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 {Closed}


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!


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!

Mary Stewart Reading Week Wrap-up


Well, friends, we’ve come to the end of Mary Stewart Reading Week. I hope you’ve all enjoyed your experiences this week reading her work and if you haven’t, I hope that you would be willing to try her again. I think we’ve seen that, like most authors, Lady Stewart wrote some outstanding suspense novels and some not so stellar, yet still enjoyable, novels. I liked both of the books I read this week and I even found my favorite of her books in Nine Coaches Waiting.

I’ve loved reading your thoughts and I truly thank you all for participating, posting and commenting during this celebration. The event was far more successful than I dreamed it would be and I was pleasantly surprised to meet new-to-me bloggers who joined the reading week when they saw it mentioned on other blogs.

I will keep an index of the reviews posted this week up at the top of the blog under ‘MSRW Posts’. If you didn’t have a chance to read all of the posts yet you can always visit at a later time to see what you missed.

If you entered the giveaway, keep on the lookout to see if you won – I’ll announce the winner in a few days.

Again, thank you so much for participating! Keep reading Mary Stewart – let’s keep her work alive!

If you are looking for books similar to Mary Stewart here is a list of Mary Stewart read-alikes from author Lauren Willig.

Mary Stewart posts so far:

Airs Above the Ground – A Work in Progress

Airs Above the Ground – The Captive Reader

The Crystal Cave – TBR 313

The Gabriel Hounds – bibliolathas

The Little Broomstick – Pining for the West

The Moonspinners – Miss Bibliophile

My Brother Michael – Fleur In Her World

Nine Coaches Waiting – Quixotic Magpie

Stormy Petrel – She Reads Novels

Stormy Petrel – The Worm Hole

Stormy Petrel – Country Girls Read

This Rough Magic – Quixotic Magpie

Touch Not the Cat – The Book Jotter

Touch Not the Cat – The Indextrious Reader

Wildfire at Midnight – TBR 313

Wildfire at Midnight – The Bookworm Chronicles

Welcome to Mary Stewart Reading Week!

Mary Stewart RW

Mary Stewart Reading Week is finally here! When I first proposed the idea back in March it seemed like such a long way off, but here we are in September(!) and it is time to celebrate the writing of the nonagenarian who first stole my heart with her majorly suspenseful plots featuring feisty heroines and dramatic settings. Of course, she also wrote the popular Merlin series (I hope someone posts about one of these books) and three books for young adults.

Ms. Stewart is alive and well and living in Edinburgh. After her husband Frederick died in 2001 she retired from writing “saying she no longer had any will to write”. She turns 97 on Tuesday and was awarded an honorary degree from Durham University in 2009. You can read a really lovely speech from the ceremony here.


I’ve planned a few posts for this week and would like to include an index of reviews in these posts that I can add to as the week progresses. I will keep on the lookout for your reviews, but I don’t want to miss anyone so please contact me so that I can read your thoughts and add them to the index. The best ways to let me know about your posts are these:

  • If you are on Twitter, you can use the hashtag #mstewartrw when you tweet about your post
  • You can email me at gudrunstightsatgmaildotcom with a link to your post
  • Leave a comment in this post with a link to your post

I don’t consider myself a giddy or overly excitable person, but I think this event has turned me into both. I want to thank everyone in advance for your posts this week and for your enthusiasm – and thanks to everyone who has mentioned Mary Stewart Reading Week on your blogs. I truly appreciate it.

Let Mary Stewart Reading Week begin!

Mary Stewart Reading Week

Mary Stewart RW

It’s nearly August and time to start planning for Mary Stewart Reading Week! MSRW will be from Sunday, September 15 to Sunday, September 22. Appropriately Ms. Stewart’s 97th birthday falls during this time (on the 17th). What better way to celebrate her birthday than by reading her books?

I envision this as a low key event with any interested bloggers writing a post about any Mary Stewart book of their choosing during the week. I am partial to her romantic suspense novels, but I know many others are interested in reading her Merlin series and that would be wonderful, too. She also wrote a few children’s books.

By now you probably all know how I feel about her writing, but if you’re new to Gudrun’s Tights you can read my thoughts here. You can also consult any of the following resources for more information about her writing, her novels and her life:

Mary Stewart: A Born Storyteller

An Interview with Mary Stewart

Which Mary Stewart Novel Should You Read?

I hope you will join me in September to celebrate the novels of Mary Stewart.

North & South Read-a-long + Mary Stewart

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.

Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan

Translated by Irene Ash

Our last day in Paris and I spent it reading Bonjour Tristesse –  a very stylish little novella that was published when Francoise Sagan was just 18 years old. The main character, Cecile, is about the same age as the author and this story chronicles the dramatic summer she spends in the South of France with her father and his fiancee.

Cecile is a spoiled and willful girl and she makes a choice, against her conscience, that causes tragedy and heartbreak. The bulk of the novella examines Cecile’s inner battle and her refusal to acknowledge that horrible consequences could result from her plans. We see the action from Cecile’s point of view, which helps the reader to sympathize with her, because otherwise we might think she is a monster. The tone of the novel is very light so I thought it was going to be a comedy. It does have moments of humor, but ultimately it mirrors the title in that it is quite sad. As I read I despised the selfish creature telling the story, but there was no way I could have stopped reading. It was just too compelling.

The author herself sounds very like Cecile as I learned from reading her obituary here.

Have you read Bonjour Tristesse? What did you think?

Oh my…this pie.

More Rosamond Lehmann

“People have been saying the novel is dead for as far back as I can remember. The novel will never die, but it will keep changing and evolving and taking different shapes. Storytelling, which is the basis of the novel, has always existed and always will.”

In a fit of Rosamond Lehmann enthusiasm I searched my shelves on Sunday night and found my copy of The Weather in the Streets. The Weather in the Streets is a continuation of the story began in Invitation to the Waltz and I’ve long wanted to read it, but have been afraid that it would be disappointing. Rosamond Lehmann fever has convinced me now to jump in with both feet and find out what happens to Olivia Curtis, the main character in both novels.

I reviewed Invitation to the Waltz on an old blog that is now deleted, but remembered that I archived a copy on a group project I started last year (which I think I will try to revive as a challenge in 2013 so stay tuned). You can read my thoughts here.

I’ve enjoyed reading Rosamond Lehmann’s Paris Review interview, from 1985, which you can find here. She had such an interesting life and her thoughts on writing and the women’s movement are particularly intriguing.

Thanks to Florence for reviving interest in Lehmann and her novels! It is so wonderful to see people reading an author who doesn’t get much attention these days.

 P.S. Thanks for reading – You’re the best!

I’ve started a tumblr page where I can post some of my photographs. Go here to visit. I warn you: I take a lot of pictures of clouds 🙂