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Hump Day Happy--Late Edition

August 26th, 2009 (02:28 pm)
nostalgic

current mood: nostalgic

I have "comfort books." These are books I first read at a young age that became such favorites that I've reread them many times over the years. Several of those comfort books were written by Mary Stewart. I love Stewart's romantic suspense heroines because they're never shrinking, simpering females in need of rescue from strapping, arrogant heroes. Her females are smart and spirited, and though prone to getting themselves into difficult situations, are just as capable of getting themselves out. Her males are also smart, wry, and understated, sometimes even bookish, and as likely to be geologists and musicians as secret agents. Though her bad guys can be sinister, a vein of humor runs through her novels that often allows the villains' accomplices to be more entertaining than tragic.

I well remember the first Mary Stewart novel I read that hooked me: Airs Above the Ground. It was my mother's book. The dust jacket had been lost, and the book itself was a pale blue-gray. I hope my sister has it, because my own copy is this often-read paperback.

In addition to the story of a husband and his (possibly) wronged wife, there's another romantic tale within the novel, an old tragedy connected to the famous, 400-year old Spanish Riding School of Vienna. The book's title comes from a series of dressage movements of the school's fantastic Lipizzan stallions.

One of the novel's most poignant moments involving an old circus horse brings tears to my eyes no matter how many times I read it. In honor of good storytelling and one of my favorite novels, today's Hump Day Happy is brought to you by the pictured horses that I'm calling my white Lipizzans. If you comment with a page number between 1 and 611, and another number between 1 and 25, the horses will dance through the pages and find your own little bit of magic.

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If you own any of the books in the opposite side bar and would like them signed, mail them to:
P.O. Box 924104
Houston, TX 77292
Please include three dollars for return postage. Thank you.

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