RogerBW's Blog

Stormy Petrel, Mary Stewart 21 March 2020

1991 romantic suspense. Rose Fenemore is an English tutor at Cambridge, as well as a poet and author. She takes a cottage on the western Scottish island of Moila to have a writing retreat free of distraction. But why do two young men end up in her living-room one stormy night?

This is in some ways a faded copy of Stewart in her early days. Will someone turn out to be a criminal? Yes, but nobody will be placed at any particular risk, and they'll be caught and hauled off by the police, admittedly with some help from our heroine. Will there be a romance? Yes, of course, but it's very much the beginning of the romance, with no passionate moments even if both of them may think it likely that those are in their future.

But Stewart was 75 and I think she can be allowed to want to take things a bit easy, and not every book has to be non-stop peril. There may not be desperate midnight scrambles or towering passions here, but there is a solid story with people in it, and wild landscapes. Two separate solid stories, in a way; after the criminal is dealt with, a property developer comes with the intention of turning Moila into a resort, and there's only a loose connection between the two plots. And here's where Stewart at 75 can still shine: rather than being a stock villain, he's an interesting person, and who he is is a key part of how the ruination of the island can be prevented.

It's a sleepy and sometimes slow book, certainly without the thud and blunder of the 1960s adventure stories where usually something Sinister would have happened by the end of chapter 1, but it still has its moments.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.


  1. Posted by Peggi at 10:47pm on 28 March 2020

    I really should go back and read some more Stewart some time soon.

Add A Comment

Your Name
Your Email
Your Comment

Your submission will be ignored if any field is left blank, but your email address will not be displayed. Comments will be processed through markdown.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo-nebula reread humour in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux lovecraftiana mecha men with beards museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1