If You Like….
I’ve spent many years looking for Mary Stewart read-alikes and was lucky enough to have been given one by my college roommate this past week. So… if you like Mary Stewart, you’ll probably like….
— Caroline Llewellyn’s The Lady of the Labyrinth (this is the college roommate used-bookstore-find), told in the first person and set in 1980’s Sicily against a background of ancient myth and modern political intrigue;
— Susanna Kearsley’s Season of Storms, The Shadowy Horses, and Every Secret Thing, all of which read like vintage Stewart (with a frisson of the supernatural at times);
— pretty much anything by Elsie Lee (although her spunky, first person heroines are American, rather than British), in particular The Spy At the Villa Miranda and Satan’s Coast;
— M.M. Kaye’s “Death In” series, 1950s romantic suspense in various exotic locations, including Death in Kashmir, Death in Kenya, and Death in Berlin;
— and Helena Dela’s The Count (I’ve always wished she would write more).
I’m tempted to add Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels and Dorothy Cannell’s mystery novels (especially Down the Garden Path), but I feel like we’re verging into different subgenres there.
Have you stumbled across any other Mary Stewart read-alikes?
I think you should reconsider introducing Dorothy Cannell on the list. Even though her subjects are a bit more mystery and less vintage. How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams series is a very good example.
Back in the day, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Daphne du Maurier (along with Mary Stewart) were some of my favorite romantic suspense authors.
You are absolutely correct — Susanna Kearsley is the next best thing to Mary Stewart.
I think you should keep Barbara Michaels in there. And I don’t know how many Victoria Holt’s I’ve read. How about Susan Cooper’s the Dark is rising? Thats kind of like Mary Stewart?
Wonderful list, thankyou. I’m a huge Stewart fan – own them all – but I hadn’t heart of Dela or Lee. I’ll have to look them out.
I’m so very glad that you included M.M.Kaye – how I love those books!
Wow! I thoughts was the only one who love her books!!!! Glad to have come across this page.
I also love Mary Stewart’s books – my favourite is “Nine Coaches Waiting” although “This Rough Magic” runs it close. Dorothy Dunnett wrote a lovely series of sophisticated 1960s novels known as the Dolly series – they’re great fun although there is lots of mystery and not much romance.
I love Mary Stewart, she has been my fave author for the last 30 odd years, since I discovered her books at about 18… I have read and read every book over again… I wish there were more !!!
I cannot, cannot find authors comprable to Mary Stewart. I’ve tried Jayen Anne Krentz, but she’s really not that similar. I have to settle. And, I wish Mary Stewart had not died…just hate when a favourite author does that.
I loved Madeleine Brent for strong heroines and suspense. Also agree Elsie Lee with her Regency period included
Have you checked out Dorothy Gilman’s stand-alones (Incident at Badamya, Caravan, Thale’s Folly) etc? They make me think of a cross between Mary Stewart and Charlotte McLeod.
Thank you for posting this. I’m a HUGE Mary Stewart fan. The only similar authors I have found are Susanna Kearsley and MM Kaye so I was happy to see them on this list. That makes me trust this list enough to try the others recommended!!
A huge Mary Stewart fan too. Havent found anything else like her, but will be sure to post, if i do!
Love Lucinda Riley
I agree with Sheepla about Susanna Kearsley and M.M. Kaye.
I just found a new (to me) author who Mary Stewart readers might like. The author is Iona Wilshaw and the books (7 so far) are called the Lane Winslow Mysteries. Check them out!
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all these comments but the American version of Mary.Stewart and Victoria Holt who stands very high on the list of Gothic Suspense Superstars is Phyllis A. Whitney! Definitely a GIANT in her class with a TON of Novels many of which have been written in unique and far and away locations. Incredible characters who are memorable and well fleshed-out with spellbinding suspense.
Anne Stevenson had some in a similar vein: Coil of Serpents, Turkish Rondo
Ann Bridge’s Julia series, although the writing is a bit more idiosyncratic. The first one is The Lighthearted Quest
Some of Dorothy Eden’s mysteries, although they tend towards the gothic: Death is a Red Rose, Face of an Angel.
Joan Aiken’s Beware of the Bouquet and The Silence of Herondale
I discovered Mary Stewart when I was about twelve, and I think I read those books at least a dozen times! I think The Moonspinners might have been my favorite….she had such a terrific sense of place, along with likable characters.
Waiting at the hospital for my daughter to have a biopsy. I brought a book to read to relieve the stress of waiting and of course it’s Mary Stewart the Gabriel Hounds. I was immediately transported to a souk in 1960’s Damascus. Thank you Mary Stewart. I just had to stop and find more authors like her. So thank you so much for confirming those I have read and a huge thank you for the prospect of new ones.
I love Mary Stewart too and was desperate for more books like hers. Thank you so much for this.