The Joy of Reading – This Rough Magic

Cindy Knox

I was quite young when I first tried my hand at writing, and I found that descriptions were my Waterloo; I had to draw inadequate pictures instead. Dialogue seemed easy – should I have gone into playwriting? However, any type of description stopped me cold immediately. I’m envious of anyone who can describe a place, a person, a house, a tree – or a dolphin – so clearly that I can visualize it perfectly.

Fortunately for her readers, author Mary Stewart had no such problem, and we are placed in settings that are vivid, colorful, and speak to all the senses. Another plus for a perennial romantic like me is that her heroines are usually young, attractive, brave and educated. They are the highly idealized “me” from decades ago. This sentence from her obituary in The Guardian on May 15, 2014, sums it up: “Stewart’s fans were above all attracted to her wonderful storytelling, which she saw as a skill she was born with – ‘I am first and foremost a teller of tales’– but also by the warmth and vivacity of her characters and the sharply drawn settings.”  (More…)

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