A short but sweet post today for BotW because it’s super busy here. I also didn’t read as much as usual during the week, so I had trouble picking a book to write about before I headed off for my weekend of bookwormery at the book conference. Anyway, the best of what I read before the weekend was Mary Stewart’s Thornyhold.
Thornyhold tells the story of Gilly, who has a mysterious godmother figure who shows up at intervals throughout her childhood and who then leaves her a house, just as Gilly is most at need of it. Thornyhold is deep in the woods, isolated and has the potential to be really creepy. But Gilly never really feels scared by the house – although she’s not really sure about some of the people associated with the house. But there’s something magical about Thornyhold – possibly literally – and soon she’s caught up in trying to figure out exactly what her aunt wanted her to do with her legacy.
This was my first Mary Stewart book and i understand that it’s not 100 percent typical of what she does. I spent a lot of the book waiting for some big gothic tragedy to happen – because that’s what it felt like was bound to happen. But actually it’s much more straightforward than I was expecting. It is quite gothic – but ultimately it’s more of a romantic story and after the initial tragedies in Gilly’s stories, it’s working it’s way towards a happier resolution for her than I was expecting. I don’t know why I was expecting disaster and it all to end badly, except that there’s a lot of tension in the writing and I’ve read so many books where things like this end badly, I couldn’t quite let myself hope that it was all going to be ok! There is actual romance in this, and it comes in quite late on and doesn’t get quite as much time spent on it as I would have liked, but it was still fairly satisfyinging in the end. As always with this sort of book I wanted a bit more of the “after” of all the resolutions – even another couple of pages would have helped, but I can’t complain too much.
I’m fairly sure I’ll be reading some more Mary Stewart – but given the state of the to-read bookshelf at the moment, it may be some time. This one had been sitting waiting for me for a while and the pile has only grown since I bought it! My copy of Thornyhold was a secondhand paperback, but there’s a shiny new paperback edition should you feel so inclined and it’s also available in Kindle and Kobo for £1.99 at time of writing.