Wednesday, December 30, 2015

30. My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart

I really picked up steam on my reading over the xmas holidays this year and am now trying to get through books I stopped and started in the past.  I've been labouring over My Brother Michael for most of the year.  I expect Mary Stewart to be slower and more thoughtful than what I prefer, but this one really took a long time to get going.  The ending paid off, but I almost abandoned it at several points.

It's the story of a young divorcee traveling by herself in Greece when through some mix-up ends up delivering a car to an unknown man in a small village near the Oracle at Delphi (which had been on her tourist wish-list).  The man turns out to be a dashing British archaeologist who was also looking for the dying place of his brother, who had been killed at the end of World War 2.  It takes a ton of meandering, having to do with visiting a bunch of ruins and the picturesque greek town and a bunch of random people about two-thirds of the book before we figure out that there is a solid story here.  Maybe Mary Stewart wanted to do justice to a place she had visited or maybe that kind of travelogue is a big part of the sell of this genre, but it wasn't working for me.  Also, there is always that weird layer of British female romance of this period where they are all weird and coy about whether they are into the guy or not, trying to always be all practical while there are constant looks and finger brushings on cheeks or backs of arms ("like a moth"). 

It all did tie together and the ending is actually quite intense and brutal, restoring my faith in Mary Stewart.  But this one needed a tougher editor, in my opinion.

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