Now that we’ve made it through the incredible highs and lows of 2017, we have a moment to look back – not only over this past year, but also over 2016. (Thanks as always to @TeamRamses, who had already prepped most of this post for 2016 last year as the Painted Queen frenzy was beginning to hit!! Our bad that we’re just now catching up ….)
2016 marked some amazing moments that highlighted not only the humor and continued energy of the MPM fandom … but also its kindness and generosity.
In April of 2016, Papyrus-Leaves a.k.a. BookishArdor bid on a batch of MPM’s book collection at an auction and won! She has also been doggedly reading every MPM novel (yes, every. single. one.) In September, she posted about her favorite Barbara Michaels novels here.
Every day in May, Artist Élena Nazzaro illustrated a portrait of strong female literary characters, and May 4th was our very own Amelia. Check it, and her other lovely artwork, out at her website: blog.frenchtoastgirl.com.
In July, the Meet Mystery Book Club (@MeetMystery) took the fans through a lively discussion of Crocodile on the Sandbank on Twitter.
In September, in the true spirit of the Amelia Peabody, the community joined together to help a fellow fan who lost her beloved MPM book collection in the Louisiana flood. On Tumblr, AmeliaPeabodyBookClub tracked the donations so we didn’t duplicate, and in the end not only all the Amelia books were retrieved, but quite a few other Elizabeth Peters books as well. Here is the thank you note we received from our fellow “dear reader” after receiving books mailed from all over the place:
To the thoughtful fans of Elizabeth Peters —
You have touched my heart! As you know, the recent floods in Baton Rouge devastated our home. Even worse, it drowned my cherished collection of books by the amazing Barbara Mertz. The water rose above the eaves on our roof and our beautiful home sat there, stewing in the water, for almost 7 days. When we were finally able to get inside and sort through the soggy remnants of our life, it was one of the lowest moments I’ve ever faced. I picked up book after beloved book and forced myself to toss them into the growing pile of trash. They reeked. The pages were glued together with mud and the bindings were falling apart in my hands.
It was beyond devastating. This feisty Amelia Peabody had become a friend to me. I valued her advice. I loved her wit. I shared her with fellow book-devourers. We even had a history together, Amelia and I. You see, I wielded her like a secret weapon on my little sister, a college student, who for years could not be convinced to enjoy reading. I gave her the first Amelia book with the promise that if she did not fall in love immediately, I would never pester her again about reading good books. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, imagine my surprise when, on my birthday, I open a box full of books — cherished, treasured books. The sheer shock… and joy! The thought that each was chosen for me, from your personal libraries, is emotionally overwhelming. (Yes, I know Amelia would have something to say about my emotional state!) There were also several Vicky Bliss novels sent that I can’t wait to introduced myself to. I found that many of the books had notes tucked inside, full of kind and inspiring words. These things have become my new treasures.
I think that Barbara Mertz would have been pleased to see what she inspired in those who adore her work – this community of friends, willing to give pieces of themselves to someone they’ve never met. Thank you all – you have brought Amelia to life for me one more time and I’m forever grateful!
Throughout the year, TeamRamses took us on a journey back through Seeing a Large Cat. The fandom spent a good chunk of time sobbing over Bastet (#notoverit) and researching French playwrights. Two things that probably don’t seem to go together but totally do when you are an MPM fan!
And of course, many, many, many fans shrieked and did a little jig to (finally) have the official announcement for The Painted Queen.
……. and THAT adventure was just beginning! To be continued (as soon as we can collect enough of the events from 2017 into one document and post it!) ….
Credit & thank-you to @TeamRamses for writing most of this post