It's been a while since I've done a book review, so a quick perusal of my Goodreads shelf and I found one of my comfort books - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
The book follows the basic idea that magic is real, and two magicians have taken apprentices - one a boy, the other a girl - from an early age. It follows the apprentices as they grow up and learn about the different kinds of magic, not knowing that they are in a competition with each other. Throughout, there's also a description of a carnival known as the Night Circus that travels around the world. No one knows when it will appear until it does, and it only opens at sundown. The different exhibits and tents are unlike anything anyone's ever seen, and they develop a following of people who create their own kind of family as they bond over the circus.
One of the beautiful things about the book is the way the storylines are woven together. You're introduced to the circus before you meet the main characters, and it gives you a sense of wonder and awe from the beginning - you know right away that this is no ordinary carnival. Following the characters, they are developed wonderfully and in-depth, so they aren't just about the tricks they can perform. Watching it all come together, and trying to figure out how it will all end, is breathtaking.
The writing is gorgeous and haunting, and there's a subtle melancholy through the entire book that doesn't send it into the realm of depressing fiction, but reminds you that not everything is as happy as it may appear. For me, it makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea and settle down with the book, preferrably on a rainy day. I highly recommend it.