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Thornyhold (Coronet Books) Paperback – 13 Feb 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New Ed edition (7 Dec. 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034050045X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340500453
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,499,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary Stewart, one of our most popular novelists, was born in Sunderland, County Durham and lives in the West Highlands. Her first novel, MADAM, WILL YOU TALK? was published in 1955 and marked the beginning of a long and acclaimed writing career. All her novels have been bestsellers on both sides of the Atlantic. Her book for younger readers, THE LITTLE BROOMSTICK, LUDO AND THE STAR HORSE, and A WALK IN WOLF WOOD, quickly met with the success of her other novels. In 1971 she was awarded the International PEN Association's Frederick Niven Prize for THE CRYSTAL CAVE, and in 1974 the Scottish Arts Council Award for LUDO AND THE STAR HORSE.

Product Description

Review

In this 1940s rural scene you glimpse the shadow behind all things bright and beautiful. (Daily Mail)

Anyone who enjoys a gentle, modern love story will find a cracker in Thornyhold (Woman's World)

Skeins of sentences are woven into a tale of sweet magic, witchcraft and suspense . . . which will perpetuate Mrs Stewart's bestsellerdom and confirm her status as a literary phenomenon (Scotland on Sunday)

Book Description

Reissued with a fresh cover look comes this love story delicate in its perceptions of a young woman falling in love, delightful in its portrayal of the countryside, and skilled in its creation of a world of magic. Mary Stewart's storytelling is as spell-binding as ever.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dolphin TOP 50 REVIEWER on 25 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone familiar with Mary Stewart's earlier novels will notice a great difference in this book, and it is perfectly natural to find a more reflective outlook considering that the author was 72 when this book was first published. There are no exciting chases, murderous villains, or nail-biting action. There is, however, a stunningly nuanced love story, an infectiously optimistic sense of re-birth (it is set in post-second world war Britain), some good-natured comedy, and a generous dash of that special Stewart "magic" which (although always open to interpretation) essentially points to the miracle of everyday things, the wonders of nature and the redeeming power of love.

The heroine, Gilly, is still young but a hard childhood and the general privations of war have made her mature beyond her years. She has every reason to be depressed but, just as the last bricks of her miserable reality come tumbling down, she receives a posthumous gift from her cousin Geillis, which immediately turns her life around. There are perils awaiting her in her new situation, witchcraft and unsettling messages from the dead, but there is also hope, friendship and an exquisite romance that will give the shy, abused young woman the confidence to craft a satisfying career out of her suppressed artistic gifts and to enjoy in adulthood all the things that were so sadly missing from her youth.

As usual, the writing is both elegant and economical, the descriptions of plants and places wonderfully evocative, and we get to meet some unforgettable characters. Gilly, in particular, is very likeable. She has suffered a great deal but never once comes across as self-pitying or miserable. The supporting cast are developed in less detail, yet their personalities come alive under Mary Stewart's deft pen.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Morning Star on 15 July 2011
Format: Paperback
I love Thorneyhold. I want to buy this house and live in it too! Such is the quality of the description when the main character visits Thorneyhold for the first time. The story carries you with it effortlessly. I first read this book when I was a teenager and I have been searching for a place like that all of my life. Read it, if you want a little joy in your life.
Try to buy the version with the house and garden on the cover, not that lacklustre yellow thing.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on 13 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
If you enjoy being transported to another world, you will enjoy this book. Mary Stuart very effectively creates an atmosphere like 'Greeneland' that you can almost sense. The main character, who because of her background stands a little apart from the world, inherits a cottage where she experiences 'white-witchy' type powers, comes to terms with them and evolves as an emotionally holistic person. She even ENJOYS keeping her cottage clean. The scene depicting her dream of flying and the consequent revelation of this 'out of body experience' is truely magicial.
What I particularly like about the book is Mary's ability to make this seem all part of the normal human experience. Her style reminded me a little of Mary Wesley, another favourite author.
The story depicts a 'right of passage', not for a teen, but for a woman, coming to terms with her past and her being. Very readable and unputadownable.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ms Walton on 30 July 2009
Format: Paperback
I love this story, I think some times you just happen upon a book that seems as if it has been written for you and this is that book for me. Quite a lot of it has relation to my own life experience and things I can relate too. It is a wonderful magical book, it has a gentle story but transports you into the characters world so well you can almost see and feel what she describes.

pure escapism, I would highly recomend to anyone!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER on 14 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
When I was in my teens I devoured almost all of Mary Stewart's books but I had never read Thornyhold before. This was one of her last books, written in 1988 although it is set in the 1940s and feels as if it was written much earlier than it was. It's about a woman called Geillis (Gilly) who inherits a cottage from her mother's cousin, also named Geillis. Her cousin was a herbalist who had a reputation as being something of a "white witch". When Gilly arrives at the cottage, she finds that she feels an immediate affinity with the location and her cousin's belongings. One of her neighbours seems to have a strong interest in the contents of the cottage and Gilly starts to suspect that she may have an ulterior motive. The book is a gentle mystery with a somewhat improbable love story woven into the second half.

It's hard to describe the book. It's fairly simple and it doesn't really amount to a lot as a mystery or a romance, but it has a genuine, albeit somewhat dated, charm to it. It reminded me of the Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mystery 1) series which have a similar feel to them. It has a cosy feel to it and would be the perfect book to read curled up with a blanket on a chilly day. I thought it was sweet.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. H. Hartigan on 14 Nov. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I read Thorneyhold about 25 years ago - it was given away with a magazine. I loved it. I loved the pure quality of the writing, good plot, plenty of suspense, and all set in scene of delightful-ness with a dark undertone. I was hooked. I read a few more of her books (including Stormy Petrels and The Ivy Something), and each time I was completely transported to a far away location. Then they became difficult to find.

I am delighted to find them here on Kindle. I don't mind modern fiction when I want an easy read, but not all modern writers have complete mastery of English and errors of grammar always irritate me. :) Mary Stewart never irritates!
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