{I Love} The Novels of Rosemary Clement-Moore

Editor’s Note: This is a special guest post from my mom. Sandra is a retired high school English teacher with a lot of opinions and a newfound love of YA literature and urban fantasy—she’s a longtime fan of horror, campy mysteries and police procedurals. As a kid, her goal was to grow up to be Nancy Drew, so much so that she carried around a notebook to report on her neighbors’ potential criminal activities.

In my little Pacific Northwest town of the fifties, women stayed home, took care of the house and centered their lives on their families and husbands. Nancy Drew, the brilliant and virtuous sleuth, gave preteen girls a glimpse of another world, of what could be.

Independent and clever, she drove her blue roadster into mysteries that never quit evolving, into places where atmosphere cloaked young girls in other worlds and thrilling tales.

I loved Nancy.

And, I’ve found a new love.


Thank you to Rosemary Clement-Moore for creating the mystery and intrigue in a new venue replete with all the elements I learned to love as a child. Her creations, Amy, Maggie and Sylvie slay mystifying and villainous wickedness, soul-crushing demons and other undesirables. There’s no need for suspension of disbelief when reading these books because as I read them, I believed every word Rosemary Clement-Moore writes, no matter how fantastical.

 

Texas Gothic, the first of her books I read, brings Amy—who drives a not-so-new blue MINI Cooper—to her Aunt Hyacinth’s Goodnight Farm where cowboys, goats, horses, ghosts and evil spirits roam. It’s a place that can’t be sold because the ghost of her aunt’s husband won’t let her sell since he likes living there. Amy clarifies the supernatural when she says,


Let’s get this straight. Magic is a fact.

 

 


Amid spectral forces, dead bodies and a bit of romance, Amy gets her Nancy Drew mojo going while trying to convince herself and others that they’re a normal family, which they are not. Texas Gothic grabbed my imagination wouldn’t let me go.

 




Her Maggie Quinn: Girl Vs. Evil series plunked me right back into the supernatural and believable world where the mysterious lingers and beckons.


When ancient powers come into the possession of the bitterest and biggest nerd in the school, a kind-of Ichabod Crane of the twenty-first century, all hell literally breaks loose in Prom Dates from Hell. Leaving Hell’s confines, a demon stalks the halls, the gym, the senior prom and the lives of the chosen people, the elite and arrogant of Maggie’s high school and turns prom night into terror night. Maggie Quinn gets in touch with her inner Nancy Drew to seek out and put the malevolent demon back in its bottle but not without danger and intrigue that kept me reading into the early morning hours. She survives the senior prom, a demon stalking her and now looks at how to survive with her dignity intact until graduation.

 

Maggie strides into her next adventure in Hell Week. Her desire to become a journalist runs strong, so when she discovers that the university she’s attending will not allow freshmen on the newspaper staff, Maggie finds a way around the rules by pitching the idea of infiltrating the sorority rush to write an expose of what happens behind the cloak of secrecy. What she uncovers is not Rush Week. It’s a week straight out of Hell (again!). A dangerous sisterhood unleashes mystical powers to insure that the sorority’s members, past and present, are guaranteed wealth and success but at a soul-crushing price. With her friend D&D Lisa (Dungeons and Dragons Lisa) and her perhaps-boyfriend, Justin, Maggie’s strange trinity sends out their own spell to end the power of the fiendish sisterhood.

Maggie and D&D Lisa (yes, she’s called this throughout the series), leap from Hell Week into Maggie’s red Jeep for a road trip that takes them over a Highway to Hell. They’re a couple of college freshmen on spring break looking for sunshine, beaches and fun whose good times are threatened when they run over a dead cow and puncture the Jeep’s gas tank. They find themselves stuck for a week in a Texas town so small it’s owned by one person and become embroiled in a hunt for a mythic creature, the chupacabra, and the physical and metaphysical unite. Maggie tells D&D Lisa,


Good and Evil are opposing forces, and they have to stay balanced or everything breaks down.


The atmosphere sizzles with opposing forces, hell-fighters, sacred dragonflies, romance and power. To quote Maggie,


With great power comes great responsibility. Spider Man.

 

I love all Rosemary Clement-Moore’s books, but my favorite is The Splendor Falls.


Sylvie Davis finds herself reaching into the mystic past of her ancestors with a shadowy arm stretching through the mist of Alabama mornings and nights where the moon brings light into the darkness that wraps itself around an invisible cord connecting two Confederate families in a battle of evil and goodness, right and wrong, darkness and light.

 

Sylvie returns home to her southern roots, a prima ballerina who can no longer dance trapped in the backwoods of Alabama. Her broken heart and her courageous spirit battle for recovery in this land of dark secrets and family lore. It’s no longer an option to lose herself in the beauty of music and dance as she once did. Her source of strength, her father, has died leaving her a great deal of money and no knowledge of his family history. Her mother has found a new love, leaving Sylvie with her cousin who lives in her father’s family home.

Sylvie is left to discover herself in the wilds of Alabama, in a place steeped in history, where the Confederate flag maintains its place as if the Civil War was won by the South. She literally jostles with the past to disband forces that could bring calamity to her family’s antebellum estate, her aunt and a lovely town where history is but a breath away from the present. Deep inside of me I felt the breathless suspense of Sylvie’s quest for knowledge and balance in her life amid the dark secrets of the past.

Having now devoured all of Clement-Moore’s novels, I anticipate her next book as eagerly as I did each of those yellow-spined installments of Nancy Drew’s adventures.

 

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{Rosemary Clement Moore’s website & Twitter.}

 

 

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