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Dear Friends,

It’s been a while! I hope you all had a happy, and more importantly, safe and healthy, summer. And now we’re firmly into autumn, and I have a big change to share with you.

I moved! My husband and I moved from Chicago to Williamsburg, Virginia. It’s a big change, and for some it seemed to come out of the blue. But we’ve been discussing this since the spring. I love Chicago, my heart will always be there. But the pandemic plus other factors made it a difficult city to live in this last year. All the things we love about it are shut down, and I don’t know when they’ll open up. Our condominium became very confining during the shutdown, and with another season, at least, of that ahead, we needed a change. I wanted to see the sky! I wanted a nice yard and a garden to tend to, or at least escape to. I wanted to walk outside and not bump into people. I wanted a warmer climate, a longer growing season, some quiet. Some peace.

When my son and his fiancée decided to postpone their upcoming wedding for another year due to the pandemic, that was the clearance my husband and I needed to make a move. And as we were researching all the things we desired in a new home, I remembered Williamsburg—because of a book! About eight years ago, I was in Williamsburg to research a book set in the Tidewater of Virginia, during the Colonial era. (I didn’t end up writing that book, but maybe someday!) I stayed at a resort in a neighborhood that utterly charmed me with its quaintness, its quiet, its beautiful landscaping. It reminded me of Brigadoon—that mythical Scottish village hidden away from the rest of the world. And of course, the history in this area called the Historic Triangle (Yorktown, Jamestown and Williamsburg) is catnip to a historical junkie like me!

And this part of Virginia had many other things we were looking for: A lower cost of living than Chicago, proximity to larger cities when the world opens up again and we can go to a restaurant or the theater, a short drive to either the ocean or the mountains, good healthcare, and that milder climate we were seeking.

We were also seeking something we could control, during this time when everything else seems uncontrollable. Something we could look forward to, keep us busy, keep us exploring new things instead of continually mourning the things we missed.

So we’re here! It’s been a whirlwind—two months exactly from the day I first talked to a realtor to the day our moving truck arrived. It wasn’t without drama; we’re renting out our home in Chicago, the two-day car drive with two kitties wasn’t easy, financing a mortgage during a pandemic (and as a writer!) was more “interesting” than we might have wished. But we love our new home. We’ll always miss Chicago and plan on lots of trips back once we feel safe flying; of course my son is there. My other son is in Phoenix, so we’re all scattered, but we’re looking forward to a wonderful family vacation once the pandemic is over. Meanwhile, we Zoom.

I want to send out more frequent newsletters in the months to come. I’m looking forward to sharing photos of the new home, our new adventures in discovering an entirely different state, maybe some recipes. And books—of course I’ll talk about books, my own and other peoples’. The Children's Blizzard comes out in mere months—January 12th! Yikes! It’s available for preorder now, and I’m going to be giving away a couple of signed advance copies of it soon, so stay tuned. 

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Please consider subscribing if you haven’t already, and as always, you can follow me on social media and listen to the podcast I do with my friend Edward Kelsey Moore, called “Who the Hell are We?” It’s available wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 

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So stay safe, stay warm, and I’ll stay in touch!



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Melanie Benjamin

P.O. Box 6613
Napa, CA 94581

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