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This Rough Magic Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Mm, Us Adult; Reprint edition (Dec 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060747471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060747473
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,813,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'Suspense and romance expertly mingled' -- Observer 'Keeps one awake through the long night's journey into day' -- Guardian 'A splendid book at any time' -- News of the World --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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black and white illustrations --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lucy Waring is a young struggling actress who is left depressed and out of work when the latest play she was in folds prematurely. When her pregnant sister invites her to keep her company at her holiday villa, Lucy is happy to leave the soggy London spring for the sunny paradise that is Corfu. The lavish property includes two modern villas, built on rocky outcrops at opposite ends of an idyllic private beach, and the ancient, crumbling Castello dei Fiori in the middle, still boasting an enchanting old-world rose garden. The two sisters occupy the villa Forli, the villa Rotha is rented by Godfrey Manning (a suave, good-looking writer/photographer who is working on an illustrated book on the island), while the Castello is home and refuge to the theatrical icon, Sir Julian Gale, mysteriously retired amid talk of mental illness, and his tough and protective son, Max, a musician who has made it clear that trespassers are unwelcome. Lucy's hopes for a restorative holiday are dashed by news of a tragedy: a local teenager, curiously linked to Sir Gale, has been lost at sea while out on a boat trip with Godfrey.

The early delightful scene with the dolphin sets this book apart from most other novels of a similar genre and the unforgettable character of Sir Julian Gale adds a strong theatrical dimension which supports the many Shakespearean references and lends weight to Lucy's actress persona. From his very first appearance, I could not help picturing Sir John Gielgud in the part and indeed the beautiful voice and general demeanour would be a fit (not to mention his initials?!). Lady Stewart surpasses herself with some of the most evocative and poetic descriptions I can remember, of people as well as places.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mary Stewart's trilogy of books set in Greece are some of her best, particularly in the description of the landscape and the understanding of the political undercurrents underpinning the action - in this case Cold War currency smuggling from Albania.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Exactly as advertised. New. Arrived promptly.
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Format: Hardcover
Mary Stewart has been my favourite author since I was a teenager and this is my favourite of her many books. I lost my copy and needed to replace it. I wanted hardcover, in good condition and with the same dust jacket as the one I had. When I ordered the book from Amazon it seemed to have all these requirements and I was not disappointed. It arrived quickly and well wrapped and though the pages were a bit musty smelling they were in good shape. I am thrilled to have this book back in my collection.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ac20504) out of 5 stars 53 reviews
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ac2ac6c) out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Magical Writing Sept. 15 2003
By Diana Faillace Von Behren - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
As in other Mary Stewart classics, the action of "This Rough Magic" takes place in a mere matter of days. Lucy Waring, a twenty-something actress steps off the London stage and onto the idyllic Ionian island of Corfu. In a the course of a morning swim, paradise transforms to a place of sinister doings: someone shoots at a tamed dolphin, a young Greek drowns off the coast of Albania, and a smuggler washes up dead in a nearby cove. Stewart uses all her formidable skill, crafting a strong story that is both literary and fast moving. Told from Lucy's point-of-view, the reader's is kept as taut as a wire as the tension mounts not only while Lucy attempts to determine the identity of the wrongdoer and the reason for his misdemeanors but as she inadvertently puts herself in harm's way.

Playfully, Stewart pulls out all the stops, introducing one of her most cleverly contrived secondary characters, Sir Julian Gale, a Lawrence Olivier facsimile whose theory that the island setting of Shakespeare's "Tempest" and Corfu are one and the same adds much charm and ambiance to an already gloriously depicted exotic locale. Cleverer still, she employs the idea of the deus ex machina in a most enjoyable sequence, where the 'god' is a young Greek male and the 'machine', his improbable motorcycle.

As always, the Stewart heroine impeccably relates each event as it occurs with an astonishing literacy--the language employed borders on poetry; the reader actually smells every flower, is blinded by the lush colors of the foilage and stung by the salt of the Ionian Sea. In kind, Stewart characterizes her Greeks with an affectionate curiosity and love of the stranger; their traditions and rituals are reported with much respect and admiration.

As noted in some of my other reviews of Stewart's work, this author's masterly use of plot, character, language and style puts her in a genre all her own. She is quite definitely incomparable. 'This Rough Magic" is one of my favorite Stewart selections: one of a trio of novels set in Greece and the Greek Isles that uses the strained politics of the late 50s and early 60s as a backdrop to catapult a rather normal UK female protagonist into an abnormal situation where the British sense of responsibility is shown to positive advantage.

Recommended with the wish that all the Stewart suspense tales are reissued in trade paperback with Reader's Questions.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ac2ae94) out of 5 stars Brilliant descriptive suspense and romance June 22 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Library Binding
An out of work actress staying in Corfu with her rich pregnant sister becomes embroiled in a dangerous mystery after encountering a famous reclusive actor and his passionate son. Throw in a few murders and our heroine is out to determine the who and why. One of Ms Stewart's best novels, it is totally absorbing describing a country and lifestyle in such vivid detail, and impressing her characters with warmth, understanding and plenty of realism.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ac2d270) out of 5 stars Best Mary Stewart ever July 21 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This Rough Magic is one of those perfect books-it draws you on with suspense, involves you deeply with jewel-cut prose, and unlike most Stewart novels, is quite funny in spots. I love this book for its lightheartedness and its tragedy and its lovely romance, if that makes any sense. This is perfect romantic suspense, great for constant rereading.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ac2ae88) out of 5 stars Such a wonderful piece of work Feb. 23 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio Cassette
Mary Stewart is a great writer with spectacular talent! I have heard that this is not even yet her best yet and am quite excited to read more of her books. This is a fabulous story and I encourage you to read it!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Library Binding
This has become the book that I compare all others to. I was litterally glued to it even after I finished it. I then read all of her other books from the same general time period. I was not disappointed in the least. This was definitely her peak time of writing. The only flaw I can find is that all other books are now ruined for me since none have ever come equal to it since. Mary Stewart, thank you for for sharing your talent with those of us fortunate enough to get a copy of this book.

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