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Thunder on the Right Paperback – 1957

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Paperback, 1957
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (1957)
  • ISBN-10: 0449021025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449021026
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.9 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Jan. 20 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've collected Mary Stewart for years but read her for the first time now, with "Thunder On The Right"! It is a treasured experience to listen to a new voice and this author's reputation precedes her. Briefer fiction isn't as fleeting as it appears because Mary's compounded description style is noticeable at once. Some sentences might serve better shortened; or with commas, semi-colons, and colons to divide and clarify heftier observations. However natural vistas leap to life vibrantly with an evocation of colour one can truly see. Conveyance of feeling, such as textbook gothic dread, is edgier and more unique than by any author I've known before.

I seem to have a knack for noticing an overused word and Mary surely could have selected synonyms in place of 'steady' occurring a hundred times in this novel. However her digressions leave room for humour; the ability to laugh at people being timeless between 1957 and now. Most importantly, cunning attention went into the development of this story and plot. The frenzy with which multiple threads race together is stunning.

'Jennifer' and 'Stephen' were university friends in England, whose dating didn't get off the ground before he enlisted in a war. She goes to France to visit her cousin 'Gillian', who was raised as her elder sister. Freshly discharged 'Stephen' joins the vacation in hopes of sparking the relationship. 'Jennifer' is told her cousin died but evidence arises that contradicts the news. Without knowing whom to trust or where to look, tracking events is tricky in itself but a physically taxing, movie-worthy adventure ensues as well. This is a book paced to perfection. At first it is slow enough to acquaint the characters and setting. It becomes an explosion of information, surprises, and twists that make this a story I won't forget.
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Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Silver (22, blonde, beautiful and carefully brought up to meet and marry Mr. Conventionally Suitable) arrives in a small French village near the Spanish border to meet her cousin Gillian who, recently widowed, is planning to enter a convent. Gillian, orphaned as a child, lived with the Silver family during her teens and consequently the two girls are very close. At the convent, Jennifer is told that Gillian was recently involved in a car accident and has just died. Shocked and grief-stricken, Jenny cannot believe that her injured cousin would not even attempt to contact her and soon other odd circumstances arouse her suspicions and her enquiries lead her into a web of intrigue and danger. What follows is an engrossing and satisfying mystery that develops into a page-turner of a book.

The typical Mary Stewart heroine is young, very beautiful, strong-minded, courageous but feminine and ultimately happy to let her man take over … Jennifer is all of those things but her sheltered upbringing has made her a little childish, and seemingly fragile. The story is really all about her growing up and how her placid, previously unchallenged character responds to extreme situations. However, this novel also features one of Stewart's most romantic male characters, a passionate and sensitive musician who is prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve his heart's desire. The villains are suitably evil but, because of the third-person narrative, we get to see them in all their complexities. Even the smaller incidental characters are beautifully drawn (Sister Maria Louisa, Celeste) and the descriptions of places and events are mesmerizing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 25 reviews
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Stormy Locale Packs a Wallop Aug. 10 2002
By Diana Faillace Von Behren - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perhaps because this is Mary Stewart's only narrative written in the third person, I thought "Thunder on the Right" ranked in the lower third when compared to the author's twenty other novels of romantic suspense. Upon re-reading it --actually listening to the Chiver's Unabridged audio, I realize it is just as well-crafted albeit sprinkled too liberally with adjectives as any of the other more well known Stewart titles.
In particular, without the compelling tell-all 1st person narrative usually facilitated by Stewart, the heroine of the tale, one Jennifer Silver, comes across as exactly what she is--a 22 year old with the scant experience of any young girl coming straight out of the sheltered privledged environment of upper class Briton--instead of the usual intrepid/curious/resourceful traveler of the other stories.
Here, Jennifer has traveled to the wild southwestern portion of France, where the Pyrenees form the country's natural boundary from Spain. Excited to meet up with her half-French cousin, Gillian, she is utterly shocked to encounter Stephen, a music student acquaintance of her father with whom she had a brief but platonic flirtation years prior to coming to France. As with the other Stewart novels, romance comes secondary, if not thirdly in importance when weighed against the circumstances of the mystery within the plotline. And here,it tends to be a little melodramatic--Stephen, the brooding musician reining in his feelings of passion for Jennie, and Jennie, herself, not even realizing what passion is.
Far better is the novel's main thrust--for when Jennie attempts to contact her cousin at the local convent where the half-French girl is deciding upon a religious vocation, Jennie discovers rather abruptly from the convent's bursar that her cousin has died and has been buried within the convent walls. Shocked but by no means mentally incapacitated, Jennie realizes that Dona Francisca's story does not make sense, as Jennie knows one or two things about her cousin that renders the explanation totally invalid. Here Jennifer takes the initiative as do all the Stewart heroines--hell bent to discover the truth with no thought to her own safety. The path she follows is a treacherous one, involving the bursar, her plans for the convent and illegal doings that make the locale's proximity to Spain extremely convenient.
If you have the opportunity, listen to the audio book, Harriet Walker's command of voices help convey the characters of each of the novel's persona with startling reality. This novel, I believe to be overlooked, but don't make that mistake, do read it and savor its passionate story--just undermine the romance.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
"Breathtaking suspense" Feb. 23 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"A highly charged romantic thriller" - New York Herald Tribune
The sheltered Oxford-raised, quiet and reserved young Jennifer Silver journeys to the High Pyrenees in search of her half-French cousin who has been recuperating in a convent. A WWII-wounded former student of her professor father and brilliant musician follows her there for his own personal reasons. Just as they are rejoined, they become caught up in intricate webs of danger and criminal intrigue.
From the back cover- "She had come to the convent - a brooding cluster of ancient buildings nestled deep in the wild upper reaches of the French Pyrenees - to find her young cousin, Gillian. But the Convent of Our Lady of the Storms was not like others. There was something strange and frightening about the place...something that gave off an aura of evil, of hidden, violent things...
They told her Gillian was dead, but she did not believe them. Searching for the truth meant trouble. She did not know, until too late, it also meant ...murder."
As always, Mary Stewart's settings are so spectacular and described in such detail that I can see, smell and touch as clearly as if I were there as well. It is because of this superb sense of detail that a half dozen reads may not even be enough.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Intense gothic suspense... July 28 2009
By CoffeeGurl - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jennifer Silver is a twenty-two-year-old, somewhat reclusive Oxford-bred woman (daughter of a distinguished professor) looking forward to her trip to the Southwest of France. She looks forward to a nice holiday, but she is also there to visit her cousin Gillian, a woman who is about to take her religious vows at a convent. Of course, everything goes wrong. For one thing, Jennifer is told that Gillian is dead, buried within the convent's grounds. This strange and unexpected news doesn't feel right in more ways than one. Things just don't add up. Is Gillian even dead? She will not leave the haunting convent until she uncovers the truth. In the meantime, there's Stephen, a brooding former student of her father's, a brilliant musician with some unresolved issues of his own...

At first, I had my doubts about Thunder on the Right. After all, it is Stewart's first romantic suspense novel I read with a third-person narrative. Her first-person novels are very well written and it took me a while to get used to this new and unexpected format. To be honest, it had a somewhat slow beginning. However, the more I read, the more I couldn't put it down. Mary Stewart is a great writer, regardless of the narrative style, period. There are many surprises, many twists, and Stewart adds her signature flavor to it all. As with the other novels, there is some romance in this, but, like all other novels I've read, it is not the central storyline. Romance takes a back seat every time in her stories in favor of the suspense and gothic atmosphere, something I love about this author. I very much enjoyed Thunder on the Right. This is one of Stewart's more underrated efforts, a sad thing, for I found it just as intriguing as her other books. Well, maybe not as good as The Ivy Tree or Madam, Will You Talk?, but definitely worth getting into. If you're a fan of this author, do not make the mistake of overlooking this one. She is quickly becoming a must-read-all-of-her-backlist author, replacing the wonderful Daphne du Maurier, whose books I have devoured for the past couple of years or so.
Lesser Stewart, But Still Quite Good Nov. 19 2011
By Noirdame - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While Mary Stewart doesn't think much of this book, it still is a fairly well-written and enjoyable one, I found it to be a quick read. Stewart rarely writes in the third person, so in this way the book was an interesting departure. She also describes not only suspense and romance but she has a clear love of landscape as well as flora and fauna. I could almost picture the French countryside and visualize the Pyrenees mountains. It's a romantic suspense novel, meant for entertainment and enjoyment, and that's exactly what it offers. Of course, if you're not used to very descriptive writers you may find her books hard to get into, but believe me, they are worth it. Jennifer Silver is a young, naive but not unappealing heroine and Stephen Masefield is an adequate hero. And the mystery of what happened to Jenny's cousin Gillian is quite intriguing. Not the best Mary Stewart book but still a good one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Love Mary Stewart Oct. 14 2013
By Gillian S - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I am rediscovering her again as well as Helen McInnes. I read them all in the 60's. They are both terrific.

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