I’ve become a huge fan of Mary Stewart in the last couple of years. I swear that I would have read her books when I was a teenager, but I don’t remember any of them and usually I can pick up on and remember the details if I have read a book before. I read a ton of gothics by Jill Tattersall, Phyllis Whitney, Barbara Michaels (aka Elizabeth Peters), Dorothy Eden, Madeline Brent, M.M. Kaye, etc. Maybe I was just too busy with the other authors to pick up Mary Stewart. I know her Arthur/Merlin series never appealed to me so maybe I just wrote her off completely.
I recently read Madam, Will You Talk? and I absolutely adored it. As soon as Charity and Richard met, I knew it was going to be a great book.
I’ve found, so far, that MS heroines are not the fainting doormats that some of the gothic heroines are. They may not be super girl, but they are smart and capable and deal with whatever mess they find themselves in. I deplore insta-love (or usually more aptly insta-lust) in most books but for some reason in the gothic/romantic suspense genres I just let it go and I can deal with it pretty well. I kind of just know it’s supposed to be there and I can suspend my disbelief and just pretend that life will be good for them even if they get married after they’ve known each other for 13 days (I’m looking at you, Charity and Richard).
I also love the fact that they are dated and the slang and manners and attitudes towards a lot of things are different. It doesn’t bother me. I expect it to be different from now. That’s one of the reasons I’m reading the book in the first place. It may not be right and I may not agree with it, but that doesn’t detract from the story.
Anyway, I’ve amassed a collection of her books and I’m looking forward to whichever one I decide to read next.
So far my favorites have been: Madam, Will You Talk?, Airs Above the Ground, and Nine Coaches Waiting.