read online Pdf This Rough MagicAuthor Mary Stewart – Wildlives.co
Since I discovered what a wonderful writer Mary Stewart was not so many years ago, though my mother had recommended her books many years earlier I have come to love her writing and I have traveled to many wonderful places by book, in the company of a captivating band of heroines.I have been to the Pyrenees, to a Scottish island, to a French Chateau, to Delphi, to the heart of the English countryside, to Vienna, to a palace in the Lebanon.So many grand adventures.My latest adventure, that I undertook to celebrate Mary Stewart s date in the Birthday Book of Neglected Lady Authors, took me to the isle of Corfu, which is said by many to be the setting of The Tempest by William Shakespeare.Young actress Lucy Waring comes to Corfu at the invitation of her elder sister Phyllidia, who has retired to her husband s family s holiday home to escape the heat of summer in the city while she awaits the birth of a child The invitation is timely, because Lucy s play has closed after just two weeks, she has no other work in the offing, and it seems politic for her to be unavailable.Lucy was thrilled to discover that the property nearest to their villa had been rented to Sir Julian Gale, one of the brilliant lights of England s theatrical world Her hopes of meeting him were quickly dashed by her sister, who told her that all was well with the great man and that his composer son, Max, would not welcome visitorsLucy would soon meet Max Gale, and the circumstances were unfortunate She had made friends with a captivating dolphin that swan very close to the shore, and when she heard shots and realised that somebody was shooting at the dolphin from the rocks above the cove she was appalled The only person she saw up there was Max, and she told him exactly what she thought.That was the first sign that something was terrible wrong, and there would be others.Mary Stewart uses the early chapters of this novel to establish her setting, her characters, and the different elements of her story She does it well The cast was interesting, the setting was beautifully evoked, and there were many different aspects to the story I ve read enough of her romantic suspense stories to correctly identify the romantic hero and the dastardly villain, but I wasn t at all sure how all the pieces of the story would fit together.As I read on the drama accelerated, on land and at sea, and I found that all of the pieces fitted together perfectly in a very tightly constructed plot.Lucy was bright, capable and resourceful young woman, and I found it very easy to like her and to understand her feelings and her actions She was headstrong, she was inclined to act first and think later, so I can t say that I always approved or her action or that I would have done the same thing in her position, but I could always appreciate why she spoke and acted was she did, and that she was motivated by her concern for the people and places that she loved.The setting is so beautifully and lovingly described that I was transported, and I didn t doubt for one second that it this story was inspired by a place that Mary Stewart knew and loved It is a story that could only have been told in this particular place and at this particular point in its history.There were some wonderful moments My favourite came just before that story really took off, when Lucy stumbled into the most beautiful, wild, rambling garden of roses, leading into her first meeting with Sir Julian Gale, who was not at all as she had expected.The action was wonderful, it used the setting wonderfully well, I was always held in the moment with Lucy, and so I was able to forgive the unlikeliness of it all.I find the swift progress of the central romance less easy to forgive and, not for the first time, I found myself wishing that Mary Stewart would allow her heroine and her hero to work together, to become friends, with a promise or a suggestion of romance to come.Those were the disappointments, but there was much that I loved.The prose was gorgeous I was never too far from a lovely description or an interesting plot development The allusions to The Tempest were beautifully done and cleverly woven into the story The details of character and setting were tended to very well This Rough Magic was a fine piece of storytelling, and a marvellous entertainment.It is a book that many people who wouldn t pick up an old book would love Some might find it a little old fashioned, a little contrived even, but I can t think of anyone who came after Mary Stewart has crafted tales of romantic suspense with such literacy, such care for the characters and the settings, such wonderfully told stories.I could happily turn back to the beginning of this book and be caught up in the story all over again I won t, because so many other books are calling, but I will pick up another of Mary Stewart s books to read or to re read very soon. How to create the perfect romantic suspense novel 1 select a stirring and exotic setting, like the isle of Corfu in Greece, with caves and hidden grottos.2 conjure up a castle in somewhat spotty repair3 add a plucky but somewhat naive heroine and a disdainful and gorgeous hero.4 mix in a few blood chilling dangers with sports cars and fancy boats 5 weave in a dolphin and a Persian cat.Then put all these ingredients into the hands of a wordsmith extraordinaire, and voila, you have a story that makes you smile and cringe while your pulse races I love Mary Stewart She has style and class and she lends them to her characters with exuberance For the space of a few days, you suspend all disbelief and you are whisked away into a world as unlike your own as can be imagined and yet as possible as the one you occupy I am revisiting all of Mary Stewart s novels, after so many years between that it is like reading them for the first time I enjoyed this as much today as I did in the 1960s. When Lucy Waring S Sister Phyllida Suggests That She Join Her For A Quiet Holiday On The Island Of Corfu, Young English Lucy Is Overjoyed Her Work As An Actress Has Temporarily Come To A Halt She Believes There Is No Finer Place To Be At Liberty Than The Sun Drenched Isle Of Corfu, The Alleged Locale For Shakespeare S The Tempest Even The Suspicious Actions Of The Handsome, Arrogant Son Of A Famous Actor Cannot Dampen Her Enthusiasm For This Wonderland In The Ionian SeaBut The Peaceful Idyll Does Not Last Long A Series Of Incidents, Seemingly Unconnected But All Surrounded In Mystery Throws Lucy S Life Into A Dangerous Spin, As Fear, Danger And Death As Well As Romance Supplant The Former Tranquility Then A Human Corpse Is Carried Ashore On The Incoming Tide And Without Warning, She Found She Had Stumbled Into A Nightmare Of Strange Violence, Stalked By Shadows Of Terror And Sudden Death For the last Mary Stewart group read which I did for Madam, Will You Talk , I decided to cast the book as a movie, picking glamorous stars from the fifties Hannah asked if I would do that again for this book, so here it is Yay I hope you enjoy it Now casting this book was a little bit trickier then for MWYT, since This Rough Magic is supposed to take place 1964 I couldn t use the cast from the last book They weren t young enough And as always, they had to be British, since This Rough Magic is a very British book So anyway, here it goes For beautiful actress and animal lover, Lucy Waring, I thought I would cast the lovely Julie ChristieDon t pretend you don t know It must have been you If you re such death on trespassers, who else would be there Someone took a couple of potshots at it, just a few minutes ago I was down there, and I saw you on the terrace She doesn t mince words and is pretty fearless For the dark, brooding musician, Max Gale, I thought I would cast Alan Bates Now, look, to hell with the civilities, you ll have to hear it all some other time If we re not to die of pneumonia, we ve got to go Where are your shoes, Miss Waring Obviously, Mr Gale has no problems telling Godfrey Manning when to sod off LOLFor Max s father, the great actor and recluse, Julian Gale, I decided to go with Sir Ralph Richardson Sir Ralph has a certain quality of ethereal wackiness that seems to fit Sir Julian It s like he could have a conversation with himself and be highly entertained I love that LOL He was not, or he might have stopped her pillaging the place She s made a good selection, hasn t she I thought she should be made to pay a forfeit, la Beauty and the Beast We ll let her off the kiss on such a short acquaintance, but she ll have to stay and have a drink with us, at least For Lucy s amusing and older sister, Phyllida who s married to the very wealthy Leo I thought I d go for Maggie SmithSeriously, there isn t anyone watching, is there, Lucy I d just as soon not have an audience Poor Phyl doesn t want anyone seeing her swimming on the beach when she s a few months pregnant She sounds adorable though, all dressed in bright yellow nylon LOLFor the uptight, nature lover and photographer, Godfrey Manning, I thought I would go with Tom Courtney Look, Phyl, ought I to go and talk to them now There ll be things they ll want to ask Lucy says when she meets him, My first quick impression was of a mask of rather chilly control held hard down over some strong emotion Then the impression faded, and I saw that I was wrong the control was not a mask it was part of the man, and was created by the emotion itself, as a Westinghouse brake is slammed on automatically by the head of the steam For the beautiful Miranda, I decided to go with lovely Greek actress, Irene Papas Yes It was after this holy woman, A Corfiote, that I was called Then you know this story, too Handsome gardener and Maria s love interest, Adonis, could be played by George CharkarisIt s a bit much, isn t it In Greek we say Adoni, He pronounced it A thoni Perhaps you d find that easier to say Not quite so sissyview spoiler I was going to cast James Darren as Spiro, but then I realized that was a big spoiler, so I decided not to add him Darren played a Greek in The Guns of Navarone and I thought he did a good job hide spoiler It s been a great personal pleasure to pull out copies of my Mary Stewart books and read them again with some of my GR friends as group reads This Rough Magic has long been one that I had fond memories of reading several decades ago, but as every reader knows, sometimes time and maturity has a way of changing our perceptions of books we enjoyed when younger Thankfully, my fond memories of this novel remain fond This Rough Magic is just as magical, just as suspenseful and just as enjoyable a read in 2013 as it was in the 1980 s I have aged , but Stewart s incomparable descriptive prose and exciting gothic suspense fare is still fresh, lovely and subtly witty then I remember.References to Shakespeare s The Tempest headline each chapter, and are incorporated into the plot The characters, while firmly dated to the early 1960 s when this was penned , may cause a few readers to wince over the outdated s and social conventions, but if modern readers can overlook these things, they may enjoy the Stewart s subtle humor and her evocative way of setting a scene in this case, the island of Corfu.Be prepared to fall in love with a dolphin, bite your nails as our heroine finds herself in a life and death struggle, boo hiss the villain of the story a really nasty piece of work , and happily close the final page of yet another successful Mary Stewart novel. First published in 1964, this novel is set on the Greek island of Corfu, where out of work English actress Lucy Waring goes to stay with her sister, whose wealthy husband s family owns an estate on the island There she becomes embroiled in a mystery involving reclusive actor Sir Julian Gale, his brusque son Max, photographer Godfrey Manning, diverse islanders , a cute cat and a very appealing dolphin The title is a quote from Act V Scene I of Shakespeare s The Tempest Prospero decides to give up sorcery, saying To the dread rattling thunderHave I given fire and rifted Jove s stout oakWith his own bolt the strong based promontoryHave I made shake and by the spurs pluck d upThe pine and cedar graves at my commandHave waked their sleepers, oped, and let em forthBy my so potent art But this rough magicI here abjure Stewart connects the novel to Shakespeare s play in a variety of ways Lucy s sister refers to her unborn child as Caliban a bit cruel, I thought , Sir Julian Gale expounds on his theory that Corfu is the island on which the play is set, his son Max is composing the score for a film adaptation of the play, a young Greek brother and sister are named Miranda and Spiro sounds like Prospero and each chapter starts with a quote from the play I assumed that Stewart was going somewhere with this But she wasn t heading anywhere in particular, which was disappointing There are no usurpers, no magic and not even a storm.Even though the promised connection to The Tempest was a fizzer, the novel nevertheless has some nice features Stewart is great at setting a scene and her descriptions of Corfu are enticing enough to make me wish I could head there for a few weeks by the sea She writes good dialogue and her heroine has a nice line in self deprecating humour The last few chapters were suspenseful enough for me to read them in one sitting and the ending was fun, if rather chaotic and implausible Stewart s writing is dated Some of this adds charm to the work, such as what seems to be an excessive interest in the quick drying properties of nylon underwear Some of it is less charming and simply dated For example, Lucy s pregnant sister downs a scotch and suggests that she wouldn t mind if her husband beat her when he found out that she had lost a diamond ring Aspects of the work that prompted some eye rolling include the heroine falling in love within a matter of minutes with someone she had previously disliked and the villain confessing all the details of his villainy to someone he intended to kill, a device which drives me nuts when it happens in crime fiction I would probably have liked this novel a lot had I been a fan of Mary Stewart when I was in my teens or twenties, as there s something so comforting about going back to favourite author As it is, the whole romantic suspense genre passed me by While there s quite a bit I like about Stewart s writing and I ll probably read of it, she s not destined to become one of my favourite authors That said, I had lots of fun participating in the buddy read of this novel with members of the Mary Stewart Group. Mary Stewart does it againI love Mary Stewart Every book I read by her seems magical Of course there is always romance but the suspense is always there too Plus, in this case, the exotic island of Corfu lend it s own magic.Lucy Waring is the heroine of the novel, visiting her sister on the island of Corfu She is an actress who hasn t really had a successful career On Corfu she finds love but also life threatening danger.This is the plotline used by Mary Stewart in most of her novels But instead of a poor damsel in distress, you have a strong female character not afraid to fight for herself.I thoroughly enjoyed this book by her as well as many other of her books. This Rough Magic is a novel by Mary Stewart, which was first published in 1964 Mary Stewart s novels are generally classed as romantic suspense, or mystery thrillers with a dash of romance This Rough Magic is typical fare from this author escapist, suspenseful, occasionally melodramatic and beautifully descriptiveThe trickle of the falling stream was cool and lovely, and light spangled down golden through the young oak leaves A bird sang somewhere, but only one The woods were silent, stretching away dim shadowed in the heart of the late afternoon Bee orchises swarmed by the river, over a bank of daisies A blue tit flew across the clearing, obviously in a great hurry, its beak stuffed with insects for the waiting family In this way romantic should be understood in its earlier, broader meaning, rather than just a love story The title This Rough Magic is a quotation from William Shakespeare s playThe Tempest , and indeed the novel references this play throughout, with a short quotation heading each chapter.This is the third novel I have read by Mary Stewart, and while I find them hugely enjoyable, and a cut above what may be expected, because of their elegant prose and literary allusions, I am beginning to recognise what I think of as the Mary Stewart formula Take a young woman, who is intelligent, feisty, independent for her time, and courageous She will not be a run of the mill damsel in distress, but will be likely to rescue herself and others Ensure she is well to do, upper middle class, and has no immediate commitments in terms of work or relationships Make sure too that she has access to one, or two, reliable older friends or relatives, when necessary Place her in an idyllic, exotic setting or an atmospheric gothic one , and surround her with people she does not know Most of these must immediately fall under her spell, be charmed, and fall over backwards to help her If the location is exotic, she must only have a smattering of the language, but either have a special skill, or know much which is relevant to the ensuing story because of her education.Then introduce the elements which enable our heroine to display herself to her best advantage A mystery needs to be solved, to which our heroine gains unique knowledge, allowing only her to piece together the puzzle There must be one or scenes where she is in serious peril, or danger of being killed A wrong to be righted is crucial, enabling her to show us her strong moral code There must be elements which allow us to see her sensitivity and compassion both her enthusiasm for the natural world, and her love of animals One or criminals must be included thinly disguised in the early part of the story, and it must be through our heroine s resourcefulness and courage that they are brought to justice And the piece de resistance, there must be just one scene where she is less than perfect, and needs assistance from the designated hero strong, dark and handsome, or moody, arrogant and scowling, as you will before the denouement Tie all this together mystery, suspense, romance, an evocative, atmospheric setting and mix in a dash of literary allusions and references, and hey presto You have another perfectly rounded and successful Mary Stewart novel.In every novel, to quote another Shakespearian masterpiece,All s Well that Ends WellMary Stewart s novels are pure, escapist fantasy, designed especially to appeal to the young women of the time, and now feeling slightly dated Females were on their way to becoming accepted as strongly authoritative figures, but were not yet empowered True to form, Mary Stewart s heroines still have a tendency to go weak at the knees on occasion Passages like this, too, would be out of place in a contemporary novelAs I put the car into gear, I saw him usher the silent girl through her mother s door as if he already owned the place Suppressing a sharp and surely primitive envy for a woman who could have her problems simply taken out of her hands and solved for her willy nilly, I put down my own independent and emancipated foot, and sent the little Fiat bucketing over the ruts of the drive But a typical Mary Stewart heroine will be quick thinking, plucky, down to earth, self sufficient, resourceful, brave and crucially, very easy to like Readers who need a heroine to identify with, and a little wish fulfillment, will not be disappointed.The heroine of This Rough Magic is Lucy Waring, an out of work young actress, aged twenty five Lucy is frustrated with the way her career is going Her first foray into a major role in London s theatre land has just ended, when the play abruptly closed after themerest face saver of a runShe has decided to give herself a little thinking space, by visiting her slightly older sister Phyllida, in Corfu Phyllida and her wealthy banker husband, Leonardo Forli who is never to appear in the novel , own a large estate, which he has inherited from his ancestral family It consists of a beautiful, crumbling gothic pile, the Castello dei Fiori , and two smaller villas.Lucy joins her sister at the Villa Forli one of the two villas below thepretentious and romanticCastello dei Fiori Phyl is expecting their first child, whom she jokingly says she is going to name Prospero Lucy immediately quips that Caliban might be preferable, quoting the relevant passage from ShakespeareThis blue eyed hag was hither brought with childSo from page one of the novel, we become not only aware that there are going to be references toThe Tempest , but that these two sisters are both well educated The other villa is occupied by the Forlis tenant, a charming author and photographer, Godfrey Manning, who is working on a new coffee table book about Corfu Lucy is impressed by the skill and artistry of his photographs, and especially impressed by some taken of a playful dolphin, and a young local boy, Spiro But she is even impressed to learn of the current occupant of the old Castello dei Fiori.It is being rented by a renowned, almost legendary, classical actor, whom she much admires, but who seems to have become somewhat of a recluse, following the tragic death of his wife some years ago This is Sir Julian Gale, and Lucy is soon to meet his son, Max, whom she dislikes on sight, finding him aloof, boorish and arrogant He is at somewhat lacking in the charm stakes at their first meeting, being armed with a shotgun, and lording it above her on the balustrade, his only concern to keep away intruders and protect his father s privacy Lucy herself is at a decided disadvantage, aware of trespassing, and wearing minimum clothing It is noticeable that Mary Stewart s heroines usually have at least one scene where they are only skimpily clad However, the description of the gardens surrounding the Castello dei Fiori is lush and lavishAfter the dappled dimness of the woods, it took some moments before one could do than blink at the dazzle of colour Straight ahead of me an arras of wistaria hung fully fifteen feet, and below it there were roses Somewhere to one side there was a thicket of purple judas trees, and apple blossom glinting with the wings of working bees Arum lilies grew in a damp corner, and some other lily with petals like gold parchment, transparent in the light And everywhere, roses Great bushes of them rampaged up the trees a blue spruce was half smothered with sprays of vivid Persian pink, and one dense bush of frilled white roses must have been ten feet high There were moss roses, musk roses, damask roses, roses pied and streaked, and one old pink rose straight from a medieval manuscript, hemispherical as if a knife had sliced it across, its petals as tightly whorled and packed as the layers of an onion There must have been twenty or thirty varieties there, all in full bloom old roses, planted years ago and left to run wild, as if in some secret garden whose key is lost The place seemed hardly real Undeterred, Lucy is intrigued to find herself living so near to the much respected Sir Julian Gale, as she hopes to have an opportunity to discover why Sir Julian has left the acting world under such mysterious circumstances She finds herself as interested in the island s inhabitants, as she is in the beauty of her surroundings.Of course, events conspire to a meeting between the two, in which Sir Julian proves to be a perfectly charming host, in the Sir Laurence Olivier mould He is witty, urbane, charismatic, and as polite to Lucy as if she were not the nobody in the acting world that she is at the moment, but a successful West End actress from his own theatrical echelons Max is a musician and composer, who is currently absorbed in writing a film score His father is engrossed in developing theories aboutThe Tempest , in order to write a book, and he explains these to Lucy In Shakespeare s play, Prospero, the Duke of Milan, and his daughter had been had been set adrift in the hope that they would drown Prospero s brother would usurp his position, in his stead, but the two end up on the island Sir Julian Gale is convinced that Shakespeare based the island inThe Tempeston Corfu, and explains in great details why he believes Corfu to be the model for Prospero s island, in Shakespeare sThe Tempest .These characters are from Lucy s own, slightly privileged world But there are also local characters, who are Corfiotes, or inhabitants native to Corfu Some of these cross over to Lucy s world, by way of Maria, who assisted by her daughter Miranda, is housekeeper to Phyl She also has a son, Spiro, Maria s twin, whose godfather is Sir Julian Gale Godfrey Manning has employed Spiro to feature in his photographs of Corfu, and the two have semi tamed one of the dolphins who regularly visit the island, resulting in some stunning images for the book Lucy soon comes across the playful dolphin, when she is swimming, but is horrified when she hears a shot whizzing past Someone hidden from view, just as she herself appears hidden from them, is taking pot shots at the mammal Rather recklessly, and without thinking, Lucy jumps out into the open and deliberately causes a stir, in order to surprise them into backing off The shots had rung out from the forest, but Max denies that he, nor his father Sir Julian, were the culprits Besides, Lucy is trespassing on property she shouldn t be on But who could possibly be shooting at a dolphin in this paradise, and why This episode comes very early in the book, and in chapter three, Lucy s peaceful idyll is further shattered when Maria s teenage son goes missing, falling overboard during a boat trip with Godfrey Manning, and is presumed drowned Just a little later Lucy stumbles across the body of a fisherman, and there are several other mysterious occurrences Clearly something is terribly wrong on this apparently idyllic island Lucy is sure there must be a connection between the two, and soon begins to wonder just who she can trust.The portrayal of the native inhabitants of Corfu is a little uncomfortably Anglo centric, but perhaps they are to be seen through Lucy s eyes They are, for the large part, naive and rather to keen to help and respect any English person One exception to the rule is Adoni, or Adonis, who not only looks like a young Greek god, but is highly intelligent, and a risk taker I think Mary Stewart had a lot of jokey fun with this character The Corfiotes are presented as kind, resourceful and self sufficient content with very little in the way of modern trappings We learn a little of their traditions, and their faith The embalmed body of Saint Spyridon, or Spiridion, as the novel says the patron saint and protector of the island was returned to Corfu in 1453, from Constantinople, when it fell to the Ottomans The relics are respectfully wheeled through the island in his glass case in procession every Palm Sunday, for veneration by the faithful, and also every year at the Festival of Saint Spyridon.This Rough Magic has a similar feel toThe Moonspinnerswhich is set on another Greek island, Crete, and the writing about the native inhabitants comes across in both as slightly indulgent, in a rather paternalistic, English way However, good use is made of the location, particularly its history and political relationship with the mainland For instance, Phyllida s housekeeper Maria s husband is imprisoned in Albania, and we learn that Corfu has had a complicated and chequered history Smuggling is still rife Could this be the answer to the many mysterious events And if so, who is master minding it all Admittedly the novel is a tad formulaic, but the plot moves at great speed, especially towards the nail biting ending It is a real page turner Some parts are predictable enough, such as Lucy s romantic involvement with view spoiler Max Gale hide spoiler 4.5 starsI shuddered, and drank my coffee, leaning back in my chair to gaze out across pine tops furry with gold towards the sparkling sea, and surrendering myself to the dreamlike feeling that marks the start of a holiday in a place like this when one is tired and has been transported overnight from the April chill of England to the sunlight of a magic island in the Ionian Sea I won t make it to Corfu this summer, or anytime soon for that matter, so I have Mary Stewart to thank for my latest enchanting and breathtaking jaunt to this beautiful Greek island Located in the northwestern most portion of Greece, with Italy and Albania as close neighbors, Corfu has a colorful history, dating back to ancient times It is a place of vibrant myths and legends which Ms Stewart seamlessly weaves through her sparkling tale Lucy Waring is a twenty something looking for a place to unwind after a newly stalled London stage career Her sister Phyllida offers the perfect, idyllic retreat for our young and spirited heroine Nestled in the foothills of Mount Pantokrator, the Villa Forli has a gorgeous view of the bay, with paths connecting it to the Villa Rotha and the Castello dei Fiori, a timeworn castletatty beyond words, sort of Wagnerian Gothic, like a set for a musical version of DraculaNaturally, there are mysteries galore surrounding the castle, and two recent deaths of local young men set the stage for what is guaranteed to be a rip roaring and suspenseful adventure A splash of romance is an obligatory ingredient in any Stewart novel, and our darling Lucy meets no less than four dashing gentlemen that fit the bill for this recipe Two of these happen to occupy the aforementioned villa and castello, one of the occupants a photographer, Godfrey Manning, and the other Max Gale, the musician son of a famed London stage actor, Sir Julian Gale These are some good looking guys, but for me personally, the greatest attraction lay with a very sleek, graceful and somewhat playful hero the dolphinApollo s beloved desire of the sea As with any Stewart story, this one moves at a brisk pace with never a dull moment There are fast cars and slick motorcycles navigating hairpin curves as well as thrilling boat rides The threat of Cold War, communist Albania lurks in the distance It s always such fun to figure out the villain of the story I m usually a bit stumped for at least the first portion of the book before taking a guess and hoping I get it right this time Is this a little old fashioned Well, maybe a smidgeon, but who cares It s still cleverly plotted, the landscape is intoxicating, the characters intriguing, the heroine gutsy, and the dolphin oh so charming It s always a pleasure to read something by this author, and I will continue on my quest for of her work My favorite still remains her Merlin series, but I wouldn t hesitate to recommend this to anyone looking for the allure of a magical place and pure entertainmentIt seems to me you can be awfully happy in this life if you stand aside and watch and mind your own business, and let other people do as they like about damaging themselves and one another You go on kidding yourself that you re impartial and tolerant and all that, then all of a sudden you realize you re dead, and you ve never been alive at all the island of Corfu is golden, blue skies overhead and sandy beaches underfoot, light playing on the sea s surface its waters have strange moods and deliver surprising gifts a playful dolphin, treasure of a sort, and a body swept to its shores, bashed and broken the island of Corfu is a romantic place where better to find adventure and mystery, espionage and murder, passionate embraces Mary Stewart fully commits to this lovely location, her descriptions vivid and clear, her affection and respect for the Greek locals and their culture equally on display and then there is the dolphin, that clever boy, a highlight of the book best of all, her heroine intelligent and resourceful, curious and dynamic, never a shrinking violet this is only my second Stewart I wonder, will I continue to see a lack of silly heroines in her romantic adventures the author adds additional layers that make her tale even richer acting and the theatre is one layer, the story of The Tempest another was Corfu that strange isle where Prospero found his home one can only guess.