Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why I Hype Mary Stewart

I've had a bout of leisurely reading lately: no deluge of library holds, no urgency to read an author's latest release. In fact, I've gone back to re-read some Mary Stewart novels that I first read as a teenager twenty-something years ago. I mentioned The Ivy Tree a few posts back (and my mixed feelings of long-ago), and now I've read it as an adult. I do believe it's my least favorite among Ms. Stewart's collection of romantic suspense, and now I know why. I don't want to give anything away for those of you who haven't yet read the book and plan to one day, but in a nutshell, but it comes down to the fact that I wasn't enamoured of either the hero or the heroine. She put me a little off and he was a virtual stranger throughout the entire book. Ah well, I have so many other of Ms. Stewart's collection to choose from and so many exotic locales...

Austria, Corfu, Crete, Greece, Isle of Skye, Lebanon, France...

I don't typically read romantic suspense because I don't care much for the sordid underbelly of our society. And yet oddly enough, Mary Stewart manages to keep all inappropriate goings-on somewhat tasteful. (My husband rolled his eyes when I tried to explain this to him.) The Ivy Tree was, in my opinion, about as low as she sunk (and it wasn't even all that low).

A Stewart heroine is typically relatively young, sharp, witty, and adventurous. The hero, in turn, is dashing and charming and definite hero-material, able to come through swimmingly in a dangerous situation. I try to live up to the stellar example Ms. Stewart sets in my own writing and only hope that I come close. I just finished Nine Coaches Waiting and despite the hero only making the occasional, rare appearance, I fell in love with him! A couple bits of dialogue sent shivers down my spine, and that doesn't happen often. (Except with my husband of course). The falling-apart 1958 version to the left is the one that I own.

And now I'm on to Touch Not the Cat, of which I remember nothing, and I've not yet met the hero yet. I absolutely cannot wait.

My advice? If you like tasteful romantic suspense and very yummy, sexy heroes and likeable, best-friend-type heroines, try a Mary Stewart.

Side note: I've just picked up Breaking Dawn from the library! Another 800 page tome to tackle--woo-hoo!

6 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

I don't think I've ever read Mary Stewart. May have to give her a try.

Barrie said...

I don't remember anything of Touch Not the Cat either! I used to love Mary Stewart, but haven't read her in years.

Liza said...

I haven't read anything by Mary Stewart, but loved Breaking Dawn.

Jennie said...

Mary Stewart is definitely my favorite author of all time. I love what you said about her "tasteful" sordidness. lol.

I like The Ivy Tree better than you did. The twist ending is just the best.

~Virginia~ said...

hooray! just when i needed a good book recommendation! thanks for the idea! :) happy friday!

Walt said...

Would you recommend a Stewart book for a high school girl? Christmas is coming up and I have nieces...