Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy 91st to My Idol, Mary Stewart

I've written many times about Mary Stewart on this blog; in my estimation she is unmatched as a writer of romantic suspense, and as a writer of the literary mystery. Stewart's writing, intelligent and exciting, has remained my favorite for thirty years, and I only hope she is celebrating this birthday with people that she loves, and that perhaps she is reading a good book at her own hearth.

Always a private person, Stewart did consent to an interview with Raymond H. Thompson in 1989, in which he asked her about the writing of suspense. Stewart claimed that it was not entirely conscious: "I've written stories since I was three and a half, and I think you're either born with the storyteller's flair or you're not. You can learn much about the craft of writing, but you either have the storyteller's flair or you don't. It's no virtue of mine. It's just there. In a story, however, each point of rest is also a point of departure; you can't help it."

For anyone who hasn't read a Mary Stewart novel, you must do yourself the favor of reading one in honor of her birthday. NINE COACHES WAITING has been re-released by Chicago Review Press(thanks for that info, Janet Reid) with a lovely, mysterious cover. I bought it for my mother for her birthday this past August, because she is the one who did me the favor of introducing me to Mary Stewart!

In any case, Mrs. Stewart, I am thinking of you today as you celebrate 91 years.

15 comments:

Kay said...

Wow, 91 years old. I also love Mary Stewart. I remember reading her first when I was in 8th grade I think. She and Victoria Holt just charmed me totally. Loved their gothic romantic suspense. I also truly adored her locations. Such fun! I couldn't even tell you my favorite because I loved so many but I never really got into her King Arthur books. My husband read those.

Julia Buckley said...

I thought the Arthurian books were beautifully written, but they didn't capture my imagination the way that her romances did. And now I teach The Tempest, which she quotes throughout THIS ROUGH MAGIC, and I have an ever-increasing appreciation of her craft.

I read Victoria Holt, too. :)
My favorite was "On the Night of the Seventh Moon."

Kay said...

This Rough Magic. That was one of my favorites I remember. Also Wildfire at Midnight and the one with the cousins in Istanbul or somewhere and several others. See what I mean?

Victoria Holt was my first experience with a crazy psychotic killer. I read Bride of Pendorric when I was in 8th grade and my hair stood on end at the mad killer. I was hooked for life on mysteries. Well, I had already liked them reading Nancy Drew and such but adult mysteries.

Julia Buckley said...

Yeah--you know, looking back, I think Victoria is highly underrated. She didn't just write romances--she had gothic stories, great period pieces, with wonderful, funny dialogue in the midst of really scary plots. I just ate all of her books up, and I really need to read her again.

Carol said...

Thanks for reminding me of Mary Stewart,I've read and loved everything she wrote. Am very much in need of a "comfort read" at present and have decided to reread either MADAM WILL YOU TALK or THIS ROUGH MAGIC today.
I have read all of Victoria Holt too and also count Barbara Mertz writing as either Barbara Mich aels or Elizabeth Peters as a favorite. Have you read Mary Elgin? Can't think of any titles at the moment but I enjoyed her books very much too.
Carol

Julia Buckley said...

No, Carol--Mary Elgin is a new name to me! Tell me more!

M said...

Mary Elgin wrote Man from the Mist, Highland Masquerade, and then a third one whose title escapes me. She was a wonderful writer, unfortunately, she passed away far too early.

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, M! I'm going to check her out on good ol' Amazon. :)

Anonymous said...

I have all her books and reread them periodically. I especially love her vivid descriptions of the countries in which she sets her books. I love the Merlin trilogy. I am pleased to know that she is still alive, which is what I was trying to track down when I found this site.

The Rohaly Family said...
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Julia Buckley said...

I re-read them, too--they're my "feel good" books. And you're so right about how adept she is with setting. I never longed to go to a Greek island until I read THIS ROUGH MAGIC, and she has made me feel the same way about France and England.

Marj said...

In addition to Mary Stewart, one of my favorites is Georgette Heyer. Are you familiar with her? I also have all her books and reread periodically. It's like visiting an old friend to reread both Stewart and Heyer. It's like comfort food for the soul.

Julia Buckley said...

Marj, my sister and mother were both big Heyer fans; I think I read one or two and liked them. I should go back to rediscover her.

Anonymous said...

To M said re: Mary Elgin's third book. It is called "The Wood and the Trees". I have it in my hands right now, from my local library. I have read all three many times. I just can't keep from checking them out whenever I come across them in the library.

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