The itch to re-read a favorite author plus get some books off my bookshelf combined to a Nora Lofts reading fest over last week-end. A couple got quickly pitched into the discard pile, but I ended up re-reading A Wayside Tavern and Madselin, both of which I'll be keeping.
Part of this comes from her basically linking short stories/novelettes into books. Maybe some of you will remember her House at Old Vine, a trilogy that followed the occupants of a house from medieval times down through the centuries to the modern salvation of the derelict house. A Wayside Tavern follows this pattern, only it starts with the Roman retreat from Britain.
Many of Lofts' other books follow the normal novel concept of sticking to one set of characters, like Madselin, a single. I really was going to read The Lonely Furrow triology, but couldn't find all the pieces.
Yeah, she wrote a lot of books during her career. Most of the ones I remember took part in the same region of England (Norfolk near Norwich and Colchester) so in one sense she took advantage of the series-writer's shorthand. Setting up her background (stage?) and placing her characters in action.
I can imagine my critiquers remarks at my tolerance of "telling" over "showing". The thing is Lofts sets up her characters with a problem in the first few paragraphs [plus their world], solves it, and leaves enough dangling ends for the next generation to be in hot water.
The opening of A Wayside Tavern as an example: "'Deserted,' one of the men in the front rank said as the little settlement came into view. Men sighed or groaned or were silent according to their nature and training. Paulus strode forward to see for himself, and with a little sinking of the heart saw that the place certainly looked deserted, not a light showing, though within door it would now be deep dusk, and no smoke rising into the clear, frost-threatening sky."
I won't mention the differences in reading level between now and then.