Obsessed With… is a new feature where I discuss something (usually a book series) that I can’t stop obsessing over and the story behind it.
Today I’m going to be talking about the book series I am most obsessed with. If you know me well enough, you can probably guess what it is! I’ve done various posts on the Stonewylde series before but I want to go into a bit more detail this time and really talk about my personal experiences and what they mean to me, because they mean an awful lot.
Above is my Stonewylde shelf – yes, an entire dedicated shelf! I was incredibly pleased when I managed to fit them all perfectly in to the section they’re in. I first read the series when I was around 11. My mum had seen them at the library while I was browsing and thought it sounded good so handed them to me. They sat on my pile whilst I read a few other books, and then I started reading Magus of Stonewylde. It’s safe to say that my life changed forever when I started reading, and that’s not an exaggeration. I can remember being away on a school trip and being sad because I didn’t have enough time to read the second book (yes, I read the first three in quick succession!). I can also remember staying up late to finish the third book and being hooked right from the start.
The book is set in Stonewylde, an alternative fictional community in Dorset. A the start of the novel, Sylvie, our protagonist, is lying in a hospital bed, extremely sick. She has crippling allergies and her body is close to giving up, having rejected modern life. When a young doctor tells her of Stonewylde, a country estate that sounds as if it could be the solution to all of her problems, a visit is arranged for Sylvie and her mother, Miranda. Stonewylde, however, for all its ethereal beauty, is not as it seems. Darker things are happening, and it’s up to Sylvie to discover the secrets at Stonewylde…
I’ve met Kit Berry, the author, twice now and both experiences were amazing. Being the first author I properly met, and the author of my favourite book series, I was very nervous beforehand, but I didn’t need to be! Kit is one of the loveliest people I know.
Just after I finished the third book, I found out there would be a fourth. I can remember the day it came out and my copy arrived – I was incredibly excited! I had to go out somewhere and so my mum told me I wasn’t allowed to read any of it just yet. That didn’t stop me and we worked out a compromise – I could read the prologue. Nevertheless, I don’t think I could concentrate until I could get back to reading afterwards! I think this was when I truly started to realise I was obsessed.
The fifth – and final – book then came out in October 2012. The 18th to be exact (yes, I still remember that!). After waiting over a year, I finally got to read it. I pre-ordered it on Amazon ages before but it said it wouldn’t arrive until a day or two after publication day! So instead my dad surprised me and found a copy a few days early in Waterstones. When I saw him walk through the door with a copy in his hands, I burst into tears. Seriously. I hugged the book, I smelled it, and, I can’t believe I’m admitting to this, I kissed it because IT WAS FINALLY IN MY HANDS! It took me on an emotional roller coaster. I was having to say goodbye to my favourite characters in the world, and goodbye to Stonewylde which is like a second home to me. I finished it on the Friday night and burst into tears. I can remember the feeling of reading the final few chapters and I’m feeling emotional now just writing about it. I cried just as much as I have done when family members have died before. Maybe I’m a little too attached!
If you’re not convinced of my obsession just yet, here are a few more things:
I have lots of Stonewylde merchandise – T-shirts, bookmarks, multiple copies of each book, and I even had Stonewylde soap. Let me tell you, I’ve never used soap so good in my life!
The other night, instead of sleeping, I stayed up naming as many Stonewylde characters as possible and I managed to name over 50. Even characters who are only mentioned once or twice somehow stay in my head.
I have been known to write Stonewylde fan fiction which will never, ever see the light of day but is incredibly fun to write.
Yul, the protagonist, is my book husband. Not boyfriend, HUSBAND. He’s probably my favourite character EVER!
My guinea pigs are named after characters: Sylvie, Hazel, Celandine, Bluebell, and names that could be Stonewylde characters: Rose, Snowdrop, Luna, Star and Parsley because all of the characters have nature-related names or Saxon and Celtic roots.
Stonewylde is not only a book to me – the Stonewylde philosophy is my philosophy and it has inspired my own beliefs and the way I see the world. Stonewylde is magical, and Stonewylde is truly where my heart lies.
Thank you, Kit, for everything. For opening my heart to Stonewylde, for creating characters who are my best friends, for creating a setting that is more familiar to me than my own town, and most of all, for writing the best book series I will ever read. Thank you!