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Stormy Petrel

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  1,586 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Rose Fenemore is taking a break from her Cambridge teaching post in an isolated cottage on the island of Moila. One evening, she is shocked to discover an attractive stranger, Ewen Mackay, in her kitchen, who claims to have grown up in the cottage. She is tempted to believe him, when another man seeks shelter from the storm. John Parsons also rouses Rose's skepticism...and ...more
Hardcover, 187 pages
Published October 17th 1991 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published 1991)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,123)
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Tadiana ♕Part-Time Dictator♕
I've been a Mary Stewart fan since a college roommate introduced me to her books, more years ago than I am willing to cop to. But my least favorite of all her books that I've read has always been The Stormy Petrel. I excitedly snagged it at a used bookstore years ago, read it and scratched my head (see my prior review below), read it again, and finally gave it away to Goodwill in disgust.

Then I joined Goodreads, and some of my best times here have been with the ladies in the Mary Stewart group.
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Hannah
One of Stewart's three "Cottage" books (the other two being Rose Cottage and Thornyhold)

Not as strong in her writing as with the other two (am I right in thinking that this was Stewart's last published novel?). A somewhat weak, anticlimatic ending marrs the stronger beginning.

Regardless, a weak Stewart book is still a better reading investment then what dreck passes for romantic suspense today IMO.

Susan
No one creates a story like Mary Stewart! Her location descriptions are so detailed that you feel as if you are there. This was the strong point of this story for me. A house on a desolate island with few citizens amidst birds, seals, rocks, waves, wind, flowers, etc. I really got the sense of the place, the location, smells and terrain. Wonderful!

The story itself was interesting, though not really a gothic. It was more of a light mystery and many reviewers said that this type of story is not he
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Barbara Klaser
This made me remember why I once loved romantic suspense but have changed my feelings about more modern writings.

A gentle, suspenseful story respectful of nature and the slow and easy pace of a blossoming love interest versus blatant lust. Mary Stewart first inspired me to try my hand at writing. Perhaps I'm a bit prudish, but romances were once about the feelings and freshness of meeting someone, wondering, testing the waters, savoring each step of the process of getting to know someone.

I'm onc
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Nikki
As with most of Mary Stewart's work (the Arthurian books so far being the only ones I'll except from this), this is light, easy, fairly predictable, and very comfortable. I read it in the bath, and didn't give one thought to how icky my surgical incisions would be looking afterwards, so I'm not saying that's a bad thing: I read it in one go, I enjoyed it, I smiled, and though I won't remember the details in a year's time, I'll remember a cosy sort of experience with cottages and a brainy, brave, ...more
Jane
I fell in love with a Scottish island when I was eight years old.

Looking back it was a mad thing for my parents to do, travelling so far across country with two young children, but that wanted to see Scotland, and they had been guided to a particular place by a very good friend. So if it was madness it was the very best kind of madness, and if I had to live outside Cornwall I should still choose to live on a Scottish Island.

That’s what drew me to ‘Stormy Petrel, even though I knew it was one of
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Meagan
Correct me if I'm wrong, although I suspect I'm right, but it seems that this book is billed as romantic suspense. At the very least Mary Stewart is known as a romantic suspense writer, and the cover reads "The mistress of suspense romance," so the implication is there. Well. This is not romantic suspense. There is no potential for peril, unless you count death by midges. At best it's a mystery with the potential for a future romance, and not a very good mystery at that. (view spoiler) ...more
Diane Lynn
This was a group read with the Mary Stewart group.

As usual the descriptive prose of Mary Stewart was front and center in this book. She can describe a place so well that you simply feel you are there. There were also some interesting characters. I enjoyed the interaction between Rose and her two students. I also enjoyed reading about the birds and seals. Unfortunately, beyond that, the book fell short. There wasn't much of a plot, there wasn't really a romance and there wasn't much in the way of
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SarahC
This was an interesting Mary Stewart story and includes a setting I would travel to at this very moment. The story itself was not told with the same strength and energy found in her stories that I have read. The plot includes a less mysterious crime element and the cast of characters seem to move in and out of the story in a more random way somehow. I would classify this as a much less romantic suspense tale also.
Jenny
Mary Stewart is so satisfying to read. She takes you to foreign shores and beautiful climes, then ladles on the suspense and the heroine is always clever and brave. I just love her books.
Mary
Mar 26, 2015 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
When Rose Fenemore travels to the island of Moila off the west coast of Scotland, she is looking forward to spending a quiet holiday with her brother Crispin in a paradise filled with seabirds and wild flowers. Remote and lonely, the secluded island seems to Rose to be the perfect place to relax and get away from it all. In fact, the isolated cottage she has rented - advertised as an "ivory tower" - promises to be the ideal retreat where Rose can finish writing her novel, and Crispin can commune ...more
Terri Lynn
THE STORMY PETREL isn't really a true mystery. Rose, a professor of English Literature at Cambridge in the UK needs an "ivory tower" where she can work on her poetry between terms. Her brother Crispin, a doctor with a hobby of photographing birds, needs to unwind in the country (his wife Ruth loves busy city life). They decide to go off together to a remote, isolated cottage in the wilds of Scotland.

When Crispin is delayed, Rose wakes up to find a strange man in the house who entered with a key
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Melee
Not the finest of Mary Stewart's romantic suspense novels, but I liked it a lot for several reasons. The first being the heroine ended up with (or it implied she ended up with) the guy I liked better. I always complain to my sister that whenever there are two men in a Mary Stewart novel I always like the one who ends up being the guy she doesn't fall in love with or, on one occasion, the man who ends up being the villain.
The second reason is the main character was a writer so I identified with
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Alyson
A Mary Stewart book that Sofie gifted me—yesterday when I finished Nine Coaches Waiting I was chagrined to realize that I didn't clearly remember the plot or characters of this one, in contrast to the other Mary Stewarts I've read; and since one Mary Stewart book gives the reader a strong longing to read more and more, I picked this up next.

The Hebridean island of Moila is described so gorgeously, I feel I might know it—and its residents—if I were to go; Mary Stewart has a way with describing na
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Sue
As always, an entertaining story from Mary Stewart.

The characters were believable and the descriptions of the island, and especially the weather, were rich.

The girl is waiting for her brother to join her for a holiday, but he is delayed due to being involved in a train crash. A stranger turns up at her cottage, explaining that he used to live there, but his story is mysterious. Turns out he has a connection to the big house nearby, the owner of which has recently died. Some of the suspense of t
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Beth
**The Stormy Petral
Mary Stewart
MS is the queen of romantic suspense — better than anyone else currently writing. That said, The Stormy Petrel, written toward the end of her career, is not the best of the lot. It lacks the tension and energy of her earlier books (a seventy year old woman writing as a 27 year old heroine doesn’t quite cut the mustard). What is consistent, however, is the magic of the setting. Stewart has always been first and foremost supreme at evoking the romance of a particular
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Deana David Lissenberg
Oh, dear, oh dear. This is the 2nd Mary Stewart I've read (first was the disastrous Rose Cottage) and I didn't realize I'd chosen her two most recent books. I am SO determined to like Mary Stewart that I'm going to try one more time with one of her earliest. This one, like Rose Cottage, was corny beyond my worst imaginings but I'm guessing the earlier books ARE masterpieces of 'suspense'.
Tammie
I'm not sure what category to put this one in. Mary Stewart writes romantic suspense. This one was hardly romantic or suspenseful. As always though, I did enjoy her descriptive writing. She has a way of pulling you into the surroundings of the story that I really enjoy. But overall a disappointment compared to her other books.
Kaethe
Not to be all literal, but couldn't they have shown a bird on the cover? Or, I don't know, an isolated island? Because I don't have the foggiest idea what a petral is, and sometimes I can't get to the computer to google.

Although I dearly love Mary Stewart, this is not my favorite. It feels a little thin, not fully fleshed out. If you haven't read Stewart before, I suggest you start with Airs Above the Ground or Thornyhold orThis Rough Magic.
Theresa

The heroine of "The Stormy Petrel", Rose Fenemore, is looking for ‘an ivory tower’. An English professor/author, Rose finds the perfect set-up for a vacation in the Scottish isles. Her brother Crispin will join her as he is a doctor and a naturalist/photographer on the side. However, events conspire to delay Crispin’s arrival, and in the timed-honored style of Mary Stewart, Rose has an adventure in the meantime.

“The walls of the cottage were thick enough to shut out the worst sounds of the storm
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Ape
This sounds like heaven to me - set on a little island off the coast of Mull (Scottish island) - very tiny village, but the main character is staying in a remote cottage. Bliss! The atmosphere she creates in this book of the Scottish islands, the coast, the machair and the general peace and wonderfulness is just fantastic. This book was a fantastic read if only for the mental escape away to the tiny island.

The voice of this book was a bit curious. It really reads as though the characters are fro
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LJ
THE STORMY PETREL (Suspense, Rose Fenemore, Scotland, Cont) – G+
Stewart, Mary – Standalone
Hodder & Stoughton, 1991, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 0340556013
First Sentence: I must begin with a coincidence which I would not dare to recount if this were a work of fiction.
*** Rose Fenemore is a Professor at Cambridge, and a published author of poetry and science fiction. Just as soon as she wished for an ivory tower, she sees one advertised for lease on a small island in the Hebrides—a perfect vacation s
...more
Angelina
I love most Mary Stewart books at a 5 star level so I don't know what happened with this one. Perhaps she was trying out a new style of writing? One in which I am annoyed with every single character and want to rewrite all their dialog? Was Stewart on drugs? For me this book has no clear driving force and just as I'm thinking things are finally getting intersting? Nope. So if you haven't read Stewart's books before - for God's sake, don't start with this one.
Emily Crow
I'll say this for The Stormy Petrel: it was a very quick read, and it made me wish I could visit a quiet Scottish isle in the summer, enjoying the cacophony of a seabird colony, and the sound of the elusive storm petrels singing to their chicks at night. I enjoyed reading it just for the vicarious travel/birding experience.

Oh, and then there's the plot. Intellectual but cute Rose rents a cabin on an isolated island, hoping to get some writing done. Two men barge in on her in the middle of a dark
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Julie P
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane
May 05, 2015 Diane rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Diane by: Sally Hart Goodman
As always, I love a good story by Mary Stewart. This is a good, quick read but a complete story. I love how Ms. Stewart doesn't abruptly end a story but gives you just a bit more so you have an idea of how the characters continued with their lives.
Amelmag
There is not very much of a mystery to truly place this in the "suspense" category. Nor, actually, very much of a romance to recommend it as "romantic" suspense. Nevertheless, there's something about the writing, the setting, and the mid-twenties, bookish, Oxfordian heroine that made this the perfect light reading for my first few days at Rydal Hall. To quote from some Amazon reviews: "Nothing much happens - a robbery, a bit of smuggling and a very staid romance. It doesn't matter . . . gripping ...more
Melinda
I was disappointed, there is really no mystery to this. You know pretty quickly who the culprit is and there was no suspense.
Dixie
Pleasant enough, but far from her best work. I enjoyed "Nine Coaches Waiting" and "This Rough Magic" much more.
Farshana Sihab
The mystery element is not as profound as some of others I ve read of Mary Stewart but still an easy cozy read!
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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
More about Mary Stewart...
The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga, #1) The Hollow Hills (Arthurian Saga, #2) The Last Enchantment (Arthurian Saga, #3) The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, #4) Nine Coaches Waiting

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