Received to review via Netgalley
Very much in the vein of Mary Stewart’s work, and possibly Heyer’s more adventure-driven romances, Strangers in Company takes two women and throws them into a perilous situation. They become involved with local politics and have issues with local people, and of course, their bravery and resourcefulness — or that of their friends — sorts everything out in the end. And there’s a spot of romance, too, to leaven the mystery and politics.
Marian isn’t the most vivid character of the type, though she does have a well thought out background: a short-lived marriage to a pop idol, twin children who have left her to be supported him, and a raft of resulting anxieties. All of that makes sense for her character, and motivates her throughout the book — or rather, causes her to be the fairly colourless, passive creature she is. Stella is a little more vivid, with strange sulks and mood swings. Overall, there’s enough characterisation to make it a little group of people you can care about for the purposes of the story, although they don’t stick in the mind.
The landscapes and atmospherics aren’t as well done as Mary Stewart’s typical wont; I felt much less a part of the events and the landscape, though the story is intriguingly tied into the landscape and its history. Overall, it’s enjoyable without being a sudden favourite; more of a potboiler than a solid, memorable story. And such things have their place.