During Gilly Ramsey’s lonely childhood, the occasional brief visits of her mother’s cousin were a delight, seeming like visits of a fairy godmother. Years later, when Gilly inherits Thornyhold, her house, she discovers that her cousin, with her still room and herbalist practices—and her undoubted powers—had long been known to the locals as a witch. She is approached by neighbors, some innocent, some not so innocent, but all assuming that she, too, is a witch, and a possible addition to the local coven. Gilly finds there is some truth in this, for she discovers that she can call on a kind of power in difficult moments. This wonderful novel from bestselling author Mary Stewart is delicate in its perception of a young woman’s falling in love, delightful in its portrayal of the English countryside, and skilled in its creation of a world full of magic.
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Thornyhold is a house deep in a wild wood like somewhere out of a fairy tale. To Gilly, it is an enchantment. Her very own enchantment, left to her by the cousin whose occasional magical visits had brightened her childhood. And as she explores, she discovers more about the woman who had come to seem like a fairy godmother for her: her herbalists's skills, her still room, her abilities to foresee and to heal. She discovers also that the local people believe that Gilly has inherited not just the house but the magical spell-weaving powers that live on in the house and garden. Slowly, quietly, she comes to realise that they are right.Review:
This old-fashioned gothic romance is as good as they get. When Gilly's witch aunt leaves Thornyhold to her, a house in the middle of the woods, Gilly finds that she has inherited far more than she realized. Along with the house comes a cat, a still room filled with herbs (and a missing recipe book), an attic chamber with carrier pigeons (who have secret messages), and an attractive neighbor whose young son offers the sacred and unique blessing of friendship. But Thornyhold possesses far more than even these simple offerings. The place itself seems to convoke otherworldly gifts as well: Gilly cultivates the abilities to heal and to foresee the future once she makes Thornyhold her home. (For those fans of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, there is a Geilis the witch in this book, too.)
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