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Thornyhold (Rediscovered Classics) Paperback – October 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Rediscovered Classics
  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Reprint edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527934
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527937
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 4.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Stewart is known for her novels set in 5th century Britain, e.g., The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills . Here, after a five-year hiatus, she shifts skillfully to the 20th century, mixing magic, witchcraft, and romance. Readers will be hooked from the very first line, "I suppose that my mother could have been a witch if she had chosen to." The speaker is Gilley Ramsey, who has inherited her cousin's house in the English countryside. The opening promise of an engaging story is not broken. An enchanting novel that should have broad appeal. Renee Erman Lipman, Miami
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Mart Stewart, one of the most popular novelists writing today, was born in Sunderland, County Durham, England. After boarding-school, she recieved a B.A. with first class honors in English Language and Literature from Durham University and went on for her M.A. Later she returned to her own University as a Lecturer in English. She married in 1945. Her husband is Sir Frederick Stewart, who is Chairman of the Geology Department at Edinburgh University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society.Mary Stewart's career as a novelist began in 1954 with the publication of Madam, Will You Talk? Since then she has published fifteen successful novels, including The Last Enchantment, the third book of the magical trilogy about the legendary enchanter Merlin and young Arthur. Her books for young readers, The Little Broomstick (1971) and Ludo and the Star Horse (1974), quickly met with the same success as her other novels. In 1968, she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. In 1971, the Scottish Chapter of the International PEN Association awarded her the Frederick Niven prize for the The Crystal Cave. In 1974, the Scottish Arts Council Award went to Ludo and the Star Horse.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Popular Discussion Topics

beta: what do you think?
  • "Romantic" 10
  • "Suspense" 6
  • "Writing" 6
  • "Characters" 5
  • "Emotional" 2
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Diana F. Von Behren TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My first response to this novel, when it was originally published, was to compare it negatively to Mary Stewart's earlier thrillers. I thought the plot trivial, the heroine insipid and overall wondered if the author, always one of my favorites,was losing her magical touch that had inspired me for over 20 years. Now, upon listening to the audio book version read by the talented Jane Asher, I believe my first impressions was wrong.

Granted Geillis Ramsey is not Mary Stewart's typical heroine: the career girl on vacation or on the new job who through a set of odd happenstances literally must fend for her life. Geillis is reflective. While Ms Stewart's other heroines, report and record the vivid locales through the sense-provoking medium of the author's glorious prose, Geillis Ramsey revels in it. She is an older contemplative Ms Stewart telling of her love of home, relating small yet monumentally beautiful occurrences of her own life, set in the green splendour of the UK. At the same time, she weaves these "little things" into a feasible fictional story of a lonely girl who with the help of an older unorthodox cousin finds her special niche in terms of self, community and finally love. The elan of witchcraft interjects a minor touch of the old Stewart suspense, but, on the whole, I believe this is Ms Stewart's tribute to life, love, and nature.

Lyrically beautiful and highly recommended.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By lou greulich on January 23, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been reading Mary Stewart since high school, which was a long time ago. I've always been taken with her ability to evoke a sense of place and atmosphere. In THORNYHOLD she does this superbly. In STORMY PETRAL and ROSE COTTAGE I, very sadly, felt her advanced age was affecting her writing. I was afraid I'd read my last really good Mary Stewart book. However, THORNYHOLD is wonderful; a lovely place to escape to when you need a break from this hectic modern world, and feel the need to spend some time in a romantic cottage full of magic. I recommend you visit soon and often.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought this book was the one of the best I have read in a long time. You could curl up by a fire and read for hours. It's like a fantasy world. I'm sure everyone has dreamed of being a witch one or twice in there life,But, fore Gellis it has come true. If you like Gothic and you like a romantic witch story this is the book for you!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "lager1642" on May 28, 2004
Format: Library Binding
This is a book I find myself picking up at least once a year to sit down and savor all over again. I return to this book not only for the excellent writing, but for it's peaceful tone with strong hints of otherworldly drama and its undercurrents of romance as well as its richly woven descriptions. While I love all of Mary Stewarts books, this is by far my favorite. I highly recommend it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
I received this book as a Christmas present when in elementary school, and I confess that it took a while for me to open it up. Once I read it, however, I had to read it again. And again. And again. Fifteen years later, I am still reading this touching tale. This novel is an excellent example of loving and being sure of oneself. The descriptions are beautiful but not overbearing, and the simple story touched with magic is engaging. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nancy on May 20, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I absolutely LOVED this book! Once I started it I couldn't put it down until I finished it. It has the perfect blend of spells, potions, romantic love, family love, humor, and mystery as Gilly comes to terms with her childhood memories. I did not want this wonderful story to end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jacqualyn Saunders on October 7, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mary Stewart can take you there. But they were not necessarily simpler or less complicated times...

Thornyhold is less well known than Steward's tour-de-force Merlin/Arthurian novels, but still one of my favorites. Where many of her novels have modern (for the time) heroines, fighting villains in the form of thieves, murderers, selfish relatives, whatever, Gillie has less obvious battles to fight. Set in post-World War II England, where rationing still held sway and everyone knew their neighbors, Thornyhold is much like it's heroine: deep, introspective, self-depreciating, and ultimately, quietly triumphant -- much like their author.

If you are looking for excitement, battles, gunfights, and torrid love affairs, it isn't for you. But if you are looking for a truly brilliant example of character development, where gaining self knowledge is important...look into this gem.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By johanna frappier on May 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Mary Stewart's rhythm lulls me. Her description is fluid and rich and intoxicationg. The magic in Thornyhold is not over the top, but rather a menacing undercurrant that holds you from below. This book will always stand the test of time.
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