Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart

Title: My Brother Michael
Author: Mary Stewart
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Romance/Suspense
Rating: Like (I think)
Alerts/Warnings: Two overheard sex scenes, Some swearing, violence, murder
Premise: "Nothing ever happened to Camilla Haven -- until a stranger approached her in a crowded Athens café, handed her the keys to a black car parked by the curb,and whispered, "A matter of life and death."

The ride was Camilla's first mistake..." (Good Reads)
Opinions: I just reread this book for the third or fourth time and I have to say my opinion has changed over time. When we initially wrote our Top 100 book list over a year and a half ago this book was on the list (I even own it). I've been reading Mary Stewart books since a pre-teen and like I said this is not the first time I've read this book. The last time I read it was before I was married a good 10+ years ago. I still love seeing Greece through the eyes of the main character. I first fell in love with Greece because of Mary Stewart's descriptions in this book, and I still long greatly to visit this incredible and ancient land because of this book. I love the main character's struggle to find strength within herself after having ended a previous marriage. I love Simon and learning about the history of his brother Michael and what happened during World War 2 in Greece. My ultimate favorite character is a teenage boy by the name of Niko that we see periodically through the story. His vibrant energy is only matched by the kinds of clothes that he wears.

Where my attitude has changed in regards to this story is the reference to sex in the book that I don't recall so vividly from previous read throughs. Pardon me if I spoil a part of the story, but I feel compelled to explain why it bothered me. There are two scenes in the book were the main character is uncomfortably nearby when another pair of characters is having sex. Concerning how graphic it could be, I would say it was fairly clean and brushed over to some degree (I mean the main character does everything to ignore it this side of plugging her ears and saying "I'm not listening".) The biggest concern is the second time this happens it ends in the death of one of the characters because that person had learned too much about what their partner was involved in and the partner couldn't let the person live. So as romance books go the description is moderately clean, but I still felt it was highly disturbing to me at this stage in my life. As such, even though I LOVE the rest of the story, I feel compelled to take this book off of my Top 100 list and sell my copy. That is just my personal opinion. I still love Mary Stewart as an author and leave the decision up to you whether or not you choose to read this book.

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