Weekly Reading Round-Up

When the weather gets crisp and the sky begins to go gray at four, it makes me think– well, yes, of London, but also of the New York of twenty-odd years ago, the scarred dark woodwork and nubby blue chairs of my school’s library, and the books I read in those chairs: Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, Dorothy Cannell, Elsie Lee. The combination of a certain type of weather and a certain type of book (ahem, Thornyhold, ahem) is like a time capsule, hurtling me right back to where I was when I first read them.

This week I took the time machine back with two Mary Stewart novels: Nine Coaches Waiting and The Moon-Spinners.

Nine Coaches Waiting is hard to categorize for me. In some ways, it’s the archetypal Gothic, with a governess heroine, first person narrator, and a chateau. But the chateau isn’t the least bit brooding, the Jane Eyre references are firmly tongue in cheek, and the narration is strongly common-sensical. It’s really more romantic suspense than pure Gothic, lacking most of the dark trappings. Either way, it’s one of my favorite books of all time and a constant re-read.

The Moon-Spinners belongs to what I think of as the Mary Stewart travelogue sub-category. Take heroine, place her in picturesque landscape (in this case, Crete), let skullduggery ensue. Of her Greece-set books, my favorite has always been My Brother Michael, so it’s been fun to rediscover The Moon-Spinners after a long gap.

What have you been reading this week? (And do you have a favorite Mary Stewart?)


  1. Sheila on November 10, 2017 at 11:07 am

    One of Mary Balogh’s old Signets, The Temporary Husband, really liked it, and Marlys Milhauser’s wonderful time travel book, The Mirror.

  2. Laura on November 10, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Working my way through Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampire series. I’m on #4 and so far they are pretty entertaining.

  3. Miss Eliza on November 10, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Reading The Man in the High Castle for my blog. So far it’s very interesting seeing how Dick thought that the US would be divided had Germany and Japan won WWII.

  4. Jean on November 10, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Just started The Bookshop on the Corner.

  5. Cecile on November 10, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    I finished An Irish Country Practice by Patrick Taylor. Just began reading Pulse by Felix Francis. I think Iโ€™ve read all the Mary Stewart books. I donโ€™t really have a favorite.

  6. Tara on November 11, 2017 at 6:01 am

    I’m in love with the Arthurian series Mary Stewart wrote ๐Ÿ™‚ I read it first when I was in middle school, and it sparked my passion for all things Arthurian.

    I’m still reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers, and I’m still loving it.

  7. DJL on November 11, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Reading Death in Rough Waters, good. Favorite Mary Stewart: This Rough Magic (I adore The Tempest, so the quotes at start of each chapter are my jam). When I was pregnant and feeling unwell, I referred to baby as Caliban, thanks to this book ๐Ÿ™‚
    Also Madam Will You Talk? because, well, Marseilles ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Lynne on November 12, 2017 at 1:44 am

    I’m in agreement with Tara – the Arthurian/Merlin series was a favorite of mine, too. But every Mary Stewart was good in so many ways.

    I’m in the midst of Tracy Grant’s latest novella, Midwinter Intrigue, and it’s quite good. Also up to #9 in Barbara Cleverly’s Joe Sandilands mysteries – a really terrific writer.

  9. Freya on November 13, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    I reread a couple of Robert Aickman and M.R. James stories over Halloween, which made me remember why I love them so much, and now I’m rereading everything I’ve got by both of them.

  10. Carla on November 13, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Just finished Bread Alone, about to start The Good People.

  11. Joan on November 14, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    My favorite Mary Stewart novel is MADAM WILL YOU TALK and my favorite set in Greece (Corfu) is THIS ROUGH MAGIC. I also love NINE COACHES WAITING!

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