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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

The Moon-Spinners

I picked the perfect book for my weekend trip to Florida: The Moon-Spinners by Mary Stewart, which I discovered by way of Forgotten Classics (click the link to hear Julie read the first two chapters). Nicola, a 22-year-old English girl working at the British embassy in Athens, is on her way to the tiny Cretan village of Agios Georgios for a holiday with her cousin Frances when she gets mixed up in the aftermath of an attempted murder. Nicola is smart and capable, like all Stewart’s heroines so I hear, and you have to wonder at how poorly her new friends Mark and Lambis would have fared without her intervention.

I’ve never read a novel quite like this one–it’s romantic suspense crossed with a vivid and beautifully written travelogue. The descriptive passages got me very nostalgic for my Greek adventure with Aravinda back in September 2006 (which I’ll retro-blog next month…lots of gorgeous photos and funny stories to share!) This is not a romance novel though; the blossoming relationship between Nicola and Mark is all subtextual, which makes it all the more satisfying. But speaking of vivid descriptive passages, here’s my favorite:

You might, in a simpler world, have said it was magic. There was the illuminated rock of the sea bed, every pebble clear, a living surface shifting with shadows as the ripples of the upper sea passed over it. Seaweeds, scarlet and green and cinnamon, moved and swayed in drowsy patterns so beautiful that they drugged the eye. A school of small fish, torpedo-shaped, and barred like zebras, hung motionless, then turned as one, and flashed out of sight. Another, rose-colored, and whiskered like a cat, came nosing out of a bed of grey coralline weed. There were shells everywhere.

I lay and gazed, with the sun on my back, and the hot boards rocking gently under me. I had forgotten what I had come out for; this was all there was in the world; the sea, the sun hot on my skin, the taste of salt, and the south wind…

Go buy the book off Amazon marketplace for a penny. You’ll be glad you did.

2 Comments to The Moon-Spinners

  1. Julie D.'s Gravatar Julie D.
    August 25, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Woohoo! You have made me very happy!

    Now, read The Ivy Tree. 🙂

    (Because I never stop pushing books on people …)

  2. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    September 3, 2009 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    This book will always make me think of our wonderful Florida trip 🙂

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.