#FREE DOWNLOAD á Touch Not the Cat Í eBook or E-pub free

Crossposted to Gothic Book Reviews 2 stars it was okay.First, a warning a character in this book uses the n word, which shocked me in a Mary Stewart novel.I liked the telepathy elements of this book, and the setting a crumbling manor house is always a favorite However, not a lot happened here Mostly the heroine drifts from conversation to conversation and things happen around her she s not very proactive The ending is fast, and I m not sure justice was done.Not her best, in my opinion Crossposted to Gothic Book Reviews 2 stars it was okay.First, a warning a character in this book uses the n word, which shocked me in a Mary Stewart novel.I liked the telepathy elements of this book, and the setting a crumbling manor house is always a favorite However, not a lot happened here Mostly the heroine drifts from conversation to conversation and things happen around her she s not very proactive The ending is fast, and I m not sure justice was done.Not her best, in my opinion There is a reason why I have always loved Mary Stewart She can grab me and keep me and not release me until the last word is down on the last page I love her mix of mystery and romance, and having read this so long ago that I had zero memory of it, it was like a new mystery and a new romanceWhat Joy I know others will always argue with me that she isn t a serious writer, but I don t care All of life doesn t have to be serious or studious, some of it should be fun and enthralling and nau There is a reason why I have always loved Mary Stewart She can grab me and keep me and not release me until the last word is down on the last page I love her mix of mystery and romance, and having read this so long ago that I had zero memory of it, it was like a new mystery and a new romanceWhat Joy I know others will always argue with me that she isn t a serious writer, but I don t care All of life doesn t have to be serious or studious, some of it should be fun and enthralling and naughty Reading this took me right back to my youth in the most pleasant of ways #FREE DOWNLOAD ô Touch Not the Cat ´ Bryony Ashley knows that Ashley Court, the grand estate, is both hell and paradise once elegant and beautiful, yet shrouded in shadow After the tragic death of her father, Bryony returns from abroad to find that his estate is to become the responsibility of her cousin Emory Her family s estate with its load of debt is no longer her worry Still, her father s final, dire warning about a terrible family curse haunts her days and her dreams And there is something odd about her father s sudden death Bryony has inherited the Ashley Sight and so has one of the Ashleys Since childhood the two have communicated through thought patterns, though Bryony has no idea of his identity Devastated, she believes, that the mysterious stranger is her destiny the lover to be who waits for her now at Ashley Court Now she is determined to find him But passion is not all that will greet Bryony upon her return for the crumbling walls of the old mansion guard dark secrets, tragic memories and inescapable peril Reckless Traveler the grand estate Warren Buffett is both hell and paradise once elegant and beautiful The Most Useful Websites yet shrouded in shadow After the tragic death of her father Kriza – hrvatski horror Bryony returns from abroad to find that his estate is to become the responsibility of her cousin Emory Her family s estate with its load of debt is no longer her worry Still The Gambler: How Penniless Dropout Kirk Kerkorian Became the Greatest Deal Maker in Capitalist History her father s final Serbian Fairy Tales dire warning about a terrible family curse haunts her days and her dreams And there is something odd about her father s sudden death Bryony has inherited the Ashley Sight and so has one of the Ashleys Since childhood the two have communicated through thought patterns Literistid ehk Patrik Laurise kummaline elu though Bryony has no idea of his identity Devastated Seni Seven Biri Var she believes Top Secret Mission that the mysterious stranger is her destiny the lover to be who waits for her now at Ashley Court Now she is determined to find him But passion is not all that will greet Bryony upon her return for the crumbling walls of the old mansion guard dark secrets Proven Option Spread Trading Strategies tragic memories and inescapable peril Bryony Tell Bryony Tell her Howard James Would have told The paper, it s in William s brook In the library Emerson, the keys The cat, it s the cat on the pavement The map The letter In the brook Tell Bryony My little Bryony be careful Danger Perhaps the boy knows Tell the boy Trust Depend Do what s right Blessing An incomprehensible cryptic message Words written down verbatim from the ramblings of a dying man But was he really a victim of an accident or a victim of mBryony Tell Bryony Tell her Howard James Would have told The paper, it s in William s brook In the library Emerson, the keys The cat, it s the cat on the pavement The map The letter In the brook Tell Bryony My little Bryony be careful Danger Perhaps the boy knows Tell the boy Trust Depend Do what s right Blessing An incomprehensible cryptic message Words written down verbatim from the ramblings of a dying man But was he really a victim of an accident or a victim of murder This is the hook And as romantic suspense fiction goes Mary Stewart s 1976 novel Touch Not the Cat is a classic of the genre It is one of her best known works escapist, melodramatic and beautifully descriptive In common with many of Mary Stewart s novels, the story has a supernatural element in this case there are many mysterious gothic overtones For Mary Stewart fans, reading one of her novels promises a reading experience redolent with passion and intrigue Mary Stewart knew a thing or two about writing page turners In the United States, Touch Not the Cat was the ninth best selling book of that year Its author had a writing career ofthan 40 years, producing over twenty hugely popular novels which sold in excess of 5 million copies She was, and remains, an international household name, arguably inspiring the deluge of bestselling romantic fiction which has flooded the market in recent decades.So what was her secret Why do so many even now return to her fiction Mary Stewart had the knack of appealing to the post war generation she was writing for, introducing a different kind of heroine for a newly emerging type of woman She called it heranti namby pambyreaction, to conventional contemporary thrillers of the time, which featured asilly heroine who is told not to open the door to anybody and immediately opens it to the first person who comes alongMary Stewart s heroines were tough and confident They were poised, smart, middle class and highly educated young women, who drove fast cars and could think for themselves The novels are narrated by the sort of person whom a typical reader would choose as their friend a sensitive kind person with a strong moral sense Mary Stewart herself did not crave fame, and fiercely guarded her privacy, detesting the unwelcome intrusions her fame as a bestselling author brought in its wake Even as late as 1997, she was so apprehensive about a press interview, that she was unable to write for six weeks The conclusion is inevitable This shy retiring woman was writing herself into these characters Apart from her trilogy plus one further spin off about Merlin, three children s novels and a little poetry, all Mary Stewart s novels feature this type a smart, adventurous heroine who could hold her own in dangerous situations.Mary Stewart herself described Touch Not the Cat asa modern adventure story spiced with romance or romance spiced with adventure it depends whether you are advertising it for men or for womenSome have also called her booksadventure thrillers , but to me, with their strong female leads and attractive hunky young men, most seem firmly set in thewomen s fictiongenre All the characters seem well able to talk about their feelings, and there is a heightened sense of emotion right from the start It is melodrama in every sense, but a slick sophisticated sort of melodrama, spiced up with historical mystery and tragedy, underpinned by her classical education and dotted about with literary references All the chapter headings in Touch Not the Cat are quotations from Shakespeare s playRomeo and Juliet , and the story line also mirrors the play in several ways Also key to the story is a 1562 work by Arthur Brooke calledRomeus and Juliet , a work which partly inspired Shakespeare sRomeo and JulietThis work is also quoted from, and becomes essential to the plot of the novel There are references to the poets Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Thomas Lovell Beddoes and Walter de la Mare at various points in the story Even Jane Austen s gothic parodyNorthanger Abbeyis alluded to This is not a typical romantic novel.Our sophisticated, spunky young heroine is the narrator, Bryony Ashley At the start of the story, Bryony is working in Madeira, as a hotel receptionist Instantly we are drenched in descriptive passages of Funchal, and only right at the end of the novel do we realise that view spoiler this description of a town withits very pavements made of patterned mosaicswas teasing us with foreshadowing hide spoiler We are instantly aware of Mary Stewart s ability to thrust us into a sense of time and place We are immersed in mentally experiencing Madeira, just as we then switch briefly to Bavaria where Bryony s father was hopefully recuperating from his illness We finally settle at the fictional Ashley Court in the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire in England, where the rest of the novel will be set.Here we have a gothic feel, with a detailed description of the ancient ancestral home, surrounding buildings and outlying areas which make up the Ashley estate The unnerving feeling is emphasised by an unquestioned supernatural element From the very start we learn that Bryony Ashley has the gift of telepathy, inherited from a distant ancestor, Bess, who had been burned as a witch in the 17th century She is able to communicate subliminally with a man whom she now regards as her lover She is not sure of his identity but knows that he must be anAshleyto also have this gift, and spends time trying to decide which of her cousins once removed it is one of the twins Emory and James, or the younger Francis She constantly quizzes her telepathic lover about this, but he always puts her off, saying the time isn t right yet.Bryony and her father, Jonathan, live at Ashley Court, but since money is short and the family fortunes have diminished, they now live in a cottage on the estate, renting out the house itself to a rich American tycoon and his family Ashley Estate is bound by a Trust, and there are several restrictions which had been put in place by William Ashley, the 19th century owner, to protect it and ensure its proper inheritance One was that only male heirs could inherit, and another that every member of the family must agree to any sale of land or property One of the telepathic messages hits Bryony who rushes to Bavaria, where her father was staying as a patient in his old friend Walther Gothard s sanatorium in Bad T lz, in the Isar valley She has a feeling that something terrible has happened In fact she learns that view spoiler Jonathan Ashley had died as the result of a hit and run accident On Bryony s arrival at the hospital, his doctor an old family friend tells her of Jonathan s last words, a cryptic message warning her of danger Could this also give her clues to the mystery at the heart of the Ashley inheritance The estate now belongs to her cousin Howard, the father of Emory, James and Francis, but he also is an ill man and Emory and James are desperate to acquire funds for their failing business.Bryony is trying to decide what to do with her future, now that all she owns is the cottage and a little strip of land She feels comfortable with the people she has known all her life, including the Vicar, Mrs Henderson who helps out, and Rob Granger, her childhood friend who works on the estate For much of the novel Bryony hopes that James is her telepathic lover, but she gradually realises that Emory and James are ruthless, and in league together to steal her inheritance Her own little cottage has vital access for the developers who want to build on the land The twins may even be willing to murder for it She also learns, rather belatedly and after the reader has suspected for some while that her secret lover is none of these, but Rob Granger, whom she grew up with Although he is a gardener and general handyman around Ashley Court, in a complicated plot, he is actually a legitimate Ashley, who is in line to inherit the entire estate There is a dramatic turn of events near the end, where on learning that Bryony has married Rob, Emory, assisted by James, tries to murder them both by flooding the property Their plan is to sell it for redevelopment However, all is well and the novel ends on a happy note, with Bryony and Rob planning to emigrate, and Francis, the younger brother showing up, just in time to take over the care of Ashley Court The supernatural element remains in the novel to the end, as in a final scene, the 1835 lovers appear to be re united after death hide spoiler The history of the Ashley family provides an intriguing mystery, and we follow Bryony s thinking as she gradually solves her father s puzzles There is a pavilion in whichWicked Nickthe black sheep of the family, was reputed to have got up to his infamous philandering with the local female population, and this is set in the centre of a formal hedge maze, which is depicted on the family s coat of arms This detail is actually authentic The book s title, Touch not the Cat refers to the motto of the clan chief of Clan Chattan, a community of twelve clans including Clan Mackintosh, Clan Macpherson and Clan MacBean The motto in full isTouch not the cat bot without a gloveMary Stewart has lifted this factual element to apply as the motto of her fictional Ashley family, originally from a Scottish ancestor.I particularly enjoyed all thecatreferences in the book A Scottish wildcat, a stone cat crumbled away, lying broken and submerged in a lake, a character whose nickname wasCat , even the odd descriptive phrase to create tension, such as whenit felt as if a cat had brushed againstBryony Plus of course the view spoiler Roman mosaic of the leopard, discovered under the pavilion, right at the end of the novel, which would very likely solve all the family s financial troubles hide spoiler Mary Stewart herself was Scots, married to Frederick Stewart, a professor of geology and mineralogy, and one of Britain s foremost scientists He was knighted in 1974, hence she becameLady StewartThe meeting between the couple sounds like something out of one of her books It was just after VE Victory in Europe Day in 1945, and she was at an impromptu fancy dress party at Durham Castle There she met a young Scotsman who lectured in geology She reportedHe was wearing a girl s gym tunic, lilac socks, dance pumps a red ribbon round his head He said May I have this dance, Miss Rainbow and I thought You re the oneHe certainly proved to be the one Three months later they were married, and remained together all their lives until his death in 2001 The couple had divided their home life between Edinburgh and a Victorian house by Loch Awe in the Highlands Having spent a holiday in a cottage by Loch Awe myself, I can attest to this being a stunningly beautiful setting in which to work, with the deep blue of the still loch on a summer s day, and views of snow capped mountains They shared a love of nature, Greek and Roman history, music, theatre and art, and all of these are evident in Mary Stewart s books.Interestingly, Mr Bryanston, the vicar in the novel,is to some extent a portrait of my own fatheraccording to the author Mary Stewart s father, Frederick Albert Rainbow 1886 1967 , was an Anglican vicar in County Durham Along with the vicar, a bookseller, and Jonathan Ashley s friend and doctor, Herr Walther Gothard, the book has a small cast of characters in the house itself, adding to the intimate feel From the broad sweep of Europe we quickly narrow down to Ashley Court, the claustrophobic unsettling feel of Bryony s innermost thoughts, and those of herloverThere are sections at the end of each chapter set in 1835, and as the novel proceeds, it becomes clear whose thoughts these are, and this fills in a little of the plot The hedge maze from the 19th century with a pavilion at the centre used for lovers meetings, the involved story of the family s crest, the subplot about burglaries of small but valuable objects from the house, and a missing church register, all add to the mystery and are crucial to the playing out of the story.It is a breathtakingly fast read the tone is high octane It feels both heart stopping and spellbinding for those who love gothic or historical mysteries with a supernatural component.It is at its heart a romantic novel Be warned, there are torrid descriptions such aheart twisting smile , orhis shirt was open and I could see the glint of a gold chain against the hairs of his chest and the pulse beating strongly in the hollow of his throatOccasionally the purple prose runs away with itself, such as hereI took another step towards him He moved as fast as the collie had, and took hold of me, pulling me tightly against him As he began to kiss me, the huge heap of trouble melted like snow, and above us in the pear tree a nightingale began to sing At this point I seriously began to wonder whether Mary Stewart was writing a parody of a romantic novel Thankfully they are few.The elements of romantic fiction are curiously old fashioned, even for the mid 1970s Forget the permissive 60s they may never have happened Mary Stewart s heroines are chaste, and her male heroes equally sexually inexperienced There is plenty of suggestion of eroticism, but that is as far as it goes Marriage is the prelude to consummation, and the novel describes the courtship There is nothing explicit, and nothing here to shock anyone s great aunt the most extreme perhaps provoking a raised eyebrow Mary Stewart was presumably being faithful to her considerable fan base, and never writing a heroine who did not conform to their expectations.What lifts this out of the mass of romantic novels is the quality of Mary Stewart s descriptive flow She describes landscape and the countryside very evocatively, with a keen eye for the British countryside in all its seasons The tension of the most dramatic moments in the story is mirrored and heightened by the savagery of the weather The unsettling moments may occur in the stillness of the night a sense of unease created by an animal s eerie cry Mary Stewart uses the natural world she is familiar with beautifully, and to great effect in evoking the English countryside in May She conveys a great sense of place and atmosphere This tale of dark family secrets, Touch Not the Cat was one of the last of Mary Stewart s classic mid century gothic romances, redolent with danger and darkness, magic and suspense We have all the tropes of gothic novels There is an ancient grange, the tumbledown ancestral home of the Ashley family where danger lurks behind every shadow There are missing parish registers and rightful heirs, twins and cousins Thrillingly, there are churchyard scenes, shadowy figures, storms and floods, darkness and a very great deal of moonlight And to cap it all of course there is the supernatural element.Oddly, Mary Stewart seems to want eat her cake and still have it She was a canny author indeed, which makes me think again that there are times when she deliberately parodied the genre, whilst exploiting it Within Touch not the Cat itself, her characters explicitly mention the Gothic conventions, and are disparaging of them For instance, at one point Bryony saysA robed figure in a darkened church Absurd They had a word for the silly penny dreadful, didn t they Gothic, that was it Robed nuns and ancient houses and secret passages, the paraphernalia that Jane Austen had laughed at in Northanger AbbeyAnother instance is when Mrs Underhill, one of the American tenants of Ashley Court, saysAll this time in a moated grange straight out of Tennyson, and not even the sniff of a ghost or a secret passage or any of the things you might expectBryony repliesthere is a secret stair, as a matter of fact it s a very tame affair but it may have been useful in its day In a way it s a sort of secret inside a secret it goes down from the Priest s Hole into the wine cellars So Mary Stewart has no compunctions about including such details for atmosphere, or even to poke fun at them, yet none of them play any part in the actual novel itself There is no use made anywhere of these Gothic secret rooms and passages, nor are there any ghosts in Ashley Court It is all hokum except for the gift of telepathy This clairaudience is never in question.What Mary Stewart s fans remark on most is her wonderful storytelling, her sharply depicted settings and the sympathetic and lively characters She was one of the most prominent writers of the romantic suspense subgenre, effortlessly blending romance novels and mystery She combined the two genres, maintaining the mystery whilst focusing on the relationship or at this time a simple courtship between two people She devised the story so that by going through the process of solving the mystery, the hero s personality is illuminated thereby helping the heroine to fall in love with him One critic remarkedShe built the bridge between classic literature and modern popular fiction She did it first and she did it best stating that her classical education served her well, enabling her to write intelligent novels full of literary allusions and involving a little research Critically, her works are usually considered superior to those of other acclaimed romantic suspense novelists, such as Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney, and some have even said she was the natural successor to the Bront s Her writing does seem to have been influenced by Emily Bront.But Mary Stewart s own view was thatI am first and foremost a teller of tales And her massive book sales are testament to that A re read from several decades ago, the suspense novels of Mary Stewart never fail to please In this offering, penned during the groovy 1970 s, Stewart was no doubt making Touch Not the Catrelevant for the time period by adding the gift of telepathy to her heroine Bryony Ashley, and Bryony s mysterious telepathic lover.Who is this mind melding hero Is it one of her cousins Emory, James or Francis Ashley Admittedly, for most American readers, this is a pretty icky coupling, but apparent A re read from several decades ago, the suspense novels of Mary Stewart never fail to please In this offering, penned during the groovy 1970 s, Stewart was no doubt making Touch Not the Catrelevant for the time period by adding the gift of telepathy to her heroine Bryony Ashley, and Bryony s mysterious telepathic lover.Who is this mind melding hero Is it one of her cousins Emory, James or Francis Ashley Admittedly, for most American readers, this is a pretty icky coupling, but apparently Brits are were ok with it, so I tried my darnest to get over the revulsion by placing myself in any perilous situation where romantic attraction to my own obnoxious cousin Scott would ever cause my heart to palpitate with love.uh, nope, can t do itBut anyway, if you can get past this concept, the plot is pretty good, and has all the suspense you ve come to expect if you re a Mary Stewart fan In fact, Touch Not the Cat really kept me mystified as to the identity of the telepathic lover right up until the revealand even then, Stewart didn t make it any easier for the reader to breathe a sigh of relief and mutter, so that s who it was.Not quite as strong IMO as some of her earlier suspense books, Touch Not the Cat is still a fun read, and well worth the time I shouldn t have waited 30 years for a re read 3.5 I ve finished pondering my review.This tale of Bryony her cousins was not a comfortable read for me.This isn t one of my favourites Part of it might be my modern ideas about property Maybe in the 1970 s Ashley Court would have been a giant white elephant, but Byrony s willingness to walk away from valuable possessions is baffling to me.Part of it is my lack of interest in the paranormal I know there are things that can t be explained I have had brief snatches of conversation turn up 3.5 I ve finished pondering my review.This tale of Bryony her cousins was not a comfortable read for me.This isn t one of my favourites Part of it might be my modern ideas about property Maybe in the 1970 s Ashley Court would have been a giant white elephant, but Byrony s willingness to walk away from valuable possessions is baffling to me.Part of it is my lack of interest in the paranormal I know there are things that can t be explained I have had brief snatches of conversation turn up where it feels like I have had them before It feels like a book that has had too many pages turned So while not a total sceptic, neither am I a blind believer so a lot of this book was too woo woo for me.The cousinly relationships don t usually worry me too much in 20th century books another place, another time but this time it did because Byrony had been brought up with them so much view spoiler because it wasthan one hide spoiler In particular any time James entered the story it felt weird uncomfortable.In spite of this the beginning hooked me in, but a lot of the middle story dragged I was really tempted to start skimming.Maybe 3.5 I doubt I ll be rereading this one, but I may tidy this review up when I return from holiday I ve recently re discovered Mary Stewart and even though I read this book many years ago,than enough time has passed for me to feel it was a brand new read The only Mary Stewart title I have read often in the last 30 years or so was Airs Above the Ground there are horses in it, it HAD to get read over and over but I did not know if Touch Not The Cat would be as fast paced as Airs I tried not to expect anything, tried to read it with the fresh eyes that my long absence gave it.I liked t I ve recently re discovered Mary Stewart and even though I read this book many years ago,than enough time has passed for me to feel it was a brand new read The only Mary Stewart title I have read often in the last 30 years or so was Airs Above the Ground there are horses in it, it HAD to get read over and over but I did not know if Touch Not The Cat would be as fast paced as Airs I tried not to expect anything, tried to read it with the fresh eyes that my long absence gave it.I liked the story, the setting, and the gentle sort of mystery It isof a mental mystery throughout most of the book, rather than one with a lot of action Bryony spends plenty of time thinking about what is happening around her, discussing with everyone, and wondering just who is the mysterious fantasy lover she has had a telepathic connection to practically her entire life.There are hints throughout the book to guide her and the reader but I only guessed one thing correctly, and even after that I changed my mind later, just like I was supposed to do As in Airs Above The Ground, I appreciate Stewart s craftsmanship, her nice way with phrases.she describes an antiques dealer that Bryony talks with as impulsive as a two toed sloth.that tickled me I did not really like Bryony herself though, I wanted her to DO something, but she muddled through and everything came out fine in the end Plus I learned the reason for the beautiful illustration on the cover of the edition I was reading 4.5 Stars I loved it It s a great mystery with twins, an old family estate, a pretty large inheritance, paranormal elements, possible murder, a side mystery about two lovers, a moat, the coast, a strong female lead, a maze, and the word cat in the title Works well for me I am beginning to get to reading or re reads of all of Mary Stewart s books as I am having a fairly easy time collecting them good hard backs at used bookstores and thrift stores This is one of my favorites So much I l 4.5 Stars I loved it It s a great mystery with twins, an old family estate, a pretty large inheritance, paranormal elements, possible murder, a side mystery about two lovers, a moat, the coast, a strong female lead, a maze, and the word cat in the title Works well for me I am beginning to get to reading or re reads of all of Mary Stewart s books as I am having a fairly easy time collecting them good hard backs at used bookstores and thrift stores This is one of my favorites So much I liked about it An amazing writer of gothic mystery and suspense I enjoyed this with 2 buddies, Candi and Julie, in the Reading For Pleasure Book Club Highly recommended I will likely read this again in a few years Sheer escapism 3.5 stars Like most Mary Stewart mystery romances, this book is a little dated usually it s the massive smoking, nylon nightgowns and alpha heroes in MS novels this time it s the ESP Also, my paperback s 1970 s cover didn t help Still, I thought it was an enjoyable read Mary Stewart really knows how to evoke the scenery, whether it s exotic locations or the English countryside The telepathic link that the heroine, Bryony, shares with an unknown relative started out as a little bit of an ey 3.5 stars Like most Mary Stewart mystery romances, this book is a little dated usually it s the massive smoking, nylon nightgowns and alpha heroes in MS novels this time it s the ESP Also, my paperback s 1970 s cover didn t help Still, I thought it was an enjoyable read Mary Stewart really knows how to evoke the scenery, whether it s exotic locations or the English countryside The telepathic link that the heroine, Bryony, shares with an unknown relative started out as a little bit of an eye roller for me, but in that inimitable Mary Stewart style she manages to weave it inextricably into the plotline The general direction from which the danger is coming is fairly apparent pretty early in the book, but just how dangerous is it to Bryony and who all is involved in the plotting A possible murder or was it an accident and some attempted murders add spice to the plot And who doesn t like Roman mosaics And cats And cat mosaics Every chapter begins with an appropriate quote from Romeo and Juliet although usually I have to go back when I ve finished reading the chapter to figure out just why MS used that particular quote and ends with a vignette from the life of one of Bryony s ancestors, for reasons that become apparent as you get near to the end of the book There are a few surprising and maybe a few not so surprising plot twists along the way I thought Bryony s mysterious telepathic lover could have manned up and disclosed himself to Bryony much earlier in the story except for the fact that keeping him secret prolongs some of the mystery for the reader but the disclosure was very satisfying to me when it finally came Touch Not the Cat is still not my favorite Mary Stewart novel that would be Nine Coaches Waiting but I liked it better this time than I did when I first read it, maybe 25 years ago And for my money, nobody does romantic suspense novels quite like Mary Stewart She s just in a class by herself It s barely a year since the things happened that I am writing about, but I find that I am already thinking of my father as if he were long gone, part of the past As he is now but on that warm April night in Madeira when my love told me to go and see him, Daddy was alive, just In 2016, I added Mary Stewart to my list of treasured authors This was done with much enthusiasm following a several month love affair with her Merlin and King Arthur series I gushed about those books and was determiIt s barely a year since the things happened that I am writing about, but I find that I am already thinking of my father as if he were long gone, part of the past As he is now but on that warm April night in Madeira when my love told me to go and see him, Daddy was alive, just In 2016, I added Mary Stewart to my list of treasured authors This was done with much enthusiasm following a several month love affair with her Merlin and King Arthur series I gushed about those books and was determined to eventually read everything MS had ever written Touch Not the Cat was one of those books on my list, and the opportunity arose to read this with my reading buddies Debbie and Julie It s always so much fun to read with like minded friends and this book was highly entertaining Starting out, I knew there was a telepathic component to this gothic suspense novel, so I was a tad bit skeptical what with paranormal elements not exactly being my thing and all Needless to say, I shouldn t have worried as Mary Stewart manages to work this into the plot in a very clever way Our heroine Bryony Ashley communicates with her mysterious lover throughout, while at the same time trying to interpret the cryptic message her father left for her on his death bed She returns to her home, Ashley Court, which will now be handed down to her male cousins I adored reading about the old house, the apple orchard, and the little gardener s cottage Stewart paints such a vivid picture of the scenery and makes a dreamy eyed reader feel like she is right there, transported to another time and place The estate has a very intriguing history We learn bits of this through Bryony s conversations with others as well as from short diary like entries penned by a nameless Ashley ancestor at the end of each chapter Short and relevant quotes from Romeo and Juliet are also included at the start of each chapter, delighting any Shakespeare fans Touch Not the Cat is a slow building and quiet sort of mystery in the beginning Pieces are uncovered at a gradual pace and it s not full of edge of your seat action for quite some time However, there s an underlying feeling of suspense throughout as the reader wonders about the identity of Bryony s secret lover and worries about her safety given the warning of danger she received upon her father s death There s a complicated maze on the property, complete with a pavilion in the center with its own curious and provocative history The pace increases towards the end of the novel, secrets are revealed, and there is a very tense scene that left the adventure craving reader in me quite satisfied A delightful blend of suspense and romance, Touch Not the Cat has several twists and turns that kept me completely engaged Mary Stewart is a wonderful storyteller, and this one did not disappoint 4.5 stars