My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book. It’s beautifully descriptive yet compelling. It was the first Mary Stewart book that I had read and I could not put it down. I can remember spotting a copy of the book in a charity shop window as I walked by and for some reason, I stopped to take a look. I had been looking for something different to read and this seemed to fit the bill. I had no idea as to the style or any of the author’s other books but I’m very glad I read it.
I started it that evening and became totally absorbed in the book. I think I sat up into the small hours to finish it. Thornyhold has everything that I most like in a book. Firstly, it’s written extremely well. You can forget about finding flaws as is the case with many novels and settle into the story. Secondly, it engages the reader effortlessly.
I enjoyed the air of mystery and the expectation that greeted me from the very first page. Gilly inherits her cousin’s house and discovers that her relative was known for her mystical powers – and was possibly a witch. It’s an appealing concept. It is a well-crafted mystery and the reader easily follows Gilly’s attempts to strip back the layers in a bid to reveal the truth. This gentle but effective series of revelations keeps the pages turning.
The novel may be too descriptive for some (I took the book to share with my writing students) and some felt that the descriptiveness weighed it down. But this is down to personal taste of course. I find this wonderful blend of descriptiveness and storytelling to be of great appeal.
For me, it’s beautifully evocative and captivating. I would really recommend this if you want to shut out the world and lose yourself in the pages of a beautifully crafted story.