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This Rough Magic Hardcover – 1 Jun 1964

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Jun 1964
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 285 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; First Edition edition (Jun. 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688026141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688026141
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 14.5 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,404,443 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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The most beloved of Mary Stewart's romantic mystery novels, This Rough Magic is a tale of adventure, glamour and romance set against a stunning Mediterranean backdrop. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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By Dolphin TOP 500 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written romance, thriller, corfu guide. This being my second Mary Stewart book that I have read I was slightly disappointed as this book doesn't have the same powerful verve that My Brother Michael has. However saying that the book still has humour, a very readable style and was very much a page turner. This book has many references to Shakespeare's - The Tempest which may confuse some readers if they haven't read or are familiar with this work. The book also covers Corfu history & cultural attitudes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Back in the sixties and seventies, I was buying these books as they were being published, and loved them. Some, shabby and with pages brown with age, still live on my bookshelves. I recently reread her Arthurian trilogy - quite superb! - and then this novel came up at a reduced price on Amazon. Perhaps the normal high price of her novels in the kindle format reflect the quality of her writing; the twentieth century certainly produced many excellent writers.

This novel is contemporaneous with the time of writing, so the reader is being drawn back to a time when smoking was considered a sociable habit, drinking alcohol in pregnancy wasn't frowned upon, the word 'marvellous' was still in common use and the heroine was chaste. I found myself wondering what genre this and her other novels fell into. There's usually a death, as in this one, but they don't really amount to murder mysteries. There's romance, but they're certainly not romantic novels. In fact, Mrs Stewart didn't do romance well. In this particular novel, a young woman meets a handsome man and it's a case of dislike at first sight. They barely exchange a civil word - even the uncivil ones are well spaced - until they kiss, which is then a lifelong commitment followed by terms of endearment such as 'darling' and 'my love'.

Then it struck me. They're adventure stories. Like Enid Blyton for grown ups. Strange to think that, when I was first reading them, this didn't occur to me at all.

But I don't mean to belittle them in any way. Mrs Stewart was intelligent and well educated and she wrote with stylish fluency. I intend to make my way through every one of her novels again, and highly recommend them.
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