Madam, want to talk about author Mary Stewart? discussion

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message 1: by Hannah (last edited Aug 10, 2009 09:54AM) (new)

Hannah (hannahr) | 405 comments ***SPOLIERS AHEAD****

I'm about half way through The Ivy Tree, and I must say that it's really started to engage me. I read this book so long ago that I've forgotten most of the plot, so it's like reading it anew.

After the fantastic intro. chapter, it seemed to drag a bit for a couple of chapters, but now that cousin Julie has arrived on the scene, it's picked back up.

I was completely enthralled with the description of Mary/Annabel's moonlight walk to Forrest Hall. Someone on one of the threads talked about how The Ivy Tree reminded them somewhat of DuMaurier's Rebecca, and after reading Stewart's description of the burnt out shell of Forrest Hall, I completely understand the comparison. It's been my favorite part so far.

The only thing I'm having a hard time swallowing about this book is how apparently easy it is for Mary to adapt to the charade she's taken on. I'd be a nervous wreck trying to pretend to be someone I wasn't. For instance, why aren't more people surprised at Mary's lack of English accent? I know Annabel's been gone 8 years, but she was an adult when she left, so she should have retained her English accent even living in a foreign country all that time. It may have modified somewhat, but it wouldn't go 100% from English to Canadian in that timespan (I wouldn't think). And although she was coached by Con and Lisa on the particulars of the house layout as well as the people she's likely to meet up with, I think it's amazing that Mary's been able to navigate both so flawlessly.

It sounds like I don't like this book (I really am enjoying it), but it's just somewhat hard to swallow some of the parameters necessary to the plot.

What do other's think? Am I just being too picky?





message 2: by Annie (last edited Aug 11, 2009 07:53PM) (new)

Annie | 58 comments can't say much without giving away the ending. Hang in there. You'll love it.

I agree, by the way, about the description of Forrest Hall. Its truly magical writing. The bit about the horse is the same way--but you probably haven't got then far yet. You're making me want to read this again. Its one of my favorites!


message 3: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hannahr) | 405 comments ****SPOILERS AHEAD****

Oh my, Annie, I had completely forgotten the "twist" in The Ivy Tree- LOL. No wonder my one gripe about the plot was unfounded! I guess it's a good thing I have bad memory, as it allows me to enjoy the same book afresh again if I let enough time elapse!

And yes, both horse rides were fantastic - the first one because of the "ah ha" moment, and the second because of the vivid and suspenseful word scene Stewart paints to put the reader right there with the character (how DOES she DO it??).

Going back over some other posts as well as reviews, one comment stood out to me - someone said everything you need to know about The Ivy Tree is laid out within the first couple of pages of Chapter 1. After finishing it last night, I went back to Chapter 1 and reread it - haha! Stewart had her "gotcha" moment for sure~Bravo!






message 4: by Misfit, Moderator (new)

Misfit | 587 comments I am not reading this thread until I read the book. Don't know when that will be.


message 5: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 11 comments OK, so I remember this as one my favourites of Mary's, and am intrigued enough to pull it out of retirement and read it again!


message 6: by Annie (new)

Annie | 58 comments I know! I've read it enough times now to not be surprised, but I still love this book. I'm thinking I'm going to have to re-read Nine Coaches Waiting because even though I've read the posts y'all have made, I don't remember much about the book! So sad, isn't it, that I'm just going to have read it again?


message 7: by Annie (new)

Annie | 58 comments Another scene where I just wallow in the writing (in the Ivy Tree) is where she goes out to the field where they are making hay. She describes the workers and how hot it is; everyon'es just waiting for the storm to break. You can just feel the heat and see the sweat dripping off the men's backs and foreheads. She's the best.



message 8: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hannahr) | 405 comments Annie wrote: "I know! I've read it enough times now to not be surprised, but I still love this book. I'm thinking I'm going to have to re-read Nine Coaches Waiting because even though I've read the posts y'all..."

I just joined Paperbackswap.com and have ordered a copy of Nine Coaches Waiting from another member. Can't wait to read it~





message 9: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hannahr) | 405 comments Annie wrote: "Another scene where I just wallow in the writing (in the Ivy Tree) is where she goes out to the field where they are making hay. She describes the workers and how hot it is; everyon'es just waitin..."

She is one of the best at descriptions. I marvel over how she can do it. I wish I had that kind of talent. Most of the Romantic SUSPENSE writers I find these days just can't measure up in building and maintaining the drama. What I wouldn't give for a return of a Stewart or DuMaurier....





message 10: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hannahr) | 405 comments Gabriele wrote: "OK, so I remember this as one my favourites of Mary's, and am intrigued enough to pull it out of retirement and read it again! "

Hey Gabriele! I'm glad you're going to re-read The Ivy Tree. Hope you'll come back and discuss later.






message 11: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 11 comments Will do!


message 12: by Misfit, Moderator (new)

Misfit | 587 comments "What I wouldn't give for a return of a Stewart or DuMaurier.... "

Man, if there was someone writing these days like those two ladies. I have to get some more Stewart out from the library, but it's going to have to wait until my Pamela Belle discovery is over,

http://www.pamelabelle.com/books.htm


message 13: by Hannah (last edited Aug 13, 2009 06:57AM) (new)

Hannah (hannahr) | 405 comments Oh Misfit...you're bad for me...really.

I just looked at your Pamela Bell link and just had to add at least The Moon in the Water to my TBR pile...as if I don't already have enough stacked there...




message 14: by Misfit, Moderator (last edited Aug 13, 2009 07:42AM) (new)

Misfit | 587 comments Hannahr wrote: "Oh Misfit...you're bad for me...really.

I just looked at your Pamela Bell link and just had to add at least The Moon in the Water to my TBR pile...as if I don't already have enough stacked there..."


I know, as soon as another GR member mentioned her I went looking and had to get my hands on them all. I love resotration England.

I'll be starting one this weekend after I finish my current *it's so bad it's unintentionally funny* book. More soon :o




message 15: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hannahr) | 405 comments Misfit wrote: I'll be starting one this weekend after I finish my current *it's so bad it's unintentionally funny* book. More soon :o
..."


I look forward to your review!





message 16: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 11 comments I'm trying to get my head around the fact that I was disappointed in re-reading the Ivy Tree. Was it predictable because I remembered too much? But I also found characters' actions illogical. How I loved Mary Stewart's books in my teens and early 20s. Perhaps some books should be read only once.



message 17: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hannahr) | 405 comments Gabriele wrote: "I'm trying to get my head around the fact that I was disappointed in re-reading the Ivy Tree. Was it predictable because I remembered too much? But I also found characters' actions illogical. How ..."

Ah, that's too bad Gabriele. Like you, The Ivy Tree was a re-read for me after several decades, but I wasn't disappointed in it. Is this the first Stewart you've re-read in a while?




message 18: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 11 comments Yes, in 30-some years. But I'm content with fond memories of Stewart's books, as I have lots of unread ones staring hopefully at me from my bookshelves. : )


message 19: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hannahr) | 405 comments Gabriele wrote: "....as I have lots of unread ones staring hopefully at me from my bookshelves. : )"

Don't we all...don't we all!





message 20: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 11 comments ... and I just ordered more!


message 21: by Misfit, Moderator (new)

Misfit | 587 comments Gabriele wrote: "... and I just ordered more!"

:0

We're such a pathetic lot.


message 22: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 11 comments Incurable, I'd say. : )


message 23: by Misfit, Moderator (new)

Misfit | 587 comments Gabriele wrote: "Incurable, I'd say. : )"

Hee, a few of us over at historicalfictiononline tried to go two weeks without buying anything (library holds and swaps were OK) and not everyone made it.


message 24: by Annie (new)

Annie | 58 comments You guys make me feel so much better! I have at least 20 books checked out from the library sitting by my easy chair waiting to be read and still I've bought 4 books in the last 2 days! And I saw Dan Brown's new book is out now--I had to slap my hands not to buy it, too!


message 25: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 11 comments I bought the new Dan Brown for my husband's birthday, so he gets to read it first.


message 26: by Annie (new)

Annie | 58 comments Ooh, how can you stand it!? I had to do that with the last Harry Potter novel, because it actually belonged to my daughter, but it was all I could do not to snatch it out of her hands. Luckily, she's a fast reader!


message 27: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 11 comments And I do love the feel of an untouched book, so I always like to be the first one to read it. But, hey, I have dozens of other enticing new books that I can't around to reading, so Dan will have to wait as well.


message 28: by Annabel (last edited Oct 25, 2019 10:06AM) (new)

Annabel Frazer | 99 comments I've just treated myself to a reread of The Ivy Tree, which is one of my favourites. I read it in one of the beautiful new paperbacks:

The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart

I love this picture, even though I don't think that scene happens in the book!

I found I had the usual gripes. The heroine smokes too much. She's irritable. You don't get to see nearly enough of Adam Forrest. The ending is raced through. But I still adored it as much as ever. And I agree with one of the people who posted in this thread (ten years ago!) that the descriptions of place are evocative of those of Daphne Du Maurier. I certainly thought of Manderley when I read the scenes of the old burned-out grand house. DDM is probably better thought of/more famous as a writer these days (due to Hitchcock's films??) but I vastly prefer Mary Stewart's output.

Which leads to my perennial cry of WHEN will someone make films of these wonderful books? The Ivy Tree would make a wonderful traditional BBC Sunday teatime serial and Wildfire At Midnight would work as a taut snowy thriller.

I also think they could have a stab at Nine Coaches Waiting, The Moonspinners (better than that ridiculous Hayley Mills version), This Rough Magic, Airs Above The Ground, Madam Will You Talk and My Brother Michael. In fact, why not a SERIES of BBC serials? They could even try Thornyhold and Small Isles once they've built up a loyal following. They have my permission to give the others a miss though, especially Gabriel Hounds and Touch Not The Cat, which annoy the heck out of me.


message 29: by Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽, Moderator (new)

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 1048 comments I couldn't agree more that Mary Stewart's books would make fantastic miniseries. I watched part of the old Hayley Mills Moonspinners movie a few months ago and thought it was a travesty. Remake please!


message 30: by Jay (new)

Jay | 40 comments Shall we have a go at casting them


message 31: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments I have often tried to figure out just what went wrong with the Moonspinners! The casting was great, but they should have just stopped after that... We need a seriously good screenplay, a boatload of money (aka producer), and a director who understands where the book was meant to go!


Susan in Perthshire (susanageofaquarius) | 194 comments The one good thing about the Moonspinners, was that it was filmed in Greece. I holidayed in Elounda where the opening scenes (of the causeway with the windmills) was filmed. It inspired a love affair with Greece and all things Greek that continues today. I think the problem was Hayley Mills unsuitability and the fact they insisted on trying to change the story. I wouldn’t watch it now, but I quite enjoyed it when I was a very innocent 15 in 1964!


message 33: by Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽, Moderator (new)

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 1048 comments Sorry, Karlyne, I can't agree with the casting. The Moonspinners movie needed someone like a young Natalie Wood, not Hayley Mills. And I can't get behind Peter McEnery as Mark, either.

But neither of those is as bad as the wholesale rewriting of the plot. Who thought that was an improvement?


message 34: by Karlyne (last edited Oct 29, 2019 10:04AM) (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments I was thinking about the supporting cast (Peter McEnery was so ridiculously young; Hayley Mills could have pulled it off if she'd been allowed to - and I'd forgotten them). But I did think that Eli Wallach and Irene Papas and Joan Greenwood were good. However, Roddy McDowell should have played Tony, because that's the way I remember it. And he did not...


Susan in Perthshire (susanageofaquarius) | 194 comments Nicky herself describes Mark as being 22 or 23 - and Peter McEnery was 24 when he made the film - so not too young at all.
Hayley Mills was 18 but she doesn’t even seem that old whilst Nicky though young is a capable, bright, independent girl. I would have cast a young Keira Knightley in the role - she could carry off that feistiness really well.


message 36: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments Susan in Perthshire wrote: "Nicky herself describes Mark as being 22 or 23 - and Peter McEnery was 24 when he made the film - so not too young at all.
Hayley Mills was 18 but she doesn’t even seem that old whilst Nicky thoug..."


That's too funny, Susan! He looks about 13! I think that's the problem with both leads; they weren't allowed to play their ages, but had to act like juveniles. So, again, a rotten screenplay and poor execution. And it could, sigh, be such a great movie!


message 37: by Jay (new)

Jay | 40 comments I can understand changing the story if some part is hard to film but these changes seem more for the sake of changing.
Was similarly disappointed with the changes in the movie version of In this House of Brede by Rumer Godden


message 38: by Susan in Perthshire (last edited Oct 30, 2019 05:56AM) (new)

Susan in Perthshire (susanageofaquarius) | 194 comments Karlyne wrote: "Susan in Perthshire wrote: "Nicky herself describes Mark as being 22 or 23 - and Peter McEnery was 24 when he made the film - so not too young at all.
Hayley Mills was 18 but she doesn’t even seem..."


Yes Karlyne, I think he was the sort of man who gets better looking as he gets older!!


message 39: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments Jay wrote: "I can understand changing the story if some part is hard to film but these changes seem more for the sake of changing.
Was similarly disappointed with the changes in the movie version of In this Ho..."


In This House of Brede is next on my to-read list; I discovered Rumer Godden last year in the Retro Reads site, and I find her amazing! I'll pass on the film, then....


message 40: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1107 comments Susan in Perthshire wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "Susan in Perthshire wrote: "Nicky herself describes Mark as being 22 or 23 - and Peter McEnery was 24 when he made the film - so not too young at all.
Hayley Mills was 18 but she d..."


I hate men who do that, so that their wives look older. It's just not fair! :)


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Madam, want to talk about author Mary Stewart?

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The Ivy Tree (other topics)