Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thornyhold - Review

**I fully intended to have the November edition of my 52 Pins in 52 Weeks feature but I was called away by a family emergency and will be away from my computer (and my kitchen to attempt the various pins) for a little while.  I hope to have the belated November Edition up in the next couple of weeks.  Until then here is a review of a new-ish classic from Mary Stewart.

Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

Rating: Very Good
Source: Purchased

Description:  The story is about a lonely child who is made to see the world through her cousin's unusual eyes.  When the child becomes a young woman, she inherits her dead cousin's house as well as her reputation  among the local community as a witch.  However, as she finds out, this is no normal community, and worries quickly present themselves.  (from Goodreads)

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  Back in college I read a number of Mary Stewart books and enjoyed them but found I remember very little.  I'm not sure I ever read this one as I was limited by what my used bookstore had available (this was pre-Amazon!).  When I was looking for a Mary Stewart to read this one appealed to me because the blurb reminded me a little of one of my favorite books - The Witch by Barbara Michaels - and I loved the cover.

My Impression:  When we first meet Gilly she is a little girl living a very lonely life and my heart just breaks for her.  She's desperately trying for affection and attention but her efforts basically amount to her throwing herself against a brick wall.  She isn't abused in the technical sense but the lack of empathy and sensitivity on her mother's part and the inattention from her head in the clouds clergy father make for an unhappy home life.  Luckily, there is Cousin Geillis who blows into the story like a modern day fairy godmother.  She isn't around very much but her impact on Gilly's stark life is huge and becomes even more so when Geillis dies and leaves the now orphaned adult Gilly a home and comfortable living.

This isn't an action packed book but somehow it kept me turning pages and engrossed in the story.  There aren't any moments where I was holding my breath in terror but at the same time there was always a feeling of unease lurking in the corners.  I loved Gilly, William, and Christopher and Hodge is definitely a cat I'd like to meet!

From the time Gilly takes up residence at Thornyhold we are just as in the dark about what's actually going on as she is.  I didn't know who to trust and was that feeling of fear just in Gilly's mind or was something going on?  Is there something sinister lurking behind the smiles and friendly faces of the neighbors.

I was surprised to see that Thornyhold's original publication date is 1988.  There is an old fashioned feel to it and the attitudes of the characters for me would have placed the book being published decades before.

Overall, this is a delightful read.  It isn't a long book but the story feels fully fleshed out and came to life as I was reading.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to see where Stewart takes me next.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  If you're in the mood for a short book that's got a good dash of sweet but doesn't drift into sappy this is a good pick.  If you're a Mary Stewart fan don't hesitate to pick this one up for a read or a reread.


  1. I have not read Mary Stewart in ages. Glad you brought this one up. It's about time for me to gather a list of books I would like to read for 2017. I can hardly be,wife we are about to write that, 2017! I always have lofty reading goals and never seem to get all of my chosen books read in a year.

  2. I don't know if I have ever read anything by Mary Stewart. If I did, it was many years ago. I like the sound of this one--short and not too sappy. And I like the sound of Cousin Geillis. I will have to give it a try.

  3. I loved reading Mary Stewart books too, and like yourself don't remember too much of them. I found three of them at the book fair last year and one of them is Thornyhold so must make time for it.

  4. I've also got this one on my TBR and must get round to reading it. 'The Little Broomstick' is one of my all-time favourite reads. Thank you for sharing:).

  5. I think I might like this story. I hope your emergency sorts out quickly. I will be thinking about you.

  6. Well the cover has certainly caught my interest. I don't think I've hear of the author before but I'd like to try this one especially since you mentioned it's sweet without being cavity inducing. Hope all is well.