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?


  1. Vicky on February 27, 2012 at 8:51 am

    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.

  2. Joanne M. on February 27, 2012 at 9:50 am

    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.

  3. Anne Smittle on February 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    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?

  4. Carol Arsenault on February 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    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.

  5. Susan B. on February 27, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I’m so very glad that you included M.M.Kaye – how I love those books!

  6. Ann Monahan on July 23, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Wow! I thoughts was the only one who love her books!!!! Glad to have come across this page.

  7. Kate on June 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    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.

    • Sarah on October 3, 2019 at 9:24 am

      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 !!!

  8. AMY on July 1, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    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.

  9. Sandra Smith on March 20, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    I loved Madeleine Brent for strong heroines and suspense. Also agree Elsie Lee with her Regency period included

  10. Moll on March 24, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    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.

  11. sheepla on June 23, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    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!!

  12. parvathi on July 26, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    A huge Mary Stewart fan too. Havent found anything else like her, but will be sure to post, if i do!

  13. Carolyn on July 27, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Love Lucinda Riley

  14. SuzyB on August 25, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    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!

  15. J.C. GALLO on August 27, 2020 at 2:26 am

    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.

  16. Suzy Rogers on August 29, 2020 at 2:38 am

    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.

  17. Madalyn Duncan on June 4, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    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.

  18. K on June 22, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    I love Mary Stewart too and was desperate for more books like hers. Thank you so much for this.

  19. Tricia on April 29, 2024 at 11:40 pm

    Thank you for this. Fell in love with Mary Stewart and Daphne du Maurier when I was about 12. Still my favorites almost 40 years later…as with my Mum and Grandmother. Wish I could read them for the first time again. Have tried Suzanna Kearsley…thank you for the other suggestions. A favourite is tough but probably Madame, will you Talk and the Crystal Cave. Thanks again!

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