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The Moon Spinners

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  6,228 Ratings  ·  477 Reviews
Young, beautiful, and adventurous Nicola Ferris loves her life as a secretary at the British Embassy on Greece. On leave from her job as a secretary in Athens, has been looking forward to a quiet week's holiday in the lush island of Crete, enjoying the wild flowers and the company of her cousin Frances. Then on her day off, her impulse led her on a little-used path into th ...more
Published 1967 by Crest Books (first published 1962)
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C.C. Yager I loved both too, and have just finished reading the book again. Each has its charms, I think. The scene when Nikki is stealing the brandy bottle off…moreI loved both too, and have just finished reading the book again. Each has its charms, I think. The scene when Nikki is stealing the brandy bottle off the bar is hilarious, and that's one of the things about the movie that stands out for me -- the humor. Yes, it was filmed on location. It's so much fun to read the book and then watch the movie right away!(less)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
In the early 1960s, Nicola Ferris is vacationing in a remote area of the Greek island of Crete when she stumbles into unexpected trouble. Hiking in the hills, she comes across two men, one of whom, Mark Langley, is critically injured. She spends the night taking care of him while the other guy is off doing Other Stuff, and helps him fall asleep by telling him the story of the moon spinners:

"Night after night, you can see the moon getting less and less, the ball of light waning, while it grows on
Debbie Zapata
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: douglas
Thanks to GR friend Tadiana Night Owl, I was able to read this book with the Mary Stewart group. I am fairly certain I had never read it before, or at least if I did I could not remember anything about it, even as the pages turned.

I have read a couple other Stewart titles recently and was somewhat disappointed, but The Moon Spinners more than made up for those. Nicola Ferris is off for a vacation in Crete, to meet her cousin Frances, who has been delayed for a day or two. (This sort of thing see
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mary Stewart always starts her adventure novels in the most delightful spots--and then twists of fate lead her heroines and us into peril.

Nicola Ferris is on vacation from her job as a secretary at the British Embassy in Athens. She's planning a week in a quiet spot on the south coast of Crete with her older cousin, Francis, a horticulturalist who runs a successful business specializing in rock gardens. They've found the perfect locale--a new B&B with a gourmet, London-trained chef in an un
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Moonlight Reader
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-women
You know those books that you are pretty sure you are really going to love, so you buy it and wait to read it because once you read it, you won't be able to look forward to reading it anymore? This was one of those books for me. I picked up a paperback copy of The Moonspinners donkeys ages ago, at either the UBS or a library sale, & I've been holding onto it since then. I finally decided that life was too short to not read this book, and there were other Mary Stewarts for me to read, so I sh ...more
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Stewart has combined mystery, suspense, and romance in this novel set in Greece. Nicola, a secretary at the British Embassy at Athens, is meeting her cousin for a holiday in a small village in Crete. As she is exploring the beautiful countryside on her way, she comes upon a man and his injured friend. The men were exploring the trails and ruins, and had unintentionally witnessed a murder. They are now in hiding from the violent man and his friends, and don't want Nicola to get involved in t ...more
Diane Lynn
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, greece, mystery
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
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, mystery
I’m wondering if I ever really say anything different about Mary Stewart’s books. They’re fairly formulaic, really: fairly independent young woman meets young man who may or may not be her cousin, there is some dramatic problem to be resolved, and they resolve it while falling in love, often improbably fast or due to some supernatural intervention (as in Touch Not the Cat and Thornyhold). They’re better than they sound, though: the atmosphere Stewart produces is amazing, and quite a lot of her f ...more
Aug 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Sarah Mac
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.
Aug 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, mystery
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
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm pretty sure this was the first Mary Stewart novel I read. And although Stewart did everything well, what she did particularly well--or what made me idolize her as a young and aspiring writer -- was her vivid and evocative use of setting.

AND very witty, very amusing dialog. Yes, people are dying and mysterious things are happening, but Stewart's characters handle it all with panache and a refreshing sense of humor.
Jun 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful plucky heroine. Mary Stewart at one of her finest in Romance Mystery.
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
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  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’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
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
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Mary Stewarts writing and the spell that she weaves throughout though didn’t enjoy this as much as Touch Not the Cat. This one did very little to empower women and tells the story of Nicola Ferris who is working and holidaying on the island of Crete and runs into a dangerous situation. I loved the Cretan countryside, the Greek words, the fragrant flowers and the unstable group of characters.
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.
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.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, europe
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
Peggy Van
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Madam, want to ta...: The Moonspinners -- Chapters 1 thru 4 72 51 Apr 12, 2017 07:41AM  
Madam, want to ta...: The Moonspinners -- SPOILERLAND 33 36 Apr 11, 2017 06:53PM  
Madam, want to ta...: The Moonspinners -- Chapters 13 thru 16 39 34 Jan 18, 2016 07:53AM  
Madam, want to ta...: The Moonspinners -- Chapters 17 thru 20 10 24 Nov 24, 2015 01:15PM  
@thecreekbc: Welcome! 1 8 Jan 13, 2012 10:50AM  
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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, born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow, 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, an
More about Mary Stewart...
“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....”
“Press on, regardless.” 6 likes
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