This book is unusual for Mary Stewart in that the main characters are already married, so it lacks the developing romance plotline that's so charming in most of her other novels, but you do get some pretty funny light sexy banter between Vanessa and Lewis, so it's a fair trade-off. Timothy is a little older than the boys that show up in several of Mary Stewart's other novels, but he's just as delightful as Philippe, David and William. There are a few slow spots and a few unlikely turns in the plot (especially at the end, when (view spoiler)Lewis agrees to take Vanessa and Timothy along with him to confront the bad guys.
I became a devoted fan of Mary Stewart this year when I discovered her Merlin and King Arthur series and am determined to read everything she ever wrote no matter how long that may take! The circus, the famous Lipizzaner horses, an ancient castle set in the middle of a rugged terrain, and some dramatic tension and a chase with the baddies add to the appeal of this book. One looked for his wings." I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys the writing of Mary Stewart, those that want an entertaining mystery free from gruesome descriptions, and readers interested in a 'crash course' on the background of the legendary Lipizzan stallions.
And not just any horses....The noble, ancient Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna are part of the story. Many of the movements horses are taught in dressage were used in war-time cavalry maneuvers. And if you think horses don't do this sort of thing naturally you have not spent enough time with the beasties. Buddy read summer 2015--thanks for sharing the fun!
The chase across the top of the castle never fails to leave me breathless, but I must admit that I can never picture things like 'the northwest corner' or 'the southern turret'.
Airs Above the Ground has every single element that is needed to make a marvelous Mary Stewart novel work: an enchanting and somewhat exotic setting, a plucky heroine navigating dangers under her own steam, a handsome and strong man just when you need him, an evil antagonist and one of Stewarts charming boys. There are such people, unfortunates who have to be angry before they can feel alive. Airs Above the Ground is a marvelous romp and a delicious read, as every Mary Stewart novel is.
The fictional castle, Schloss Zechstein, which becomes the main action arena in the story is based on the Weesenstein Schloss, situated on the borders of Hungary and the Czech Republic. The author recreated the beauty of the surroundings in picturesque words and winds a suspenseful, dramatic story around the ancient landscapes of the area. I have ordered several of her books and look forward to read them, simply because it celebrates the old-fashioned decency and grace of the Sixties women's literature.
I hadn't read Mary Stewart since she was contemporary fiction; a couple of titles maybe, of which the only one I (dimly) remember at, urk, 50 years distance was Madame, Will You Walk? A while back I read a couple of the Dorothy Dunnett then-contemporary romantic suspense/mystery titles; these two echo each other in some subtle stylistic fashion, though I like Stewart's voice better.
3.5* Set in a favourite country (Austria) & a favourite time period (the sixties) but even so this for me wasn't one of Stewart's best. The story worked best for me at the times the hero Lewis wasn't present.
In Austria, seventeen year-old Tim admitted that his father wasnt expecting him that was only a story for his grandmother and that what he really wanted was to see the country and to visit The Spanish Riding School in Vienna. This is a classic Mary Stewart story of romance and suspense; with all of the elements you might expect and with enough to make it feel a little different to her other books. It was a nice change, having a married leading lady, and I liked her relationship with her husband, but I didnt see enough of him to understand why she had married him. My favourites were the time in a meadow when Vanessa made a wonderful discovery about that old piebald house; and a dramatic chase around the battlements of the castle. But I have to say that I dont think this is Mary Stewarts best book, and that this story didnt hold me as it should have. And, though the story of the old piebald house was very well done, there was much less of horses and of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna that I had expected.
The prospect of a woman seeing her missing husband on a newsreel and setting out to find him is what I found interesting about this book and it was probably the main draw, other than the fact that it's written by Mary Stewart and I generally like her writing. The book's description makes it sound like Vanessa's husband is missing, but he really isn't.
Born in England, she lived for many years in Scotland, spending time between Edinburgh and the West Highlands.