Thunder on the Right by Mary Stewart

Earlier this year, when Hodder reissued Mary Stewart’s novels in striking new covers, I remembered that I have always meant to try her books. My mother used to love them, and I can remember her bringing them home from the library back in the days when I was still borrowing from the junior shelves.

Now that I have read Thunder on the Right I can understand why all those books came

I met Jennifer, the twenty-two year old daughter of a distinguised Oxford Professor, at a hotel high in the Pyrenees. She had come to visit Gillian, her widowed cousin, who had written to her, quite unexpectedly, from a nearby convent.

Jennifer was unsettled when she met Stephen, a man she had known back in Oxford. They had been very close. But Stephen had been a student of her father, and the professor thought him an unsuitable match for his daughter and forced them apart.

And she is was disturbed, and distressed, when she visited the convent and wasis told that Gillian has died, and has been buried. That she left nothing, not a single word for her family. Jennifer knew that to be completely out of character. And she saw other signs that something was amiss, and that maybe, just maybe, the woman who died wasn’t Gillian.

Jennifer seeks Stephen’s help in uncovering the truth …

Thunder on the Right offered so much.

A heroine who was beautiful, charming, bright, and engaging. A hero who was heroic, but was also reassuringly mortal. A wonderfully drawn supporting cast. A richly evoked setting.

And, to hold all of those things together, a cleverly constructed plot, that mixed intrigue, action and romance to wonderful effect.

All of the elements came together perfectly. I was swept away, and I lived through every high and low, such an extraordinary range of emotions.

Thunder on the Right was a fine piece of storytelling, and a marvellous entertainment.

Some might find it a little old-fashioned, a little contrived even, but I didn’t mind any of that. I was caught up in the story, and I wanted to believe.

And now I could happily turn back to the beginning and live through 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 very, very soon.

16 responses

  1. Oh goody, another one to look forward to! I have grown addicted to Mary Stewart ever since reading “Madam, Will You Talk?” a few months ago. I’ve read two others since then: “Wildfire at Midnight” and most recently “This Rough Magic”, which I’m going to review shortly. She certainly knows how to keep you turning those pages!

    • She certainly does. I have a selection of titles lined up to read, and my library has a good stock, so I can see myself spending many happy hours with Mary Stewart.

  2. I read some of Mary Stewart’s novels when i was a teenager but haven’t read any for 30 years. I bought several of the new reprints & I’ve been enjoying rereading them. I loved Stormy Petrel recently & I have Thunder on the Right on the tbr shelves so it may be next. Thanks for the review.

    • Mary Stewart was one of the contemporary authors my mother steered me towards when I first joined the adult library, Unfortunately, I picked up one of her Arthurian novels first and didn’t like it enough to seek out her other books. Now though I am hooked and am picking up more Mary Stewart novels for the future.

  3. I have been seeing a lot of Mary Stewart around the book blogs at the moment, I think I might have to seek one of these out. This sounds like a good book to start with.

    • A lot of readers seem to have enjoyed the Mary Stewart reissues, and I think you would true. I haven’t read anough yet to know where the best place to start is, but this one definitely worked for me.

  4. I loved Airs Above the Ground when I read it decades ago … time for a re-read, m’thinks! (And her other books, of course!) And like Lyn, I enjoyed Story Petrel, although it isn’t considered by some as one of her best.

    • I can see Mary Stewart being the sort of author you could reread a good few times. And I have Airs Above The Ground, so I’m pleased to have a recommendation,

  5. I saw, a few weeks ago, a very reasonably priced first edition of Airs Above the Ground, complete with dust jacket, but left it where it was … now I wish I’d pushed out the boat and bought it, but then, we can’t always buy what we want! And the words are the same in the new paperback or even in a 2nd hand paperback!

  6. I just recently read a Mary Stewart novel as well and thoroughly enjoyed it, too. I sort of like that old-fashioned feel as well. Probably pure escapism, but I like good escapism!

  7. Pingback: Thornyhold by Mary Stewart « Gudrun's Tights

  8. Pingback: Now We Are Six ….. « Fleur in her World

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