“The Starless Sea” and the sea of blueberries

I will always be in awe (and more than a little jealous) of the magical worlds and realistic characters Erin Morgenstern creates. But, I was unprepared for the magic of “The Starless Sea.”

Far beneath the surface of the earth, hidden from the sun and the moon, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. Stories written in books and sealed in jars and painted on walls. Odes inscribed onto skin and pressed into rose petals. Tales laid in tiles upon the floors, bits of plot worn away by passing feet. Legends carved in crystal and hung from chandeliers.”

I’ve always loved stories; from myths and fairytales, to the stories we tell ourselves, they are all in this book. It is an ode to the magic of stories, and to the worlds we lose ourselves in when we read them. “We are all stardust and stories.”

In “The Starless Sea,” we meet Zachary Ezra Rawlins who is fascinated by stories and has longed to find his own ‘door to Narnia.’ One day he picks up a mysterious old book, and it changes his life. What starts as short stories of pirates in prison and acolytes in an underground library turns into a story from his childhood. Zachary becomes obsessed with the book and understanding how he is part of the story, starting his journey of bees, keys, and swords.

What I love about Erin Morgenstern’s books is the sense of magical realism she creates in her fantasies. Her magical stories occur in time and place of our reality, and feels like they could exist.  Anyone who grew up loving bedtime stories and who searched every wardrobe for a secret door to Narnia will love this book. It is a seamless and elegant weaving of our childhood dreams. 

“Everyone wants the stars. Everyone wishes to grasp that which exists out of reach. To hold the extraordinary in their hands and keep the remarkable in their pockets.”

5 Stars

Throughout the book, Zachary eats a few meals now and then, when he’s not fully immersed in the stories, and he seems to have a penchant for muffins. At least 3 times in the book, he’s eating or ordering muffins. Even when he has access to a kitchen that will make anything in the world for him, he orders muffins. . . .twice! So, it seemed essential that I make a muffin for Zachary Ezra Rawlins. Last week, I was placing a grocery delivery order (quarantine life!) and noticed a deal for buy 1 get 1 free on blueberries. We love blueberries, especially blueberry pancakes, so I was pumped and added them to my cart. The next day I had 2 pints of blueberries! Only then did I realize that it was a lot more blueberries than the two of us typically eat. I felt like Dorian sinking in the Starless Sea, only my seas was blueberries! The only solution was blueberry muffins. But it couldn’t be that simple. It was imperative to find a recipe incorporating honey. Bees and honey are such a strong part of the story. So I tracked down a recipe using honey as the sweetener from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Find the complete recipe post here! We discovered we liked them better the second day, toasted and smeared with butter! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Sally’s Baking Addiction Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins (with honey!):


1 c milk

1 c old-fashioned whole rolled oats

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

½ unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

½ c honey

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c blueberries


  1. Combine milk and oats. Set aside for 20 minutes so the oats puff up and soak up some moisture. This is crucial to the recipe! Don’t do this the night before as that’s too long for soaking. If you find the oats haven’t soaked up any moisture after 20 minutes, give it a stir and wait 10 more minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12 count muffin pan with nonstick spray or use cupcake liners.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Set aside. Whisk the melted butter, honey, egg, and vanilla together in a medium bowl until combined. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir a few times, then add the soaked oats (milk included, do not drain) and blueberries. Fold everything together gently just until combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top. Top with oats and a light sprinkle of coconut sugar, if desired. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 16-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 22-23 minutes, give or take. (For mini muffins, bake 11-13 minutes at 350°F (177°C). Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  5. Muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature for a few days, then transfer to fridge for up to 1 week.

Published by Aprile

An passionate reader, amateur baker, aspiring writer, and professional cat lady.

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