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My Brother Michael

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  3,790 Ratings  ·  188 Reviews
ONLY A MOMENT BEFORE

Camilla Haven is on holiday alone, and wishes for some excitement. She had been sitting quietly in a crowded Athens cafe writing to her friend Elizabeth in England, "Nothing ever happens to me..."

Then, without warning, a stranger approached, thrust a set of car keys at her and pointed to a huge black touring car parked at the curb. "The car for Delphi,
...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published December 4th 2001 by HarperTorch (first published 1959)
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Jen Making peace with his ghost. People in ancient times especially believed that dead friends and relatives might haunt them over the way they had died…moreMaking peace with his ghost. People in ancient times especially believed that dead friends and relatives might haunt them over the way they had died or over problems they had in life. And so they would do something to fix it. For example, if the dead loved one had been murdered, then the surviving family was supposed to hunt down the killer. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
May 12, 2016 Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense
"Nothing ever happens to me," writes Camilla Haven to her friend from an Athens restaurant in a bout of lonely self-pity, so of course you know that she'll be proven wrong in very short order. "Beware of what you wish for, for you are liable to get it" might as well be the second line in the book.

So begins a three-day whirlwind of mistaken identities and resolving a 14 year old mystery, complete with a handsome and mysterious stranger, a struggling artist, a French trollop, long-lost historic tr
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Hannah
Mar 16, 2014 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update:
Better reading experience this time around, due to the fact that I had my own new Chicago Press edition and didn't have to rely on the library's old, musty, tattered copy. No hazmat suits needed, and this copy smells as a book should :D

Oh and yeah, the story is another hit outta the park by Stewart.


Original Review:
Mary Stewart’s, My Brother Michael, was a singularly interesting reading experience for me, to say the least.

I received the old, tattered copy from my library sporting a particu
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Misfit
Aug 03, 2009 Misfit rated it really liked it
"Nothing ever happens to me..." As Camilla Haven sits in a cafe in Athens and writes those very words in a letter to her sister, she has no idea the twists and turns her life is soon going to take. A strange man comes and gives her the keys to a rental car, telling her she must take it to Monsieur Simon in Delphi right away - a matter of life and death. Since she had wanted to go to Delphi and no one comes to claim the car Camilla decides on a lark to take the car and go and she soon finds herse ...more
Autumn Doughton
Jul 12, 2012 Autumn Doughton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this is the third Mary Stewart novel that I have read in the past six days. I might be obsessed. It's certainly a possibility that I have been considering. At any rate, I feel like a should light up a cigarette (or twenty) and put on a pencil skirt and heels and go running through the mountains or something. Her work is fun and well-written, suspenseful, imaginative. It's also a bit dated, which honestly matters little to me. I sort of like being thrown into what feels like a black and white ...more
Angie
Originally published here.

I've been dreaming of Greece. I've never been there myself, much to my continual dismay, and so it remains at the very top of my list when it comes to countries I need to visit next. Lately, I've been doing some research on the country for work. Hence the dreams. And whenever I dream of Greece, I remember my original copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology that I read cover to cover several times over. And I remember Mary Stewart and the wonderful mysteries she set there. Fr
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Dorcas
Mar 08, 2014 Dorcas rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, mary-stewart
2 1/2 Stars

This wasn't my favorite Mary Stewart. In fact, if it was my first MS I probably wouldn't pick up another (but I WILL because I know what she can do!)

I won't give a summary because there's plenty of reviewers who have, but I will say that I did enjoy the descriptions of Greece. I could feel the intense heat coming through my sandals and could smell the herby wild flowers and taste the pomegranates. Mary Stewart is very good at setting a time and place.

But I didn't feel the characters s
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Tweety
Mar 20, 2015 Tweety rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mary Stewart fans
Recommended to Tweety by: Read with Mary Stewart Group
A Solid 3

What I found hard with this book was that all 400 pages happened in Three Days . After the beginning car mix up nothing happened till chapter what, 15?

And in all honesty, I didn't care overly much about the characters. I liked them, yes I really did. But that's where is ended. Camilla was, welllll… a bit, weak. If I had been her I'd have run, no matter what. I didn't find myself liking Simon much, I know I was supposed to, but I didn't. Grey eyes or no. His gray eyes never entrapped
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Cphe
Adore Mary Stewart's romantic suspense novels and the fact that this one is set in Greece just adds to the overall enjoyment. Enough has already been said about the plot, so no point in going over the same ground.

Mary Stewart to this day remains such a bankable author. You know that you will find interesting characters, a gentler romance, and an excellent mystery/suspense component. "Vintage" but it just adds to the overall charm of the novels.
Nikki
Feb 07, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, mystery, crime
I don't think there's much new to say about any of these Mary Stewart books that I didn't say about all the others. They're a little bit of a guilty pleasure with me, but hey, female heroines, mostly decent male leads (I think Simon miiight be my favourite thus far, given his calmness, intelligence, and careful treatment of the protagonist, plus the fact that he's not related to her, doesn't laugh at her, and trusts her), mysteries... Not always quite so cosy, really, since this one involves a s ...more
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
I'll be honest, this may not be a five star book. But it holds a memory for me that has stayed with me for over 30 years so there is something special about it. I first read it when my sons were little, I was home alone and there was a huge thunderstorm going on. This book scared me so badly that I spent the night sitting behind a chair with a rifle on my lap...seriously. I still have a vivid memory of how I felt that night and always remembered th name of this book.

So this year I found a used c
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Diane Lynn
Mar 10, 2014 Diane Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, romance, greece
Group read with the Mary Stewart group.

I still give this 4.5 stars. I enjoyed this reread just as much the second time around, despite all the tossed cigarette butts.

I liked how Camilla was just coming out of her shell after 6 years of living in someone else's shadow. Of course Mary Stewart's description of Delphi and the surrounding area is wonderful. There is some serious suspense and danger in this one and some really bad guys. I also liked that Simon was on a quest to find out what happened
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Hana
Not my favorite Mary Stewart, but very diverting as always. Wonderful setting in Greece, references to the Greek classics and art, and some very scary final moments. I loved the first bit where Camilla finds herself in possession of a car, just as she finishes writing to her sister that 'nothing ever happens to me.' I liked her vulnerability and the back story about her overbearing ex-husband. The hero, Simon, was rather remarkably tough for a classics professor, but maybe he got his training du ...more
ck
Feb 21, 2016 ck rated it really liked it
We too made the drive from Athens to Delphi, and the ages dropped away.

Rereading this book -- well past my earlier reading in high school -- I understand why it seemed so important to get my hands on a copy of this book before we headed to Greece.

A shame that Morrow or whichever house has this title does not reissue this and others of Mrs. Stewart's books in electronic form. Aside from being good reads in and of themselves, this and several other titles are atmospheric guides to important venu
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Elisabeth
3.5 stars. Mary Stewart's books are always enjoyable to read because of her sheer skill with words, with creating a you-are-there atmosphere and a compelling first-person narration. I think, though, that My Brother Michael is my least favorite of those I've read so far, in terms of the story itself. The backstory is intriguing, but the crimes and their perpetrators seem more harsh and sordid than usual, the climax more violent. Also, I wasn't as keen on the Greek setting and mythology that forms ...more
 Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛
3.5 stars.

I've just had a holiday & was in a town for the well heeled. Obviously they don't bother selling their unwanted books (& various other stuff) as I found a pile of books "free to good home" I took about 10 & this one was the one I was most excited about, (in spite of the unappealing cover art) as Stewart's "This Rough Magic" was one of my favourite reads from last year.

Firstly I am guessing that Stewart was a heavy smoker herself or lived surrounded by smokers, as pretty muc
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Beth
Sep 10, 2016 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I don't think this is quite as good as those four stars suggest; that said, this is sincere in a way that modern books in the same vein aren't, and that makes My Brother Michael stand out.

It's partly Stewart's writing, which is breathless and awed by its depictions much the way Camilla is. It's partly the innocence of the time, which makes the plot stand out in stark contrast. And it's partly the novel's acknowledgement of its tropes (can they be called tropes, if the book was published in 1959?
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Charity
Feb 28, 2009 Charity rated it it was amazing
I do not know how many times I've read this book but it continues to hold a certain charm for me. Perhaps it recalls the thrill I felt the first time I read it in my early teens, or perhaps it is the old stlye it is written in, or perhaps it is because it is a mystery that ends happily... in any case I expect I will be reading it again in a few years so I can revisit Greece, climb through ruins, solve a mystery, and discover that I can do more than I thought at the outset.
Judith
Mar 12, 2014 Judith rated it really liked it
"Nothing ever happens to me", Camilla Havens writes to a friend during her vacation in Greece. Camilla temps fate by making this comment and her adventure begins. Almost broke, she is sitting in a restaurant in Athens, trying to figure out how to stretch her meager funds in order to see the oracle city of Delphi, when suddenly a man appears and leaves her the keys to an already-paid-for rental car. He tells her it is a matter of life or death that the car be delivered to Delphi to Simon, and as ...more
Phair
Apr 04, 2016 Phair rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, mystery
(2.5 stars) The first "adult" books I read were the 50s/60s gothics and romantic suspense books by Holt & Stewart et al. This was a title that I had long recalled as a favorite since reading it in the early 60s. When my f2f mystery discussion group chose it I was happy to revisit. After 45 years or so I wish I could say it lived up to my memories- alas, it was OK but no longer something special. I was, however, impressed with the quality of Stewart's writing. Her sentence structure & tur ...more
Jane
Dec 10, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have travelled to Greece by book, and I have been on a grand adventure with a lovely heroine, to celebrate Mary Stewart Reading Week.

The story began with a young woman, Camilla Haven, sitting outside a café in Athens, writing a letter to a friend. She had come on holiday alone, after parting company with her fiancé and after the friend who was going to accompany her had an accident, and though she was proud of herself for striking out alone she was a little bored. “Nothing ever happens to me,”
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Sophie
Aug 13, 2015 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
I like how this story has more depth than the usual romantic suspense novel. There is still romance (although it's fairly understated) and suspense, but Stewart provides characterization, lots of character growth and a moving "No man is an island" theme that gives the story unusual resonance. Reading about the English characters' awe at seeing so many historical sites in Delphi made me wish I had more of a classical education and could quote Sophocles on command as they do, but luckily that leve ...more
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Shadow's review posted at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

Flashback Friday

Sometimes a book can actually change your life. My Brother Michael, by Mary Stewart affected my life by adding an item to my bucket list-someday I want to visit Delphi, Greece.

Delphi is the setting for this sophisticated murder mystery told in first person. Camilla Haven is searching for her place in the world after breaking up with her fiance. She finds herself in Greece with very little money, when she takes advantage of th
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Judy
May 25, 2011 Judy rated it really liked it
One of Stewart's earlier mysteries. Very fast-moving story about a young woman who has left a broken engagement behind and travels to Greece where she experiences some hard tests for herself and finds classics teacher who is trying to find where his brother died at the end of WWII. The writing is super, you can feel the history and magic of Greece and the descriptions bring the country to life without boredom of a travelog. There is danger, murder, romance. Great!
Felicity
Jul 05, 2014 Felicity rated it really liked it
I just eat these like candy. And at the same time I think about the vanished world in which they were written. I've now read three of these semi interchangeable semi gothic romances set in Greece & featuring an impertubable hero and a plucky, determined young Englishwoman. In all, Greece is described lyrically, the Greeks of antiquity are revered, the Greeks of the present are peasants (problematic! But let's not go there.) and there is peril, which is overcome in the 11th hour. And damn - i ...more
Laura
Buddy read with: Misfit, Jeannette, Hannah, Diane, Dorcas…..

My Brother Michael Book Discussion can be found here: Madam, want to talk about author Mary Stewart?
Joyce
Classic romantic suspense from a master. It's been years since I read this, so I had forgotten the plot but not Stewart's style. I love the chapter headings with classical quotations and the literary references throughout, as well as the way she describes the landscape--you can practically see it before you. Well-drawn characters, a bit of mystery and suspense, a lot of background detail stylishly written. Ellis Peters and Elizabeth Peters, both better known for their mystery series, also wrote ...more
Molly Ringle
Oct 06, 2013 Molly Ringle rated it really liked it
Greece! Ancient Greek ruins! References to classical Greek stuff! Greek caves with treasures AND stalactites! I love all that, so on those grounds alone, I gave this book bonus points. It's one of the tighter-written and more suspenseful novels of Stewart's I've read, with tons of gorgeous scenery. Man, that woman could write gorgeous scenery. Why is no one taking me to Greece? I digress.

Ah, the swingin' almost-1960s and the Brits therefrom. (1958 technically, I suppose, if brother Michael was
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Danielle
Oct 06, 2011 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I often think timing is everything when it comes to books (in some cases anyway). An otherwise well written and well plotted story read at the wrong time, or in the wrong company, (for me) means a missed opportunity. I think that was the case with my first Mary Stewart novel several years ago, The Ivy Tree. It was enjoyable, but. But I read it at the same time as I read the spectacularly wonderful Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. When one book floors you, a follow up book will likely pale in compar ...more
Suzannah
Jun 23, 2013 Suzannah rated it liked it
As always with a Mary Stewart book, this was an erudite, somewhat shallow, but enjoyable and old-fashioned adventure story set in a marvellously-drawn Greek landscape near Delphi. Once again I can postpone a trip to Europe until after I have read these once or twice.

The characters' affection for Greek paganism bugged me in this novel. Yet, there was something that made me very glad I read the novel despite this. Mary Stewart uses classical quotations from poetry and literature as the chapter hea
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Kieraanne
I enjoyed this book. It was fun to learn about Greece and the plot was intriguing and had enough twists to not give itself away in the first couple of chapters. I liked the two leads and the climax was very stressful which is nice, though I disagree with their decision regarding the find at the end, but that may just be my inner archaeologist talking. I didn't like that apparently everyone in the book is a chain smoker. Granted it was written in the 60's (I think) so I guess smoking was more soc ...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
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“I suppose one gets to know men quickest by the things they take for granted.” 18 likes
“Nothing ever happens to me.” 15 likes
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