Mary Stewart’s books are now available on Kindle. I’ve been re-reading them, and I found myself puzzled. The e-books were taken straight from the British editions, and they’re not the same as the American versions. Indeed, sometimes the plots veer off significantly. For example, in The Gabriel Hounds the American edition has the hero and heroine as second cousins; it stresses that their only common ancestor is a great-great grandfather, or something like that. In the British edition, they’re first cousins whose fathers are identical twins. Perhaps this was considered too “icky” for American tastes–but it’s acceptable for the British readers? The Ivy Tree has a whole subplot about the heroine supposedly being pregnant. Edited out of the American version.
It reminds me of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which in the original British was titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Supposedly the title was changed so as not to confuse the American children. Are Americans supposed to be less intelligent than the British? Or more squeamish? It bothers me that publishers have been quietly re-writing British stories to make them less complicated for Americans. Now I’m going to have to go re-read the Narnia books to see if they were modified from the originals, and after that Paradise Lost, I suppose. I mean, where do they draw the line? Sheesh.