On LibriVox some of us are trying to read a book a week for the whole of 2008. I’ll try to keep a record here of my books. As you might imagine, not all of my books will be printed. I love listening to audio books, some from LibriVox, others by podcasters, and yet others from Podiobooks.
Part of the reason for making this record is to encourage me to think about my reactions to the book. I’ll summarize the text, without spoilers if that is relevant, and then I’ll say whether or not I liked the book. I’ll allow myself four levels of liking:
- N(O!) – I hated it, it’s a surprise that I finished it, if indeed I did.
- n(o) – I didn’t like it, and I may not have finished it.
- y(es) – not bad, but not one of my favourites.
- Y(ES!) – great! I’ll almost certainly re-read this one day and I’ll probably recommend it to friends.
This week’s book is Thornyhold, by Mary Stewart. Geillis (pronounced “Jillis” I think) is the daughter of a clergyman, who was generally unhappy as a child, with only a few bright spots: a short-lived pet; and the very infrequent visits of a magical “sponsor” (what else do you call an irreligious Godmother?) after whom Geillis is named.
When Geillis the sponsor dies, she leaves her cottage Thornyhold to our heroine, who moves into the house and finds the peace and joy that she lacked while growing up. She also discovers that a puzzle has been bequeathed with the house. With the help of a friendly boy, Will, and his father, and a cat called Hodge, Geillis tackles the puzzle and begins to live happily. Will she live happily ever after? The page I linked to, at my local library, lists the book’s genre as Romantic Suspense, so I don’t want to give away the ending.
I loved the book, and devoured it in only a couple of days. I liked Geillis’s indomitable spirit, which she maintained even after a thoroughly dispiriting early life. The magical moments felt plausible but dreamlike, and were a temporary respite from the awfulness that left me hoping for better for her. But the suspense was carefully handled so I wasn’t sure of the outcome until the dénouement, which was satisfying. I have no hesitation in giving it my top mark: Y