The Wind off the Small IslesAnyone who knows me knows my deep and abiding love of Mary Stewart. Every year, I re-read at least two or three of the books. But up until recently, every time I checked for The Wind of the Small Isles, it would show up in the $75 range, which put it at about $1 per page. I couldn’t make myself do it. But apparently it was reissued last year, because this version is copyright 2016 and was released to honor what would have been Stewart’s 100th birthday.

I must admit that much as I love Stewart, when I got to the end of the book I had to go back and read this description again because it was just so wrong:

The Wind off the Small Isles is Mary Stewart’s sweeping, romantic long-lost novella, finally being brought back to print in a beautiful, all new edition for the first time in more than four decades.

Look, I loved this little novella, but at 80 pages, calling it “sweeping” is ridiculous. And even “romantic” is pushing it a bit given that the characters barely have time to develop themselves, let alone relationships. It’s beautifully written and typical of Stewart in the strong descriptions and sense of place that suck a reader in, but there’s no real mystery, and not much in the way of plot. If you can get your hands on it and you really love Stewart, grab it. You’ll spend some enjoyable time meeting the characters (there’s an Easter egg for die-hard fans of This Rough Magic) and walk away feeling refreshed, but it’s not sweepingly romantic.