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The Moon-Spinners by Mary Stewart
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The Moon-Spinners (original 1962; edition 1962)

by Mary Stewart

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1,060167,917 (3.98)54
Member:notallwhowander
Title:The Moon-Spinners
Authors:Mary Stewart
Info:Hodder and Stroughton (1962), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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The Moon-Spinners by Mary Stewart (1962)

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A young woman arrives at a remote village in Crete a day ahead of schedule; she is not yet expected at the tiny just-opened hotel, and her travel companion won't arrive until tomorrow. This is a perfect set-up for a bit of suspenseful adventure, and that's what we get. Nikky hikes off the road into shepherd and windmill country, and what does she encounter but a gunshot Englishman and his knife-wielding Cretan guide hiding out in a hut. Does she run like crazy back to the village for help and safety? Nooooo....what kind of a story would that be? She insists on sticking around to help these suspicious characters, who could be up to damn near anything, none of it savory, and spends the night in the hut caring for the feverish injured hunk fellow while his companion strikes out for their boat to fetch supplies. The story continues in this incredibly unlikely fashion for around 200 pages, and it's just great Romantic fun, if you can hush up that bit of your brain that keeps saying "NO WAY" to all of it. Disney did grave damage to this story in its delightfully sanitized movie version, eliminating some characters, changing some of the good guys to bad guys, and turning the competent independent Nikky into Hayley Mills. What both book and movie have going for them is the breathtaking beauty of the Aegean...Mary Stewart regales us constantly with sea, sun, birds and flowers. I think that distracted me enough to allow me to buy into the whole escapade. That, and knowing that with Stewart things always work out in the end.
February 2017 ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Feb 13, 2017 |
Mary Stewart was famous in her day for her novels of romantic suspense with their lyrical descriptions of exotic locations that most of her readers had never seen. Escapist reading at its best. The Moonspinners was made into a Disney movie with Hayley Mills as Nicola. It was note-worthy at the time as being the movie where the former child star, then about 15, received her first onscreen kiss from the actor who played Mark. Maybe too sweet for today, but it was a more innocent time. ( )
  booksandscones | Nov 7, 2015 |
This beautifully written, utterly charming romantic thriller kept my heart pounding in terrified suspense, even though my original copy of the book is falling apart because I’ve read the story so many times. When I was twelve or thirteen, Mary Stewart was a favorite author of everyone I knew who loved to read--my mother, her friends, me, and eventually my younger sisters--and of all Stewart’s books it was The Moon-Spinners that siren-called me back to its pages again and again.

Nicola Ferris is on holiday in Crete, surrounded by age-old ruins, sunny skies, and colorful wildflowers. While hiking among fragrant lemon groves on the craggy hills of the White Mountains, she impulsively follows the path of flying egret and runs into an Englishman who’s been shot, yet won’t tell her what happened and just wants her to go away and forget she ever saw him, though he obviously needs help. But as Nicola continues her vacation, enjoying the beautiful scenery and relaxing with her cousin, she can’t help noticing details that draw her back to the mystery and into danger.

I’m not normally a reader who enjoys a lot of description in books, but in The Moon-Spinners it’s so gorgeous and transporting I relish every word and image. While the story is set firmly and very compellingly in the all-too-real world, Stewart’s writing is laced with ancient myths and literary allusions.

The novel was written in the early 1960’s and Nicola shares some of the attitudes of that era, a time when men were leaders, male superiority was casually accepted by just about everyone, and the ideal for women was to be safely put up on a pedestal, but Nicola strains against those strictures too because she’s observant, quick-witted, and independent. It had been decades since my last reading, and delving back into The Moon-Spinners was like going on an archaeological dig through layers of my own worldview, helping me remember, even re-feel, some of my earliest understandings of life and love and the kind of person I wanted to be, since I was brought up surrounded by those early 60’s assumptions too, before everything started changing just a few years later in the decade. ( )
1 vote Jaylia3 | Sep 27, 2015 |
Another of Stewart's that is has a Greece setting, but I liked this one so much more than My Brother Michael. The heroine, Nicola, runs into a wounded Englishman and his friend on her way to a hotel for her vacation and finds herself unable to turn away from the trouble he and his missing brother are in. The best part of this one has to be Nicola, she was no twit who decided to get involved in a dangerous affair that was none of her business out of curiosity, she had very believable motives for getting involved and she was not stupid about trying to gain information from potentially dangerous people. My only real complaint about the book was that we didn't get to find out more about the villain(s), who seemed like they would've been very interesting characters ( )
  Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/11996748
  JosieRivers | Dec 28, 2014 |
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Epigraph
Lightly this little herald flew aloft...,
Onward it flies...
Until it reach'd a splashing fountain's side
That, near a cavern's mouth, for ever pour'd
Unto the temperat air...
Keats: Endymion
Dedication
For Kitty and Gerald Rainbow
First words
It was the egret, flying out of the lemon grove, that started it.
Quotations
The author is indebted to Mr. A. E. Gunther for permission to quote from his father's edition of THE GREEK HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Do not combine with the movie.
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Book description
Young, beautiful, and adventurous Nicola Ferris loves her life as a secretary at the British Embassy on Greece. On leave from her job as a secretary in Athens, has been looking forward to a quiet week's holiday in the lush island of Crete, enjoying the wild flowers and the company of her cousin Frances. Then on her day off, her impulse led her on a little-used path into the foreboding White Mountains. She links up with two hiking companions who have inadvertently stumbled upon a scene of blood vengeance, that involving a young Englishman and a group of people tied together by blood and the bonds of greed.

For the first time in her life Nicola meets a man and a situation she cannot deal with... A man in hiding -- for reasons he could not explain. Warned to stay away, Nicola was unable to obey. And before she realized what she had uncovered, she found herself thrust into the midst of an alarming plot in which she would become the prey... And suddenly the life Nicola adores is in danger of coming to an abrupt, brutal, and terrifying end....
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060502959, Mass Market Paperback)

Young, beautiful, and adventurous Nicola Ferris loves her life as a secretary at the British Embassy on the lush island of Crete. Then on her day off, she links up with two hiking companions who have inadvertently stumbled upon a scene of blood vengeance.

And suddenly the life Nicola adores is in danger of coming to an abrupt, brutal, and terrifying end . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Nicola Ferris, a secretary at the British Embassy in Athens, is vacationing in Crete when she comes upon Englishman Mark Langley who has been shot and left for dead in an incident in which his brother was kidnapped, but she runs into trouble when she decides to do a little investigating on her own.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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