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Airs Above the Ground Mass Market Paperback – November 30, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

From opening to finale, this zestful romantic adventure grips, amuses, frightens and delights Sunday Telegraph Mary Stewart is magic New York Times She set the bench mark for pace, suspense and romance - with a great dollop of escapism as the icing Elizabeth Buchan A comfortable chair and a Mary Stewart: total heaven. I'd rather read her than most other authors. Harriet Evans --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

This was the first Mary Stewart book I ever read, and it hooked me immediately. I have since read every book she's ever written, many of them multiple times. As a young teenager, I looked to the heroines (who are always young women facing difficult situations with courage, grace and intelligence) as role models on how to become a woman. I love the mix of exotic locals, mystery and romance in Mary Stewart's novels. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch; First HarperTorch Paperback Printing edition (November 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006074748X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060747480
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mary Stewart's Ivy Tree got me hooked on reading and I've read every book she's written. The villain in this book is so memorable I have always remembered his name. This book like all of her books marries romance and mystery but in a way no modern books do, it is romance, not sex. All of her books give you information on either classic works or other historic backgrounds, like the Spanish Riding School, that I got big points from my Humanities teachers from things I learned from Mary Stewart, I never told them how I knew the information. This is one of her best, the people are memorable and the horse is miraculous. Just a treat all round. Read all her mysteries you can't go wrong
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With a backdrop of a fairy-tale castle set in the Austrian alps and the music of Der Rosenkavalier playing below from a traveling circus, an old horse dances in a meadow, executing the precise dressage movements called the "Airs Above the Ground" of the famous Lippanzaners of the Spanish Riding School. The only witnesses are Londoners, Vanessa March, and her companion teenaged Tim Lacy thrown together by chance as Tim pursues his dream of untying his mother's apron strings by applying for a job at the famous riding school and Vanessa searches for her errant husband, Lewis, supposedly away on business in Sweden, but documented on a UK newsreel with a beautiful blonde during an out of control circus fire near Graz.

As usual, Mary Stewart creates a fine story where intrepid characters move along a lushly described exotic locale. The delineation between good and evil is clearly defined. Like the other Stewart heroines, Charity Selbourne of 'Madame Will You Talk' comes quickly to mind, Vanessa unhesitatingly does the 'right thing.' Although she has the stereotypical loveliness, intelligence, and quick wittedness with a bit of the acerbic tongue of a married woman that makes her narration marvelously fun, she is never obssessed with superficiality like so many more modern 'romance' heroines. But, of course, a Stewart romance is a romance of the most highly literal type; the love scenes are suggested rather than depicted. The narration moves you along as if you were one and the same as the heroine; you breath her air, your heart clenches with terror when hers does, your skin prickles when in the presence of the ethereal and you quickly adopt and share her high value system.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like other reviewers, I read most of Mary Stewart's novels as a teenager when they were called "Gothics". Nine Coaches Waiting and Wildfire at Midnight were wonderful, and among my favorites, but Airs Above the Ground lingers in my memory as the best of Mary Stewart's works. The scene with the old horse on the hillside gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes every time I read it, or even think about it. I went to see the Lippizaners in Austria just because of the influence of this book. Read it--you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Airs Above the Ground is not quite as compelling in its descriptions and plot as The Gabriel Hounds, My Brother Michael, or This Rough Magic (my favourite); however, it is still a classic Stewart mystery/romance, even if the romance is quite evident from the start. Vanessa March is quite likable and the only Stewart heroine thus far to not have annoyed me just a little bit. My favourite element of the book is the friendship that develops between Vanessa and young Tim Lacy, who is trying to break away from a stifling household and forge a path for himself. As far as the descriptions of exotic locales go, trademark to Stewart, I enjoyed the chase scene through the castle. Airs Above the Ground didn't wow me and I found the ending a bit strange as it didn't feature Annalisa at all..., but all in all, a pleasent read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Airs Above The Ground is one of Mary Stewart's best and is well worth reading for several reasons. Ms. Stewart's heyday was in the 1960s, yet her heroines were all take charge types with careers. In this book, Vanessa March is a veterinarian though she stopped practicing when she married Lewis. The plot requires her expertise and it is the reason for the best part of the book, the story of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and its Lippizaner stallions. There is a wealth of fascinating information in this book, though it's well integrated into an exciting story and never reads like a history lesson. Ms. Stewart's description of the 'airs above the ground' in which the horses perform incredibly difficult dance-like moves in perfect precision to music is worth picking up the book alone, and she makes the horses' performances sound magical--which of course, they are.

There's plenty of action in this one; there's a thrilling moonlit chase over and through a castle, a race with a train, and a parrot who says rude things. There's a circus and a mystery and romance, and horses. As always, Ms. Stewart writes smart, for educated people. Each chapter begins with a classical quotation that relates to its contents, and there are plenty of cultural allusions, like when the charming young man Vanessa is escorting to meet his father in Vienna refers to a circus performer as the 'Hungarian Rhapsody'.

I've been revisiting a lot of the books I read from when I first ventured out of the children's section of the library. Mary Stewart was one of the first 'grown up' authors I discovered and I devoured every one of her books I could find. How disappointed I was to find that not every book was as exciting or as well written as Ms. Stewart's and how thrilled I am to find that they are just as wonderful in 2010 as they were in 1970.
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