As you probably know, I’ll be giving a seminar on British romance next semester. Therefore I thought it would be a good idea to dig into some of the “classic” authors and novels I haven’t read before. (The things we do in the name of research! *ggg*) So I ordered a pile of Mary Stewart’s novels as well as a pile of Rosamunde Pilcher’s books.
A few years ago the German magazine “Wohnen & Garten” released some of Pilcher’s short stories in a special magazine edition with lots and lots of pretty pictures – how could I resist? I have to admit that I didn’t expect much, not after seeing snippets of those horrible, horrible German TV adaptations of her novels, which give the word “kitschy” a whole new meaning. To my surprise, the short stories in that magazine weren’t kitschy at all. Slightly old-fashioned, perhaps, but in a very endearing way. So now I’ve ordered some of her novels to see whether these are just as charming.
As for Mary Stewart – oh my! I must have been living under a rock all these years! Why haven’t I discovered her before??? I started with what was her first published novel, “Madam, Will You Talk?” of 1955. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and except for one little passage, it doesn’t seem dated at all (in contrast to, say, the bodice rippers of the 1970s). For today’s standards the setting – the south of France – is rather unusual, which certainly added to the charm of the novel. On www.marystewartnovels.blogspot.com you can find descriptions of the locations in the novel pitted against photographs. Very nice indeed. 🙂