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This Rough Magic (Mary Stewart Modern Classics) Paperback – 17 Mar 2011

29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (17 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444720503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444720501
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Suspense and romance expertly mingled (Observer)

Keeps one awake through the long night's journey into day (Guardian)

A splendid book at any time (News of the World)

She set the bench mark for pace, suspense and romance - with a great dollop of escapism as the icing (Elizabeth Buchan)

A comfortable chair and a Mary Stewart: total heaven. I'd rather read her than most other authors. (Harriet Evans)

Book Description

Romance and danger on the beautiful Greek island of Corfu.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Myrtle on 1 April 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of Mary Stewarts best novels. Why is nobody today able to write a good story without meaningless sex, gratuitous violence or employing expletives regularly? This was written in a bygone age, a mixture of adventure (the Corfu setting was probably very exotic for its time), suspense and romance (handsome, obfuscating stranger). Alright, its not profound, and it won't extend your vocabulary, but make sure you read it, followed by The Moonspinners and My Brother Michael!!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book has drama and excitement. For me this story creates a time capsule - a time now past, where everything moved more slowly and travelling away from home was a new cultural adventure into the unknown. Mary Stewart has created in the main character a very "likeable heroinne" - who is quite ordinary but yet very brave in unusual circumstances - the sort of character whose company I enjoyed in the pages of this book, and who I would enjoy meeting again in another book. I also think the story would make a great movie. The story created beautifully a picture of the island in my mind and was very entertaining. The book has everything - travel, culture, thrills and even some romance! It's a book I would read more than once.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dolphin TOP 50 REVIEWER on 8 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
Lucy Waring is a young struggling actress who is left depressed and out of work when the latest play she was in folds prematurely. When her pregnant sister invites her to keep her company at her holiday villa, Lucy is happy to leave the soggy London spring for the sunny paradise that is Corfu. The lavish property includes two modern villas, built on rocky outcrops at opposite ends of an idyllic private beach, and the ancient, crumbling Castello dei Fiori in the middle, still boasting an enchanting old-world rose garden. The two sisters occupy the villa Forli, the villa Rotha is rented by Godfrey Manning (a suave, good-looking writer/photographer who is working on an illustrated book on the island), while the Castello is home and refuge to the theatrical icon, Sir Julian Gale, mysteriously retired amid talk of mental illness, and his tough and protective son, Max, a musician who has made it clear that trespassers are unwelcome. Lucy's hopes for a restorative holiday are dashed by news of a tragedy: a local teenager, curiously linked to Sir Gale, has been lost at sea while out on a boat trip with Godfrey.

The early delightful scene with the dolphin sets this book apart from most other novels of a similar genre and the unforgettable character of Sir Julian Gale adds a strong theatrical dimension which supports the many Shakespearean references and lends weight to Lucy's actress persona. From his very first appearance, I could not help picturing Sir John Gielgud in the part and indeed the beautiful voice and general demeanour would be a fit (not to mention his initials?!). Lady Stewart surpasses herself with some of the most evocative and poetic descriptions I can remember, of people as well as places.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Booksthatmatter on 28 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
Another fun read from the mistress of well-written adventures... The Tempest is my favourite Shakespearean play and this is a worthy addition to the Canon of books, films and music inspired by Prospero's Island.
Highly literate, loads of fun - summer holiday excapism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By preposterous on 22 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
Mary Stewart is in her 90s and, at the time of writing, was still alive. She is an early expondent of romantic adventure. Her genre always has a young woman travelling to what would have been, when Stewart wrote her books, exotic locations; in this case, Corfu. Beautifully written with a wonderful vocabulary. No overt sex, violence or vulgar language; this is a well written delight.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Castaway on 18 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A friend recommended this book as I have just returned from Corfu and would recognize most of the places described.The book, as you would expect from Mary Stewart , is well written , holding your interest from page one. There is enough intrigue to keep you guessing as to the identity of the real villain. I read 'Thornyhold' years ago but 'This Rough Magic is even better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Moggy on 5 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm currently rediscovering the joys of Mary Stewart's work, after a long gap. This book is a great example - wonderful descriptive prose evoking the sights, sounds and even smells of the place, a heroine who isn't ashamed to admit to fear, and of course a satisfying ending. It's a pleasure to read a book by such a well educated and articulate woman, who doesn't need to pepper her work with obscenities to keep it interesting.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 100 REVIEWER on 30 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I was in my teens I devoured almost all of Mary Stewart's books and this was my favourite. Re-reading it now, it's held up pretty well and still weaves its particular charm, transporting you to a sunny and idyllic Corfu.

Our narrator is Lucy Waring, an actress, who goes to Corfu to keep her pregnant sister Phyllida company. Phyllida's husband's family own three houses in Corfu, one of which is their holiday residence. The other two houses are let out to Godfrey, a photographer, and to Julian Gale, a famous actor, who is living with his son. Shortly after she arrives a local fisherman drowns, and after a second accident Lucy begins to suspect that one of her neighbours may know something about the disappearances.

Written in the mid-60s, this book has a slightly dated but very real charm, much like Daphne du Maurier's or Agatha Christie's books. The central mystery is not terribly mysterious, but there are moments of genuine tension. There is also a central romance which doesn't feel terribly plausible but is quite satisfying to read. It's like watching an Audrey Hepburn or Shirley MacLaine caper movie - and best accompanied by a glass of prosecco whilst reclining on a sun lounger.
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