Sunday, December 4, 2016

Airs Above the Ground - Mary Stewart

This book has been reprinted so many times.  There are tons of covers for it and this isn't the best one, but it's the one I read.

Not too long ago, I started re-exploring Mary Stewart's books, which I enjoyed when I was a teenager. I read The Ivy Tree and had to force myself to finish it.  Not so with Airs Above the Ground.

I thought I'd like it partly because I love the Lipizzan horses.  I've been to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and I've seen the horses perform more than once.  They were trained as fearsome war horses.  The horses aren't the focus of the story, but they're an important part of it.  

Vanessa March and her husband have a fight before he leaves on a business trip.  He's in Stockholm, at least he said that's where he was going.  But a friend of hers sees him in a news clip at the movies in a story about a circus fire near Vienna.  That friend uses the information to coerce Vanessa into escorting her teenage son, Timothy, to Vienna to visit his estranged father.

Tim's father isn't interested in having a teenage son, so Tim and Vanessa go off to find her husband.  They find the circus and make friends with the performers.  Vanessa is a veterinarian and helps an old horse with an abscess.

They find her husband, who is there under a different name.  A man from his company was killed in the fire and he's trying to find out what happened to him.  He's been keeping a secret fromVanessa, a big secret.

There are car chases up a steep mountain, a near accident with a cog train, drug smuggling, and an equine surprise.

The action was so intense that I could barely put the book down.  It rekindled my interest in Mary Stewart. 

If you want to see the Lipizzaners in action, go here:

If you want to watch an amazing equine athlete with an amazing sense of rhythm, here's the late, great Blue Hors Matine:

Friday, December 2, 2016

November Books

I did better this month than last, despite feeling restless much of the time.  I started a few large books that have since been idling on a table.  But here's what I did finish:

The Lost Boy  -  Camilla Lackberg

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd  -  Alan Bradley

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living  -  Louise Miller

Fifty Days of Solitude  -  Doris Grumbach

Bodies in a Bookshop  -  R. T. Campbell

Bear  -  Marian Engel

Turn Right at Machu Picchu  -  Mark Adams

The Princess Bride  -  William Goldman

The Skeleton Road  -  Val McDermid

Hiss and Hers  -  M. C. Beaton

You can see a trend here toward mindless reading, comfort books, things that don't require too much attention.  I started and discarded a couple of books.  Life's too short.  I can't imagine December's list will have much more depth.  We'll see.