Books by Mary Stewart

ROSE COTTAGE by Mary Stewart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

For the frazzled Anglophile, the countryside-enamored reader, here's a bit of romance, light mystery, and the reassuring stability of a timeless English village—in short, another Stewart comforter (The Stormy Petrel, 1991, etc.). Here, a young widow returns in 1947 to her childhood home and the enigma of her parentage. Kate Herrick, nÇe Welland, who lost her husband in the war, is summoned to Scotland by her beloved grandmother, formerly a cook in the household of Sir James Brandon. She asks Kate to return to their native village in the north of England, where Kate was raised by Gran and severe Aunt Betsy. Kate's mother Lilias, who'd become pregnant while serving at the Brandons' estate, had left Kate at six, never to return. Gran had told Kate that she had ``gone with the gipsies,'' but some years later Kate learned that her mother and new husband had been killed in Ireland in a bus accident. Now, Kate is to come again to Gran's Rose Cottage, long shuttered, charged with shipping some of Gran's belongings to her in Scotland and with locating a neatly hidden safe containing family items of sentimental value. But someone has broken into the cottage, ripped out the safe, and removed its contents. Then there are strange rumors of odd appearances, generated mainly by the ``Witches Corner''—comprised of two gossipy ladies, as well as a feathery individual who's sure she has ``the sight'' and has seen a dead woman digging in the cottage yard and piling flowers on the grave of mean Aunt Betsy. With the help of young Davey, son of old family friends, and scraps of information from neighbors, Kate will at last discover an absent mother and a name for an unknown father. Soothing as a warm brew on a cold night are Stewart's satisfying denouements—and environs: ``. . . willows and wild roses, cuckoo-pint and king cups, and a wood pigeon crooning in the elm.'' Mild doings in enchanting surroundings. Read full book review >
THE STORMY PETREL by Mary Stewart
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 30, 1991

By the English author of Thornyhold (1988), etc., more atmospheric romance, but here in a slight, mere wisp of a novel set in Scotland's Western Islands. The scenery, however, is grand. Rose Fenemore is a tutor of English at one of the Cambridge colleges; she also writes poetry and now needs an ``ivory tower'' retreat. Brother Crispin promises to join her for a holiday on the Scottish island of Moila but is delayed. Alone in her cottage, Rose is at first terrified, then angry and puzzled, by the night arrivals—separately—of two men. Both are strangers to her. Ewen Mackay, who lets himself in with a key, claims that the cottage was his childhood home and hints that he was the love-child of the now- deceased Colonel Hamilton, owner of the nearby ``Big House.'' But the man who calls himself John Parsons turns out to be the Hamilton heir. There are curious break-ins at the Hamilton house, and odd movements of Ewen's boat, the Stormy Petrel. As Rose puzzles, and enjoys the scenic wonders of the island, others arrive—including two of her students; Crispin; a Mr. Bagshaw (ex-con and developer!); and, at the finale, two policemen. Before the crowd thins, the island is saved from development, and a romantic interest is hinted. But all this is a mere puff beside the cries of birds, boom of sea, and ancient artifacts. For Stewart's many followers, a pleasant armchair holiday in a wild and lovely landscape. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for Fall) Read full book review >