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Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
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Thornyhold (original 1988; edition 1988)

by Mary Stewart

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,035288,160 (3.6)59
Member:tiffin
Title:Thornyhold
Authors:Mary Stewart
Info:William Morrow and Co. (1988), Edition: Book Club (BCE/BOMC), Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Modern English Lit., Writing by Women

Work details

Thornyhold by Mary Stewart (1988)

20th century (5) adult (6) British (14) England (30) English (5) fantasy (54) fiction (178) general fiction (6) godmother (4) gothic (18) gothic romance (7) hardcover (7) inheritance (4) magic (17) Mary Stewart (8) mystery (67) novel (14) own (10) paperback (8) read (10) romance (89) romantic suspense (24) Stewart (4) supernatural (6) suspense (24) to-read (19) UK (5) unread (9) witchcraft (9) witches (23)
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  1. 30
    Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart (loriephillips)
  2. 30
    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Although I believe that du Maurier was the better writer, Thornyhold and many others by Mary Stewart give the same suspenseful feeling.
  3. 10
    A Winter's Tale by Trisha Ashley (allisongryski)
    allisongryski: They both have: An unexpected inheritance of a house in the countryside, a hint of historical witchiness, and a bit of romance. The quality of writing is better in Thornyhold, but A Winter's Tale was a fun, light read with some similar plot elements.… (more)
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English (27)  Italian (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
I liked this story. Old fashioned kind of gothic. Not too scary. Lovely scenery. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Romantic suspense novel from Mary Stewart, published in 1988, but set in the 1940s and 1950s. Young Geillis, known as Jilly has had a quietly miserable childhood, followed by leaving university early to look after her newly widowed father. Her future as a jobless spinster with no savings and no inheritance to speak of might have been bleak after his death, save for her older cousin and namesake leaving her Thornyhold -- Cousin Geillis's woodland cottage.

Jilly finds that her cousin has left her enough money to live on if she's careful, together with all of Thornyhold's contents. Those contents include the still room -- and Cousin Geillis's reputation as a witch. There is nothing but good in that reputation, but Jilly is still drawn into strange occurrences, some of which have an obvious rational explanation but which still leave her unsettled.

She's even more unsettled when she meets a handsome neighbour -- and then life becomes very odd indeed...

Highly enjoyable period romantic suspense, with well-drawn characters and just a touch of magic left even when the explanations are done. Definitely one I'll enjoy re-reading. ( )
1 vote JulesJones | Oct 5, 2013 |
Thornyhold is a sweet little romance with just a hint of mystery and the fantastical. Nothing alarming about it -- no dead bodies buried in the back garden -- just what I suppose some people would call a "clean" romance. It was perfect for a break from my coursework. It's nothing wildly exciting: it feels soft and nostalgic round the edges. The characters aren't exactly vivid and bright: I doubt I'll remember them in a month or two. But they were comfortable, and I was glad of the happy ending for all concerned.

I think Mary Stewart will be my go-to writer for palate-cleansing sweet little stories. My equivalent of chick-lit, if you will. ( )
1 vote shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
I was much more caught by this than I generally am by Stewart. I think the touch of magic added a sense of wonder that deepened the whole thing. Also, I did not completely disbelieve the whole romance. So, you know, that helped. [Nov. 2011] ( )
  maureene87 | Apr 4, 2013 |
A lonely woman who relates that she had a hard childhood finally has a chance at happiness when she is left a cottage in a woods. It is a fairly desolate location but it doesn't take long to find friends and love. I enjoyed the story. ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Enter these enchanted woods,
You who dare.
Nothing harms beneath the leaves
More than waves a swimmer cleaves.
Toss your heart up with the lark,
Foot at peace with mouse and worm,
Fair you fare.
Only at the dread of dark
Quaver, and they quit their form:
Thousand eyeballs under hoods
Have you by the hair.
Enter these enchanted woods,
You who dare.
--George Meredith The Woods of Westermain
Dedication
To the memory of my mother and father with love and gratitude
First words
I suppose that my mother could have been a witch if she had chosen to.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
There was only one part of Gilly Ramsey's lonely childhood that was magical-the visits from her godmother, Geillis Saxon, an extraordinary woman with special powers. When Geillis died suddenly, the grown-up Gilly inherited Thornyhold, Geillis's charming cottage in Wiltshire, and went there to live in the lovely English countryside.

But nothing had prepared Gilly for the strange enchantment she was about to discover-sinister neighbors, messages from beyond the grave, and even the whisper of love. Just as Gilly began to return the love of an attractive stranger, the inexplicable aura of suspense and witchcraft surrounding Thornyhold turned all too real and far too dangerous...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0449217124, Mass Market Paperback)

This old-fashioned gothic romance is as good as they get. When Gilly's witch aunt leaves Thornyhold to her, a house in the middle of the woods, Gilly finds that she has inherited far more than she realized. Along with the house comes a cat, a still room filled with herbs (and a missing recipe book), an attic chamber with carrier pigeons (who have secret messages), and an attractive neighbor whose young son offers the sacred and unique blessing of friendship. But Thornyhold possesses far more than even these simple offerings. The place itself seems to convoke otherworldly gifts as well: Gilly cultivates the abilities to heal and to foresee the future once she makes Thornyhold her home. (For those fans of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, there is a Geilis the witch in this book, too.)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:35 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When Gilly's aunt leaves Thornyhold to her, a house in the middle of the woods, Gilly finds that she has inherited far more than she realized. Along with the house comes a cat, a still room filled with herbs (and a missing recipe book), an attic chamber with carrier pigeons (who have secret messages), and an attractive neighbor whose young son offers the sacred and unique blessing of friendship. But Thornyhold possesses far more than even these simple offerings. The place itself seems to bestow otherworldly gifts as well.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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