Our newest Victoria Classics Book Club selection, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, found its seeds of inspiration within our very own pages. Recounting similar discoveries, readers share their tales of personal connections, professional pursuits, new pastimes, and other unexpected gifts brought about by the magazine they love.
In the late eighties, while working in Montreal, I discovered Victoria through a colleague. I was instantly hooked and felt inspired to share it with my art class. Before long, my teacher and fellow students were purchasing the magazine, too. We would devour the articles and make copies of our favorite pictures, which we tried to reproduce as paintings.
One year, there was a special feature on Trisha Romance, which sparked the idea of a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake so we could see her wonderful art gallery. My teacher and I drove the nearly 700 kilometers with two other students, and we all had the time of our life! We attended the preservation gallery, speaking with the personnel, viewing all of Trisha’s works, and taking pictures in and around the property. We continued our sightseeing tour of this perfect little town and stayed at a quaint little bed-and-breakfast, where a gracious host delighted us with traveler stories while we dined on a scrumptious meal.
We returned home with a renewed creative energy. Our art has since developed to have a softer, more meaningful aura. Then and now, Victoria continues to inspire the best in me.
Sainte-Julie, Quebec, Canada
As a young mother with two growing girls and very little extra income, Victoria magazine was the one small splurge that I allowed myself. Each new issue was a constant source of inspiration. The beautiful photographs and recipes inspired me to have tea parties and picnics with my little ones, tying ribbons on their braids and asking them to help me put out treats for the fairies. These teas became a ritual after school—nothing expensive, but still a treasured event with thrifted china cups and tiny sandwiches on porcelain plates. Victoria magazine encouraged me to teach my daughters about the simple pleasures of life that never lose their meaning. Twenty-five years later, I still look forward to every edition.
East Liberty, Ohio
Victoria magazine has been a blessing in my life for in several ways. My late mother and I both subscribed to the magazine. Being lovers of flowers, we greatly enjoyed the beautiful photographs of gardens, as well as the lovely homes. We often called one another when the current issue arrived to say, “Did you see page …?” Sometimes she’d place a note on the cover to show me when we got together.
When I married, Victoria featured a woman who did calligraphy and owned her own personalized stationery company. Her work was exquisite. I ordered materials from her, upon which she so beautifully penned my new name. It was such a joy to share those note cards with others.
It has also brought me delight to write essays, like this one, to share with other readers. The many different topics jog my memory and bring back such pleasurable moments from throughout my life. Sometimes they evoke stories to share and other times simply remind me how much I enjoy writing.
I will always be a reader.
San Jose, California
Victoria magazine has taught me that beauty is all around us, especially in our homes. Even in a humble abode, loveliness can be fostered with simplicity. One can pick wildflowers or cut autumnal leaves from a backyard tree and arrange them in an inexpensive vase tied with a remnant of ribbon.
Sharing these moments of everyday bliss is special, too. Many years ago, I made a luxurious meal for my then-boyfriend, now husband. I set the table with china, place mats, cloth napkins, candles, and fresh flowers. To this day, he raves about that meal and how I took the time to create a sense of warmth and elegance for him.
Richmond, New Hampshire
How can I best describe the first time I opened a Victoria magazine? It was like I had found something familiar, and I felt like I was finally meeting a friend with common taste.
My decorating puzzled my loved ones; their style was different. I adore old objects and could see beauty in everything. Others didn’t seem to understand. I grew up surrounded by my grandmother’s antique furniture, including an old-fashioned stand with pitcher and basin that matched the floral design on the doors. Finally, as an adult, I found Victoria magazine and realized that there were people like me out there, with the same appreciation for all things wonderful. I still get that thrill whenever my magazine arrives.
Every other month, I wait with anticipation for Victoria magazine to arrive. I look through it immediately, later reading it carefully and slowly. The photography soothes my spirit, offering a place to retreat when life gets hectic. In the late 1990s, one issue featured an advertisement for a beautiful solitaire ring. I fell in love, hoping to someday obtain one just like it. Four years ago, my mother gifted me her wide gold wedding band, which I eventually had custom designed to resemble the one I saw so many years ago. It turned out beautifully. When I wear it, it reminds me of my mother and of how Victoria inspires me to look for the loveliness that abounds in daily life.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Read additional letters from this prompt in our May/June 2022 issue, available on newsstands and in our online shop, and discover even more reader letters about the love of Victoria at victoriamag.com.