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Christine Harding

I love the first three in the Merlin series, which seems to be unlike any of her other work, and I read Touch Not the Cat when I was a teenager. I've got Thornyhold and This Rouvh Magic in the TBRs on Mum's recommendation - not her usual kind of reading, but she picked them in the library and enjoyed them very much.


I read the Merlin books years ago not really realizing that she also wrote those books of romantic suspense. Now I am a convert and think they are great fun. I've "collected" quite a few now and am slowly making my way through them. Someday I need to reread the Merlin books as well.


Oh, this one sounds fun! She is my favorite comfort author and I completely agree with you about the elements that make her novels so alluring. Thanks for participating this week!

vicki (skiourophile / bibliolathas)

Mary Stewart really achieves a perfect blend of everything - I so agree! I'm not generally a fan of big landscape descriptions, but the beauty of her language gets me every time regardless. She's good at animals too - this one made me cry in one place (when the horse hears the music).


Yes, I agree this is one of the good ones by Mary Stewart. Not my favorite but on the top half of my list. I wonder what you are going to take on vacation now:)


I too read the Merlin books when there were only three, in my teens. But I've been so inspired by all this Mary Stewart week that I picked up a big hardback book club collection for £1.50 in a charity shop today - contains Madam Will You Talk, Wildfire at Midnight and Nine Coaches Waiting. I'm intrigued!


You perfectly summed up why I like Mary Stewart so much. I would add that I find her characters very appealing and likeable, and the stories feel effortless. I'm carried along easily right to the end.

I like Airs Above the Ground, but surprisingly it's not one of my favorites, despite the presence of the horse. I've always liked the three books set in Greece the best. I haven't read Airs for a long time, or The Ivy Tree (which also has a horse, come to think of it), and I think I'll put them both on the reread list for when I'm looking for a good comfort read.


I still haven't read any of her books but if she's one of your favorite comfort reads then I really should check her out! And, she really has quite a long list of books to choose from too.


Thanks for pointing out Mary Stewart reading week a little earlier and reminding me that I had Touch Not the Cat to read! She is such a reliably enjoyable author -- I haven't read this particular title but you make it sound like it should be the next one I pick up :) Unlike most people, her Arthurian books are my least favourite, relatively speaking of course.


I've only read the Merlin books (the first three, didn't like the fourth which came out later) but have been meaning to read others soon. Definitely putting this one on my list!


She really is great and I have enjoyed every book so far I have read by her! This was great fun--thanks so much for doing this--not that I need an excuse to read her books, but I never mind a gentle nudge!


It's all nicely done, and not too over the top. She gives just enough detail to set the scene and get the imagination going--which I think is really necessary with her exotic settings. I'm not one usually for horse stories, but I very much enjoyed this--can't imagine a horse being able to do these things, but I know they can and do!


I wonder, too! I might take Gabriel Hounds or maybe Madam, Will You Talk. I know I will keep changing my mind right up until I am packing I think! We'll see where my mod takes me closer to the day I am leaving! I am sure you have told me, but now I don't remember. Which is your favorite? I think mine perhaps remains My Brother Michael.


Her books really do flow nicely, I agree! I read The Ivy Tree first and only felt so-so about it (I think it followed a really great read, so it was a bit unfair really to compare the books), but I think I would like to reread it now. I think my favorite is My Brother Michael--I have one more Greece story to read I think. I could read my way through the rest in a big gulp, but I am trying to ration them out.


I love those omnibus editions--what a great find! I have not read any that the book contains, but I have all three in standalone editions. I might take Madame Will You talk on vacation with me next month! :)


Then you are in a treat when you do get around to reading her! It's always nice when you find an author you like and then can spend lots of time reading through their list of books!


I really loved Touch Not the Cat when I read it last year. Granted it had the 70s written all over it, but it was quite nostalgic in a nice way for me. Airs Above Ground was a fun read--and I still have lots more to explore! I like the Arthurian books, but I must say I am very drawn to these stories of romantic suspense!


I can't remember now if I read the fourth Merlin book or not. I think I might have just read the first three--it's been so long, however, that I wouldn't mind revisiting them. I hope you enjoy this one, too, when you get to it!


This sounds wonderful and I like the idea of an Austrian setting.
I think it's great when you have a reliable author like that. I realy need to try her.


Reading all about the romantic suspense elements in Stewart's books (I've only read Stormy Petrel) I like the difference here. I suppose there could be romance but yes, it's different. It sounds a really good book.


What fun! It sounds like it would make a really good movie on top of being a good page turning read.


My absolute favourite is the one that starts with 'It was the egret, flying out of the lemon grove, that started it': The Moon-Spinners. I don't think I will forget that first line, ever.
'Madam, Will You Talk' is a good second.


I wouldn't have minded even more description since I know Vienna a little, but still it was quite good and familiar, too. She is a reliably good comfort read for me, and I know she is quite popular with readers. She's someone to keep in mind when you need a little escapism!


This really did have a different feel than the other books I've read by her since this involves a married woman (though still newly married). It was a comfortable sort of relationship, which I quite liked. A nice spin on the romance thing! :)


It would! It has such great visuals, and can you imagine the stunning setting it could have! Wishful thinking to see it and not just read about it (though almost always the book is better than the movie...still this would be fun!).

Liz F

Take both The Gabriel Hounds AND Madam Will You Talk - they are both wonderful and two of my favourites and such lovely reads to while away plane journeys.
I think Airs Above the Ground was the first of her suspense novels that I read after reading the Merlin trilogy and I loved it but funnily enough The Ivy Tree is one of my least favourite although I suppose I owe it a re-read in case I see it in a different light years later!


You are dangerous! I have a List going of books I want to take--all new books (when I should really just grab some 'in progress' books--but what is the fun in that, eh?!). I really liked Airs but I think it is not my favorite. The Ivy Tree was my first (non-Merlin) Mary Stewart and I only felt lukewarm about it at the time--I think I would enjoy it more on a reread now, though I have enough of her books unread that it will likely be a while before I return to the ones already read.

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