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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal bedtime book
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...
Published on 25 May 2012 by Dolphin

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars love and magic
A typical Mary Stewart, a love story, light hearted but with a touch of magic. Enjoyable amusing read, not heavy and good for a holiday read.
Published 3 months ago by J. stroud


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal bedtime book, 25 May 2012
By 
Dolphin (Stuck inside a cloud) - See all my reviews
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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. It's like watching a gifted artist produce a fully descriptive sketch with just a few black lines. I have just re-read this book because I wanted something utterly comforting to read at bedtime. You might like it, too.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyday magic, 26 Oct 2010
By 
E. Cooper (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This has been one of my favourite books for years, and I have recently re-read it. What I love about it is that it makes magic commonplace, seeing it everywhere in nature. The story is about Geillis (Gilly) Ramsey, who after the death of her parents finds a haven when she inherits a house in the country from her godmother (also called Geillis).

As she brings the house and garden back into good order, Gilly discovers that her godmother was known locally as a witch - and she wasn't the only one. And as Gilly meets and gets to know the locals, she finds something she never thought she would - love.

Although Gilly seems to have something of the 'gift', she herself has no desire to be a witch. However, she has also inherited her godmother's love of the natural world, plants and animals alike, and her joy in her new surroundings comes across in every page.

In 'Thornyhold', author Mary Stewart has produced a lovely, happy, gently magical read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books :), 30 July 2009
By 
Ms Walton (Somerset, England) - See all my reviews
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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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a dream, 15 July 2011
By 
Morning Star (Heringas, Dunelmensis) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thornyhold (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical, mystical with an element or realism, 13 Dec 2000
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Writing!, 14 Nov 2011
By 
This review is from: Thornyhold (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book, 5 Feb 2014
This review is from: Thornyhold (Kindle Edition)
I have had this book in paperback for years and now have it on kindle. I have read and reread it many times. It just seems to be one of those books that you read and time stands still. When you reach the end you are sad that it finished.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars shez, 10 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Thornyhold (Kindle Edition)
Read this book a long time ago. Still enjoyed it. Love all Mary Stewart's books. I Would recommend her books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic, 2 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Thornyhold (Kindle Edition)
I don't like books about the supernatural, witches and all that. However this book captures your imagination and transports you to a magical place, it's one of those books that you just wish would never end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has a genuine charm, 14 Mar 2013
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Thornyhold (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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Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
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