I’m really enthusiastically happy to be participating in the North and South Readalong in August. The readalong is hosted by Andi at Estella’s Revenge and Heather at Capricious Reader. I’ve never read North and South before, though I have seen the magnificent film adaptation so know the general storyline. The first 8 chapters are due on Monday and I’m surprised at how fast I’ve blown through them. I’m a slow-moving reader, in general, so I know a book is a knockout when I read it with ease. I’ll post my thoughts on this irrestible novel every week through August. Have you read North and South?


And also, I just have to say a word about Mary Stewart. I consider her the Empress of Romantic Suspense and would love more modern readers to discover her books.  They are so stylish and utterly delectable! Her fiery plots and spicy heroines just light up my reading life. I so look forward to reading a few chapters of her every night before I get ready for bed, although her books are so suspenseful that I often read just a few more chapters than I should! Right now I am savoring Madam, Will You Talk? –  it is amazing.  These are smart books, too, friends. There are many historical and literary references and the writing is top-notch. If you are looking for a polished thriller to read poolside, on the beach or just at home sprawled on the sofa, Mary Stewart is the lady to try. Let’s get a Mary Stewart revival going!

You can read more about Ms. Stewart here.


  1. Yah for Mary Stewart! – I’ve discovered her this past year and have really enjoyed discovering her books.

  2. My sister recently sat me down to watch the BBC adaptation of North and South and I loved it!
    As you know, I am also an avid reader of Mary Stewart, so I’m all for getting more people to read her books!

    • I absolutely adored the BBC North and South – it is fantastic!
      And thanks for introducing me to Mary Stewart. I really started getting interested in her writing when I read your review of Madam, Will You Talk?

  3. I love this book, and the BBC adaptation! I’ve enjoyed all of Gaskell’s novels that I’ve read and wish her work was as widely known as other writers like Austen and the Brontes. I have yet to try Mary Stewart–she’s on my never ending To Read list.

    • I’m really enjoying this and I’ve read half of Cranford and have liked that too. I’ve heard that Wives and Daughters, though unfinished, is her masterpiece so I must try that also. She has some great books!

  4. I read and really enjoyed North and South quite a few years ago and I’m all for promoting Mary Stewart, I intend to re-read them all eventually. I suspect that the Merlin books will still be my favourites.

    • After I read all of Stewart’s suspense novels I will certainly try the Merlin books – I’ve heard so many good things about them!

  5. Why is it that just after I promise to free myself of the obligations of reading along I am tempted to start up again with a reread of one of my favourite books ever?! It is wonderful, but be warned that it is a slow read, and leave yourself plenty of time to luxuriate.

    And you are 100% right about Mary Stewart.

    • Thank you for letting me know about its slowness. It will help me not to get frustrated if I don’t meet the deadline! I’m sorry I tempted you with news of the readalong!

  6. I love Mary Stewart too, as you know, and I definitely agree that her books deserve to be more popular with modern readers. I hope you continue to enjoy North and South. I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts on it!

    • I am so enthralled with North and South! I wish I had more reading time to devote to it, but I am Olympic crazy and that is all I’ve been doing. When the Olympics end, though, I plan to devote myself to it again.
      What Mary Stewart are you going to read next?

  7. I haven’t read North & South, though I loved Gaskell’s Wives & Daughters.

    And I do intend to read some of Mary Stewart’s suspense novels this year!

  8. Never read Mary Stewart but I’d like to try her novels. I do like Elizabeth Gaskell. I’ve read North and South although I think Cranford is my favourite because of the humour. I love her biog of Charlotte Bronte, too.

  9. Anbolyn, I wish I could join you on the “North and South” read a long! I so enjoyed the Muriel Spark reading week I did a few months ago. But I will now get this book as well as look into Mary Stewart. I always marvel at how much I learn from the many smart literary blogs I read, like yours!

  10. She’s wonderful, isn’t she? I’ve just started This Rough Magic (though I have a plain mass market edition not the pretty re-issue) and it is going on vacation with me soon–not sure I can wait to read as I am already very into the story! And I read North and South a year or so ago and thought it was wonderful. The film adaptation is also very good! It doesn’t hurt of course that the delectable Richard Armitage plays John Thornton! 😉

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