Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A True Storyteller

At the request of her beloved grandmother, war widow Kat Herrick returns to the idyllic English countryside and the tiny thatched dwelling of her childhood, Rose Cottage, where she must retrieve some valuable papers hidden in a secret safe. Yet Kate is intrigued to discover the mysterious documents have been stolen.

While eccentric villagers buzz with sightings of strange lights and ghostly apparitions around Rose Cottage, Kate uncovers a web of family resentment, jealousy, and revenge as tangled as the rambling vines in its garden. The twisted trail leads to a stunning revelation that opens the door to her own shrouded past- and an unexpected chance at love...

Title: Rose Cottage
Author: Mary Stewart
Start & Finished: 5/27/08-5/29/08
Published: 1997
Publisher: Fawcett Crest
Pages: 264
Genre: Fiction

Best known for her Mythopoeic award-winning, historical/ fantasy Arthurian series, author Mary Stewart also specialized in the romantic suspense genre, usually with beautiful European locations. She is actually considered by some to be one of the founders of this genre. Her last published story was Rose Cottage in 1997.

Mrs. Stewart was a very popular author during the 60s and 70s and two of her books were even adapted into films. Fans of her work are still promoting her novels till this day, which is how I learned of her and came to read Rose Cottage. I wasn’t at all sure what to think of her book at first but I liked the characters and the descriptive imagery was very beautiful. So were the little illustrations by the author at the beginning of each chapter!

There were a few problems that I noticed though, such as how the plot slows almost to a crawl at some points and while reading it I felt like it had been heavily edited and in doing so, parts seemed to be almost missing! Normally I would have stopped reading the book but there was just something about the writing that compelled me to finish it- even though I had figured out the mystery aspect (the why was still unclear to me so I still had a good reason for finishing) early in the novel.

So whether through the fault of the publisher or the author (she was 81 when this was released), I’m not sure but I wasn’t able to enjoy this as thoroughly as I thought I would but it was a good introduction to Mary Stewart for me nonetheless. I have recently picked up one of her earlier books The Moon-Spinners too.

Links: Wikipedia, Fantastic Fiction (complete bibliography & author recommendations), Fan Blog

Picture Explanations:
Cottage- The Rose Cottage that the heroine grew up in and is visiting for her grandmother.
Bible- The family Bible was also a bit of a scrapbook
The Safe- A hidden safe that few people knew about has been broken into. This is the crux of the mystery in the story.


  1. interesting review tink.
    I hadnt heard of this author before.

  2. I totally agree about everyone bemoaning the end of books - we're reading, aren't we?

    I loved Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy - maybe I'll have to check out some of her other stuff as well!

  3. I have loved Mary Stewart's books since I was a teenager - I think that, aside from the Arthurian ones, Touch Not the Cat was the first one I read, and eventually I read them all. This one wasn't my favorite, for the same reasons you mention, and I'm glad that hasn't put you off reading her other books. This is probably the weakest one, and from here on out, they'll just get better!

  4. I'm glad this book hasn't put you off other Stewarts! Rose Cottage is definitely one of her tamest books. But since you felt compelled to finish this one, I bet you're going to love The Moon-Spinners. It's one of my favorites.

    Question for you--you say two of her books were made into movies? Which books? I was only aware of The Moon-Spinners movie. If there's another I'll have to see if I can track it down!

  5. Naida: She's very good, just don't start with this book!

    S. Krishna: Her Merlin books have been calling my name ever since I learned of them.

    Darla D: I finished Moon-Spinners already and I've been trying to convince myself not to read her Arthurian books right this very second (although I really want to!).

    Jennie: Yeah I loved Moon-Spinners (the book. The movie was only ok)! Her other movie was a made for TV movie called Merlin of the Crystal Cave in 1991. I thought it looked rather interesting.

  6. I've been meaning to read her Arthurian books for so long. It's too bad this one wasn't as good as it could have been, but it's impressive that she was still writing at that age!



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