Mary Stewart

This morning I found out that author Mary Stewart has passed away. She was 97 years old. Announcement and obituary from The Guardian can be viewed here and here. A snippet from the obituary:

Stewart introduced a different kind of heroine for a newly emerging womanhood. It was her “anti-namby-pamby” reaction, as she called it, to the “silly heroine” of the conventional contemporary thriller who “is told not to open the door to anybody and immediately opens it to the first person who comes along”. Instead, Stewart’s stories were narrated by poised, smart, highly educated young women who drove fast cars and knew how to fight their corner. Also tender-hearted and with a strong moral sense, they spoke, one felt, with the voice of their creator. Her writing must have provided a natural form of expression for a person not given to self-revelation.

Loved that story about how she met her husband and how they got married three months later. It’s heartbreaking that she badly wanted to have kids and yet she couldn’t. I found it interesting that that’s what led her to write novels. While I discovered Mary Stewart’s books fairly recently (only a few years ago) and I’ve only read a handful of them, I wanted to write a post about her novels because I enjoyed reading them and I would like more readers to pick up her books.

STB Nine Coaches Waiting

I can still remember how I first discovered Mary Stewart. I was asking my book pusher friend Angie for recommendations that were similar to Eva Ibbotson’s writing because I love her books. Angie then mentioned Mary Stewart and recommended that I can start with Nine Coaches Waiting. I grabbed a copy and read it as soon as I could. I was charmed by this Jane Eyre-esque book and I knew it wouldn’t be the last Mary Stewart novel that I would read. I have read some of her other titles since then and I keep meaning to read more of them. One thing that I really like about her romantic suspense books is that each is set in a different town or city and she does such a great job of describing the place. In this website that focuses on Mary Stewart, it is mentioned that she and her husband “traveled extensively, and these trips provided inspiration for the spectacular and exotic settings that her novels are so famous for.” I’ve also heard good things about her Arthurian series, which I’m also planning to read. Mary Stewart is the kind of author that I wish I had known about sooner. Her novels would have probably ended up as old favorites if I discovered her when I was much younger. As it is, the best that I can do now is to catch up on reading her books and try to spread the word about them. I’m thinking of reading her first novel, Madam, Will You Talk?, soon since it’s set in the South of France and I would love to read more about that region. Please feel free to recommend and talk about your favorite Mary Stewart titles, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

20 thoughts on “Mary Stewart

  1. This post makes me happy, Chachic. I’m so glad you started reading her books. I hope you love Madam, Will You Talk? It was my first. You never really get over your first.

  2. I love Mary Stewart — Nine Coaches Waiting is one of my favorites, and now that you’ve brought it up, I want to go re-read it! For me, her Arthurian trilogy is THE Arthurian story.

    My favorite might be Airs Above the Ground — I loved horse stories when I was growing up.

    • Go ahead and reread Nine Coaches Waiting! My copy is back home in Manila. I have five of her romantic suspense titles here with me though, all waiting on my TBR pile. I don’t think I have a copy of Airs Above Ground.

      I really need to read her Arthurian series. Angie sent me a copy of The Crystal Cave for last year’s Secret Santa.

  3. My first was The Moon Spinners, so I’ll always love it best! (my least favorite, just for the record, is Thunder on the Right. Followed by Wildfire at Midnight). The one I feel most like re-reading this weekend is The Ivy Tree! I’m a bit envious that you have more to read for the first time….

    • Have you seen the movie for The Moon Spinners? I haven’t but I’ve read that and My Brother Michael. The only Greece Mary Stewart book that I haven’t read yet is This Rough Magic. Oh I have a copy of The Ivy Tree! Maybe I can read that next. I know how you feel, I’m also a bit jealous of friends who first discover some of my favorite authors.

  4. She has been one of my favorite authors for years. Like Rachel said her Arthurian series is THE Arthurian story for me. It’s hard for me to pick out the favorite as each is so different but My least favorite is probably Thunder on the Right.

    • To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Arthurian stories but I am definitely curious about Mary Stewart’s series! Looks like I need to bump them up the TBR pile.

  5. Every time I read one of her books I find myself right there in the story. She had a wonderful way with words; a gift of making the world she wrote about come alive so vividly that I could actually (in my mind’s eye of course…lol) see and hear and feel the story come to life. Other author’s can do that of course, but MS was an artist at it.

    • I know exactly what you mean, she has a way of describing the surroundings that makes the place come alive in the reader’s mind. Also, she definitely knows how to keep the reader in suspense, always worried about the heroine and whether she would be able to escape her current predicament.

  6. I started reading Mary Stewart’s novels 50 years ago when I was a teenager. I have read them all several times and now am going to reread them again in honor of Mary’s passing. Perhaps my favorites are My Brother Michael, Madam, Will You Talk, This Rough Magic, and Wildfire at Midnight though all are simply wonderful. So read up and enjoy! Though I have been reading nonstop for over 50 years, no author comes close to Mary Stewart. PS I just read the Merlin trilogy in recent years, and found them wonderful too.

    • Wow, you’ve been reading her books for 50 years! That’s amazing. It must be such a comfort for you to reread her books if you’ve been familiar with them for years. I just started reading Madam, Will You Talk and I’m enjoying it so far.

  7. Pingback: Retro Friday: Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart | Chachic's Book Nook

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