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When Gilly Ramsey was a lonesome little girl, her one true friend was her mother’s eccentric and enchanting cousin Geilles. Geilles had a near-magical way of teaching little Gilly about flowers and animals and then—poof—she’d disappear on one of her world travels, leaving Gilly alone again but a little less lonely. When Gilly grows into a resourceful, modest, lovely young woman in the late 1940s, cousin Geilles wills her a charming old cottage in the countryside. As Gilly makes her new house into a home and gets to know the neighbors, she discovers that Geilles had something of a reputation as a “white witch” with the ability to cure minor aches of the mind, body, and spirit. And, to Gilly’s surprise, the locals expect more of the same from her; to her even greater surprise, the know-how to do so comes very easily. But there’s a mystery here as well. One neighbor, cheery Agnes Trapp, is a bit too friendly, and a bit too eager to get her hands on something hidden inside Geilles’ house. Another neighbor is a strikingly handsome writer, with a precocious animal-loving son who offers the true olive branch of friendship. A few animals play a significant role—carrier pigeons, a black cat, a wounded dog. And Geilles’ cottage has a few surprises as well, including a room full of herbs and a missing recipe book. There’s even the occasional flash of “Sight” that gives Gilly and extra, special power. Author Mary Stewart is best known for her gothic romances and her trilogy about the Arthurian legend; Thornyhold is gentle little gem that’s filled to the brim with an old-fashioned, cozy charm.
posted Feb 19, 2010 at 6:58PM
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