!READ PDF ♤ Touch Not the Cat ♀ Bryony Ashley Knows That Ashley Court, The Grand Estate, Is Both Hell And Paradise Once Elegant And Beautiful, Yet Shrouded In Shadow After The Tragic Death Of Her Father, Bryony Returns From Abroad To Find That His Estate Is To Become The Responsibility Of Her Cousin Emory Her Family S Estate With Its Load Of Debt Is No Longer Her Worry Still, Her Father S Final, Dire Warning About A Terrible Family Curse Haunts Her Days And Her Dreams And There Is Something Odd About Her Father S Sudden Death Bryony Has Inherited The Ashley Sight And So Has One Of The Ashleys Since Childhood The Two Have Communicated Through Thought Patterns, Though Bryony Has No Idea Of His Identity Devastated, She Believes, That The Mysterious Stranger Is Her Destiny The Lover To Be Who Waits For Her Now At Ashley Court Now She Is Determined To Find Him But Passion Is Not All That Will Greet Bryony Upon Her Return For The Crumbling Walls Of The Old Mansion Guard Dark Secrets, Tragic Memories And Inescapable Peril
There is a reason why I have always loved Mary Stewart She can grab me and keep me and not release me until the last word is down on the last page I love her mix of mystery and romance, and having read this so long ago that I had zero memory of it, it was like a new mystery and a new romanceWhat Joy I know others will always argue with me that she isn t a serious writer, but I don t care All of life doesn t have to be serious or studious, some of it should be fun and enthralling and naughty Reading this took me right back to my youth in the most pleasant of ways. It s barely a year since the things happened that I am writing about, but I find that I am already thinking of my father as if he were long gone, part of the past As he is now but on that warm April night in Madeira when my love told me to go and see him, Daddy was alive, just In 2016, I added Mary Stewart to my list of treasured authors This was done with much enthusiasm following a several month love affair with her Merlin and King Arthur series I gushed about those books and was determined to eventually read everything MS had ever written Touch Not the Cat was one of those books on my list, and the opportunity arose to read this with my reading buddies Debbie and Julie It s always so much fun to read with like minded friends and this book was highly entertaining Starting out, I knew there was a telepathic component to this gothic suspense novel, so I was a tad bit skeptical what with paranormal elements not exactly being my thing and all Needless to say, I shouldn t have worried as Mary Stewart manages to work this into the plot in a very clever way Our heroine Bryony Ashley communicates with her mysterious lover throughout, while at the same time trying to interpret the cryptic message her father left for her on his death bed She returns to her home, Ashley Court, which will now be handed down to her male cousins I adored reading about the old house, the apple orchard, and the little gardener s cottage Stewart paints such a vivid picture of the scenery and makes a dreamy eyed reader feel like she is right there, transported to another time and place The estate has a very intriguing history We learn bits of this through Bryony s conversations with others as well as from short diary like entries penned by a nameless Ashley ancestor at the end of each chapter Short and relevant quotes from Romeo and Juliet are also included at the start of each chapter, delighting any Shakespeare fans Touch Not the Cat is a slow building and quiet sort of mystery in the beginning Pieces are uncovered at a gradual pace and it s not full of edge of your seat action for quite some time However, there s an underlying feeling of suspense throughout as the reader wonders about the identity of Bryony s secret lover and worries about her safety given the warning of danger she received upon her father s death There s a complicated maze on the property, complete with a pavilion in the center with its own curious and provocative history The pace increases towards the end of the novel, secrets are revealed, and there is a very tense scene that left the adventure craving reader in me quite satisfied A delightful blend of suspense and romance, Touch Not the Cat has several twists and turns that kept me completely engaged Mary Stewart is a wonderful storyteller, and this one did not disappoint 4.5 stars Bryony Tell Bryony Tell her Howard James Would have told The paper, it s in William s brook In the library Emerson, the keys The cat, it s the cat on the pavement The map The letter In the brook Tell Bryony My little Bryony be careful Danger Perhaps the boy knows Tell the boy Trust Depend Do what s right Blessing An incomprehensible cryptic message Words written down verbatim from the ramblings of a dying man But was he really a victim of an accident or a victim of murder This is the hook And as romantic suspense fiction goes Mary Stewart s 1976 novel Touch Not the Cat is a classic of the genre It is one of her best known works escapist, melodramatic and beautifully descriptive In common with many of Mary Stewart s novels, the story has a supernatural element in this case there are many mysterious gothic overtones For Mary Stewart fans, reading one of her novels promises a reading experience redolent with passion and intrigue Mary Stewart knew a thing or two about writing page turners In the United States, Touch Not the Cat was the ninth best selling book of that year Its author had a writing career ofthan 40 years, producing over twenty hugely popular novels which sold in excess of 5 million copies She was, and remains, an international household name, arguably inspiring the deluge of bestselling romantic fiction which has flooded the market in recent decades.So what was her secret Why do so many even now return to her fiction Mary Stewart had the knack of appealing to the post war generation she was writing for, introducing a different kind of heroine for a newly emerging type of woman She called it heranti namby pambyreaction, to conventional contemporary thrillers of the time, which featured asilly heroine who is told not to open the door to anybody and immediately opens it to the first person who comes alongMary Stewart s heroines were tough and confident They were poised, smart, middle class and highly educated young women, who drove fast cars and could think for themselves The novels are narrated by the sort of person whom a typical reader would choose as their friend a sensitive kind person with a strong moral sense Mary Stewart herself did not crave fame, and fiercely guarded her privacy, detesting the unwelcome intrusions her fame as a bestselling author brought in its wake Even as late as 1997, she was so apprehensive about a press interview, that she was unable to write for six weeks The conclusion is inevitable This shy retiring woman was writing herself into these characters Apart from her trilogy plus one further spin off about Merlin, three children s novels and a little poetry, all Mary Stewart s novels feature this type a smart, adventurous heroine who could hold her own in dangerous situations.Mary Stewart herself described Touch Not the Cat asa modern adventure story spiced with romance or romance spiced with adventure it depends whether you are advertising it for men or for womenSome have also called her booksadventure thrillers , but to me, with their strong female leads and attractive hunky young men, most seem firmly set in thewomen s fictiongenre All the characters seem well able to talk about their feelings, and there is a heightened sense of emotion right from the start It is melodrama in every sense, but a slick sophisticated sort of melodrama, spiced up with historical mystery and tragedy, underpinned by her classical education and dotted about with literary references All the chapter headings in Touch Not the Cat are quotations from Shakespeare s playRomeo and Juliet , and the story line also mirrors the play in several ways Also key to the story is a 1562 work by Arthur Brooke calledRomeus and Juliet , a work which partly inspired Shakespeare sRomeo and JulietThis work is also quoted from, and becomes essential to the plot of the novel There are references to the poets Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Thomas Lovell Beddoes and Walter de la Mare at various points in the story Even Jane Austen s gothic parodyNorthanger Abbeyis alluded to This is not a typical romantic novel.Our sophisticated, spunky young heroine is the narrator, Bryony Ashley At the start of the story, Bryony is working in Madeira, as a hotel receptionist Instantly we are drenched in descriptive passages of Funchal, and only right at the end of the novel do we realise that view spoiler this description of a town withits very pavements made of patterned mosaicswas teasing us with foreshadowing hide spoiler A re read from several decades ago, the suspense novels of Mary Stewart never fail to please In this offering, penned during the groovy 1970 s, Stewart was no doubt making Touch Not the Catrelevant for the time period by adding the gift of telepathy to her heroine Bryony Ashley, and Bryony s mysterious telepathic lover.Who is this mind melding hero Is it one of her cousins Emory, James or Francis Ashley Admittedly, for most American readers, this is a pretty icky coupling, but apparently Brits are were ok with it, so I tried my darnest to get over the revulsion by placing myself in any perilous situation where romantic attraction to my own obnoxious cousin Scott would ever cause my heart to palpitate with love.uh, nope, can t do itBut anyway, if you can get past this concept, the plot is pretty good, and has all the suspense you ve come to expect if you re a Mary Stewart fan In fact, Touch Not the Cat really kept me mystified as to the identity of the telepathic lover right up until the revealand even then, Stewart didn t make it any easier for the reader to breathe a sigh of relief and mutter, so that s who it was.Not quite as strong IMO as some of her earlier suspense books, Touch Not the Cat is still a fun read, and well worth the time I shouldn t have waited 30 years for a re read 3.5 I ve finished pondering my review.This tale of Bryony her cousins was not a comfortable read for me.This isn t one of my favourites Part of it might be my modern ideas about property Maybe in the 1970 s Ashley Court would have been a giant white elephant, but Byrony s willingness to walk away from valuable possessions is baffling to me.Part of it is my lack of interest in the paranormal I know there are things that can t be explained I have had brief snatches of conversation turn up where it feels like I have had them before It feels like a book that has had too many pages turned So while not a total sceptic, neither am I a blind believer so a lot of this book was too woo woo for me.The cousinly relationships don t usually worry me too much in 20th century books another place, another time but this time it did because Byrony had been brought up with them so much view spoiler because it wasthan one hide spoiler I ve recently re discovered Mary Stewart and even though I read this book many years ago,than enough time has passed for me to feel it was a brand new read The only Mary Stewart title I have read often in the last 30 years or so was Airs Above the Ground there are horses in it, it HAD to get read over and over but I did not know if Touch Not The Cat would be as fast paced as Airs I tried not to expect anything, tried to read it with the fresh eyes that my long absence gave it.I liked the story, the setting, and the gentle sort of mystery It isof a mental mystery throughout most of the book, rather than one with a lot of action Bryony spends plenty of time thinking about what is happening around her, discussing with everyone, and wondering just who is the mysterious fantasy lover she has had a telepathic connection to practically her entire life.There are hints throughout the book to guide her and the reader but I only guessed one thing correctly, and even after that I changed my mind later, just like I was supposed to do As in Airs Above The Ground, I appreciate Stewart s craftsmanship, her nice way with phrases.she describes an antiques dealer that Bryony talks with as impulsive as a two toed sloth.that tickled me I did not really like Bryony herself though, I wanted her to DO something, but she muddled through and everything came out fine in the end Plus I learned the reason for the beautiful illustration on the cover of the edition I was reading. 4.5 Stars I loved it It s a great mystery with twins, an old family estate, a pretty large inheritance, paranormal elements, possible murder, a side mystery about two lovers, a moat, the coast, a strong female lead, a maze, and the word cat in the title Works well for me I am beginning to get to reading or re reads of all of Mary Stewart s books as I am having a fairly easy time collecting them good hard backs at used bookstores and thrift stores This is one of my favorites So much I liked about it An amazing writer of gothic mystery and suspense I enjoyed this with 2 buddies, Candi and Julie, in the Reading For Pleasure Book Club Highly recommended I will likely read this again in a few years Sheer escapism. 3.5 stars Like most Mary Stewart mystery romances, this book is a little dated usually it s the massive smoking, nylon nightgowns and alpha heroes in MS novels this time it s the ESP Also, my paperback s 1970 s cover didn t help Still, I thought it was an enjoyable read Mary Stewart really knows how to evoke the scenery, whether it s exotic locations or the English countryside The telepathic link that the heroine, Bryony, shares with an unknown relative started out as a little bit of an eye roller for me, but in that inimitable Mary Stewart style she manages to weave it inextricably into the plotline The general direction from which the danger is coming is fairly apparent pretty early in the book, but just how dangerous is it to Bryony and who all is involved in the plotting A possible murder or was it an accident and some attempted murders add spice to the plot And who doesn t like Roman mosaics And cats And cat mosaics Every chapter begins with an appropriate quote from Romeo and Juliet although usually I have to go back when I ve finished reading the chapter to figure out just why MS used that particular quote and ends with a vignette from the life of one of Bryony s ancestors, for reasons that become apparent as you get near to the end of the book There are a few surprising and maybe a few not so surprising plot twists along the way I thought Bryony s mysterious telepathic lover could have manned up and disclosed himself to Bryony much earlier in the story except for the fact that keeping him secret prolongs some of the mystery for the reader but the disclosure was very satisfying to me when it finally came Touch Not the Cat is still not my favorite Mary Stewart novel that would be Nine Coaches Waiting but I liked it better this time than I did when I first read it, maybe 25 years ago And for my money, nobody does romantic suspense novels quite like Mary Stewart She s just in a class by herself. Crossposted to Gothic Book Reviews 2 stars it was okay.First, a warning a character in this book uses the n word, which shocked me in a Mary Stewart novel.I liked the telepathy elements of this book, and the setting a crumbling manor house is always a favorite However, not a lot happened here Mostly the heroine drifts from conversation to conversation and things happen around her she s not very proactive The ending is fast, and I m not sure justice was done.Not her best, in my opinion.