The Books That Bind

Bookshelf
Susanna here, pursued by my deadlines at the moment, so I missed out on contributing to Nicola’s lovely AAW post this week about old and new favourites (for the record, I would also have put Mary Stewart at the top of my list).

But in reading through the equally lovely comments I came across the interchange between Kareni and Nicola, about books that are passed down with love to the next generation of readers—“Inheritance books”, Nicola called them, and suggested it might be a topic somebody could blog on in a future post.

This isn’t that post.

But it is a post about one such book, passed down with love from my mother to me, and what happened because of it.


Bride covercropped_2Sometime in the early 1950s when my mother, then a teenager, was lying sick in bed and wishing for something to read, she reached for the Toronto Star newspaper. In those days, the Toronto Star had a "story" supplement containing condensed versions of recently published books. On that particular day, while lying in bed, my mother first encountered Bride of the MacHugh, by Jan Cox Speas.

She still remembers details of that day, and how she felt. She loved the story so much that she searched it out at her local library, but of course had to return it after reading it. It took her a number of years before she finally found a copy she could buy (it’s still on her shelf).

Bride_machughAnd when I was in my teens, she shared that book with me. I can’t remember if she handed it to me to read, or if I simply took it from the shelf, with her approval. But I do remember everything about that winter afternoon when I first started reading it.

In winter in my part of Canada by the time I would get home from school at four o’clock it was already growing dark—that cold and snowy dark that wraps around you and makes you dive under a blanket and reach for a book in the warm, cozy light of your bedroom. I still hear the wind blowing fierce at my windows. I still, with my eyes closed, can picture the heroine standing against a dark sky of her own, as the story began to unfold.

“The dawn was slow in coming. Against the pale sky the mountains were tall and sullen, holding back the day. An uneasy wind stirred in the black trees by the loch and moaned restlessly through the castle parapets, but in the high upland corries there was only the silence of night.”

MLME back cover photo-croppedIt was love at first read.

Like my mother, I went on to read (and to buy my own copies of) two more historical Jan Cox Speas novels: My Lord Monleigh and My Love My Enemy. My mother’s were original hardcovers—mine are the paperbacks re-issued in the 1970s by Avon, with what I think might be the same male cover model playing all three heroes on the front.

And years later, when I was published myself and creating my website, I put up a list of my own favourite authors, with brief biographical notes on them.

I couldn’t find much about Jan Cox Speas. So I noted that right on my website, and asked any readers who knew more about her to please get in touch.

A year later, one did. “Hi Susanna,” her email began, “I’m Jan’s daughter.”

And that’s how I came to meet Cynthia (Cindy) Speas. She filled me in on the details of her mother’s life, with enough information (and photos!) to let me create a full page on my website.

Cindy and Me at Ritas 2009But better than that, when I travelled to Washington, DC, later that year for the RWA National conference, she came to pick me up at the airport. She drove me all over the city, while we searched for locations for one of my characters. She was my “date” for the RITA awards ceremony, in which my book The Winter Sea was nominated (for Best Novel with Romantic Elements—it lost to Nora Roberts). And she invited me home with her, where on her own shelves she showed me the row of original hardcover Georgette Heyer novels that she and her mother had collected.

Her “inheritance books”, if you like—an enduring and memory-filled link to the mother she’d lost far too soon.

Me and CindyWe’ve stayed friends, and the best part for me of a trip to the Washington region is getting the chance to spend more time with Cindy.

I love that it was one book, and our mothers, that connected us.

And while my sons are maybe not the audience for Bride of the MacHugh, I pass that book along to everyone I can.

A book that can connect you at the same time to the people who have read and loved it before you, and also to the friends you haven’t met yet it will one day bring into your life, is in my view a thing to treasure.

Have you ever had a book passed down to you this way? Or have you ever, like Cindy and her mother, shared the fun of collecting an author’s complete works? Have books ever led you to new friends? What are your "inheritance books"?

115 thoughts on “The Books That Bind”

  1. Well, collecting whole series is a family tradition. It began with two children’s series:
    the Little House Books and the Narnia books (i forget in which order). I have 3 children. One Christmas I gave the children (as a group) the first book. Each one received the next book of the series for that child’s birthday and the next Christmas the group as a whole received the next book.
    My sister and I had devoured the Little House books as soon as they appeared on the library shelves, so this was a “generation” gift; but Narnia was a gift to us from a children’s librarian, who shared the first one with my youngest daughter.
    My girls and I shared all the Heyer novels, all the Mary Stewart Novels, and all the Elsie Lee novels as they came into paperback.
    My daughter and I keep coming up with series and individual books we have enjoyed and make sure her granddaughters have copies.

    Reply
  2. Well, collecting whole series is a family tradition. It began with two children’s series:
    the Little House Books and the Narnia books (i forget in which order). I have 3 children. One Christmas I gave the children (as a group) the first book. Each one received the next book of the series for that child’s birthday and the next Christmas the group as a whole received the next book.
    My sister and I had devoured the Little House books as soon as they appeared on the library shelves, so this was a “generation” gift; but Narnia was a gift to us from a children’s librarian, who shared the first one with my youngest daughter.
    My girls and I shared all the Heyer novels, all the Mary Stewart Novels, and all the Elsie Lee novels as they came into paperback.
    My daughter and I keep coming up with series and individual books we have enjoyed and make sure her granddaughters have copies.

    Reply
  3. Well, collecting whole series is a family tradition. It began with two children’s series:
    the Little House Books and the Narnia books (i forget in which order). I have 3 children. One Christmas I gave the children (as a group) the first book. Each one received the next book of the series for that child’s birthday and the next Christmas the group as a whole received the next book.
    My sister and I had devoured the Little House books as soon as they appeared on the library shelves, so this was a “generation” gift; but Narnia was a gift to us from a children’s librarian, who shared the first one with my youngest daughter.
    My girls and I shared all the Heyer novels, all the Mary Stewart Novels, and all the Elsie Lee novels as they came into paperback.
    My daughter and I keep coming up with series and individual books we have enjoyed and make sure her granddaughters have copies.

    Reply
  4. Well, collecting whole series is a family tradition. It began with two children’s series:
    the Little House Books and the Narnia books (i forget in which order). I have 3 children. One Christmas I gave the children (as a group) the first book. Each one received the next book of the series for that child’s birthday and the next Christmas the group as a whole received the next book.
    My sister and I had devoured the Little House books as soon as they appeared on the library shelves, so this was a “generation” gift; but Narnia was a gift to us from a children’s librarian, who shared the first one with my youngest daughter.
    My girls and I shared all the Heyer novels, all the Mary Stewart Novels, and all the Elsie Lee novels as they came into paperback.
    My daughter and I keep coming up with series and individual books we have enjoyed and make sure her granddaughters have copies.

    Reply
  5. Well, collecting whole series is a family tradition. It began with two children’s series:
    the Little House Books and the Narnia books (i forget in which order). I have 3 children. One Christmas I gave the children (as a group) the first book. Each one received the next book of the series for that child’s birthday and the next Christmas the group as a whole received the next book.
    My sister and I had devoured the Little House books as soon as they appeared on the library shelves, so this was a “generation” gift; but Narnia was a gift to us from a children’s librarian, who shared the first one with my youngest daughter.
    My girls and I shared all the Heyer novels, all the Mary Stewart Novels, and all the Elsie Lee novels as they came into paperback.
    My daughter and I keep coming up with series and individual books we have enjoyed and make sure her granddaughters have copies.

    Reply
  6. Love Jan Cox Speas! All of her books, the Avon pbks. with the amazing Tom Hall covers, are on my keeper shelves, along with my Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Elsie Lee books. She was a wonderful writer.

    Reply
  7. Love Jan Cox Speas! All of her books, the Avon pbks. with the amazing Tom Hall covers, are on my keeper shelves, along with my Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Elsie Lee books. She was a wonderful writer.

    Reply
  8. Love Jan Cox Speas! All of her books, the Avon pbks. with the amazing Tom Hall covers, are on my keeper shelves, along with my Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Elsie Lee books. She was a wonderful writer.

    Reply
  9. Love Jan Cox Speas! All of her books, the Avon pbks. with the amazing Tom Hall covers, are on my keeper shelves, along with my Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Elsie Lee books. She was a wonderful writer.

    Reply
  10. Love Jan Cox Speas! All of her books, the Avon pbks. with the amazing Tom Hall covers, are on my keeper shelves, along with my Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Elsie Lee books. She was a wonderful writer.

    Reply
  11. What a lovely article, Susanna; I enjoyed learning about your inheritance book and the friendship it sparked.
    I’ll mention once again the Don Camillo books by Giovanni Guareschi. These are three generation books in my family — my mother recommended them to teenage me, and I subsequently recommended them to my own teenage daughter. They are set in 1950s Italy and feature the priest Don Camillo, who has conversations with Christ on the cross, and his nemesis the Communist mayor, Peppone. They are humorous while also having depth. I can’t recall meeting anyone who has also read them — perhaps one day!

    Reply
  12. What a lovely article, Susanna; I enjoyed learning about your inheritance book and the friendship it sparked.
    I’ll mention once again the Don Camillo books by Giovanni Guareschi. These are three generation books in my family — my mother recommended them to teenage me, and I subsequently recommended them to my own teenage daughter. They are set in 1950s Italy and feature the priest Don Camillo, who has conversations with Christ on the cross, and his nemesis the Communist mayor, Peppone. They are humorous while also having depth. I can’t recall meeting anyone who has also read them — perhaps one day!

    Reply
  13. What a lovely article, Susanna; I enjoyed learning about your inheritance book and the friendship it sparked.
    I’ll mention once again the Don Camillo books by Giovanni Guareschi. These are three generation books in my family — my mother recommended them to teenage me, and I subsequently recommended them to my own teenage daughter. They are set in 1950s Italy and feature the priest Don Camillo, who has conversations with Christ on the cross, and his nemesis the Communist mayor, Peppone. They are humorous while also having depth. I can’t recall meeting anyone who has also read them — perhaps one day!

    Reply
  14. What a lovely article, Susanna; I enjoyed learning about your inheritance book and the friendship it sparked.
    I’ll mention once again the Don Camillo books by Giovanni Guareschi. These are three generation books in my family — my mother recommended them to teenage me, and I subsequently recommended them to my own teenage daughter. They are set in 1950s Italy and feature the priest Don Camillo, who has conversations with Christ on the cross, and his nemesis the Communist mayor, Peppone. They are humorous while also having depth. I can’t recall meeting anyone who has also read them — perhaps one day!

    Reply
  15. What a lovely article, Susanna; I enjoyed learning about your inheritance book and the friendship it sparked.
    I’ll mention once again the Don Camillo books by Giovanni Guareschi. These are three generation books in my family — my mother recommended them to teenage me, and I subsequently recommended them to my own teenage daughter. They are set in 1950s Italy and feature the priest Don Camillo, who has conversations with Christ on the cross, and his nemesis the Communist mayor, Peppone. They are humorous while also having depth. I can’t recall meeting anyone who has also read them — perhaps one day!

    Reply
  16. I have a copy of bride of the McHugh I love this book. It’s currently packed away with a lot of my books while my house renovation is going on. Oh dear, I wish I could get at it now to ‘re read it.

    Reply
  17. I have a copy of bride of the McHugh I love this book. It’s currently packed away with a lot of my books while my house renovation is going on. Oh dear, I wish I could get at it now to ‘re read it.

    Reply
  18. I have a copy of bride of the McHugh I love this book. It’s currently packed away with a lot of my books while my house renovation is going on. Oh dear, I wish I could get at it now to ‘re read it.

    Reply
  19. I have a copy of bride of the McHugh I love this book. It’s currently packed away with a lot of my books while my house renovation is going on. Oh dear, I wish I could get at it now to ‘re read it.

    Reply
  20. I have a copy of bride of the McHugh I love this book. It’s currently packed away with a lot of my books while my house renovation is going on. Oh dear, I wish I could get at it now to ‘re read it.

    Reply
  21. I also collected the entire Regency hardcover novels of Georgette Heyer. I read them over and over for years, then I donated the set to a church fair. I was living too vicariously through each story, even though it was in another century, that I neglected socializing in today’s world and had to get out more. I loved those books too much.

    Reply
  22. I also collected the entire Regency hardcover novels of Georgette Heyer. I read them over and over for years, then I donated the set to a church fair. I was living too vicariously through each story, even though it was in another century, that I neglected socializing in today’s world and had to get out more. I loved those books too much.

    Reply
  23. I also collected the entire Regency hardcover novels of Georgette Heyer. I read them over and over for years, then I donated the set to a church fair. I was living too vicariously through each story, even though it was in another century, that I neglected socializing in today’s world and had to get out more. I loved those books too much.

    Reply
  24. I also collected the entire Regency hardcover novels of Georgette Heyer. I read them over and over for years, then I donated the set to a church fair. I was living too vicariously through each story, even though it was in another century, that I neglected socializing in today’s world and had to get out more. I loved those books too much.

    Reply
  25. I also collected the entire Regency hardcover novels of Georgette Heyer. I read them over and over for years, then I donated the set to a church fair. I was living too vicariously through each story, even though it was in another century, that I neglected socializing in today’s world and had to get out more. I loved those books too much.

    Reply
  26. Sue, do you know I’ve never read the entire Narnia series? I loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a child, and have read The Magician’s Nephew, but never the entire series. I really should.

    Reply
  27. Sue, do you know I’ve never read the entire Narnia series? I loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a child, and have read The Magician’s Nephew, but never the entire series. I really should.

    Reply
  28. Sue, do you know I’ve never read the entire Narnia series? I loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a child, and have read The Magician’s Nephew, but never the entire series. I really should.

    Reply
  29. Sue, do you know I’ve never read the entire Narnia series? I loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a child, and have read The Magician’s Nephew, but never the entire series. I really should.

    Reply
  30. Sue, do you know I’ve never read the entire Narnia series? I loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a child, and have read The Magician’s Nephew, but never the entire series. I really should.

    Reply
  31. Susanna, Unfortunately my mother had reading comprehension difficulties so she did not enjoy reading. But my first memories of my father are sitting side by side on the sofa while he read his Zane Grey’s. Those were the books he passed down to my brother and me. I still enjoy reading a western.
    When I married 44 years ago, husband helped me moved six large boxes up two flights of stairs to our first apartment and for our numerous moves. Now that is true love.

    Reply
  32. Susanna, Unfortunately my mother had reading comprehension difficulties so she did not enjoy reading. But my first memories of my father are sitting side by side on the sofa while he read his Zane Grey’s. Those were the books he passed down to my brother and me. I still enjoy reading a western.
    When I married 44 years ago, husband helped me moved six large boxes up two flights of stairs to our first apartment and for our numerous moves. Now that is true love.

    Reply
  33. Susanna, Unfortunately my mother had reading comprehension difficulties so she did not enjoy reading. But my first memories of my father are sitting side by side on the sofa while he read his Zane Grey’s. Those were the books he passed down to my brother and me. I still enjoy reading a western.
    When I married 44 years ago, husband helped me moved six large boxes up two flights of stairs to our first apartment and for our numerous moves. Now that is true love.

    Reply
  34. Susanna, Unfortunately my mother had reading comprehension difficulties so she did not enjoy reading. But my first memories of my father are sitting side by side on the sofa while he read his Zane Grey’s. Those were the books he passed down to my brother and me. I still enjoy reading a western.
    When I married 44 years ago, husband helped me moved six large boxes up two flights of stairs to our first apartment and for our numerous moves. Now that is true love.

    Reply
  35. Susanna, Unfortunately my mother had reading comprehension difficulties so she did not enjoy reading. But my first memories of my father are sitting side by side on the sofa while he read his Zane Grey’s. Those were the books he passed down to my brother and me. I still enjoy reading a western.
    When I married 44 years ago, husband helped me moved six large boxes up two flights of stairs to our first apartment and for our numerous moves. Now that is true love.

    Reply
  36. I also LOVED Jan Cox Speas and have her books carefully preserved. My favorite was MY LOVE MY ENEMY. Highly charged for a young teen! Mary Stewart and Mary Renault books, Heyer and Taylor Caldwell, Louisa May Alcott books are still pulled off the shelves and re read. Thanks to Kindle I can keep more favorites and worry less about dusting.
    Great article!! Thank you for the walk with the memories.

    Reply
  37. I also LOVED Jan Cox Speas and have her books carefully preserved. My favorite was MY LOVE MY ENEMY. Highly charged for a young teen! Mary Stewart and Mary Renault books, Heyer and Taylor Caldwell, Louisa May Alcott books are still pulled off the shelves and re read. Thanks to Kindle I can keep more favorites and worry less about dusting.
    Great article!! Thank you for the walk with the memories.

    Reply
  38. I also LOVED Jan Cox Speas and have her books carefully preserved. My favorite was MY LOVE MY ENEMY. Highly charged for a young teen! Mary Stewart and Mary Renault books, Heyer and Taylor Caldwell, Louisa May Alcott books are still pulled off the shelves and re read. Thanks to Kindle I can keep more favorites and worry less about dusting.
    Great article!! Thank you for the walk with the memories.

    Reply
  39. I also LOVED Jan Cox Speas and have her books carefully preserved. My favorite was MY LOVE MY ENEMY. Highly charged for a young teen! Mary Stewart and Mary Renault books, Heyer and Taylor Caldwell, Louisa May Alcott books are still pulled off the shelves and re read. Thanks to Kindle I can keep more favorites and worry less about dusting.
    Great article!! Thank you for the walk with the memories.

    Reply
  40. I also LOVED Jan Cox Speas and have her books carefully preserved. My favorite was MY LOVE MY ENEMY. Highly charged for a young teen! Mary Stewart and Mary Renault books, Heyer and Taylor Caldwell, Louisa May Alcott books are still pulled off the shelves and re read. Thanks to Kindle I can keep more favorites and worry less about dusting.
    Great article!! Thank you for the walk with the memories.

    Reply
  41. When she was young, my mother had entertained herself while washing dishes or doing the ironing by memorizing poetry, which she recited frequently. As a result, I cannot see “The Splendor Falls” without mentally continuing “…on castle walls” etc.and I always love the sheer sound of poetry, the way the words roll around in your mouth.
    My father passed on books he had loved as a child—Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer, and Jane Porter’s Scottish Chiefs. Hence my love of swashbuckling adventure stories. Books are such a wonderful link to the past, ours and our parents’.

    Reply
  42. When she was young, my mother had entertained herself while washing dishes or doing the ironing by memorizing poetry, which she recited frequently. As a result, I cannot see “The Splendor Falls” without mentally continuing “…on castle walls” etc.and I always love the sheer sound of poetry, the way the words roll around in your mouth.
    My father passed on books he had loved as a child—Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer, and Jane Porter’s Scottish Chiefs. Hence my love of swashbuckling adventure stories. Books are such a wonderful link to the past, ours and our parents’.

    Reply
  43. When she was young, my mother had entertained herself while washing dishes or doing the ironing by memorizing poetry, which she recited frequently. As a result, I cannot see “The Splendor Falls” without mentally continuing “…on castle walls” etc.and I always love the sheer sound of poetry, the way the words roll around in your mouth.
    My father passed on books he had loved as a child—Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer, and Jane Porter’s Scottish Chiefs. Hence my love of swashbuckling adventure stories. Books are such a wonderful link to the past, ours and our parents’.

    Reply
  44. When she was young, my mother had entertained herself while washing dishes or doing the ironing by memorizing poetry, which she recited frequently. As a result, I cannot see “The Splendor Falls” without mentally continuing “…on castle walls” etc.and I always love the sheer sound of poetry, the way the words roll around in your mouth.
    My father passed on books he had loved as a child—Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer, and Jane Porter’s Scottish Chiefs. Hence my love of swashbuckling adventure stories. Books are such a wonderful link to the past, ours and our parents’.

    Reply
  45. When she was young, my mother had entertained herself while washing dishes or doing the ironing by memorizing poetry, which she recited frequently. As a result, I cannot see “The Splendor Falls” without mentally continuing “…on castle walls” etc.and I always love the sheer sound of poetry, the way the words roll around in your mouth.
    My father passed on books he had loved as a child—Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer, and Jane Porter’s Scottish Chiefs. Hence my love of swashbuckling adventure stories. Books are such a wonderful link to the past, ours and our parents’.

    Reply
  46. I had such a lovely sniffle over this one Susanna.
    My father was the big reader at our house, and I got the gene, big time. He shared John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee stories (and Ross MacD’s noir detective stories)– plus Thomas Costain, Samuel Shellabarger, and other splendid historical authors — starting when I was about 12.
    Decades later I discovered romance novels, and not only did my mom go nuts and filled every nook and cranny of the house with them, but my dad read them, too. Well, selected ones, like Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay stories. So those lovely memories go both ways in my family.

    Reply
  47. I had such a lovely sniffle over this one Susanna.
    My father was the big reader at our house, and I got the gene, big time. He shared John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee stories (and Ross MacD’s noir detective stories)– plus Thomas Costain, Samuel Shellabarger, and other splendid historical authors — starting when I was about 12.
    Decades later I discovered romance novels, and not only did my mom go nuts and filled every nook and cranny of the house with them, but my dad read them, too. Well, selected ones, like Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay stories. So those lovely memories go both ways in my family.

    Reply
  48. I had such a lovely sniffle over this one Susanna.
    My father was the big reader at our house, and I got the gene, big time. He shared John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee stories (and Ross MacD’s noir detective stories)– plus Thomas Costain, Samuel Shellabarger, and other splendid historical authors — starting when I was about 12.
    Decades later I discovered romance novels, and not only did my mom go nuts and filled every nook and cranny of the house with them, but my dad read them, too. Well, selected ones, like Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay stories. So those lovely memories go both ways in my family.

    Reply
  49. I had such a lovely sniffle over this one Susanna.
    My father was the big reader at our house, and I got the gene, big time. He shared John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee stories (and Ross MacD’s noir detective stories)– plus Thomas Costain, Samuel Shellabarger, and other splendid historical authors — starting when I was about 12.
    Decades later I discovered romance novels, and not only did my mom go nuts and filled every nook and cranny of the house with them, but my dad read them, too. Well, selected ones, like Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay stories. So those lovely memories go both ways in my family.

    Reply
  50. I had such a lovely sniffle over this one Susanna.
    My father was the big reader at our house, and I got the gene, big time. He shared John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee stories (and Ross MacD’s noir detective stories)– plus Thomas Costain, Samuel Shellabarger, and other splendid historical authors — starting when I was about 12.
    Decades later I discovered romance novels, and not only did my mom go nuts and filled every nook and cranny of the house with them, but my dad read them, too. Well, selected ones, like Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay stories. So those lovely memories go both ways in my family.

    Reply
  51. I began reading “romance” a little late in my life and many of the authors I enjoyed had large backlists by that time. I delighted in shopping used book stores and collecting them all. I still have many stored in boxes under my beds. For a long time I re-read, but now there are so many new titles by many of these same authors that I have a hard time keeping up with the new. My mother was a reader, but liked detective stories. My three daughters and I share many faviorites these days.

    Reply
  52. I began reading “romance” a little late in my life and many of the authors I enjoyed had large backlists by that time. I delighted in shopping used book stores and collecting them all. I still have many stored in boxes under my beds. For a long time I re-read, but now there are so many new titles by many of these same authors that I have a hard time keeping up with the new. My mother was a reader, but liked detective stories. My three daughters and I share many faviorites these days.

    Reply
  53. I began reading “romance” a little late in my life and many of the authors I enjoyed had large backlists by that time. I delighted in shopping used book stores and collecting them all. I still have many stored in boxes under my beds. For a long time I re-read, but now there are so many new titles by many of these same authors that I have a hard time keeping up with the new. My mother was a reader, but liked detective stories. My three daughters and I share many faviorites these days.

    Reply
  54. I began reading “romance” a little late in my life and many of the authors I enjoyed had large backlists by that time. I delighted in shopping used book stores and collecting them all. I still have many stored in boxes under my beds. For a long time I re-read, but now there are so many new titles by many of these same authors that I have a hard time keeping up with the new. My mother was a reader, but liked detective stories. My three daughters and I share many faviorites these days.

    Reply
  55. I began reading “romance” a little late in my life and many of the authors I enjoyed had large backlists by that time. I delighted in shopping used book stores and collecting them all. I still have many stored in boxes under my beds. For a long time I re-read, but now there are so many new titles by many of these same authors that I have a hard time keeping up with the new. My mother was a reader, but liked detective stories. My three daughters and I share many faviorites these days.

    Reply
  56. What a great story about you and Cindy Speas!
    My mother died when I was quite young, so the inheritance books I have are from my father, who was a big reader. “All Quiet on the Western Front”, German edition, which had a major formative influence on him during his youth in Germany. It resulted in him fleeing the country and coming to the America, just before WW 2 broke out, because he wanted no part of what was going on there. Two books by Oscar Maria Graf, who was well known in Germany, but is out of print in English. They are “Prisoners All!” and “The Life of My Mother”. I wish someone would republish his works here, because they are quite interesting and readable, and I know other authors from the Weimar Era have recently been republished in English.
    And I also have old hardcover editions of some classics that were his, like “For Whom The Bell Tolls” “Native Son” and “There Was Once a Slave” by Shirley Graham. All serious stuff. No romance readers in my family before me, which is why I came to it so late!

    Reply
  57. What a great story about you and Cindy Speas!
    My mother died when I was quite young, so the inheritance books I have are from my father, who was a big reader. “All Quiet on the Western Front”, German edition, which had a major formative influence on him during his youth in Germany. It resulted in him fleeing the country and coming to the America, just before WW 2 broke out, because he wanted no part of what was going on there. Two books by Oscar Maria Graf, who was well known in Germany, but is out of print in English. They are “Prisoners All!” and “The Life of My Mother”. I wish someone would republish his works here, because they are quite interesting and readable, and I know other authors from the Weimar Era have recently been republished in English.
    And I also have old hardcover editions of some classics that were his, like “For Whom The Bell Tolls” “Native Son” and “There Was Once a Slave” by Shirley Graham. All serious stuff. No romance readers in my family before me, which is why I came to it so late!

    Reply
  58. What a great story about you and Cindy Speas!
    My mother died when I was quite young, so the inheritance books I have are from my father, who was a big reader. “All Quiet on the Western Front”, German edition, which had a major formative influence on him during his youth in Germany. It resulted in him fleeing the country and coming to the America, just before WW 2 broke out, because he wanted no part of what was going on there. Two books by Oscar Maria Graf, who was well known in Germany, but is out of print in English. They are “Prisoners All!” and “The Life of My Mother”. I wish someone would republish his works here, because they are quite interesting and readable, and I know other authors from the Weimar Era have recently been republished in English.
    And I also have old hardcover editions of some classics that were his, like “For Whom The Bell Tolls” “Native Son” and “There Was Once a Slave” by Shirley Graham. All serious stuff. No romance readers in my family before me, which is why I came to it so late!

    Reply
  59. What a great story about you and Cindy Speas!
    My mother died when I was quite young, so the inheritance books I have are from my father, who was a big reader. “All Quiet on the Western Front”, German edition, which had a major formative influence on him during his youth in Germany. It resulted in him fleeing the country and coming to the America, just before WW 2 broke out, because he wanted no part of what was going on there. Two books by Oscar Maria Graf, who was well known in Germany, but is out of print in English. They are “Prisoners All!” and “The Life of My Mother”. I wish someone would republish his works here, because they are quite interesting and readable, and I know other authors from the Weimar Era have recently been republished in English.
    And I also have old hardcover editions of some classics that were his, like “For Whom The Bell Tolls” “Native Son” and “There Was Once a Slave” by Shirley Graham. All serious stuff. No romance readers in my family before me, which is why I came to it so late!

    Reply
  60. What a great story about you and Cindy Speas!
    My mother died when I was quite young, so the inheritance books I have are from my father, who was a big reader. “All Quiet on the Western Front”, German edition, which had a major formative influence on him during his youth in Germany. It resulted in him fleeing the country and coming to the America, just before WW 2 broke out, because he wanted no part of what was going on there. Two books by Oscar Maria Graf, who was well known in Germany, but is out of print in English. They are “Prisoners All!” and “The Life of My Mother”. I wish someone would republish his works here, because they are quite interesting and readable, and I know other authors from the Weimar Era have recently been republished in English.
    And I also have old hardcover editions of some classics that were his, like “For Whom The Bell Tolls” “Native Son” and “There Was Once a Slave” by Shirley Graham. All serious stuff. No romance readers in my family before me, which is why I came to it so late!

    Reply
  61. Thank you Kareni for mentioning the Don Camillo books again. I remember their being mentioned before, now, but I’d forgotten. Going straight to Amazon and adding to my wish list.

    Reply
  62. Thank you Kareni for mentioning the Don Camillo books again. I remember their being mentioned before, now, but I’d forgotten. Going straight to Amazon and adding to my wish list.

    Reply
  63. Thank you Kareni for mentioning the Don Camillo books again. I remember their being mentioned before, now, but I’d forgotten. Going straight to Amazon and adding to my wish list.

    Reply
  64. Thank you Kareni for mentioning the Don Camillo books again. I remember their being mentioned before, now, but I’d forgotten. Going straight to Amazon and adding to my wish list.

    Reply
  65. Thank you Kareni for mentioning the Don Camillo books again. I remember their being mentioned before, now, but I’d forgotten. Going straight to Amazon and adding to my wish list.

    Reply
  66. What a lovely post Susanna. The books intrigue me, and I will search them out. But what really got to me was your story of your friendship with the author’s daughter, Cindy Speas. I recently made a friend (although so far just pen pals because she lives far far away,) in a round-about way through a mutually beloved author. How I would like to meet her in person.
    I seriously had my immature nose in the air regarding the books my mother read by the grocery bag full when I was a teen. I considered them all stupid ‘yuck, Romances!’ And now look at me, good grief. Now I can’t stop. She and her best friend shared book they each had gotten from a wider network of reader friends, and I wasn’t exaggerating when I said ‘grocery bag.’ She and her friend, later on, were completely obsessed with Taylor Caldwell which I just grouped in with the rest of those ‘bodice rippers.’ Now, I quite intrigued and am searching them out. Ahhh, the joke’s on me. 😉
    I really did have an inheritance of books…an obsession with reading.

    Reply
  67. What a lovely post Susanna. The books intrigue me, and I will search them out. But what really got to me was your story of your friendship with the author’s daughter, Cindy Speas. I recently made a friend (although so far just pen pals because she lives far far away,) in a round-about way through a mutually beloved author. How I would like to meet her in person.
    I seriously had my immature nose in the air regarding the books my mother read by the grocery bag full when I was a teen. I considered them all stupid ‘yuck, Romances!’ And now look at me, good grief. Now I can’t stop. She and her best friend shared book they each had gotten from a wider network of reader friends, and I wasn’t exaggerating when I said ‘grocery bag.’ She and her friend, later on, were completely obsessed with Taylor Caldwell which I just grouped in with the rest of those ‘bodice rippers.’ Now, I quite intrigued and am searching them out. Ahhh, the joke’s on me. 😉
    I really did have an inheritance of books…an obsession with reading.

    Reply
  68. What a lovely post Susanna. The books intrigue me, and I will search them out. But what really got to me was your story of your friendship with the author’s daughter, Cindy Speas. I recently made a friend (although so far just pen pals because she lives far far away,) in a round-about way through a mutually beloved author. How I would like to meet her in person.
    I seriously had my immature nose in the air regarding the books my mother read by the grocery bag full when I was a teen. I considered them all stupid ‘yuck, Romances!’ And now look at me, good grief. Now I can’t stop. She and her best friend shared book they each had gotten from a wider network of reader friends, and I wasn’t exaggerating when I said ‘grocery bag.’ She and her friend, later on, were completely obsessed with Taylor Caldwell which I just grouped in with the rest of those ‘bodice rippers.’ Now, I quite intrigued and am searching them out. Ahhh, the joke’s on me. 😉
    I really did have an inheritance of books…an obsession with reading.

    Reply
  69. What a lovely post Susanna. The books intrigue me, and I will search them out. But what really got to me was your story of your friendship with the author’s daughter, Cindy Speas. I recently made a friend (although so far just pen pals because she lives far far away,) in a round-about way through a mutually beloved author. How I would like to meet her in person.
    I seriously had my immature nose in the air regarding the books my mother read by the grocery bag full when I was a teen. I considered them all stupid ‘yuck, Romances!’ And now look at me, good grief. Now I can’t stop. She and her best friend shared book they each had gotten from a wider network of reader friends, and I wasn’t exaggerating when I said ‘grocery bag.’ She and her friend, later on, were completely obsessed with Taylor Caldwell which I just grouped in with the rest of those ‘bodice rippers.’ Now, I quite intrigued and am searching them out. Ahhh, the joke’s on me. 😉
    I really did have an inheritance of books…an obsession with reading.

    Reply
  70. What a lovely post Susanna. The books intrigue me, and I will search them out. But what really got to me was your story of your friendship with the author’s daughter, Cindy Speas. I recently made a friend (although so far just pen pals because she lives far far away,) in a round-about way through a mutually beloved author. How I would like to meet her in person.
    I seriously had my immature nose in the air regarding the books my mother read by the grocery bag full when I was a teen. I considered them all stupid ‘yuck, Romances!’ And now look at me, good grief. Now I can’t stop. She and her best friend shared book they each had gotten from a wider network of reader friends, and I wasn’t exaggerating when I said ‘grocery bag.’ She and her friend, later on, were completely obsessed with Taylor Caldwell which I just grouped in with the rest of those ‘bodice rippers.’ Now, I quite intrigued and am searching them out. Ahhh, the joke’s on me. 😉
    I really did have an inheritance of books…an obsession with reading.

    Reply
  71. Loved your reply, Sue McCormick. I could not wait until our son was old enough to read the Narnia tales. I discovered them in college with a group of friends who were all reading C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and associated authors. I fell in love.

    Reply
  72. Loved your reply, Sue McCormick. I could not wait until our son was old enough to read the Narnia tales. I discovered them in college with a group of friends who were all reading C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and associated authors. I fell in love.

    Reply
  73. Loved your reply, Sue McCormick. I could not wait until our son was old enough to read the Narnia tales. I discovered them in college with a group of friends who were all reading C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and associated authors. I fell in love.

    Reply
  74. Loved your reply, Sue McCormick. I could not wait until our son was old enough to read the Narnia tales. I discovered them in college with a group of friends who were all reading C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and associated authors. I fell in love.

    Reply
  75. Loved your reply, Sue McCormick. I could not wait until our son was old enough to read the Narnia tales. I discovered them in college with a group of friends who were all reading C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and associated authors. I fell in love.

    Reply

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