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Caroline

maybe I'm one of the rare ones who hasn't read her yet. But I haven't read Georgette Heyer either. Good for me, two great authors to look forward to.
I looked at Mary Stewart's novels but couldn't make up my mind which one to chose first.
Maybe I'll have to get that book people box with 10 titles. :)

Cornflower

I read Mary Stewart when I was a teenager but not since, and I'd love to revisit her books (off to add them to my wish list).
Those new covers are very smart.

Cornflower

PS. I've just looked up Mary Stewart and discover, to my surprise, that she is still alive (she's 95) and she lives here in Edinburgh. All the more reason to re-read now!

Danielle

You have two treats in store for you then! :) They are both definite comfort reads so save them for a rainy day when you need a book that offers a little escapism. I think I might pick up Airs Above Ground next since it has an Austrian setting. I think I have three or four others, too, as yet unread to look forward to. I saw that boxed set--not sure I could get it over here, but I would love to have it!

Danielle

She reminds me of Phyllis Whitney (though if I recall correctly Whitney had a more gothic feel to the stories), who I did read as a teenager. I think I would have loved Mary Stewart then as well, but I am happy to have discovered her as an adult--so many books still by her to look forward to reading. I love those covers, too.

Danielle

You should see if you could contact her and do a Cornflower interview--since you are both in Edinburgh--that would be so cool! :) Yes, you definitely need to revisit her work since she is a local author.

Kay

Ah, Mary Stewart, one of my favorite authors from my younger years. I'm glad you liked THIS ROUGH MAGIC. I remember enjoying it. AIRS ABOVE THE GROUND is also good, but two of my particular favorites are WILDFIRE AT MIDNIGHT and THE GABRIEL HOUNDS. I need to reread some of these.

Danielle

I think she is a favorite of lots of readers, and even if she came late--I'm glad I found her as well. I think I am going to read Airs Above Ground next--I am tempted to start now, but I really do need to finish a few other books first. Wildfire at Midnight was recently reissued here in the US--and I bought a copy of course. I think I could happily reread her books!

litlove

I read this earlier in the year when I was poorly and oh it was sooooooo comforting. The writing is sharp and evocative so you don't feel you're wallowing in trash (not that I don't like that occasionally too, but still) and the mystery was just the right amount of suspenseful and the heroines are charming without being too vapid. Yay for Mary Stewart! I first read her rewrite of the Arthurian legends and absolutely adored them, and they are still her best books for me. But these are pretty good too!

Kathy

Mary Stewart is one of my favorite authors, and This Rough Magic is one of my favorites--I just love it! For me, her books are just exactly the right combination of suspense, romance and setting. The only books I haven't read are the Arthurian ones. I'll have to rectify that.

I was interested to see that she's still alive at 95! I really know nothing about her personally. I wonder if there are any biographies out there, like the excellent one on Georgette Heyer?

Christine Harding

I have her Arthurian books, which I think are very good, and I read Touch Not The Cat years and years ago (I seem to remember that too was set on an island, on the Thames I think. This Rough Magic sounds enjoyable, and I can't resist anything that references The Tempest.

Danielle

Her romantic suspense stories really are good escapist stuff. And she does them really say--all the things you mention. They are pretty fluffy, but well written and plotted. I was tempted to pick up another but maybe I will save it for the holidays later this year! :) I should really revisit her Arthurian books sometime. They were my introduction to Arthur--I've not read as many books about him as I would have liked but I have a small collection for when the mood strikes!

Danielle

I can totally see why and I have been greatly enjoying her books, too. I'm glad I have several unread books by her on my shelves and I think I need to buy the others I don't already own. I really liked her Arthurian books--they were the first I ever read about Arthur and a good place to start. Now I am contemplating reading them again, too. It is pretty amazing she is still living in Edinburgh. I think her last book published wasn't even that long ago. I suspect she must have had a pretty amazing life--certainly the adventurous stories make me think she had some real life inspiration.

Danielle

Oh, and I need to read that Georgette Heyer bio, too. I usually read one of her books every year (or several actually), but I haven't read any yet so far...

Danielle

I read part of This Rough Magic on vacation and it was perfect airplane reading--with so many distractions in that environment I was still glued to the pages! I'll have to look up Touch Not the Cat as I am not familiar with that story--at this point I think I will pretty much buy anything by her that I don't already own! :)

LizF

Your post makes me want to rush home and rummage in the attic for my old editions (the new retro covers are very nice but I still prefer my 70's style covers!)

Touch Not the Cat was one of the later ones that I read, and I recall it being pretty good although other than that the title comes from the family motto of one of the characters in the book, I can't remember much about it.

I remember reading Phyllis Whitney when I was a teenager and I think that you are right in thinking they were more Gothic - they reminded me more of Victoria Holt (don't know if she transferred to the USA) than Mary Stewart, or perhaps Anya Seton whose books I adored.

Danielle

I sort of like those 60s/70s covers of suspense/thrillers I find at the library, too. I can see why you wouldn't want to give them up. I have a few of the mass market editions from the 80s/90s that aren't quite so exciting, but the reissues are pretty nice. I would have loved her as a teenager, but I am happy to be reading her now. I wonder how Phyllis Whitney would hold up to the test of time--I remember reading her in high school--getting her books from the library. I never did read any Victoria Holt, but I suspect I would probably like her, too. I did find one of her books at a library sale, which sits in some pile somewhere. I missed out on Anya Seton, but I have a copy of Katherine in my bedside pile. So many good books to read...wish I had more free time to read them all.

LizF

I know exactly what you mean -so many books and so little time to read them! When I look at my double (and in some cases treble)stacked shelves not to mention the boxes in both my home office and the attic, I begin to wonder if I will ever get through them even if I do nothing but read in any spare time I have (although the chances of that happening are very slim bearing in mind family commitments!)
'Katherine' was one of my favourite books particularly as the real Katherine Swynford spent part of her life at a castle near here (as did Geoffrey Chaucer)but I liked most of Anya Seton's books that I read although I preferred the historical ones to those with a 20th century setting.
Her books hold up now as do Mary Stewart's and as Victoria Holt's have been republished in the last year or so, I suspect that they must have too although I haven't reread any for years!

Stefanie

Sounds like enjoyable reading. I could use a sunny holiday on Corfu. It's been ages since I read Shakespeare's Tempest and it is one that pops up frequently it seems. Maybe I should find a way to work it into my reading in the next couple of months.

Danielle

Most of my books are in a small room with bookcases that I keep closed off (away from the cat with claws who likes to shred paper...), but I also have a bookcase and piles of books in my bedroom and bins of mysteries in my computer room. So it is a constant shuffling back and forth of books. I bring them upstairs thinking I might read them soon, don't read them, start to feel messy and claustrophobic and then clean them out and return them to the shelves. Then it starts all over again. Uninterrupted reading time--wouldn't that be bliss?! :)

Danielle

I could, too. I would love to travel to Greece someday. It was nice to read this for the setting (and story, too, of course) since I am reading mythology now, too. I have never read The Tempest--poor Shakespeare has been neglected this year.

deborah v

I discovered your blog through a link on Cornflower, and am so glad I did! I rediscovered Mary Stewart, starting with "Touch Not the Cat" about a year ago and loved her. They are such an enjoyable read, rattling stories but very well written. I then scoured second hand book shops for more and read "The Ivy Tree", which is my favourite so far. I am now slowly savouring the others. There are so many writers that slip out of fashion that are waiting rediscovery!I look forward to looking in on your blog in future.

Danielle

Hi Deborah, thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. Cornflower is really lovely and it was very kind of her to link back to me. I always visit her blog with pen in hand and with a separate window open and with a online bookstore ready to search as I know I am going to buy something she is writing about (case in point--yesterday I think I ordered three new books--very bad of me...). I'm afraid I only discovered Mary Stewart as an adult, but I think I don't mind as I enjoy her books so much. I read The Ivy Tree several years ago and would love to read it again. I think my favorite is My Brother Michael but I've enjoyed all the books by her I've read. I agree that too many good authors are no longer readily available--their books have gone out of print, which is a real pity. I am always on the look out for someone new to me (but usually who was very popular years ago). It's always nice chatting with someone with similar bookish tastes--do drop by again! :)

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