We can just about start our own sisterhood, I reckon. It’s been such a relief to find that I’m neither alone in adoring Mary Stewart, nor in considering Madam, Will You Talk? as my very favouritest of her novels.
It was her first, and I’m sort of wondering it might have been my first, too. Charity makes for exactly the kind of heroine I would want to be, and as for her Wolf of Orange hero… Well. What can one say? He’s just perfect.
The way Charity drives a car… Wow. And she can disable cars to avoid being followed. (I don’t even drive.) There is a boy who has everything you’d look for in a boy, and he has a dog, which has just about everything you’d look for in a dog.
Art crime and kidnapping and romance in Provence. Car chases. Handsome hero (might have mentioned him once or twice already) and good looking villain, as well. Attractive touristy scenery.
And the education a person gets reading Madam, Will You Talk? is second to none. There’s Gilbert White and Byron and Shelley, not to mention quotes and just generally things which I had never heard of before (at the time).
Charity is comfortably off in that way we’d all like to be, and has a tragic past of the kind we’d rather not share. She has a great friend, and they have a way with words that I’d ‘kill’ for. After all these years I still remember the conversation about underwear (rich widows have nice underwear), and I can dredge up several quotes from varied bits of the story, and I’m the type of witch who just never quotes, having a memory like a sieve.
And still, here it all is. And I never made it to Provence.