From the Stacks
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian
Marcia Willett, RIP
There are seasonal occurrences that you come to expect each year—the first sprout of flowers signifying Spring, the touch of autumnal colors on trees as Fall takes hold, that nip in the air on the morning walk that reminds you to get out the winter coat. Little things you take for granted.
That’s how I’ve been with Marcia Willett’s books. They’ve never been ones I waited for with baited breath but when I would see one reviewed in a publication, I’d think, “oh yes—it’s time for her new book,” and happily wait for it to arrive on the shelves.
She told good stories set in the southwestern part of England—an area I’m quite fond of—and after reading one I’d feel like I’d just had a nice visit, almost smelling the sea air as I closed the book.
So I was saddened when I read about her death earlier in the week. I didn’t know her background but learned she didn’t publish her first book until she was 50, having earlier worked as a ballet dancer and teacher. She lived in Devon, the setting of many of her books, and you could feel her love for the countryside through her written words. Most were stand-alone novels but she did write the Chadwick Family Chronicles that uses many of the same characters but certainly don’t need to be read in order (and I’m sort of a stickler for that).
Willett wasn’t a top tier writer in the U.S. but she had her following; fans of Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher surely turned to her books after their deaths. Her novels presented a look into everyday life of fairly ordinary people—no emotional rollercoasters, just people facing bumps in their lives but carrying on, as the English are wont to do. I’ll be looking for another writer to fill her void but for those who haven’t read her books, you still have the joy of discovering her work.
Read In Peace Marcia Willett.