A new-to-me Mary Stewart! Alas that it’s only a novella. Still, it’s characteristic of her work in the fine and detailed sense of place, in the sudden sweet relationship between the male and female characters, and in the atmospheric setting. Most of it would really have benefitted from a longer book: I really wanted to see more of this post-cataclysmic scene in Lanzarote, the lava beds and lack of trees… it’s not how I imagine the place, and it’s a fascinating glimpse of a whole different time — a time when tourism on Lanzarote was barely beginning, because volcanic activity had scoured the island.
The relationship, too… I can suspend my disbelief somewhat, but it would’ve been so much better to have a full novel of this, a full novel to explore the story and the development of the relationship. Just two brief encounters seemed very little.
I’d have also liked to see more of Perdita’s relationship with her employer; a female writer who may in some ways have echoed Mary Stewart herself, a strong relationship between two women… alas that the intended third story about Perdita, a full-length book, was never written.
Still, for a bit of atmosphere and setting — wow.