Madam, Will You Talk?

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.

Mary Stewart, Madam, Will You Talk?

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.

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10 responses to “Madam, Will You Talk?

  1. Yum! Not sure about the cover here, though – why on earth couldn’t they have put a fast car on it?

  2. I agree, and almost said so, but had finished the post so left it out. This book cries out for a car reference, and probably the illustrator hasn’t read it. Charity isn’t a parasol type of girl.

  3. Yum. Me too.
    My copy has the holbourn viaduct and a car and some guns on the front.( this one) (but, apparently, no glue in the spine.)
    This is where I first heard of Yggdragil, and Stratford atte Bow french.

    I do love ‘Nine Coaches Waiting’ and ‘The Moonspinners’, too.

  4. Thank you, BW! For another delicious reminder, which also takes me right back to our tiny, tiny village library where I first encountered MS. Am sure the copy I borrowed, so long ago, did have a sporty-looking car on the cover too.

  5. I almost took a screen cap of all the cover images I found when I went searching, but decided it was taking OCD too far. If OCD can be too something.
    Marjorie, my old one is the same, but still has some glue. Some don’t, though.

  6. I have the same edition and I greatly prefer the cover to the new one but having just read it again, I love it just as much as I did.
    PS you’re not the only one who hasn’t been to Provence ,Bookwitch, but there’s time for us yet!

  7. Sisters, I believe the time has come to consider a group trip to Stewart sites. Would it be best to do one at a time, giving ample time to search for lovely men, or might we just as well do one major tour? Rather like those grand tours rich or educated (?) people did in the olden days?

  8. Pingback: Revisiting Mary Stewart | Bookwitch

  9. Pingback: Retro Friday: Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart | Chachic's Book Nook

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