Friday, February 6, 2009

A Holiday in Crete

Young, beautiful, and adventurous Nicola Ferris loves her life as a secretary at the British Embassy on the lush island of Crete. Then on her day off, she links up with two hiking companions who have inadvertently stumbled upon a scene of blood vengeance.

And suddenly the life Nicola adores is in danger of coming to an abrupt, brutal, and terrifying end . . .

Title: The Moon-Spinners
Author: Mary Stewart
Start & Finished: 9/7/08- 9/12/08
Published: 1962
Publisher: M. S. Mill Co. and William Morrow & Company
Pages: 303
Genre: Adventure/ Mystery

Two time winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, English author Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow aka Mary Stewart, has written many stories in various genres over the years but it was during the 1960’s-1970’s that she was the most popular. Only two of her stories have been adapted for film, Merlin of the Crystal Cave and this book Moonspinners, which Disney adapted two years after it was published to star Hayley Mills. Mary Stewart celebrated her 92 birthday last year.

Having read Mary Stewart's last book Rose Cottage I decided to read one of her most popular books even despite the fact that I didn’t really care for my first Stewart book (although it was good, some parts dragged and it was predictable). I had vague memories of the film version of Moon-Spinners but what really stood out in my mind was how beautiful the Crete setting was which is equally true in the novel- more so actually! I was a little wary when I started this but as soon as Nicola and I started up the side of The White Mountains I became utterly lost in the author’s wonderful little adventure full of real danger.

By today’s standards, this story would probably be considered a young adult mystery even though the main character Nicola is in her early 20’s. Mainly because there were quite a few times when she acted younger (she even becomes a typical hysterical girl in one part of the book) and because it is tame. That’s not to say that adults today wouldn’t enjoy this because it’s just that good but even with the “adventure” aspect (which is reminiscent of Treasure Island) it takes place in a more innocent time.

This was written as a stand-alone novel but its ending is somewhat open so it could have become a wonderful series, sort of like a grown-up Nancy Drew. Alas, Mary Stewart hasn’t written anything in over 10 years but she does have several other stories that I am now eager to read. If Moon-Spinners is any indication of this author’s talent, then her other books are certainly not to be missed!

Related Post: Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart

Links: Author Wikipedia, Fantastic Fiction, Mary Stewart Fan Blog

Picture Explanations
Church: A real-life place in the book whose setting is pivotal.
White Mountains: When Nicola arrives in Crete she explores here.
Windmill: Excerpt-
This, as luck would have it, was no ugly iron pylon, but a real mill, one of the two corn-mills that served the plateau. It was a solidly-built, conical structure, much like the windmills we know, with a thatched roof, and ten canvas sails. The sails, unlike those of the water-mills, were furled along their spokes, but this idle mill, with its arched doorway and dazzling whitewash, was beautiful.


  1. This sounds really great. I've been looking for some mystery books to read. I love your Blog!
    It's really nice and your review was fantastic!
    Have a Happy Day!

  2. I haven't heard of this author at all but I have heard of the movie. I'm definitely going to look into this one after reading your review :)

  3. what a pretty book cover.
    this sounds very good.
    great review :)

  4. This sounds like an interesting book, Jen. I haven't read anything by the author. I love it when you can get a real feel for a setting from reading the book.

  5. I've always wanted to go to Crete! The only greek islands I've been to are Samos, Mykonos and Tinos.

  6. The Chic Geek: Thank you, hope you come back soon!

    Samantha: She's one of the pioneers of her genre actually. I hope you like it as much as I did!

    Naida: I couldn't find a pic of the book cover I had but this one was still pretty to me too.

    Wendy: Oh I have a feeling you would enjoy this book!

    Lenore: Lucky duck! I'd love to travel to the Greek islands one day. Ireland and England are still first on my list though :)

  7. It's award time again! It didn't look like you had this one yet, so now you do if you didn't! ;)

    Thanks for all your great posts!

  8. I love her Merlin series but have never gotten around to reading any of her other works. This sounds like a lot of fun though, I will keep a look out for it thanks. I never knew it was made into a Disney film either!

  9. Mary Stewart is one of the first authors I read when I transitioned from children's books to books for adults, and I guess you can see why! I need to go back and reread some of these, because I loved them all so much. I remember particularly enjoying Touch Not the Cat and The Ivy Tree. Have you read those yet?

  10. Shaunesay: Thank you!

    Rhinoa: I think I might read her Merlin series next. It might not last long but someone uploaded the entire movie on Youtube.

    Darla D: Nope, I've only read two of hers but I was very impressed with both.



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