Sherwood Smith (sartorias) wrote in athanarel,
Sherwood Smith

ST in Reading

Thanks to everyone who responded in the "ST versus IT" conversation. It seems that most readers in this particular thread prefer ST over graphic sex--though some older readers like a more adult handling in a more adult context. Not particularly in their reading that is aimed at teens, or young teens.

So I thought I'd open a discussion of books in which one has found the subject done especially well. My own favorite from my teen years was Eloise Jarvis McGraw's Greensleeves--which I am sorry to say isn't in print any more, though some older libraries do carry it. It's one of those old books that sell for a lot used, which means it's a cherished favorite for more people than just me, like Sally Watson's Witch of the Glens--another faboo book.

Greensleeves had what I considered the very best illustration of the difference between love and mere (or not so mere) attraction that I have EVER seen. And that included very wide reading in adult books at that time. In fact, much of the popular adult literature I read in the sixties mixed the two--usually mistaking attraction-at-first-sight for actual love, which usually ends in tragedy in real life. The thing about Greensleeves is that it is a delightful story, not the least bit preachy, and not a single inappropriate word or action, though it deals so directly with potentially strong material. I thought Jarvis a genius. And more clearsighted than many so-called adult writers.

The story, briefly, is about a girl named Shannon whose divorced parents are both famous. So she's spent time partly in Europe, partly in a small town in USA. She feels like she doesn't fit anywhere. When it comes time for college, she panics. So her 'uncle' hires her to go in disguise to this tiny college town to investigate a very peculiar will. There is no danger involved, just a very odd set of circumstances around this will, and he wants to know if the recently deceased elderly lady was sane, or coerced, or what.

So Shannon makes up this ridiculous persona, and goes off to investigate, getting a job as a waitress. Among the distinctive characters she meets are two guys . . . well, I'll stop there. It's a brilliant book, and I really think it would read well now--though of course that might be my old fondness. Some older books work well for today's readers, some don't. I'd be curious if anyone else has stumbled over it, and what they think.

The second one, Sally Watson's Witch of the Glens, has been a cult favorite for women my age for decades. * It's set in the Scottish Highlands mid 1700s, and is concerned with the Jacobite risings, only peripherally. (That sad story is not center-stage.) Kelpie is a witch, she has the second sight. Only she really has it, something that Mina and Bogle, the evil pair who raised her, know, and try to keep from her. Mina doesn't actually have magic, she's just mean, clever, and unscrupulous. So when Kelpie falls into the hands of regular people for the first time, especially a couple of handsome young men . . . again, it's a wonderful story, not a word that could trip anyone's trigger, and yet the ST is lightning-bright intense.

*[There is a group republishing her work, as they got the rights, but the books are expensive and not very good quality, or at least the copy I got fell apart on the first reading, the cover was blurry, and the text looked xeroxed]
Tags: general discussion
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