How would I describe Mary Stewart? She is a family favourite, enjoyed by my grandmother, my aunts, my mother, my cousins, and my sisters. Between my grandmothers bookcase, my mother's bookcase, and the local library, I read my way through everything that she wrote at least once by the time I finished high school.
She writes what I would consider light romantic suspense novels. They usually feature strong and independent female heroines who get into adventures in far-flung corners of the globe. There is usually a romance involved that culminates in a chaste kiss at the end. She was the wife of a professor of geology, and as thus she had the opportunity to travel the world and her books take place in a variety of countries. My sister and I both want to visit Greece some day as a result of reading her books. As well, she wrote a series of books re-telling the Arthurian legend with Merlin as the main character.
So when Niranjana over at Brown Paper hosted a Mary Stewart giveaway this year, I had to enter. Twice. The giveaway was sponsored by Hodder & Stoughton, Mary Stewart's life-long publishers, and with each entry, the contestants could specify any Mary Stewart book that they wanted to win. (I entered to win The Moonspinners as well as The Gabriel Hounds). So imagine my excitement when, on Canada Day, I received an e-mail from Niranjana telling me that I had won a copy of The Moonspinners, a book that I hadn't read in years but remember loving.
The plot is classic Mary Stewart. Nicola is working for the English embassy in Greece and is on holidays with her cousin Frances in Crete; she ends up getting involved with some English boys on holidays who have run into a bit of misadventure; they end up solving the mystery with not a small amount of danger along the way; and end up sailing off into the sunset at the end. Nice, light, adventurous, and romantic while not offending my feminist sensibilities. A perfect summer read. In fact, all through university when I was home on summer holidays, I would visit the local library in order to re-read all of the Mary Stewart books that they had in their collection.
I feel as though I should loan this book to my sister now that I have re-read it - I told her about the giveaway and she also entered for a chance to win this book but didn't. So I will be the good sister and pass my copy on to her next time I see her.