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The Gabriel Hounds, Mary Stewart

2010/07/03

The other day a young lady came to the desk of the boarding school library where I am interning this summer (hence the lack of updates) and asked if we had any regency romances. Now my fellow interns and I are in the process of heavily weeding and updating the collection, but regency romances were not high on our list of items to purchase. So, after some searching and browsing, I came up with this novel, amongst others, to hopefully assuage her need for history and mystery and romance.

Mary Stewart is best known for her Arthurian novels, which were what initially drew me to her works. However, she was prolific in the gothic novel (read this link for a pretty good description of what that entails), and this is one of my favourites.

Christy Mansell, the daughter of a rich family, and also somewhat spoiled, is on a tour of the Middle East when she unexpectedly meets up with her cousin, Charles, and decides to go visit her eccentric great-aunt, who has set herself up in an old mansion in the manner of Lady Hester Stanhope (a few paragraphs about her here). But something is not quite right with their great-aunt — though always reclusive and a bit odd, she refuses to see Charles, who has always been one of her favourites, and only reluctantly grants Christy a visit. She is attended by a local doctor, a young writer, and a staff of natives. When Christy decides to investigate further, she becomes more and more confused about the secrets of both her great-aunt and those surrounding her.

Though old-fashioned and a bit predictable in places, this novel will still have appeal to fans of the genre, and possibly to those looking for something a little darker than the typical historical romance.

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