Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Thornyhold / Mary Stewart
Vancouver: General Publishing Company, 1990, c1988.
207 p.

I picked another reread for the #SpinsterSeptember IG challenge -- Thornyhold by Mary Stewart. I read this when I was young, and so when I found this paperback edition with the same cover fairly recently, I grabbed it. This is another sweet read, by an author more known for romantic suspense. Thornyhold has a little bit of a mystery, but it's really more about the growth of our main character Gilly, a 27 yr old 'spinster' who has just been left Thornyhold, a house in the country, by her aged cousin Geillis. 

Geillis was a herbalist and witchy sort, and Gilly has inherited a little of those abilities. But when she gets to her new home, the housekeeper from down the lane is in possession, and is extremely bossy and prying. As it turns out, this woman also aspires to witchiness but isn't very good at it, harming others with her potions and practices. 

Gilly must stand up for herself and set boundaries around her home space and her time, and her potential involvement in the goings on of the villagers that her housekeeper runs with. This part is the slightly sinister bit, with some animal abuse and drugged foods appearing.  

But Gilly is really coming into her own, now that she is settled in a home of her own, where she still feels the influence and presence of her cousin Geillis. And she befriends a local boy, who helps her to settle in and get the feel of the area. This boy has a single father, an irascible writer who's youngish, handsome and the local catch. And of course Gilly catches him. 

There are clunky bits in the romance; it feels a bit pat to me, with not much build up or personality shown by the fellow. But the story is really about Gilly, and as that it is so satisfying. Despite being a rather neglected child, and having had to struggle on her own for most of her life so far, she is now sinking into safety and security through this home and her new connections. It's a light and comforting read with a lot of charm, perfect for this time of the year. 


  1. This sounds lovely! Definitely one by the author I haven't read.

    1. This is one of her gentler books, I think. Really a comfort read!


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