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

by Mary Stewart

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1,160347,004 (3.61)72
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)

  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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» See also 72 mentions

English (33)  Italian (1)  English (34)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Interesting... unexpected in a lot of ways. Not sure what to really say about it beyond I enjoyed it and found it an easy story to fall into.

Gilly has a lonely childhood, punctuated by rare visits from her mother's lively, magical cousin and namesake. After the death of Gilly's parents, she gets a letter informing her she's inherited her cousin's house, Thornyhold, as well as her reputation for being a witch.

This story would never survive today: people would complain that nothing happens, there isn't any plot. I suppose at its heart it's a romance, but the romance is so subtle as to be non-existent; the leap Gilly makes from acquaintance to love is startling even by today's insta-love standards. But boy, can Stewart write some atmosphere; and the characters are alive and compelling. I got 75% of the way through before it occurred to me that nothing was really happening: no building tension, no climatic showdown approaching. The ending was comic, which was totally unexpected and charming.

I think I'll buy myself a copy of this one; I finished it feeling like I'd read a good comfort read - perfect for a rainy afternoon. ( )
  murderbydeath | Oct 21, 2016 |
The writing is excellent, a breath of fresh air. There are elements I was not entirely enchanted with, but they are Of Their Time and don't greatly mar the work. Well defined characters, perfect setting, original twists on old themes. Overall, a good holiday from the real world. (Especially if you like the fantasy of inheriting an old home in the English countryside. And mystery. And the occult. [And herbs.]) ( )
  thesmellofbooks | Jul 5, 2016 |
I usually like Mary Stewart, even her thrillers have a dated charm and a sense of menace about them. This however was pure schmalz, a romance based on moving next door to an eligible but initially curmudgeonly bachelor, with some guff about witches,herbs and spells thrown in for effect. Predictable and dull. ( )
2 vote jkdavies | Jul 2, 2016 |
Gilly has a lonely childhood in the north of England between the two WWs, and foresees a long, lonely adulthood for herself. But then her father dies, and her godmother Geillis leaves her a house and garden in Thornyhold. Geillis always had an air of mystery and magic about her, and so does her house. Gilly begins exploring her godmother's herbologies and the woods around the cottage, but interruptions by her various neighbors leave her both unsettled and intrigued. Led by occasional messenger pigeons and flashes of memories that aren't her own, Gilly begins to piece together the puzzle her godmother left behind.

I loved this book. Gilly is a delicately painted, nuanced character who feels perfectly real and quite familiar. The plot dances between moments of darkness and warm bucolic romance. And the setting! I fell absolutely in love with Stewart's England, with its bramble jelly and cats falling asleep in front of the Aga. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Geillis moves to Thornyhold, a secluded house that belonged to her mysterious cousin. There the locals wonder if she might be a witch. There's a fair amount of suspense in this well-written book. A pleasant light read. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:50 -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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