Hello and Happy New Year to anyone reading this post! I cannot quite believe that I have not written a single blogpost since November but I hope to be back on track this year. Starting right now with this brief catch-up post.

Mary Stewart Favourite Heroine poll

Some of you will recall that in 2017 I set up a few polls to try to see who is our favourite heroine from the Mary Stewart suspense novels, culminating in an ‘all-time favourite’ poll begun on Mary Stewart Day. You can read the background to this poll and vote here.

If you do click on the above link you will see that currently Vanessa March, from Airs Above the Ground, is winning the poll, followed by Charity Selborne (Madam, Will You Talk?), with Perdita West (The Wind Off  the Small Isles, ‘The Lost One‘) trailing in third place. Not many people have voted to date – if you haven’t voted yet, then please do so, as I will be closing the poll soon. The next vote might be on our favourite hero – or do you have any alternative suggestions as to what we vote on? You are welcome to leave your ideas in the comments section below. Whatever the poll, I’m sure that it will show how diverse we are in our preferences!

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Okay, I have been excited about the animated film of Mary Stewart’s children’s novel The Little Broomstick for over a year now… The film, Mary and the Witch’s Flower by Studio Ponoc, has not reached the UK yet but hopefully it will arrive this spring. It was released in Japan back in July 2017; in Hong Kong, Cambodia and S Korea last month; and will hit cinemas this month in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US. You lucky people! Who has been to see Mary and the Witch’s Flower or is going to see it in the next few weeks? I would love to know what you think of this film.

If you are interested in more information, I recommend you follow the film studio’s twitter account @ponoc_intl for links to trailers and reviews. Here is the latest trailer:

Plus a fairly recent review:

Differences between UK and US versions of The Gabriel Hounds

The Gabriel Hounds, Hodder 2017. Cover illustration: Mary Evans Picture Library/Onslow Auctions limited

I’d like to draw attention to recent comments under an old post, as most of you won’t have noticed them. Jerri wrote about Charles and Christy Mansel in Mary Stewart’s novel The Gabriel Hounds, wondering just how closely they are related: the answer depends on which version of the book you read. The original UK version has them as closer than conventional first cousins:

The Gabriel Hounds
The Gabriel Hounds, UK version. Copyright Mary Stewart’s estate

whereas for the US market, the cousins were given a more distant relationship – at any rate up until the release of the (UK) ebook in America. Jerri shared the traditional US version here, and it thrilled me to read these words of Mary Stewart for the first time ever:

“Perhaps I should explain here that the relationship between Charles and myself was at once closer and more distant than that between ordinary cousins. For one thing, we were not first, but second cousins, with nothing nearer than a great-grandfather in common; for the other we had been brought up together almost from birth, certainly from the time when memory starts. I couldn’t remember a time when I had not shared everything with my cousin Charles.
His father, Henry Mansel, had been the senior member of our -the English – branch of the family, the other male members being his cousins, the twin brothers Charles and Christopher. Christopher, the junior twin, was my father. Charles had no children, so when Henry Mansel and his wife met with a fatal sailing accident only a few months after the birth of their son Charles, my uncle took the baby to bring up as his own. Remembering no others, young Charles and I had of course always regarded his adoptive parents as his own, and I believe it came as a considerable shock to my cousin to be reminded on approaching his majority that he would eventually take precedence of his ‘father’ in the family’s private corridors of power. A marked family likeness helped to close the ranks. Henry Mansel had strongly resembled his cousins , and they – our ‘fathers’, as we thought of them – were identical twins who had been, almost up to the time they were married, both inseparable and indistinguishable.”

I must say, I prefer the US version. Thanks to Jerri for sharing this information for UK readers.

As always, please get in touch with any questions or comments on anything in this post, I’d love to hear from you.