Having written my first Mary Stewart bulletin last month, I didn’t expect to write one again so soon but I can’t let International Women’s Day pass without comment. As well as this, I would like to draw attention to some areas of the blog where I have added information and images.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY #IWD2017
Today is International Women’s Day. @ViragoBooks are encouraging Twitter users throughout March to share their #BooksforChange to celebrate women’s writing, and it is well worth taking a look (and in all probability they are hosting something similar on Facebook?)
I have two quotes to offer in regard to Mary Stewart and #BooksforChange.
Firstly, in 1984 Harold J Herman discussed Mary Stewart’s female characters in her Merlin books: ‘A student of the Arthurian legend is struck by her vivid portrayal of women who are not frightened, submissive creatures content to satisfy their men’s lustful appetites and blind to everything except bearing and rearing children. Rather than being toys of men, for use or abuse, they themselves often select the men they wish to bed and wed. They frequently dominate the men around them, for they are stronger and cleverer than most men, and they are ambitious, demanding more out of life than marriage and children. It is this concept of women that distinguishes Stewart’s trilogy from the earlier Arthurian works she used as her sources.’
Secondly, Rachel Hore’s obituary of Mary Stewart in the Guardian has the following to say: ‘ 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.’
Take that, patriarchy!
I set up this poll to explore which genre of Mary Stewart writing was most popular with contemporary readers. There have now been 52 votes cast – thank you to everyone who has voted. 41 of these votes are for her early suspense books, reflecting a decided preference for this category so far. I’m not quite sure when (or how!) to close the poll so please do vote soon if you haven’t yet done so here.
LOVELY NEW BOOKS
Did you know that in the UK Hodder has brought out beautiful new issues of four of Mary Stewart’s novels? The books are Madam, Will You Talk?, The Ivy Tree, This Rough Magic and Rose Cottage. I wrote about the covers here. Then I posted about my purchase of The Ivy Tree, and my Mary Stewart book addiction, here.
As you can see from the photographs, I have given in to my addiction again. I now have all four of these new re-issues, and I can’t even feel guilty about it: look at them!
I adore these book covers – and my lovely new copy of Madam, Will You Talk? will be jetting off to Avignon with me in a few weeks, as I hope to visit many of the places mentioned in the book during my holiday there (and of course I intend to post photos on this blog afterwards).
BOOK COVER GALLERY
I hope you’ll take a look at the Book Covers section of this blog – I have been busy adding more scans including the new covers. I think that all my omnibus editions and novels up to and including The Gabriel Hounds are now displayed. Hopefully some of you will get as much enjoyment from the variety of book covers as I do.
NEW PAGE: MY BROTHER MICHAEL
I have planned to put up a page about My Brother Michael since November, according to my drafts. Which is not to say that I have taken my time to write a superlative review of the book, sadly. More like I have kept putting off writing it. It is the most difficult part of the blog for me, for several reasons. I have a horror of including spoilers. I know that I love Mary Stewart’s books but I am not entirely sure why I love them so fiercely. Hmm, I suspect this is >not< the best way to promote this new blog page but I hope you will read it anyway! And if anyone wants to contribute a guest review of the book, that would be wonderful…