I am really excited by the news I am sharing today. Mary Stewart’s publisher Hodder & Stoughton is set to publish the first ever paperback edition of The Wind Off the Small Isles and guess what: also included is her little-known short story ‘The Lost One‘!
Novella The Wind Off the Small Isles was first published in 1968 and is set in Lanzarote. Magazine short story ‘The Lost One’ is from 1960 and is set in the north of England. What both stories have in common – aside from both being chock-full of suspense and adventure – is that they share the same narrator heroine, Perdita. These works have also been the least known and least easy to obtain out of all of Mary Stewart’s writing, as I discuss in my post Re-issue of The Wind Off the Small Isles.
Very soon, readers in the UK will be able to access both Perdita stories in one attractive, easily obtainable book – no need to hunt for a copy of the 57-year-old magazine that featured ‘The Lost One’! – and hopefully this will be the case outwith the UK too. Just look at the gorgeous cover image at the top of this post, and if you look closely you can read that the title is The Wind Off the Small Isles and The Lost One.
And so to the details. The UK paperback publication date is Thursday 29 June. The ebook will be updated on that date to include ‘The Lost One’ as well.
The Amazon UK website has more information on the book – and just read what it says:
This paperback edition also includes the recently rediscovered short story ‘The Lost One’, first published in Woman’s Journal in 1960.
The full write -up is as follows:
The Wind Off the Small Isles is beloved author Mary Stewart’s long-lost novella, now available in paperback for the first time in 40 years and perfect for fans of Anya Seton, Daphne du Maurier and Santa Montefiore.
1879. Lanzarote. A wealthy young woman elopes with an impoverished fisherman, leaving her family distraught.
1968. Perdita West, secretary to a famous author, visits Lanzarote on a research trip and begins to fall in love with the unusual, beautiful little island. When, while snorkelling, a landslide traps Perdita in an underwater cave, her efforts to save herself will reveal what happened to the ill-fated couple who fell in love at this very spot almost a century ago . . .
This paperback edition also includes the recently rediscovered short story ‘The Lost One’, first published in Woman’s Journal in 1960, and set against the backdrop of unfenced country and dark winding valleys at night.
This sounds so atmospheric! I will be celebrating when I get my hands on this paperback.Embed from Getty Images
What makes this book extra-special to me is that it is in part because of me that ‘The Lost One’ is being published. I first stumbled upon references to this short story years ago when I was looking through Mary Stewart’s papers held in the National Library of Scotland, and after writing to Mary Stewart and receiving her reply, I sourced a copy of the magazine that contains the story. For almost 15 years I have treasured my copy of ‘The Lost One’ but until I began this Mary Queen of Plots blog last year I had no way of publicising its existence. So, I wrote about ‘The Lost One’ last September, Mary Stewart’s editor promised to investigate the story, and she has evidently been very proactive in getting it published. The icing on top for me here is that I first heard that ‘The Lost One’ was being published alongside The Wind Off the Small Isles in a letter from Jennifer Ogden, Mary Stewart’s niece – how amazing is that!
My only regret is that Mary Stewart did not write a third Perdita story: it had been her intention to do so ‘so that the three tales would make a “book-length” book’ (again, see my Re-issue of The Wind Off the Small Isles post for details on this). Still, today’s news makes me very happy: publication of the two stories together is even one of my three wishes in my post Top Ten Tuesday: guess what, it’s all about Mary Stewart, which I wrote for the third anniversary of her death. Now, if we can just have The Enchanted Journey and ‘The Loch‘ published…
Finally, what can I say except, please, read this book! I recommend the stories wholeheartedly, for their settings, suspense, characters and humour. Buy it, or ask your library to stock it. And once you have read the stories, please get in touch to let me know your thoughts.
Some pre-order options (RRP £7.99):