhaps, if I walk softly, I can slip away unnoticed.” 

I trode on an edging of turf that the crackle of the pebbly gravel might not betray me: he was standing among the beds at a yard or two distant from where I had to pass; the moth apparently engaged him. “I shall get by very well,” I meditated. As I crossed his shadow, thrown long over the garden by the moon, not yet risen high, he said quietly, without turning – 

“Jane, come and look at this fellow.” 

I had made no noise: he had not eyes behind–could his shadow feel? I started at first, and then I approached him. 

“Look at his wings,” said he, “he reminds me rather of a West Indian insect; one does not often see so large and gay a night-rover in England; there! he is flown.” 

The moth roamed away. I was sheepishly retreating also; but Mr. Rochester followed me, and when we reached the wicket, he said – 

“Turn back: on so lovely a night it is a shame to sit in the house; and surely no one can wish to go to bed while sunset is thus at meeting with moonrise.” 

It is one of my faults, that though my tongue is sometimes prompt enough at an answer, there are times when it sadly fails me in framing an excuse; and always the lapse occurs at some crisis, when a facile word or plausible pretext is specially wanted to get me out of painful embarrassment. I did not like to walk at this hour alone with Mr. Rochester in the shadowy orchard; but I could not find a reason to allege for leaving him. I followed with lagging step, and thoughts busily bent on discovering a means of extrication; but he himself looked so composed and so grave also, I became ashamed of feeling any confusion: the evil–if evil existent or prospective there was–seemed to lie with me only; his mind was unconscious and quiet. 

“Jane,” he recommenced, as we entered the laurel walk, and slowly strayed down in the direction of the sunk fence and the horse- chestnut, “Thornfield is a pleasant place in summer, is it not?” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“You must have become in some degree attached to the house,–you, who have an eye for natural beauties, and a good deal of the organ of Adhesiveness?” 

“I am attached to it, indeed.” 

“And though I don’t comprehend how it is, I perceive you have acquired a degree of regard for that foolish little child Adele, too; and even for simple dame Fairfax?” 

“Yes, sir; in different ways, I have an affection for both.” 

“And would be sorry to part with them?” 


“Pity!” he said, and sighed and paused. “It is always the way of events in this life,” he continued presently: “no sooner have you got settled in a pleasant resting-place, than a voice calls out to you to rise and move on, for the hour of repose is expired.” 

“Must I move on, sir?” I asked. “Must I leave Thornfield?” 

“I believe you must, Jane. I am sorry, Janet, but I believe indeed you must.” 

This was a blow: but I did not let it prostrate me. 

“Well, sir, I shall be ready when the order to march comes.” 

“It is come now–I must give it to-night.” 

“Then you ARE going to be married, sir?” 

“Ex-act-ly–pre-cise-ly: with your usual acuteness, you have hit the nail straight on the head.” 

“Soon, sir?” 

“Very soon, my–that is, Miss Eyre: and you’ll remember, Jane, the first time I, or Rumour, plainly intimated to you that it was my intention to put my old bachelor’s neck into the sacred noose, to enter into the holy estate of matrimony–to take Miss Ingram to my bosom, in short (she’s an extensive armful: but that’s not to the point–one can’t have too much of such a very excellent thing as my beautiful Blanche): well, as I was saying–listen to me, Jane! You’re not turning your head to look after more moths, are you? That was only a lady-clock, child, ‘flying away home.’ I wish to remind you that it was you who first said to me, with that discretion I respect in you–with that foresight, prudence, and humility which befit your responsible and dependent position–that in case I married Miss Ingram, both you and little Adele had better trot forthwith. I pass over the sort of slur conveyed in this suggestion on the character of my beloved; indeed, when you are far away, Janet, I’ll try to forget it: I shall notice only its wisdom; which is such that I have made it my law of action. Adele must go to school; and you, Miss Eyre, must get a new situation.” 

“Yes, sir, I will advertise immediately: and meantime, I suppose–” I was going to say, “I suppose I may stay here, till I find another shelter to betake myself to:” but I stopped, feeling it would not do to risk a long sentence, for my voice was not quite under command. 

“In about a month I hope to be a bridegroom,” continued Mr. Rochester; “and in the interim, I shall myself look out for employment and an asylum for you.” 

“Thank you, sir; I am sorry to give–” 

“Oh, no need to apologise! I consider that when a dependent does her duty as well as you have done yours, she has a sort of claim upon her employer for any little assistance he can conveniently render her; indeed I have already, through my future mother-in-law, heard of a place that I think will suit: it is to undertake the education of the five daughters of Mrs. Dionysius O’Gall of Bitternutt Lodge, Connaught, Ireland. You’ll like Ireland, I think: they’re such warm-hearted people there, they say.” 

“It is a long way off, sir.” 

“No matter–a girl of your sense will not object to the voyage or the distance.” 

“Not the voyage, but the distance: and then the sea is a barrier–” 

“From what, Jane?” 

“From England and from Thornfield: and–” 


“From YOU, sir.” 

I said this almost involuntarily, and, with as little sanction of free will, my tears gushed out. I did not cry so as to be heard, however; I avoided sobbing. The thought of Mrs. O’Gall and Bitternutt Lodge struck cold to my heart; and colder the thought of all the brine and foam, destined, as it seemed, to rush between me and the master at whose side I now walked, and coldest the remembrance of the wider ocean–wealth, caste, custom intervened between me and what I naturally and inevitably loved. 

“It is a long way,” I again said. 

“It is, to be sure; and when you get to Bitternutt Lodge, Connaught, Ireland, I shall never see you again, Jane: that’s morally certain. I never go over to Ireland, not having myself much of a fancy for the country. We have been good friends, Jane; have we not?” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“And when friends are on the eve of separation, they like to spend the little time that remains to them close to each other. Come! we’ll talk over the voyage and the parting quietly half-an-hour or so, while the stars enter into their shining life up in heaven yonder: here is the chestnut tree: here is the bench at its old roots. Come, we will sit there in peace to-night, though we should never more be destined to sit there together.” He seated me and himself. 

“It is a long way to Ireland, Janet, and I am sorry to send my little friend on such weary travels: but if I can’t do better, how is it to be helped? Are you anything akin to me, do you think, Jane?” 

I could risk no sort of answer by this time: my heart was still. 

“Because,” he said, “I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you–especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you,–you’d forget me.” 

“That I NEVER should, sir: you know–” Impossible to proceed. 

“Jane, do you hear that nightingale singing in the wood? Listen!” 

In listening, I sobbed convulsively; for I could repress what I endured no longer; I was obliged to yield, and I was shaken from head to foot with acute distress. When I did speak, it was only to express an impetuous wish that I had never been born, or never come to Thornfield. 

“Because you are sorry to leave it?” 

The vehemence of emotion, stirred by grief and love within me, was claiming mastery, and struggling for full sway, and asserting a right to predominate, to overcome, to live, rise, and reign at last: yes,–and to speak. 

“I grieve to leave Thornfield: I love Thornfield:- I love it, because I have lived in it a full and delightful life,–momentarily at least. I have not been trampled on. I have not been petrified. I have not been buried with inferior minds, and excluded from every glimpse of communion with what is bright and energetic and high. I have talked, face to face, with what I reverence, with what I delight in,–with an original, a vigorous, an expanded mind. I have known you, Mr. Rochester; and it strikes me with terror and anguish to feel I absolutely must be torn from you for ever. I see the necessity of departure; and it is like looking on the necessity of death.” 

“Where do you see the necessity?” he asked suddenly. 

“Where? You, sir, have placed it before me.” 

“In what shape?” 

“In the shape of Miss Ingram; a noble and beautiful woman,–your bride.” 

“My bride! What bride? I have no bride!” 

“But you will have.” 

“Yes;–I will!–I will!” He set his teeth. 

“Then I must go:- you have said it yourself.” 

“No: you must stay! I swear it–and the oath shall be kept.” 

“I tell you I must go!” I retorted, roused to something like passion. “Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton?–a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!–I have as much soul as you,–and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh;–it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal,–as we are!” 

“As we are!” repeated Mr. Rochester–“so,” he added, enclosing me in his arms. Gathering me to his breast, pressing his lips on my lips: “so, Jane!” 

“Yes, so, sir,” I rejoined: “and yet not so; for you are a married man–or as good as a married man, and wed to one inferior to you–to one with whom you have no sympathy–whom I do not believe you truly love; for I have seen and heard you sneer at her. I would scorn such a union: therefore I am better than you–let me go!” 

“Where, Jane? To Ireland?” 

“Yes–to Ireland. I have spoken my mind, and can go anywhere now.” 

“Jane, be still; don’t struggle so, like a wild frantic bird that is rending its own plumage in its desperation.” 

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.” 

Another effort set me at liberty, and I stood erect before him. 

“And your will shall decide your destiny,” he said: “I offer you my hand, my heart, and a share of all my possessions.” 

“You play a farce, which I merely laugh at.” 

“I ask you to pass through life at my side–to be my second self, and best earthly companion.” 

“For that fate you have already made your choice, and must abide by it.” 

“Jane, be still a few moments: you are over-excited: I will be still too.” 

A waft of wind came sweeping down the laurel-walk, and trembled through the boughs of the chestnut: it wandered away–away–to an indefinite distance–it died. The nightingale’s song was then the only voice of the hour: in listening to it, I again wept. Mr. Rochester sat quiet, looking at me gently and seriously. Some time passed before he spoke; he at last said – 

“Come to my side, Jane, and let us explain and understand one another.” 

“I will never again come to your side: I am torn away now, and cannot return.” 

“But, Jane, I summon you as my wife: it is you only I intend to marry.” 

I was silent: I thought he mocked me. 

“Come, Jane–come hither.” 

“Your bride stands between us.” 

He rose, and with a stride reached me. 

“My bride is here,” he said, again drawing me to him, “because my equal is here, and my likeness. Jane, will you marry me?” 

Still I did not answer, and still I writhed myself from his grasp: for I was still incredulous. 

“Do you doubt me, Jane?” 


“You have no faith in me?” 

“Not a whit.” 

“Am I a liar in your eyes?” he asked passionately. “Little sceptic, you SHALL be convinced. What love have I for Miss Ingram? None: and that you know. What love has she for me? None: as I have taken pains to prove: I caused a rumour to reach her that my fortune was not a third of what was supposed, and after that I presented myself to see the result; it was coldness both from her and her mother. I would not–I could not–marry Miss Ingram. You– you strange, you almost unearthly thing!–I love as my own flesh. You–poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are–I entreat to accept me as a husband.” 

“What, me!” I ejaculated, beginning in his earnestness–and especially in his incivility–to credit his sincerity: “me who have not a friend in the world but you- if you are my friend: not a shilling but what you have given me?” 

“You, Jane, I must have you for my own–entirely my own. Will you be mine? Say yes, quickly.” 

“Mr. Rochester, let me look at your face: turn to the moonlight.” 


“Because I want to read your countenance–turn!” 

“There! you will find it scarcely more legible than a crumpled, scratched page. Read on: only make haste, for I suffer.” 

His face was very much agitated and very much flushed, and there were strong workings in the features, and strange gleams in the eyes 

“Oh, Jane, you torture me!” he exclaimed. “With that searching and yet faithful and generous look, you torture me!” 

“How can I do that? If you are true, and your offer real, my only feelings to you must be gratitude and devotion–they cannot torture.” 

“Gratitude!” he ejaculated; and added wildly–“Jane accept me quickly. Say, Edward–give me my name–Edward–I will marry you.” 

“Are you in earnest? Do you truly love me? Do you sincerely wish me to be your wife?” 

“I do; and if an oath is necessary to satisfy you, I swear it.” 

“Then, sir, I will marry you.” 

“Edward–my little wife!” 

“Dear Edward!” 

“Come to me–come to me entirely now,” said he; and added, in his deepest tone, speaking in my ear as his cheek was laid on mine, “Make my happiness–I will make yours.” 

“God pardon me!” he subjoined ere long; “and man meddle not with me: I have her, and will hold her.” 

“There is no one to meddle, sir. I have no kindred to interfere.” 

“No–that is the best of it,” he said. And if I had loved him less I should have thought his accent and look of exultation savage; but, sitting by him, roused from the nightmare of parting–called to the paradise of union–I thought only of the bliss given me to drink in so abundant a flow. Again and again he said, “Are you happy, Jane?” And again and again I answered, “Yes.” After which he murmured, “It will atone–it will atone. Have I not found her friendless, and cold, and comfortless? Will I not guard, and cherish, and solace her? Is there not love in my heart, and constancy in my resolves? It will expiate at God’s tribunal. I know my Maker sanctions what I do. For the world’s judgment–I wash my hands thereof. For man’s opinion–I defy it.” 

But what had befallen the night? The moon was not yet set, and we were all in shadow: I could scarcely see my master’s face, near as I was. And what ailed the chestnut tree? it writhed and groaned; while wind roared in the laurel walk, and came sweeping over us. 

“We must go in,” said Mr. Rochester: “the weather changes. I could have sat with thee till morning, Jane.” 

“And so,” thought I, “could I with you.” I should have said so, perhaps, but a livid, vivid spark leapt out of a cloud at which I was looking, and there was a crack, a crash, and a close rattling peal; and I thought only of hiding my dazzled eyes against Mr. Rochester’s shoulder. 

The rain rushed down. He hurried me up the walk, through the grounds, and into the house; but we were quite wet before we could pass the threshold. He was taking off my shawl in the hall, and shaking the water out of my loosened hair, when Mrs. Fairfax emerged from her room. I did not observe her at first, nor did Mr. Rochester. The lamp was lit. The clock was on the stroke of twelve. 

“Hasten to take off your wet things,” said he; “and before you go, good-night–good-night, my darling!” 

He kissed me repeatedly. When I looked up, on leaving his arms, there stood the widow, pale, grave, and amazed. I only smiled at her, and ran upstairs. “Explanation will do for another time,” thought I. Still, when I reached my chamber, I felt a pang at the idea she should even temporarily misconstrue what she had seen. But joy soon effaced every other feeling; and loud as the wind blew, near and deep as the thunder crashed, fierce and frequent as the lightning gleamed, cataract-like as the rain fell during a storm of two hours’ duration, I experienced no fear and little awe. Mr. Rochester came thrice to my door in the course of it, to ask if I was safe and tranquil: and that was comfort, that was strength for anything. 

Before I left my bed in the morning, little Adele came running in to tell me that the great horse-chestnut at the bottom of the orchard had been struck by lightning in the night, and half of it split away.

Jane Eyre Chapter 23 Charlotte Bronte

The story just gets more fantastic from there-on.