In many ways, Nancy Drew is directly responsible for my becoming a writer. Nancy was the first heroine who made me want to step inside the character’s shoes and inhabit her world. And who wouldn’t want to be Nancy Drew? She was attractive, intelligent, disciplined and adventurous. She was also a good friend to her sidekicks, Bess and George. She had a great wardrobe, a doting father and a devoted housekeeper in Hannah Gruen. Yep, I’m still waiting for that housekeeper at my house. And my little romantic heart always began to beat really fast whenever Ned Nickerson was around. I truly believe that the Ned and Nancy romance made me yearn for happily ever afters.
Nancy Drew mysteries were the ultimate adrenaline rush for the young girl I used to be. And come to think of it, this was the first “series” I ever read. And boy was I hooked! Everyone who knew me well had the foresight to purchase Nancy Drew books for me for Christmas and my birthdays. I actually still have a healthy amount of those books in my collection.
Many suspense authors grew up reading Nancy Drew. What’s amazing is how she inspired readers to become authors. Love Inspired suspense author Margaret Daley says, “Reading Nancy Drew as a child is what laid the groundwork for me to love writing and reading romantic suspense. She was curious and caring. She wanted to help others. Those are qualities I like in a heroine.”
And although I have heard a few rumblings about Trixie Belden, I still contend that Nancy Drew set the bar extremely high. Trixie didn’t have a cute little sports car that she rode in all over the place as she solved her mysteries. Although she was a great heroine for young girls, I feel very strongly that Nancy brought more to the table. She exuded confidence and a bold attitude that showed bravery and swagger.
Writer Julie Steele of The Yankee Belle BlogSpot says, “I picked up Nancy Drew 33:The Witch Tree Symbol at the library one day. Up until then, I’d ignored Nancy. I wasn’t into mysteries. But, like folks today, I was intrigued by the Amish. Read the book, just loved it and instantly became a fan. I glommed #1 The Old Clock through 32 and beyond. Why the change of heart? Nancy was smart, curious, adventurous. All the things I was. She was powerful and able to outwit the bad guys. Someone I wanted to be. Sure, she was a fictional heroine but also an excellent example of how to navigate the real world independently. A rare example back in the day.”
Author Marta Perry shared with me her love of Nancy Drew. “Nancy Drew changed my life! I happened upon my first Nancy Drew, “The Secret in the Old Clock,” in the library when I was eight. I was completely enraptured, and when I finished reading the book, besides wanting to be fearless and determined like Nancy, I also wanted to create stories that would do for other people what the author of that book did for me. So I owe my vocation to Nancy.” Now that is truly amazing!
Countless romantic suspense writers have Nancy Drew to thank for their writing careers. Love Inspired Suspense author, Sarah Varland, has fond memories of Nancy Drew. “I LOVED Nancy Drew!! I loved how she was a well developed character who DID feel emotions like fear, but pressed through them anyway to do what was right and find answers in the crimes she helped solve. I think a lot of my heroines are very similar to Nancy–they’ve got her fierce determination to find justice and her independent spirit, but when a handsome man comes along who is willing to help, they’re happy to work as a team to solve the case.” Hmm. Sounds like Sarah’s book “Tundra Threat” may have elements of Nancy Drew in it.
One of my proudest moments was when my twelve year old daughter, Sierra, discovered my Nancy Drew collection and the joys of reading these books. My oldest daughter, Amber, snubbed them after many years of Mom gently twisting her arm about reading the series. Hey, it’s pretty hard for old fashioned Nancy Drew to compete with Pretty Little Liars. But, according to Sierra, “Nancy Drew rocks. When I read the books I imagine I’m solving the mystery right along with her.”
Did you enjoy Nancy Drew mysteries? If so, did you have a favorite. Mine was “The Mystery at the Lilac Inn.” In celebration of Nancy Drew, I’m giving away a $20 Amazon card and one of my Harlequin Love Inspired books. Winner’s choice!
Narelle Atkins says
Belle, great post! I remember discovering Nancy Drew books in my school and community libraries and reading an enormous number of titles in a very short space of time :)
Thanks Narelle. Yes! I remember reading a bunch of them as fast as I could get my hands on them. They were addictive fun. Such happy memories. Blessings!
Becky Dempsey says
I remember checking Nancy Drew (and Hardy Boys) books out from the library when I was a kid!
Hi Becky. Thanks for stopping by. I grew up across the street from a public library so that was a great resource for Nancy Drew books. I have a very vivid memory of having Christmas money and going to the book store to buy Nancy Drew books. And they were under $3 for a hard cover. LOL. Blessings.
Angel Moore says
I was all about Secret of the Old Clock. I read as many Nancy Drew books as I could get my hands on. This is a wonderful blog post. Hearing how so many authors were influenced by these books has been inspiring. Thanks, Belle.
Hi Angel. Thanks for stopping by. I loved the Secret of the Old Clock as well. It’s a classic, especially since it’s #1 in the series. I also find it inspiring that a classic character like Nancy Drew inspired so many writers to reach for the stars. Blessings. Belle
Nancy K says
I wasn’t a fan of Nancy Drew books but they would have been a good fit since my first name is Nancy. My mother got me interested in her collection of Grace Livingston Hill books so my love of inspirational romance books started with my love of my mother’s Grace Livingston Hill books. She handed the hardbound books down to me. Sure wish I still had them but they got lost in my various moves around the country.
Hi Nancy. Welcome! That’s pretty funny that you didn’t read Nancy Drew books. I would have thought because of the shared first name you would have been drawn to her. LOL. That’s so wonderful that your mother passed down her hardbound books to you. That is so very special. Perhaps you could find some at sales and on Ebay and slowly replace them. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings. Belle
Oh how swiftly you dismiss Trixie Belden in this post! Well, if nothing else, you may have motivated me to write a post defending poor Trixie from mere “rumblings!” Nancy was ok and I liked the television series, but she was just so perfect! I do find a lot of inspiration in how Nancy came to be though, so I think I’ll just call it at a draw on our favorite female detectives. :)
Ha Ha Piper. Thanks for stopping by, if only to defend your beloved Trixie. I guess it’s like that age old Mary Ann versus Ginger question. Yep, it’s a draw. LOL. Blessings.
JoAnn Durgin says
I adore Nancy Drew and went to the store with my $5 allowance every week where I could buy three hardback copies of the mystery books. Oh, how I loved them! I was literally one of the girls beneath her sheets with the flashlight past her bedtime reading them. I still have all 50 plus the Nancy Drew Cookbook and can’t bear to part with them. I paid homage to my favorite titian-haired sleuth in my debut novel. I figured if I never published another book, at least I would have paid tribute to Nancy Drew and the impact she made on my life. I love that her father, Carson, was an attorney and I enjoyed working in the legal field for many years. And an upcoming character in my series (same as the debut novel) is named Carson (he’s not the attorney although I have one in the series). I loved the friendship between Nancy and her friends and it was my first introduction to young love with Nancy and Ned (and then it was Grace Livingston Hill books that introduced me to Christian romance). Thanks for a wonderful post, Belle, and I’m so glad Nancy Drew inspired so many other authors and influenced girls worldwide to pursue their dreams with independence, courage and strength! Blessings.
Hi JoAnn. We are birds of a feather. And I am so jealous that you have all 50 of the books. I am trying to get my collection up to that number but I have about 30 something. I am very picky about the particular book I’m looking for also. There are so many variations, but I like the ones I grew up reading. And Carson was amazing….I think he influenced me more than I realized. My husband is an attorney. And my daughter has a pet peeve. She said why do they always say Bess is plump and on all the covers she is thin? LOL. Yes, I find it amazing that she has had such an impact on authors and young girls. Blessings. Belle
JoAnn Durgin says
That’s right! I had forgotten your husband was an attorney. Carson obviously made an impact on me, as did loyal, faithful Hannah. I understand your daughter’s pet peeve very well. I said something to my daughter the other day about some in Hollywood called actress Jennifer Lawrence (one of our local Louisville, KY girls, don’t you know) “fat.” That’s incredibly stupid. I saw her about the time she was labeled as fat and she was tall and svelte but normal looking. Don’t get me started, girlfriend. And I was definitely showing my age when I said I could go to the store with my allowance and buy three hardback books for $5.00. I even got a few pennies back, as I recall! :)
I don’t remember the exact cost but I do remember being able to afford them if I saved up my meager allowance lol. And Jennifer Lawrence even said herself that she felt fat in Hollywood which I found so sad and disappointing. She’s just radiant.
Sally Bradley says
I read all the Nancy Drew books at least once. My daughter read some a few years ago, and I remember looking at the cover (they’re still the same!) and liking the story, even if I can’t remember it now.
I did, though, fall ABSOLUTELY in love with Trixie Belden! She was spunky and had red hair. The red hair, like mine, got me. :) I’m still a fan, although I think the language in those books is dated worse than Nancy’s.
Hi Sally. I too read all the Nancy Drew books at least once. I just thought she was so adventurous and different. I wanted to be like her so badly. I read Trixie too and she was cute. I just preferred Nancy. Yes, my daughter read a few lines to me from Nancy Drew and I was thinking that the language was very dated, although she still enjoyed it. And a few years ago they had a Nancy Drew movie with Emma Roberts. My kids loved that one. Blessings. Belle
I think it’s wonderful that so many of your libraries had Nancy Drew. Ours definitely did not. I hated getting sucked into a series and then not being able to find the books. :(
I mostly managed to read them all by sharing with friends though. One friend, in particular, had almost a complete collection.
My children definitely benefited from my library woes though because we bought them every book they ever wanted to read.
Nancy Drew was a favorite of both generations. My daughters have been known to buy used copies that they find at second hand stores just to be able to reread now.
Hi Mary. Thanks for stopping by. I did have the library right across the street as a huge resource, but I bought a lot of the Nancy Drew books because I was such a fan I wanted them to be keepers. And I did receive a lot as gifts. I really love that you purchased every book your kids wanted to read. That was my dream as a kid, although it never happened lol. I am always on the hunt for used Nancy Drew books to complete my collection. Blessings. Belle
Britney Adams says
What a wonderful post, Belle! I adored reading Nancy Drew and love knowing those stories inspired so many readers to become authors!
Hi Britney. Thanks for stopping by. There’s something so appealing about Nancy Drew. Inspiring. Heartwarming. Unforgettable. She’s really stood the test of time. Blessings. Belle
Lori Weller says
I loved and treasured my Nancy Drew books but I still have all my Cherry Ames books. I kept all my Nancy Drew books until my last move when I reluctantly had to part with them but I just couldn’t leave my others behind.
Hi Lori. Thanks for stopping by. Moves are hard since we end up not being able to take everything with us. I am building up my collection. I still need about twenty more to make it complete, which I find very exciting. I love that my 12 year old enjoys reading them because it allows me to remember my twelve year old self. Blessings. Belle
Joelle Hawkins Teague says
Now I know why you and I are such “kindred” spirits… I grew up reading Nancy Drew and have tried to get Kaitlyn in to them as well. So far no go, but I’m not giving up! You are a talented writer and I’m so blessed to “know” you!
Hi Joelle. So glad to see you over here. And yes of course we’re kindred spirits. Nancy Drew lovers unite!!! I hope Kaitlyn learns to love Nancy Drew as you did. It’s such a great feeling to see your child enjoying the books. I’m blessed to know you too. Blessings. Belle
Robin Kapshandy says
Wow, it has been so long since I have read Nancy Drew I don’t know which one to pick. Now I want to read one. Guess I am heading over to Amazon to buy number one for my Kindle. I always loved reading Nancy Drew and then the Hardy Boys. I even read Trixie Belden but Nancy was way cooler. Thanks for memory lane.
Hi Robin. Great to see you over here. I also think Nancy was way cooler. I’ve been reading bits and snatches of Nancy Drew books since my daughter is now a big fan. It is really funny how old fashioned they are. Vintage I suppose. Blessings. Belle
Deanna S says
Yes, I liked Nancy Drew! I think I still have one of her books on my shelf :) I couldn’t wait for the next book to come in the mail.. loved that my mom would order them for me!
Hi Deanna. Welcome! I had the same feelings about Nancy Drew and waiting for the next book to pop up on the shelves. I think it was that “feeling” that made me want to be an author. I love when readers tell me they are waiting for my next book. Blessings. Belle
Trixi O. says
My son got into the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys books once he started reading chapter books sometime in Elementary school (he’s almost 18 & still reads them). I don’t think he could pick a “favorite” one, because he devoured every one! We’ve also watched TV episodes on Netflix & enjoyed them all. They are great wholesome books for kids to read.
I never got into those books, but I did read a few Agatha Christie ones. I also love watching the old-timey detective shows on TV (Murder She Wrote, Matlock, Poirot, etc). I also do love a few Suspense authors such as Coleen Coble, DiAnn Mills, Terri Blackstock, Dani Pettrey,etc. There’s a few Love Inspired Suspense on my bookshelf waiting for me to read as well. So while suspense isn’t my go-to genre to, it’s still one I like to read for something different & a break in my routine.
Thanks for your post today, Belle! Blessings on the rest of your week!
Hi Trixi. Thanks for stopping by. I never read the Hardy Boys but they were cool. I vividly remember the tv show and the oh so good looking Sean Cassidy. Agatha Christie was another of my favorites, as are the movies they made of her books. I have a lot of friends who write for the LIS suspense line. Both Alison Stone and Katy Lee are going to be my guests on here in a few weeks in celebration of their new releases. Blessings. Belle
Samantha B says
I think I actually never read a Nancy Drew book :O
Hi Samantha. Welcome. It’s never too late for Nancy Drew lol. She’s perfect for every age. I would recommend starting at #1 and see how you like them. They are great fun. An easy read. Blessings. Belle
The Mystery at Red Gate Farm was my favorite.