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Book Review: Thornyhold


Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Well…it was better than Stormy Petrel, but still fell short of the mark for me.

The beginning, although sad and depressing was well written. I felt for the lonely child that Jilly was and loved the relationship with her “fairy godmother”, Geillis.

And as always, Lady Stewart creates a wonderful sense of place, vividly described people. I’m interested in life in post war Britain with all the frustrating hardships and food shortages.

I was fine with the magic realism element.

But this book shares the same major fault that Stormy Petrel has, where Lady Stewart seems to head towards a major plot point and then backs away. For me the instalove was extreme – and for a very anonymous hero. (who also appears to be a negligent father.)

I really liked Rose Cottage, but Lady Stewart’s other two cottage books aren’t for me. Even Rose Cottage I’m unlikely to reread.

It wasn’t really relevant to the story, but I’m glad that Lady S introduced me to the poet Sidney Keyes. Did she know him? Or as a well read woman, did she decide to use her influence with her readership to stop this young man, who was killed in WW2, from fading into obscurity.

A sample poem that Keyes wrote about the grandfather who raised him.

(In memoriam SKK)

April again, and it’s a year again
Since you walked out and slammed the door
Leaving us tangled in your words. Your brain
Lives in the bank-book and your eyes look up
Laughing from the carpet on the floor:
And we still drink from your silver cup.

It is a year again since they poured
The dumb ground into your mouth:
And yet we know, by some recurring word
Or look caught unawares, that you still drive
Our thoughts like the smart cobs of your youth –
When you and the world were alive.

A year again, and we have fallen on bad times
Since they gave you to the worms.
I am ashamed to take delight in these rhymes
Without grief; but you need no tears.
We shall never forget nor escape you, nor make terms
With your enemies, the swift departing years.

Keyes was only 16 when he wrote this. Sixteen!

A remarkable talent was lost. Best poetry I have read this year. 5★…

View all my reviews

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