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Touch Not the Cat

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  4,690 Ratings  ·  270 Reviews
Following the sudden death of her father, Bryony is determined to find the identity of the male relative who shares her gift of second sight. But danger as well as romance await her.
Paperback, 376 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published 1976)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Khanh (the Grinch)
We often don't realize the comparative idiocy of youth until we're older. Awhile ago, we had a new employee in my company. Newly graduated from college, she's only 22. The rest of us, being old, wise, ancient creatures of mid-20 to 30-somethings, looked upon her with contempt.

"She's a baby!" we howled. "I was so stupid when I just graduated from college and I thought I knew everything!" To be sure, 10 years from now, we will reflect and look back at our relative stupidity now and say "I was so
Mar 10, 2017 Candi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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 determi
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
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 ey
May 26, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 romance...What 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 nau
Debbie Zapata
Jan 01, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saturday
I've recently re-discovered Mary Stewart and even though I read this book many years ago, more 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 t
May 10, 2010 Hannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads, gothics
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 Cat more relevant 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 apparent
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.
Enchantress  ☮Debbicat ஐ
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 l ...more
Marne Wilson
I love this book far more than I probably should. I read it at such an early age that it imprinted itself upon me and become my image of what the perfect book should be. I know this, objectively speaking, and yet I love it all the same. What I keep telling myself is that it must have been a good book in order for me to fixate upon it the way I did, so I don't feel too terribly guilty about my deep and abiding love for it, misplaced as it may seem to other people.

I first heard about this book whe
Jul 08, 2009 Misfit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bryony Ashley's father is critically injured by a hit and run driver, and he's only able to live long enough to leave a cryptic warning that she's in danger, the rest of his words seem to make no sense at all. Or do they? Devastated, she returns to her cottage near Ashley Court, the family's ancient estate in England, which cannot be sold or broken up without the approval of all members of the Ashley family. As she tries to sort the puzzle left by her father, Bryony also has a secret of her own ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2015 Nikki rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, mystery
A reread for me, since I felt the need for something familiar during the readathon. It was one of the first Mary Stewart books I read, and it’s one of the more openly fantastical ones. It’s got the usual set up of the plucky young heroine, a landscape that’s important to her or exotic or otherwise worth describing lovingly, and the man she eventually marries. The fantastical part is the telepathy between them, the bond; Stewart uses it well, creating interesting dilemmas and confrontations.

The s
Not one of the best Mary Stewart’s I’ve read – The only thing that saved this book was the wonderful ‘come alive on the page’ setting descriptions. The derelict manor house, the overgrown maze the secret gazebo all became vivid in my mind.

Sadly the story just didn’t grab me. When Bryony's father dies, his house and land will not go to her because she is a woman, but she does have a say in if or when it is sold. Her male cousins also have a stake in it. Bryony has a kind of telepathic connection
Mar 04, 2009 Alyson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, especially mystery lovers or Mary Stewart fans
Recommended to Alyson by: Sofie
I just adore this book. I love the way it unwinds, I love the characters, I love the peril—which seems so real, and ties into the past so well—and the story-within-the-story at the end of each chapter. Mary Stewart doesn't always allude to another story to tell the current one, but this is one of the books in which she does that, in which the tale of Romeo and Juliet—already familiar to the reader—serves as framework and comparison and contrast to what is taking place on the page. The heroine is ...more

WTF did I just read? Ever have one of those momments? I never have until now.

This is not your typical romance by far. The writing is so very different than what I'm use to that it took me a while to get into it.

The author spends far too much time describing in very flowery ways, the scenery, in nauseating detail in fact. I usually love when the author is so descriptive, but here it just angered me, and I ended up skimming through those parts. Perhaps I wouldn't have minded it so muc
Angelica Bentley
This is one of those books that I enjoy re-reading from time to time, in fact I have just bought it again in hard cover as my old paperback was in pieces.

In this era of portable phones and ever-present electronic communication, the concept of “thought transference” may sound tame and obsolete, but if one is prepared to be transported back to a simpler time (and, let's face it, for most of us fiction represents escapism), entering this novel's atmosphere will plunge the reader into a world at onc
Olga Godim
Sep 05, 2016 Olga Godim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
A centuries-old castle in Britain, complete with a moat and a maze – check.
The aristocratic Ashley family, gradually disintegrating as the 20th century marches along – check.
A plucky heroine Bryony, with a telepathic gift that’s popped up in her ancestors now and again – check.
Bryony’s father dying under mysterious circumstances – check.
A convoluted inheritance and the furtive, faintly menacing cousins with obscure goals – check.
A simple but charming (and handsome, of course) castle caretaker a
Jan 13, 2016 Marina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bored me to tears!
There is no argument that Mary Stewart uses marvelous descriptive phrases when setting the stage for her books, and she did not fail here. As a reader I got the idea of exactly how derelict the manor house was, how overgrown the maze was and also was able to witness the gazebo tucked secretly away within the center.

However, as far as storyline went, this one was extremely slow-moving. In the course of half the book, we see the heroine return to her family estate, discover missing items and findi
Marguerite Kaye
I'm reading my way back through Mary Stewarts and enjoying them. This one was recommended by Alison L because I like the ones with a touch of magic best, and it was exactly what I wanted - so thank you! As ever, first person, as you'd expect a little bit quaintly dated, but as always a great story, a nice romance, and some nasty baddies. I really enjoyed this, a fun, gently and beautifully written read with lots of action, though I confess I got a tiny bit bored towards the end, hence the 3 and ...more
Aug 30, 2011 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, romance
A quick and fun read -- it would've been quicker if I'd had motivation to read at all lately, but there you go. Like The Gabriel Hounds, it made me think of it as an adult version of the Famous Five, with romance added on. Mary Stewart's penchant for having the hero and heroine be related is a little odd to me -- however distant the relationship, it strikes me as odd.

Anyway, there's something very comfy about Touch Not The Cat, despite evil twins and moneygrubbing families. The writing is compet
Jun 12, 2016 Katrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of Mary Stewart's light romances with a bit of a mystery thrown in - or is it the other way around? a mystery with a bit of a romance thrown in. Good holiday reading.
Afton Nelson
Aug 02, 2014 Afton Nelson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
My new favorite Mary Stewart.
May 24, 2015 Monica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Pero voy con su argumento y después mis apreciaciones acerca de la novela...

Byrony, tras la muerte de su padre en un misterioso accidente, debe lidiar con los trámites de la antigua mansión en dónde residían, la cual debe ser legada a sus primos p
Anne Hamilton
Aug 19, 2014 Anne Hamilton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, names
Pretty much my favourite of Mary Stewart's books. A blend of romance, thriller and paranormal mystery, it holds its age with style. Only going to prove that a great story can transcend the writing mores of any particular era.

Bryony Ashley is woken by her mysterious lover, communicating with her telepathically, about her father's critical condition after an accident. She leaves her job as a receptionist in Madeira to travel to his bedside but does not arrive in time before he dies.

Returning home
Jul 06, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cheryl by: Monya
well, hm... I did read it carefully, but I was still confused much of the time. Perhaps that's due mostly to simply not understanding the setting - I have no idea how the grounds of the estate were laid out, how large the maze is, and I kept having to look up or guess what so many things are, like a Lambretta.... And if I'd known it was going to be so very much about the dwindling inheritances of English aristocracy, and about the paranormal telepathy between the 'cousins' - well, I'd've skipped ...more
Amy Durreson
Reread of a beloved favourite. Each time I read this again, I find a new aspect of the craftmanship to admire. This time I tracked all the flower imagery that threads through the book alongside the cats and mazes and shadows.
Oct 07, 2013 Jackie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several folks on my ROMANCE NOVELS FOR FEMINISTS blog recommended Mary Stewart for depicting egalitarian gender relations in romance. This was the first Stewart book that I read, and though I found her writing engaging, the romance hardly struck me as one between equals. Bryony doesn't have any goals or plans of her own, and is more than happy to give everything up to follow her man at book's end. She speaks about him in typical romance terms ("And the awful thing is that I can't bear to be with ...more
It's the 1970s. When Bryony's father dies, his house and land will not go to his daughter because she is a woman, but she does have a say in if or when it is sold. Her cousins also have a stake in it. Bryony also has a kind of telepathy, or at least a connection with someone – she's not sure who – where they can read each others thoughts. She enjoys this and is certain it's someone in her family, but would like to find out for sure.

Ok, I hated that she called the voice in her head “lover”! Ugh!
May 11, 2009 Laina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
So, let me explain the absence of a star. :) This mystery was one of my favorites-- I loved the intrigue and the way it was set up. The telepathic connection that Byrony had (sounds so corny if you don't read the book, but it was EXTREMELY well done and believable!) was so good.... the deep love it portrayed. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole mystery of it. Her cousins, Emory and James, were also likable in their own scary sense, and in the middle of the book I had NO idea what was going to happen, ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Lady Mary Stewart was a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years.

She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she
More about Mary Stewart...

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