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This Rough Magic

Written by: Mary Stewart
Narrated by: Helen Johns
Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The pioneer of romantic suspense, Mary Stewart leads her listeners on a thrilling journey to a Mediterranean island paradise in this tale of mystery, murder and intrigue, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Barbara Pym.  

Lucy Waring, a young, out-of-work actress from London, leaps at the chance to visit her sister for a summer on the island paradise of Corfu, and what's more, a famous but reclusive actor is staying in a villa nearby. But Lucy's hopes for rest and romance are shattered when a body washes up on the beach and she finds herself swept up in a chilling chain of events. 

I shuddered, and drank my coffee, leaning back in my chair to gaze out across pine tops furry with gold towards the sparkling sea, and surrendering myself to the dreamlike feeling that marks the start of a holiday....

©1964 Mary Stewart (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

What listeners say about This Rough Magic

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  • Susan
  • 2018-08-02

PERFECT BEACH READ, rediscovered

I first read This Rough Magic around the time I was studying Shakespeare as an English major, nearly 50 years ago, and I had forgotten what a good writer Mary Stewart was. Finding several of her books as I scrolled through auduble’s new releases piqued my interest and for some reason this title jumped out as the one to try first. Great choice! The story involves Lucy Waring, the first-person narrator, a young actress whose first big role was a flop; Sir Julian Gale, an acclaimed actor who has gone into seclusion; Julian’s son Max, an aloof musician; a friendly dolphin; a raft of local Greek characters and the main character of the story — the island of Corfu. Oh, to summer in a fully-staffed villa on a Greek isle! What else could we possibly need? Romance and murder, of course. And no one has ever combined the two any better than Mary Stewart. The title is from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Sir Julian Gale and Lucy both know the play well (British stage actors, remember) and they reference it often throughout the book. This is a lot of fun for those familiar with the play, but all of the references are explained in context so lack of familiarity won’t spoil your enjoyment. Written in the mid-1960s, the novel holds up amazingly well. Those of us who were alive then just shift ourselves back in time. For younger listeners, the idyllic island setting creates such a sense of seclusion that you won’t miss cell phones or the internet. Part of Stewart’s enduring charm is her ability to create an atmosphere through her character’s reactions to their physical surroundings. By the end of the book you will feel like you have visited a Greek island — and you’ll want to book a trip to one immediately! And I can’t imagine how the narration could have been any better. Actress Helen Johns (you may have seen her recently as Eliza Barry in the TV series “Anne with an E”) brings Lucy fully to life.

24 people found this helpful

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  • C. Shipp
  • 2018-10-03

As enchanting now as it was all those years ago

I was thrilled to find an unabridged audio version of one of my Mary Stewart favorites! It was wonderful to revisit a time gone by and memories of old. I will add my voice to the bring on more. I've already pre-ordered "Madam Will You Talk?". Please bring back more, especially "My Brother Michael", "The Moon-Spinners" and "Airs Above the Ground", if you cannot do them all!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Ellen
  • 2018-08-12

Delighted that this is available in audio again!

How delightful that this treasure is available in audio format again. How I have missed listening to it. My poor audio-tapes of Jane Asher's narration are not in good shape any more, and digital format is so convenient for listening to while doing household tasks. I do hope that all Mary Stewart's early novels will be re-issued in audio format again. This is a lovely evocative novel set in an enchanted place, in a time not so very distant, when the turmoil and tensions of the Cold War cast shadows even over the sunny island of Corfu. Even over Miss Lucy Waring's innocent holiday with her sister... Helen Johns does an excellent narration, with all the voices clear and distinct. I will look out for other audio-books narrated by her.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jenny
  • 2018-08-12

Sensational!

Mary Stewart only writes masterpieces, and this is one of them. The performance was thrilling, even musical. Fantastic!!

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  • Robert D.
  • 2018-10-02

Such a pleasure

I have been waiting for years for the Mary Stewart "adventure romances" to be on tape. This is an excellent book, and I really enjoyed the narrator. Will listen to it many times. More please!

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  • "sukey67"
  • 2018-09-13

Audible needs more Mary Stewart!

The master of romantic suspense. More of her works are needed here! Please add more such as The Moonspinners , The Ivy Tree, and Nine Coaches Waiting!

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  • sharon
  • 2018-09-11

Mary Stewart Classic

I am so glad audible is releasing one of my favorite authors of all time! This is such a great well written mystery from a MASTER writer ! I hope the rest of her books will follow Especially my 3 favorites" Airs Above The Ground", "Moon Spinners", and "My Brother Michael" No one compares to MS. The narration was perfect.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Voracious Reader
  • 2019-04-17

A classic!

WHAT IT'S ABOUT When Lucy Waring's sister Phyllida suggests that she join her for a quiet holiday on the island of Corfu, young English Lucy is overjoyed. Her work as an actress has temporarily come to a halt. She believes there is no finer place to be "at liberty" than the sun-drenched isle of Corfu, the alleged locale for Shakespeare's The Tempest. Even the suspicious actions of the handsome, arrogant son of a famous actor cannot dampen her enthusiasm for this wonderland in the Ionian Sea. But the peaceful idyll does not last long. A series of incidents, seemingly unconnected - but all surrounded in mystery - throws Lucy's life into a dangerous spin, as fear, danger and death - as well as romance - supplant the former tranquility. Then a human corpse is carried ashore on the incoming tide... And without warning, she found she had stumbled into a nightmare of strange violence, stalked by shadows of terror and sudden death. MY TAKE I've read this book several times and recently found the audiobook, so I dove in again. Helen Johns did a fantastic job with the narration. It was first published in 1964 and represents the mindset of the time (things like "it's a man's world" and such) but also includes a feisty heroine. There's a case of insta-love but that happens a lot in Stewart's books. But she has interesting characters, paints beautiful pictures with her prose, and has plenty of action, intrigue, and murder to flavor the offering. I'm glad some of these older classics are being made available again.

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  • Judy Solberg
  • 2018-09-17

Classic romantic suspense revived.

it's wonderful to have the Mary Stewart books in audio. This homage to Shakespeare's Tempest is as exciting now as when I first read it in the 1970s.

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  • topcatrules
  • 2018-09-01

Pure magic!

This Rough Magic has long been a favorite of mine but the audio version brings it even further to life. Excellent narration by Helen Johns. Superb story set in the enchanting isle of Corfu. Not to be missed! Highly recommended!

3 people found this helpful