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Thornyhold Audio, Cassette – Abridged, February 1, 1989
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
She also tells what happens when she inherits Thornyhold after that same godmother's death. She describes the beauty of the house, gardens and countryside. She also describes her interactions with the local witch who is her rival for the affections of a widowed author who lives nearby. This story also tells us about how she fell in love with that same author and his young son.
Woven into the story are some magical elements. Her godmother was a herbalist and maybe she was also a witch. And maybe Gilly herself has inherited the potential to be a witch too. It describes incidents that could be magical in nature but could also have natural explanations.
The book is set in the time just after World War II and in a part of England that is still very much behind the times. She travels by bicycle and doesn't have a telephone. Until her arrival and her encounters with would-be witch Agnes Trapp, no one ever locked their doors and neighbors felt free to just walk in. Mentions are made of rationing and coupons though shortages aren't as noticeable in this rural area.
This was a quick read. It had lovely descriptions and lyrical writing. It was definitely a gentle Gothic romance.
This is a book you can escape into, as it takes place a few years after World War II, when the world was on the precipice of a time of unbridled optimism and boundless change. But rural England was much the same as it had been 20 years before.
And that's the charm here: This is a story you get lost in, if only for a brief time. It is not as complex and layered as some of Stewart's books, but it is charming in a gentle way. As usual, Stewart's characters are deftly created.
The books gets off to a slow start, but it picks up once Gilly moves into her cousin's cottage. Stewart creates a vivid supporting cast, including an engaging young boy and a enigmatic cat.
If you are seeking a gentle respite from modern life and a story that calms you, read this book.
Thornyhold a more subtle and contemplative story then you might be used to when it comes to reading Stewart. After all, she was in her 70's when she wrote this, and I imagine she was harkening back to her youth while penning "Thornyhold". Generally absent is the suspense and romance so magically woven throughout in "The Moonspinners", "Madam, Will You Talk" or "This Rough Magic". Instead, there is a magic of another kind here: a gentle, hearth-and-home-loving tale of a home well loved and much desired, and an ode to the beauty of a time and place now gone but fondly remembered by the author.
I can't really put into words how much this story affected me. It was as if Stewart had looked into my heart much like cousin Geillis looked into Gilly's heart and provided the nourishment for her soul that she craved.
...and Stewart did the same for me with "Thornyhold".