A Few Mary Stewart Links


I thought I’d share a few links concerning Mary Stewart and her work today. I love to read posts by people who obviously appreciate and enjoy her novels:

An appreciation of Mary Stewart by the author Jo Walton.

The Multnomah County Library in Oregon blogged about her novels in June.

Book Riot also posted about Stewart’s novels in June.

A Mary Stewart literature map. What else should you read if you like her novels?

We had two blogs posts about Mary Stewart (as far as I know, please let me know if I’m missing anyone) yesterday. Here are the links:

Four by Mary Stewart – The Emerald City Reader

This Rough Magic – I Prefer Reading

I’ve finished The Ivy Tree and hope to post about it tomorrow. How is your reading going?

Mary Stewart Giveaway


Today I’m giving away one copy of Thornyhold, the first of Mary Stewart’s novels that I read and that endeared me to her writing. It is one of her supernatural tales and is full of romance and suspense. Though a bit slower paced than her earlier books it is still lovely and as smart and enchantingly written as her novels always are. You can read my full, gushy thoughts here.

The giveaway is open to all readers whether you’re posting about Lady Stewart this week or not. It will end on Saturday, September 20, at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time and I’ll announce the winner on the last day of MSRW, Sunday, the 21st. Please fill out this form to enter. The winner will be randomly chosen.

How are you getting on with your reading? I’ve almost finished The Ivy Tree and I am loving it.

It’s Mary Stewart Reading Week 2014

Rose Cottage

Hello and welcome to the second annual Mary Stewart Reading Week. This week is dedicated to reading the novels of Lady Mary Stewart who sadly passed away in May. I started reading her books back in December 2012 and have thoroughly enjoyed every one that I’ve read. I’ve only read her suspense novels, but I do hope to read her Merlin series one day. I love the vintage, old fashioned feel of her books, her strong female leads and the romantic intrigue her suspense books always include. I also think that she writes very simply and beautifully about nature and truly creates wonderful settings. There is much to be admired in her novels. They may not be ‘great literature’, but they are well-written, engrossing, intelligent, very entertaining and they have many fans around the world.

I want to thank all of you who’ve spread the word about this event and have been so supportive about celebrating Lady Stewart’s legacy. I really look forward to seeing what you read and write about this week.


I will keep a running list here of all Mary Stewart posts written this week so that we can read each other’s thoughts. You can let me know you’ve posted by commenting here, sending me an email at gudrunstights at gmail dot com, or tweeting about your post using the hashtag #mstewartrw. If you don’t blog you can leave a comment here with your thoughts.

Thank you for participating – I wish you a wonderful week of reading Mary Stewart!


Just Read Elizabeth Taylor


I don’t know what it is about Elizabeth Taylor, but her books completely hypnotize me. I should always turn to her when I am in a reading slump because her writing jolts me right out of the funk. I started The Soul of Kindness a couple of Saturdays ago, finished it the following Monday and could barely put it down between chores and eating and sleeping and work. Since then, I’ve been reading steadily. This summer I’ve also inhaled Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont and Blaming.

Of the three, Mrs. Palfrey was my favorite. It is set almost entirely in a London hotel that caters to elderly patrons who have no where else to go. Mrs. Palfrey is a somewhat genteel and proper woman who doesn’t quite approve of her fellow inhabitants yet maintains a tense friendship with them. Her life is routine, boring and lacking in close connections (her daughter and grandson really don’t want much to do with her) until she unexpectedly meets a young writer, Ludo, who tentatively agrees to pose as Mrs. Palfrey’s grandson in order to allow her to save face with her new friends at the hotel. They develop an awkward relationship – Mrs. Palfrey clearly adores him, but Ludo mostly feels curiosity about this elderly woman and observes her closely in order to use his knowledge in his writing. A heartbreaking ending had me in tears.

To me, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont captures the signature Elizabeth Taylor trait of seeing people through unsentimental eyes yet soliciting from the reader a sympathy and a tenderness toward them nevertheless. Mrs. Palfrey is not an entirely loveable character, as are none of the people in her novels, yet they’re real, they’re flawed and they’re familiar. She really knows how to portray the pain and disappointment of human relationships to an almost depressing degree but also shows that most people are redeemable and deserve a break, even some of her more monstrous characters like Angel Deverell.

I’m now reading Palladian and will make my way down the line of all her novels as I’ve now collected her entire oeuvre. I think she is a brilliant author and I hope you will try her if you haven’t already. She writes with a poise and remoteness that might be hard to connect with at first, but please persevere – you won’t be disappointed.

*Some members of the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics group have started a thread for Mary Stewart Reading Week – pop over if you have a chance!*

Mary Stewart Reading Week – One Week from Today

imageI’ve run into a dry spell on the blog lately so here is another Mary Stewart Reading Week reminder – sorry if I’m beating you over the head with it. We’ll kick off the celebration next Sunday, September 14, and I’ll post more details then about how to let me know you’ve posted. In the meantime, if you do tweet or instagram about the event you can use the #mstewartrw hashtag so that we can all follow along (and you can use it during the actual MSRW event, too). I’m really looking forward to reading some wonderful Stewart suspense next week – in fact, I’m probably going to begin a bit early and start reading The Ivy Tree when I get home from work tonight. It will be a perfect release after working at the library on a crazy Sunday.

Hope you’ve had a fab weekend!