Virtual Advent Tour: Reading by Firelight (Dec. 10)

Hi! Welcome to Random Magic Tour - The Coven. This is the official site for Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic. We do a weekly collective gallery of cute reading nook images, called Book Nooks, and you're welcome to browse some images or to participate here, if you like: Book Nooks

For this stop on Virtual Advent Tour 2011, we thought it'd be fun to enjoy some winter-related book nooks and winter palaces, so below we have some pretty images you might enjoy.

All of the images will be related to winter and castles or great homes - all marvelous places to find ancient fireplaces and luxurious surroundings, perfect for reading by firelight.

Here's a quick excerpt from Random Magic, so you can imagine at least one of these places - although, of course, this particular great home is a little less comfortable for guests who'd like to read by firelight. In fact, in this instance, reading with the lights down low all around you is not all.

Excerpt, Random Magic:
Please note: Edited for length

There couldn't possibly exist a more pleasant spot in the entire world. Not possibly. Watercolor painting in the garden? But of course. The lady of the house is in ecstasies over the proposal. So charming. Yes, it will be arranged at once, for tomorrow afternoon, when the light is best...

All, one decides in satisfaction, is well with the world. London and all her annoyances seem a million miles away, and that's all to the good.

Then night falls.

And one begins to realize that the confining stone walls of Castle Marlybone contain somewhat more than immediately meets the eye: All those attics. Gloomy hallways. Secret doors and unexpected dungeons. Moats, crypts, and spectral visits from irritating fellows popping through walls...

The crammed-in houseful of unwary guests are treated to ghastly shrieks at midnight and faces in mirrors which don't, alas, belong to them, levitating books, and amorphous balls of light flitting through the shrubbery...

Doors slam in deserted wings...and drowsy sleepers are forced to listen for hours on end to irksome commentary from feckless nincompoops who died for love...

Through it all, grey ladies whom everyone likes to pretend aren't really there pop up and down the stairs at odd hours, vanishing at inconvenient moments, so that one doesn't know at all where one is.

Every last bit of it is patently endured, in the name of keeping up appearances...until one is joined unexpectedly in the bathtub by a skeleton wearing nothing but a smile and a top hat.

The violet-scented guest soap is abandoned mid-lather. The luggage is left behind, to be sent for next season, if ever...One flees back to the embrace of ordinary, overcrowded London, sends for the family doctor and takes to bed for a month, sleeps with the lights on and jumps at every sound...

And, so, now you know what to expect when Lord and Lady Mucklewater invite you 'round for crumpets and tea at Castle Greylaudanum. Things are nearly never what they seem to be, and often a great deal worse.

Alas, Witherspoon Manse wasn't that sort of castle. It was rather more mundane than all that. Which made it all the more shocking, in the end....

What happens next? Find out!

Browse or buy Random Magic: Print | Kindle
Explore Random Magic: YouTube | Tumblr | Twitter

And, now, here's a nice gallery of the top five or so places - that are not this place! - that no doubt include some perfect spots for reading by firelight:

About: Location and artist unknown
Source: Pinterest

About: Location is Tsarskoye Selo, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Artist unknown.
Source: Tumblr via We Heart It

About: Location given by the poster (English Ladye) as Hanham Court, Bristol, UK

About: Bletchley Park, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, UK
Source: Flickr via We Heart It

About: Schloss Neuschwanstein, village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Source: Daily Architecture

Note: By the way, the 'Swan King' who dreamed up this outlandishly romantic castle also appears briefly as a character in Random Magic. He was also called der Märchenkönig, or the Fairy Tale King, the Dream King and Mad King Ludwig.
Read more about Ludwig II of Bavaria (shown above)

Shown above: Enjoy a video clip about the Dream King and Schloss Neuschwanstein, courtesy of World Site Guides.

About: Château de Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds, Picardy, FR
Source: Lorem Ipsum, The Pretty Princess

More nice things to browse...

We hope you've had an enjoyable time here, and you're welcome to find out more about Random Magic by visiting any of the places below:

Browse or buy Random Magic: Print | Kindle
Explore Random Magic: YouTube | Tumblr | Twitter

You're also quite welcome to visit Songs of the Season, a fun music hop organized by @RandomMagicTour and featuring cool bloggers from all over the world:

Songs of the Season
Dec. 10-25, 2011
Visit: Songs of the Season

If you're dropping by from the tour, please feel free to leave a souvenir badge for your post in the collection below. If you're not part of the tour but have a related winter post to include, you're welcome to add something nice.

Thanks for stopping by!
Advent Tour 2011 schedule is here: Find more posts

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Image source: Spooky castle. Location and artist unknown.