Sunday, 27 October 2019

The joys of re-reading Mary Stewart

I love Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels: their sense of adventure and intriguing storylines, their strong-willed heroines, and most of all, their transporting settings. Her first, published in 1955, was Madam, Will You Talk?.

The narrative takes place around 1950, in a hot, dusty Provence where Roman ruins and stony, abandoned villages dominate the landscape. The Second World War still casts a shadow over the life of young widow Charity Selborne, whose husband lost his life flying RAF operations. On a summer motoring holiday through France with a friend and fellow teacher, Charity arrives at a small hotel in Avignon. Through Stewart’s lyrical descriptive prose, we feel her release and excitement at being in the balmy warmth of the south.

It was dusk when I set out, and the street was vividly lit. All the cafés were full, and I picked my way between the tables on the pavement, while there grew in me that slow sense of exhilaration which one inevitably gets in a Southern town after dark.

This is the opening of a piece I've written for Perfectly Provence e-magazine. To read on, please hop over to Perfectly Provence on this link.


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