Have you read?
#1
So have you read a good Gothic novel lately?

Andre Norton reminded me of the great novels written by Georgette Heyer, and I have been wallowing in their clever dialog, and almost believable plots.

Ms Norton also reminded me of the clever idea that she wrote into SNOW SHADOW. She said that she heard, or read, a story about an elderly aunt dying in Florida and the body being shipped home. When the coffin was opened it wasn't the elderly lady but a sailor in full uniform.

So how many of you have read the non-Science Fiction and non-Fantasy works of Andre Norton? Do you have favorites? Why? What makes these novels good/bad examples of their kind.

Personally I find STAND TO HORSE very hard to re-read. The subject matter is very gritty, and basically the idea of two men dying in the desert, within sight of their goal, just horrible. Perhaps having lived in Arizona and having to face the realities of desert hiking makes this just too vivid for me.
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#2
Barring any senior moments in my memory, i believe i've read The Prince Commands, Ralestone Luck, Follow the Drum, most of an ex-library copy of Yankee Privateer before the sale of the book lured me away, Sneeze on Sunday, Ten Mile Treasure and most of Scarface.

I liked Ralestone Luck primarily for the settings, including hidden portions of the house and the swamp lands.

As much as i like Key West i really should read Opal Eyed Fan.

Yes, Andre heard that story while in line somewhere in Washington D.C., i believe. It's great how she can latch on to a single tid bit like that and turn it into a novel, albeit a heavily shredded poorly selling one. I latch on to tid bits like that and say, "wow, there's a story here" and the whole notion dies with that thought.
Agressive Pursuer of Andre Norton material and addicted Karaoke singer!
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#3
Im not sure I could pick a favorite Andre Norton book. Star Mans Son holds a special place in my heart as it was my first of her books. I was in the second grade when I read that one, and I must say my teacher was not amused when I did a book report on it. She was determined that I should read on my own age level. The next time we went to the library she steered me to Lady and the Tramp! Can you believe that!! Ive been an avid Norton fan ever since. I know I dont have all of her books but I do have a very large collection.
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#4
Quote:Originally posted by Irene
So have you read a good Gothic novel lately?

Andre Norton reminded me of the great novels written by Georgette Heyer, and I have been wallowing in their clever dialog, and almost believable plots.


Are you suggesting that Georgette Heyer's books are gothics? If so, I beg to differ. She didn't write in the 'had I but known' school.

As for Andre, my favorite non-sf are probably Stand & Deliver (which had a great beginning, but a somewhat weak ending), Ride Proud Rebel! and Rebel Spurs.

SeaBoe Muffinchucker

It's NOT lost. It's in a box somewhere. It's the BOX that's lost.
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#5
Actually, Heyer wrote but one Gothic novel, COUSIN KATE. Most of the rest are Regency romances, though a few are historicals set in other periods. Then there are the dozen or so contemporary mysteries.

Most are marked, as Irene said at the beginning, by their clever dialogue and intricate (if often predictable) plotting. However, they are absolutely true to themselves, and never try to be anything they're not. I suspect that's partly what Ms Norton admires about them.
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#6
The book that Andre and I discussed was THE RELUCTANT WIDOW.

Very early on there is a discussion between the two main characters. The heroine has "answered an advertisement" to be governess a young male (7-8), who has been terribly spoilt. The hero is discussing his cousin (25-29) who has been terribly spoilt, and often taken with drink, that he believes that the young woman "in answer to the advertisement" is going to marry.

This clever mixing of two topics blends very well for several pages until something tells the heroine that they are at cross purposes.

Heyer wrote romances of the Regency and Gothic periods and 1940's Mysteries and one novel set at the time of one of the crusades (LORD JOHN). But always there are clever people.

This is something that Andre Norton has tried to do in her mysteries and romance novels.
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#7
Quote:Originally posted by Irene
Heyer wrote romances of the Regency and Gothic periods and 1940's Mysteries and one novel set at the time of one of the crusades (LORD JOHN). But always there are clever people.


I think you mean Regency and Georgian, as there was no single Gothic period. She also wrote a book about William the Conqueror (titled, appropriately enough, THE CONQUEROR). Also one Elizabethan (BEAUVALLET) that I know of.

Heyer's books work because while the plots are predictable, the characters are not. I think most of Andre's books are also character driven. I'll admit I have read very few of Andre's "straight" romances, but I assume they are the same.
SeaBoe Muffinchucker -- it's not lost. It's in a box somewhere. It's the box that's lost.
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#8
So sorry. Definitely Regency, Elizabethan and Georgian romances.
I really mean to state "romance" rather than "gothic".

Neither Georgette Heyer, nor Andre Norton were into the "Dark and Stormy night" type of gothic novel where the heroine falls under a dark spell.

Andre Norton's Romance novels are a mixed lot. She usually leaves the romance part entirely off of the novel until the very end. I just re-read SNOW SHADOW, which is sort of a mystery of the 1950's genre. This one has plenty of overgrown bushes, secret ancient house, and mysterious people. But in this, all Andre Norton books, the plots the thing. The people are very important, and make reading about the plot enjoyable. Heck, you want to know what happens next even though you might not 'like' the main character, you can understand them.

Andre Norton seems to do best when she is writing an Adventure novel. This can be in the American desert (STAND TO HORSE, REBEL SPURS), or on the high seas (YANKEE PRIVATEER), but people doing stuff is what is important.

My favorite of the non-SF books is RALESTONE LUCK, which contains a story in a story. It also brings me to a place I had not been, the swamp land of Louisiana. Strange that Andre Norton had done less traveling than I. When I first read this book it was a description of the local as well as a pretty good adventure.
Irene
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#9
Quote:Originally posted by Irene
My favorite of the non-SF books is RALESTONE LUCK, which contains a story in a story. It also brings me to a place I had not been, the swamp land of Louisiana. Strange that Andre Norton had done less traveling than I. When I first read this book it was a description of the local as well as a pretty good adventure.

I've been thinking about this since Friday. I really like STAND AND DELIVER, and RALESTONE LUCK. Although I think I'd rank RIDE PROUD, REBEL above RL. I also think highly of SCARFACE and the first book about the Dutch in the East Indies at the beginning of WWII (the title of which I've forgotten). I wasn't as impressed with the two sequels to that one, as what I considered to be a main plot point (the injuries the protagonist suffered in the plane crash in the first book) and their psychological effect on him, disappeared from the other books.
SeaBoe Muffinchucker -- it's not lost. It's in a box somewhere. It's the box that's lost.
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#10
I just recently re-read STAND AND DELIVER. I also often re-read RALSTONE LUCK, and REBEL SPURS (in my humble opinion, the better book).

SCARFACE has long been one of my favorites, and has a very similar plot to REBEL SPURS. These are both books where young men have been separated from their fathers, and just recently meet them. In both cases the young me get a second chance on a life with a home and real family.

SWORD IS DRAWN is the first of the Sword series books, with a finely drawn study of life in Europe during WWII. My favorite of the three books is AT SWORDS POINTS, which is post war Europe.

All of these are good solid adventure stories.
Irene
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#11
Quote:Originally posted by Irene
REBEL SPURS (in my humble opinion, the better book).


Oh, I won't argue with that. Smile

But my copy of RIDE PROUD, REBEL is a paperback published in the 80s (I think), while my copy of REBEL SPURS is a hand-typed transcript. Much less convenient to read!

I read REBEL SPURS in that format originally (borrowed from author Jane Fancher some twenty-odd years ago), then found it in the public library in Connecticut and typed it up.

My problem is that I'm not a collector, and I'm not willing to pay collector prices to get a 'real' copy. But if they'd reprint it...
SeaBoe Muffinchucker -- it's not lost. It's in a box somewhere. It's the box that's lost.
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#12
Yes, I read some Heyer and Norton Romances. At the time I owned and operated the short lived Romance and Cookbook Book Store of Atlanta so I figured.... But I don't remember a THING about them except they didn't bite.

While we're plugging our favorite Norton non-SF, I have to note mine: The Swords (Van Norreys) series. The Prince Commands was pretty good, too, and, the Jeckyl & Hyde sequel, written with Robert Bloch, was also outstanding.

Meow for now,
back to crazy Library School projects -- I get to build this imaginary Reference Dept and have $x to do it with.
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#13
I have over a hundred of Ms. Norton's books but not STAND TO HORSE. Could you please tell me what it is about? Thanks,
Jim
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#14
I believe that this takes place 1959 during the Apache wars.

A young man joins the army to fight the indians in the desert.
Their troup is stranded, and two of their number, the young man, and their leader (not much older than he) head out across the desert to get help.

The two things I will always remember about this book is the scene SPOILER WARNING
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
..
were the two are within just a few hundred yards of their goal, but to tired and dehydrated to go the last small distance. Out in the desert sun.

The other best line is
"I have drunk of these waters. I am part of this land."

PS: Andre's complaint that after she had done such careful research on the Army Calvery, the cover got the colors of the uniforms wrong.
Irene
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