Happy Sunday readers! For tonight’s blog post I will be reviewing Decorating a Room of One’s Own by Susan Harlan, who Kindly gifted me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review after seeing my love for classic literature on my Instagram! The basic premise of this book is so original and charming, I’m genuinely obsessed with it. Imagine an interior design book, where instead of interviewing designers or celebrities about their home style inspiration, it features interviews with some classic literary characters. People such as Dracula, Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennett open the doors of their homes and castles and give the reader insight into their interior design choices, where they get their inspiration from and what their favourite features of their homes are. It includes tours of famous literary residents such as Pemberley, Victor Frankenstein’s laboratory and Jay Gatsby’s swinging pad, all the while littered with references and quotes from the books and insight into the characters featured.
I think it’s obvious from my introduction that I just adored this book. It has such a wonderful sense of humour, one of my favourite moments being Miss Havisham from Bleak House, who when referring to the author who wrote her such a depressing storyline stated, “He really put the ‘Dick’ in ‘Dickens.'” It is littered with little ‘inside’ jokes between the reader and the characters which had me literally laughing out loud. Every ‘tour’ and ‘interview’ was a little trip down memory lane as I remembered the books I have read and loved in the past, some of which I haven’t picked up in far too long. It renewed my love of classic literature and as a direct result, there are now multiple re-reads on my TBR pile. Indeed, there are some classics referred to in the book which I have never taken the time to read but after reading this book, I definitely plan on doing so.
The book is divided into chapters covering specific types of domiciles, everything from ‘Ancestral Estates’ and ‘Crazy Castles’ to ‘Cottages, Cabins and Hovels.’ Whether you live in a big house or a flat, or even castles, ships or wardrobes- there is style inspiration for everyone. Dotted amongst these main chapters are little funny interludes, like the witch from Hansel and Gretel discussing decorating with the Mama Bear from Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Whatever your favourite books are, Susan has it covered.
It is beautifully illustrated by Becca Stadtlander (I mean check out that drool worthy cover), with images from each resident adorably featured in each interview. Highlights include paintings of Dracula’s coffin, the Gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel, the wardrobe from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and a full page illustration of Pemberley. I love the classic style of the images, which for perfectly with the books theme.
Susan Harlan is a great writer and it’s clear how much time and research she put into each character and each interview. She obviously re-read every single book featured as each interview perfectly captures that particular book and character, whilst giving it a humorous, modern and light hearted twist.
Randomly, I also want to note how beautiful the book actually looks as well as the fact that it is of a really high quality. It is a hard back, which I love, but also the actual pages are of a really thick and high grade paper. It’s the type of book you would have sitting on your coffee table for people to peruse. It makes me sound so old saying something like that, but I genuinely appreciated the weight and appearance of it. It felt grown up and expensive!
Overall this is a fun, light hearted book which would be perfect for any fan of classic literature and as a side note, it would make a really lovely gift! Definitely 4.5 stars out of 5!