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Review: This Rough Magic, by Mary Stewart

Pages: 254

Original date of publication: 1964

My edition: 1964 (William Morrow)

Why I decided to read: it was 90 degrees outside at the time and I decided it was time to read another book by a favorite author

How I acquired my copy: from Susanna Kearsley, December 2009

Sometimes, whether or not I decide to read a book depends on the weather. Mary Stewart’s books are best read on either very hot or very cold days; and since it was 90 degrees out one weekend a couple of weeks ago, I decided that this one would be perfect. And it was.

This Rough Magic takes its title from The Tempest, a play from which this novel takes off. Lucy Waring is a struggling actress who comes to visit her sister on Corfu. One of her neighbors is a renowned actor who’s taken a bit of a sabbatical and his son, a musician with whom Lucy comes to blows at first. This Rough Magic is vintage Mary Stewart, with a murder or two, a mystery, romance, suspense, and lots of magic thrown in.

Lucy is your typical Mary Stewart heroine: plucky, feisty, and has no end of courage to get her through her adventure. Her relationship with Max Gale is somewhat predictable, but much more interesting is Sir Julian, a gentleman with a number of surprises up his sleeve. Having read most of Mary Stewart’s suspense novels now, this one is right up there as one of the more suspenseful. The plot moves at great speed, and there are some truly wonderful scenes in this book: none more so than Lucy’s initial encounter with the dolphin. I loved the author’s descriptions of Corfu. I also loved how Mary Stewart incorporates the political atmosphere of Corfu and Greece into the plot of this novel. This Rough Magic is, in my opinion, one of the better of Mary Stewart’s books.


Misfit said…
Speaking of This Rought Magic, you might enjoy this photo journey of Corfu from the Mary Stewart Novels blog,
Joanne said…
Just curious -- how did you acquire this book from Susanna Kearsley? (Her book, Mariana, is one of my top favorite books this year, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming release of The Winter Sea). I just got my hands on a copy of Named of the Dragon, so it coming up on my TBR.
Marg said…
Interesting that you got this book from Susanna Kearsley, as I have heard her writing compared to Mary Stewart, but I haven't actually read MS myself!
Dear Katherine,

I also like the book very much but what absolutely fascinated me was the picture you have here on your blog. Could you be so kind to tell me who is the autor?

Thank you so much

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