This book was first published in 1988 which is why I hadn’t read it before. Most of my Mary Stewart reading took place in the 1970s and really the only ones which I remember clearly are The Hollow Hills, The Crystal Cave and The Last Enchantment, in other words her Arthurian/Merlin trilogy, which I really enjoyed.
Thornyhold is different in that most of it is set just after World War II, so we’re back with rationing again. Geillis has had an unusual childhood as the only child of a vicar and a woman who had white witches in her family background. It was a lonely, poverty stricken time for Geillis but she had occasional visits from her mother’s cousin, another Geillis, the only bright spot in her childhood.
By page 39 both parents are dead and Geillis has inherited a house from her cousin Geillis who had been a bit of a herbalist.
I’m trying to remember if herbalism and witchcraft are staple themes of Mary Stewart’s writing, I think probably they are and that would have been quite appealing to the younger me.
This is another cosy read in a similar vein to Rosy Thornton’s books. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t read much in the way of romance and they always run along these lines. I would call it a comfort read, something you want to consume now and again like Turkish Delight, but you wouldn’t want to live on it.