In the Discard Pile

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Looking through books that we had multiple copies of, I chanced upon this delightful passage. If I've read the complete book, I have forgotten at this point, but it certainly seems worth reading. I propose a little game. Can anyone name the book from which the passage is taken? While it wasn't a bestseller, it certainly isn't completely obscure, and it is by a writer who has produced a number of quite notable books. This author also wrote some of my favorite books.

In the first place, I suppose, it was my parents' fault for giving me a silly name like Gianetta. It is a pretty enough name in itself, but it conjures up pictures of delectable and slightly overblown ladies in Titian's less respectable canvases, and, though I admit I have the sort of coloring that might have interested that Venetian master, I happen to be the rather inhibited product of an English country rectory. And if there is anything further removed than that from the bagnio Venuses of Titian's middle period, I don't know what it is.

If you're inclined to, answer in the comment box.

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Wildfire At Midnight, by the incomparable Mary Stewart. One of my personal favorite Mary Stewarts, too.

Aren't you a guy, though? Besides the Arthurian stuff, it's kind of odd for a guy to like Mary Stewart. But cool, too, I guess. She was really a very good writer, and her romances are still good fun. And you gotta love all the totally un-PC smoking! There's more lighting up than kissing (which is as explicit as they ever get) in a Mary Stewart.

Dear ~N,

Yes, you're correct, I am a guy and the romantic suspense genre is more often associated in the mind with a female readership, but I transgress boundaries. I think Mary Stewart composes some superb prose and some good, tight stories. Rather like Daphne Du Maurier in her prime. The Arthur books (for what they were) were quite fine--not up to the Standard of Rosemary Sutcliff's Sword at Sunset, but fine, nevertheless. But the real attraction comes with some of the great writing in This Rough Magic and some of the exotic scenery and associations of books like Airs Above the Ground and My Brother Michael.

But what can you say of a novelist who derives her titles from The Tempest and The Revenger's Tragedy. Obviously a person of sensibility.

I am omnivorous when it comes to fiction. If it is well-written and interesting I'll read it, Mary Stewart, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Georgette Heyer, Helen MacInnes, Maeve Binchy--all authors associated with primarily a female readership, each with a distinctive style and presentation and really remarkable patches of prose.

Anyway, I guess you'd simply say my tastes are eclectic, or, perhaps catholic.



Wildfire at Midnight was never one of my favorites though I am quite fond of Mary Stewarts books. I always thought The Ivy Tree was her best.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 11, 2006 9:13 AM.

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