Sunday, February 07, 2010

My First Favorite Book - Forever Amber???

So, maybe this wasn't my first favorite book! As most young readers, I devoured Nancy Drew and even read The Hardy Boys. I read every young reader sports biography I could get my sweaty little hands on — from Aaron to Zaharias.

But, I'll always remember Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor, the historical novel that was banned in Boston, among other places. I was almost 15, and getting bored with the reading material available in my small town library. In those days, the Young Adult category was non-existent.

Enter: The head librarian who also happened to be my dear aunt! She noticed my frustration with age-appropriate books and started stashing books under her desk that she thought I might like. Books that my mother would've fainted dead-away had she known, even though my aunt was careful to suggest books that had no erotic content or 4-letter words. Mostly just romance. As I remember, "heaving bosom" was about as bawdy as it got.

I read everything from Tolstoy to Belva Plain. But, the beautiful, historically relevant, Amber St. Clare still haunts me. Unfortunately, it isn't the romance that I remember most about the book, but, instead, the Great Plague! These were the first vivid accounts I'd read of this horrific event, but, don't worry, I'm keeping them to myself on this post. If you want to know more about the "rat plague," Google!

But, plagues aside, I have a decision to make. I'm torn between wanting to read Forever Amber again, after all these years, or simply keeping the memory of this special book and my special aunt in my heart.

What's your advice?

Mary Cunningham is the author of the award-winning 'Tween fantasy/mystery series, Cynthia’s Attic. Her children's mystery series was inspired by a recurring dream about a mysterious attic. After realizing that the dream took place in the home of her childhood friend, Cynthia, the dreams stopped and the writing began.

She is also co-writer of the humor-filled, women's lifestyle book, Women Only Over Fifty (WOOF), along with published stories,
Ghost Light and Christmas With Daisy, A Cynthia's Attic short story.

Mary Cunningham Books
Cynthia's Attic Blog
Quake/Echelon Press


Nick Valentino said...

My favorite first book was Weaveworld by Clive Barker.

Mary Cunningham said...

Did read that one, Nick. Do you think your early reading influenced your writing?