I just finished reading Ilona Andrews’ new book, BLOOD HEIR. And, as always, I loved the Kate Daniel’s world–the angst of its characters, the unrequited love of a budding romance I’m SO happy is finally happening, and the battles. Lots and lots of battles. And just as much magic. Old gods, an alpha to drool for (but I’ve always had a soft spot for Derek) and a kickass heroine kept me turning pages. But now, it’s done. And a new one won’t be out for a while. So…
I read Mae Clair’s book review on Tuesday. (And she KNOWS how to write a review. You can see for yourself: https://maeclair.net/2021/01/26/book-review-tuesday-mexican-gothic-by-silvia-moreno-garcia-gothicfiction-historicalfantasy/) This week, she’d read a Gothic novel. When I was in my twenties, I loved Gothic romances, and an old favorite came to mind.–TOUCH NOT THE CAT by Mary Stewart. The memory made me so nostalgic, I went to Amazon and bought it. I was curious. Would I love it as much now as I did back then?
The jury’s still out. I finished BLOOD HEIR on Monday night and started reading Touch Not the Cat last night. And got stopped by the ABUNDANCE of words and the paragraphs that go on for miles. That’s not how I remember Mary Stewart’s writing. I remember a story dripping with atmosphere. Waiting anxiously to find out who could talk to the heroine without words, connecting their minds. But writing styles have changed. Prologues like Martha Grimes used for her mysteries–and that hooked me every time–are frowned upon now. Mountains of description have been pared to enough to set a scene. Everything’s faster, leaner. The enjoyment of words just for words’ sake is no longer tolerated.
Don’t get me wrong. Description isn’t my strong point. I like clean writing. But reading those pages of a Gothic dripping with hints and teases made me think about other classics I read back then. And most of them weren’t meant for fast pacing. Many of them lured me into meandering through pages at a leisurely rate. I hadn’t realized how MUCH writing styles have changed and how FAST it’s happened until I read the opening pages of that book.
I’m not saying one’s better than the other, because in another fifty or a hundred years, who knows what “good” books will be like? The pendulum swings back and forth, and peoples’ likes and dislikes evolve, go in new directions. Maybe we’ll all slow down, stop rushing about. But it makes me wonder if I picked up a stack of my old favorites, what would I think of them now? I might be afraid to try.
What about you? Have any of you tried reading an old favorite? How did it go?