Weekly Reading Round-Up
November 10th, 2017

When the weather gets crisp and the sky begins to go gray at four, it makes me think– well, yes, of London, but also of the New York of twenty-odd years ago, the scarred dark woodwork and nubby blue chairs of my school’s library, and the books I read in those chairs: Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, Dorothy Cannell, Elsie Lee. The combination of a certain type of weather and a certain type of book (ahem, Thornyhold, ahem) is like a time capsule, hurtling me right back to where I was when I first read them.

This week I took the time machine back with two Mary Stewart novels: Nine Coaches Waiting and The Moon-Spinners.

Nine Coaches Waiting is hard to categorize for me. In some ways, it’s the archetypal Gothic, with a governess heroine, first person narrator, and a chateau. But the chateau isn’t the least bit brooding, the Jane Eyre references are firmly tongue in cheek, and the narration is strongly common-sensical. It’s really more romantic suspense than pure Gothic, lacking most of the dark trappings. Either way, it’s one of my favorite books of all time and a constant re-read.

The Moon-Spinners belongs to what I think of as the Mary Stewart travelogue sub-category. Take heroine, place her in picturesque landscape (in this case, Crete), let skullduggery ensue. Of her Greece-set books, my favorite has always been My Brother Michael, so it’s been fun to rediscover The Moon-Spinners after a long gap.

What have you been reading this week? (And do you have a favorite Mary Stewart?)

11 Responses to “Weekly Reading Round-Up”

  1. Sheila says:

    One of Mary Balogh’s old Signets, The Temporary Husband, really liked it, and Marlys Milhauser’s wonderful time travel book, The Mirror.

  2. Laura says:

    Working my way through Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampire series. I’m on #4 and so far they are pretty entertaining.

  3. Miss Eliza says:

    Reading The Man in the High Castle for my blog. So far it’s very interesting seeing how Dick thought that the US would be divided had Germany and Japan won WWII.

  4. Jean says:

    Just started The Bookshop on the Corner.

  5. Cecile says:

    I finished An Irish Country Practice by Patrick Taylor. Just began reading Pulse by Felix Francis. I think I’ve read all the Mary Stewart books. I don’t really have a favorite.

  6. Tara says:

    I’m in love with the Arthurian series Mary Stewart wrote :) I read it first when I was in middle school, and it sparked my passion for all things Arthurian.

    I’m still reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers, and I’m still loving it.

  7. DJL says:

    Reading Death in Rough Waters, good. Favorite Mary Stewart: This Rough Magic (I adore The Tempest, so the quotes at start of each chapter are my jam). When I was pregnant and feeling unwell, I referred to baby as Caliban, thanks to this book :)
    Also Madam Will You Talk? because, well, Marseilles :)

  8. Lynne says:

    I’m in agreement with Tara – the Arthurian/Merlin series was a favorite of mine, too. But every Mary Stewart was good in so many ways.

    I’m in the midst of Tracy Grant’s latest novella, Midwinter Intrigue, and it’s quite good. Also up to #9 in Barbara Cleverly’s Joe Sandilands mysteries – a really terrific writer.

  9. Freya says:

    I reread a couple of Robert Aickman and M.R. James stories over Halloween, which made me remember why I love them so much, and now I’m rereading everything I’ve got by both of them.

  10. Carla says:

    Just finished Bread Alone, about to start The Good People.

  11. Joan says:

    My favorite Mary Stewart novel is MADAM WILL YOU TALK and my favorite set in Greece (Corfu) is THIS ROUGH MAGIC. I also love NINE COACHES WAITING!

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