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The Moon-Spinners

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  5,040 ratings  ·  352 reviews
When beautiful Nicola Ferris chose the remote island of Crete for her vacation, all she desired was to experience the ancient and brooding land on her own.

But one day her impulse led her on a little-used path into the foreboding White Mountains. And there she found a man in hiding--for reasons he could not explain.

Warned to stay away, Nicola was unable to obey. And before

Hardcover, 303 pages
Published 1963 by William Morrow and Co. (first published 1962)
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This beautifully written, utterly charming romantic thriller kept my heart pounding in terrified suspense, even though my original copy of the book is falling apart because I’ve read the story so many times. When I was twelve or thirteen, Mary Stewart was a favorite author of everyone I knew who loved to read--my mother, her friends, me, and eventually my younger sisters--and of all Stewart’s books it was The Moon-Spinners that siren-called me back to its pages again and again.

Nicola Ferris is
When I was in high school, I discovered these Gothic romances, and they sustained me for several years. After plowing through the ones that were already published, I watched for each new book to arrive. My 5 stars reflect how much I loved them when I was 15! Eventually, Mary Stewart turned to the Arthur saga, about which she wrote some captivating (and captivatingly long) novels, but they couldn't capture my soul like the romances did.
I hate to give Stewart 2 stars but this is just not working for me. Read over 250 pages and it is so tedious. Stewart's powers of description are there in full force but we also have a lot of telling-not-showing going on here too. There is lack of character development (well not her strong suit anyway) and a not too mysterious mystery. It is all a bit discombobulated.
Jill Hill
I don't know if my review of this book would be the same if I was just reading it for the first time. This is one of my favorites from when I was younger, so I don't know if that's skewed my perception of it. It does have a few slow parts and it may be a bit old-fashioned, but it's just a fun read. I think I originally read it after seeing the Disney movie version with Hayley Mills that was made in the 60s. I generally liked Hayley Mills movies as a kid and I liked this movie okay, but frankly t ...more
Diane Lynn
Nicola Ferris goes on vacation from her job at the British Embassy in Athens. Her plan is to escape the Easter crowds of the big city and spend some quiet, peaceful time with her older cousin, Frances, on the island of Crete.

This story starts off well from the beginning. There is an exotic setting, the truly rugged hills of Crete, a wounded man in need of assistance and a boy of 15 in dire straits. The descriptions of the Bay of Dolphins, the local flowers, the gardens and the windmills to irrig
Aug 29, 2008 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, and all girls
Recommended to Amanda by: my sister, Lisa
I've read this book at least four times since I was about 12 (which is alot for me) because I love it. I'm a big fan of Mary Stewart. She writes mysteries that also have great romance in them. This particular book gets you interested very quickly. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes mysteries, but particularly for girls since it is written in the first person. I warn you that there is a semi-slow section in the middle, but it is worth it to get to the exciting ending. If you have seen the Dis ...more
Bought for a bit of silly light reading. It took me dreadfully long to get round to it, despite that, because I had such a long period where I didn't feel like reading at all. I think it's well-broken now, though: I ate up The Moonspinners in less than a day.

It's a ridiculous story, really: I think I said of one of Mary Stewart's other books, Touch Not the Cat, or maybe The Gabriel Hounds, or both, that it's really The Famous Five for adults, with a dash of romance and some exotic scenery. Sinc
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I read everything by Mary Stewart and love them all, but this book is the one I reach for every summer. It is set in Greece, and it always makes me desire to hop on a plane and fly to Greece, even though the setting adds to the fearfulness in this book.

By the way, the old movie has absolutely nothing to do with the book, even though it says it does. If I were Mary Stewart, I would have been appalled at what the movie makers did to her wonderful stor
DNF somewhere around pg 120.

This is by far the worst of the Stewarts I've tried. It combined all the worst tendencies of Wildfire at Midnight (stupidly plucky heroine, talky-talk dialogue, & 1960s-era chick mystery) & threw them together with small-town Crete. Even by the clean standards of the era, this felt more like a tepid vintage YA than adult romantic suspense. It's dated -- and not charmingly dated, like some romantic suspense, but an eye-rollingly "are you serious?" kind of way.
Mar 20, 2015 Tweety rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Suspense/Mystery lovers
Recommended to Tweety by: Dorcas
The ending…! What an ending!

For those of you who have see the movie, I think it should be said that they are Completely Different. Other than Mark and Nicola having the same personalities in the movie as in the book, everything else is off. I still like them both though, (movie verses book) and the tale of The Moonspinners is one of my favorite parts in the book, that and the stunning scenery. That's what this book abounds in, descriptions. Eloquent, sparkling descriptions.

"I came near to a
I thought this book would be old-fashioned and staid, but it couldn't be further. The heroine is plucky and smart, easy to relate to as she adventures in Greece and meets handsome rogues and benighted heroes. A fantastic read, best with iced tea or lemonade and a nice warm spot in the sun.
I found this in the "New Books to be Shelved" cart at my library. It's not a new book at all - it was originally published in 1964 - but apparently it has been re-published as a "rediscovered classic." I had never read the book, but loved the movie with Hayley Mills as a child. So - decided to give it a go.

"The Moon-Spinners" is a mystery/romance set in Crete. It's one of those books written so lovingly about its location that you fall in love with the place. The book is old-fashioned but in a c
This was my first Mary Stewart novel - and I loved it! For me, the biggest fun was being transported to such a magical time and place. Call me old-fashioned but I love a heroine that is spunky and sweet at the same time. Nicola is just that girl.

She arrives in Crete for a holiday and is unintentionally pulled into a dramatic mystery/murder/kidnapping that is being played out in the island. Prior to her arrival, two brothers have a run-in with local trouble and are being hunted/kidnapped by some
I’m wavering between 3 and 4 stars on this one.

The premise: A young woman named Nicola, who works in a low-level position at the British Embassy in Athens, plans to meet up with her older cousin Frances at a seaside village in Crete for the Easter holiday. But Nicola gets there early, and before her cousin even arrives, she finds herself mixed up with a couple of strange men who are on the run. Soon both she and Frances find themselves in grave danger ... (Is there any other kind?)

This is my th
Originally posted here.

I've always wanted to go to Greece. It seems like such a lovely place, rich in culture and I would love to try authentic Greek food. I have no idea when I'll be able to go though so I have to content myself with reading books with Greek settings. The Moonspinners is set in Crete and is the second Mary Stewart romantic suspense novel that I've read. I'm slowly enjoying going through her entire backlist.

I love that Mary Stewart's books have different settings. I may not be a
I love the work of Mary Stewart and The Moonspinners is no exception to the norm. It is a bit dated but to my mind that just adds to the overall charm of the story. Loved the descriptions of the countryside in Crete and all of the wildflowers. Nicely sinister characters and a strong minded heroine. A joy to read.
Olga Godim
Charming and harrowing simultaneously, this romantic thriller was a fun ride. The heroine Nicola is a twenty-two-year-old undersecretary at the British Embassy in Athens, Greece. On vacation in Crete, she stumbles upon a young wounded Englishman Mark, hiding in the mountains from some mysterious villains who shot him.
From this point, the tension never leaves the story. It doesn’t always mounts; instead it fluctuates, coming at the reader in waves, like the sea that surrounds Crete. Some moments
This book was a bit of a chore to get through. I read it after seeing the old disney movie, and to preview it for my daughter. First of all it was written in a very old style, that made it difficult to wade through, lots of scenery descriptions, etc. Plus the voice of the book, Niccola, was a weak narrator. The mystery itself was interesting, but not gripping. Definitely a book that you can put down and leave for a few days then finish.
Olga Godim
Charming and harrowing simultaneously, this romantic thriller was a fun ride. The heroine Nicola is a twenty-two-year-old undersecretary at the British Embassy in Athens, Greece. On vacation in Crete, she stumbles upon a young wounded Englishman Mark, hiding in the mountains from some mysterious villains who shot him.
From this point, the tension never leaves the story. It doesn’t always mounts; instead it fluctuates, coming at the reader in waves, like the sea that surrounds Crete. Some moments
As a light read with suspenseful tension throughout, The Moonspinners definitely works. Like another Mary Stewart novel, The Gabriel Hounds, it's also perfect for armchair travelling - Stewart has a way of writing the very atmosphere of exotic locales into her stories in the most wonderfully vivid way. Here, the countryside of Crete comes alive with flower-covered fields on the mountain side, clear waters of the sea, night fishing and a tiny and picturesque village - which makes the horrible hum ...more
Peggy Van
This was published in the US in 1963 and I think I discovered it not long afterward, which I mention only because that's how long I've loved it. If you've never seen the dreadful movie supposedly based on this book, I beg that you run quickly in the other direction. (No disrespect to star Hayley Mills, but she was terribly miscast). This is a really delightful novel which combines romance with intrigue - the plucky heroine, the handsome leading man and his charming younger brother, the swarthy v ...more
3 1/2 stars (upgraded to 4 since we can't do halves)

First off, forget everything you know about the Moon spinners from the Disney movie with Hayley Mills (which, by the way I thought was pretty good); the book is completely different.

Basically, a young woman arranges to meet up with her aunt in a small coastal village in Greece for a short holiday. Nicola arrives a day ahead of her aunt and while exploring on her way to the hotel, stumbles upon a wounded English man, Mark, who has apparently go
It's been ages since I read a Mary Stewart novel. I read a few of her books in my teens, enjoyed some and couldn't get into others. I'm glad I decided to try again (and many thanks to my GR friends for the encouragement).

Nicola is an engaging heroine. I appreciated her spunk, courage, and love of nature and beauty, yet in some ways she was also very much a young lady of the '60s. Still, she really held her own against the men in this novel, not just intellectually but physically, too. I also rea
4.5 stars
It's always a treat to dip into a Mary Stewart novel and The Moonspinners is no exception. From the vivid descriptions of picturesque Crete to the heart-pounding, suspenseful drama that the heroine, Nicola, is drawn into from the very first pages, I think this is one of Stewart's best. Even though the formula is fairly predictable (heroine in danger, instant attraction to hero, a child in peril, etc...), I still found it hard to put this one down. Absolutely enchanted by the story of th
My second favorite Mary Stewart book. The heroine is smart and interesting, and is able to laugh at herself. The adventure itself starts off from page one, since we are actually following Nicola's own adventure. There is no need for build-up. The characters are all great, and the description of the island and Greek island life is very good. Good romance, if subtle.

I know it seems silly to give these romantic mystery-type novels a puffed up score on the star scale, but Mary Stewart holds a nostalgic place in my heart. Her novels marked my transition from Sweet Valley High and the Babysitter's Club, to more "respectable" genres. I loved reading these in my early teenage years, and I still love to pick them up for a nice beach read every now and again. Three Cheers for Mary Stewart!
Abigail Hartman
The Moon-Spinners has many of the same elements I enjoyed in Nine Coaches Waiting, but also some of the same disappointments. On the positive side is Stewart's writing: her prose is nothing short of gorgeous, and she evokes the Cretan landscape as perfectly as she conjures the chateau and the French Alps in Nine Coaches Waiting. Her command of language often inspired me to pause just to observe and admire the scenery as she described it. Stewart is a master of description.

Unfortunately, I was le
Alex is The Romance Fox
I've always loved gothic romance stories and Mary Stewart is a master storyteller in this genre.

I first read it years and years ago and reading it again now, I still find myself totally engrossed in the story.

Love the characters and the setting in Crete is fabulous.

I probably will read it again in the future.

Sherwood Smith
I loved, and continue to love, this exciting tale that gives one such a detailed and lovely glimpse of the Greek Isles, which you can tell Stewart loved. The sense of history was exciting to me as a kid, as well as later.

I liked the Disney version because of the folk song sung in the middle, which later inspired a novel.
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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...
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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“Sometimes, when you're deep in the countryside, you meet three girls, walking along the hill tracks in the dusk, spinning. They each have a spindle, and on to these they are spinning their wool, milk-white, like the moonlight. In fact, it is the moonlight, the moon itself, which is why they don't carry a distaff. They're not Fates, or anything terrible; they don't affect the lives of men; all they have to do is to see that the world gets its hours of darkness, and they do this by spinning the moon down out of the sky. Night after night, you can see the moon getting less and less, the ball of light waning, while it grown on the spindles of the maidens. Then, at length, the moon is gone, and the world has darkness, and rest.....

...on the darkest night, the maidens take their spindles down to the sea, to wash their wool. And the wool slips from the spindles into the water, and unravels in long ripples of light from the shore to the horizon, and there is the moon again, rising above the sea....Only when all the wool is washed, and wound again into a white ball in the sky, can the moon-spinners start their work once more....”
“But the Easter sacrifice in their own homes - well, think it over. I used to think the same as you, and I still hate to see the lambs and calves going home to their deaths on Good Friday. But isn't it a million times better than the way we do it at home, however 'humane' we try to be? Here, the lamb's petted, unsuspicious, happy - you see it trotting along with the children like a little dog. Till the knife's in its throat, it has no idea it's going to die. Isn't that better than those dreadful lorries at home, packed full of animals, lumbering on Mondays and Thursdays to the slaughterhouses, where, be as humane as you like, they can smell the blood and the fear, and have to wait their turn in a place just reeking of death?” 2 likes
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