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Oh I love the idea of Mary Steward adaptations in the style of 50s Hitchcock! That would be completely fabulous. I really enjoyed this one, too, when I read it, but I had no idea it was only her second novel! You're right it does feel a little different, but is every bit as gripping as her later works.


Oh this sounds like fun and I can totally see it as a movie!


Too bad you're not in charge of turning Mary Stewart's books into movies--I like your vision! To my knowledge, only one of her books has been made into a movie, The Moon-Spinners, and it is positively unrecognizable.

Compared to today's entertainment, Mary Stewart's books are sedate, but they are full of likable characters, suspense, lovely settings, and I find them absolutely irresistable. Life itself is a little too rough and hair-raising--I prefer gentle romance, and suspense rather than terror and grit in my entertainment.


Disney made a movie of her Moon-Spinners starring Hayley Mills and I can remember another of her books being made into a movie, but I can't remember which one.
Love her books have read and reread all of them.


They would definitely need a really good director, like Hitchcock. I'd hate to see them spoiled.


I haven't read this one yet; I too keep some unread in reserve :) This one sounds perfect for a Hitchcock film for sure. Love the set up, it sounds like a film.


I totally agree that most of Mary Stewart's novels would have made, in the "right" hands, spectacular films.

I am a devotee of Wildfire at Midnight, and gosh--if there weren't so many other books to be read, I'd reread it immediately.



She's so good--I always enjoy her books and have a nice, neat little pile of them to look forward to reading--may have to ration them out, though. I love that era of the 50s--it was (seemed anyway) so elegant. Of course it helps that I love Alfred Hitchcock, so I can totally see her stories filtered through his directing.


It might well be my favorite of her books now... Her stories would make such great movies--I am surprised they have never been filmed!


Oh, yes, you're right--Hayley Mills starred in it, didn't she? I think I saw it, or parts of it a very long time ago. Now I want to read the book before I watch the movie--it is one I am holding back as I am sure I will love that Greek setting. Or maybe it is better to forgo the film? I am with you on liking stories that are pretty sedate--well, mostly anyway. I guess I do read a lot of crime novels, but there is mystery and crime and then there is gorey stuff, which I try and steer clear of. I know what I'll get with a Mary Stewart book and that is just fine with me--I know it will be something good to look forward to--picking up one of her books.


I forgot about The Moon-spinners. I will have to investigate now. I read her Arthur/Merlin books a long time ago and have only in the last few years started reading her romantic suspense and find I love those books! I am rationing them out now, though I will happily reread her work!


Yes, I agree! I think Hollywood would spoil them completely. There is something restrained about Hitchcock--true suspense, which I think would work well. Of course sometimes it's best to just stick with the books!


I really enjoyed this--loved the setting. It seemed shorter than the other books by her I've read, but maybe because it was an early book. Nothing wrong with with that--she did everything she needed to. Wouldn't those sorts of films work well with these stories?! And I have a small pile in reserve, too, which I am rationing out!


Hi Judith--I could see them as old B&W movies, too. But maybe better to leave them alone considering what most movies are like these days. I loved Wildfire at Midnight--such a great protagonist. And I really wasn't sure who the killer was until almost the very end. I would love to go to the Isle of Skye (even if fishing and climbing are not my things!).

Joan Kyler

I bought four Mary Stewart paperback novels (The Ivy Tree, The Moon-Spinners, Nine Coaches Waiting, and Airs Above the Ground) for $1.00 each when I was in Boston. They look like they've never been read. It's been years since I read any Mary Stewart and I'm looking forward to a little binge reading one of these hot summer days.

I, too, wish that Hollywood would make movies like the older ones, but using the restrained hand of a master like Hitchcock. They were so stylish and nuanced and atmospheric.

Margaret Powling

I must correct you on one detail, Danielle: the Queen's Coronation was in 1953, not 1956. She ascended the throne on 6th February 1952 and was crowned on 2nd June 1953 - it took over a year to prepare for this event.
I am sure that I once started Wildfire at Midnight but didn't finish it. This has been the case with several Mary Stewart books although I read Airs Above the Ground many, many years ago and enjoyed that but, even at the time, thought that the story was a most unlikely one and so I wasn't able to suspend belief entirely!


Sorry about that-yes, you're absolutely right. The error was on my part. I think I had 1956 in mind as that is the year the book was published but on checking back in the text it refers to that summer in 1953! I have corrected my post, so thanks for the clarification. I've enjoyed all the books I have read by her, but I know not every book is going to appeal to every reader. Sometimes I don't mind stretching belief just a little--and in the case of Mary Stewart, I guess I don't mind it at all. :) Thankfully there are so many reading options out there there is always another author around the corner to satisfy our desires!

betty hale

I also love Mary Stewart's books and I loved the film version of The Moon Spinners. I had a mad crush on the male lead, Peter McEnery, and wanted to be Haley Mills, so the movie worked for me. Of course I have a copy of the book and about a year or so ago, got a copy of the movie and I watch it every now and then. I visited Greece when I was in my 20s, so that when I watch the movie, it brings back fond memories of that trip.

Coincidentally, I was just thinking that I needed to pick up a book that would take me to someplace like Greece or the South of France, and had thought that I would look for a Mary Stewart book to read(I have a number of her books). So thank you for this very timely post.


What great finds! I admit when I heard she passed away I ordered a few more books to have on hand knowing I was going to want to read more of her work sooner than later. I only read her Merlin books years ago--I think I didn't even realize she had written romantic suspense, but I have quite enjoyed each and every story I've picked up so far. Alfred Hitchcock is pretty unique, isn't he? I know there are loads of suspenseful movies, but there is really something special about the movies he directed


I have not read the book, seen the movie or been to Greece! I hope to have all three ahead of me to look forward to! :) I have always liked Haley Mills (my favorite--the Paren Trap). I'll have to read the book and then watch the movie--but maybe not too close together and let each stand on its own. Happy always to point a reader in the direction of a good book. I think the next Mary Stewart I might pick up will be Madame Will You Talk, which is set in France I think? I like to keep a few of her books in reserve and am only slowly reading my way through them!


Thinking of what he did with du Maurier's Rebecca, I could imagine Hitchcock would do a great job with this story.
It sounds very good, certainly one I'd love to read too.
Great review.


Thanks Caroline. Rebecca is such a great movie--I loved the book. It is one of my all-time favorites. And the movie is good too. I have it in mind now as 'the' Rebecca movie and have not been able to watch the remake or read any sequel to the book--I think on both counts it would spoil the original for me!

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