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Tryst by Elswyth Thane

Updated on July 19, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

A librarian through and through, Virginia Allain writes about book topics and information for library users and librarians.


My Review

This vintage romance touched me the first time I read it. Since then I've probably re-read it ten or twelve times.

Here's my review and a link to other reviews of Tryst, "You will find yourself reading this one over and over. The plight of these out-of-sync lovers and the resolution is very touching. It has many moments of light humor, wonderful descriptions of England in that period right before World War II. The well-developed characters stick in your mind. Treat yourself to this wonderful book.

Ms Thane's descriptions are perfect of the young girl's fascination with the forbidden room in their rented country house and of Hilary Shenstone return from a premature death. The characters and situations delight the reader. The romance touches my feelings with each rereading."

Love of Books by InspirationsByTHart

"Tryst" is one of my all-time favorites. I pull it off the shelf still for re-reads.

— Nym

Tryst - A vintage romance

It falls out-of-print at times and only used copies are available then. These can be quite expensive, probably because it is a book that people keep forever.


"Simply put, TRYST is the single most romantic book I've ever read. Sweet without being soppy, romantic without being cheaply sentimental, TRYST is the wistful, delightful love story of Sabrina and Hilary, two of the most truly lovable characters in all of fiction.

Forget the box of Kleenex -- grab yourself a lace-edged linen handkerchief and a sunny window seat and revel in a pure true love that death can't end and time can't cheat." (review by India on Amazon)


These out-of-sync lovers make the reader believe that love overcomes all, even death.

— Virginia Allain

These excerpts are from Amazon reviews

  1. "It's a lovely story of young love and how, by a twist of fate, two young lives do not turn out the way they were supposed to. It is set during the beginning of WWII - some may say it's predictable however, there is an unexpected twist at the end." by Rosie
  2. "This is a hopeful story as well as a tragic one, and it has haunted me for nearly 30 years."
  3. "It's a very sweet love story, with all the undercurrents and tensions of complex human lives." by Liralen Li
  4. "Tryst is the story of a love that death could not destroy, and is my favorite romance book ever. Sabrina and Hilary transcend time, and their love will widen the range of your heart." by Sharon Lee
  5. "It is a perfect book for a cold, rainy day snuggled up with a hot cup of tea and a warm afgan." by an Amazon customer
  6. "It's timeless. Of the thousands of books I've read through the years I really only remembered this one with such a desire to READ IT AGAIN." by Susan
  7. "This has been one of my favorite books for over 50 yrs. Every time I have loaned it to family or friends it never comes back. They love it also." by Marjorie

The best line ever:

"Hilary --" She whispered, "Where are you? I can't see you -- I can't hear you -- but I know you're here in this room."

More about the Author

You can find out more about Elswyth Thane by reading about her husband naturalist William Beebe. From "The Official William Beebe Web Site": "After several years of marriage, theirs became a marriage of convenience; she (Elswyth Thane) preferring to stay and write her books at their farm in Vermont, and Will out traveling for the zoo and hating the cold weather of northeastern United States. She wrote about their relationship in "Reluctant Farmer." (Also called Strength of the Hills)."

While Elswyth was not forthcoming about their relationship, Beebe's biographer for the 2006 book "The Remarkable Life of William Beebe: Explorer and Naturalist" was granted access to his personal papers and deals frankly with his relationship with his assistant, Dr. Jocelyn Crane.

  • "During the two Zaca expeditions, Beebe was accompanied by his longtime assistant John Tee-Van as well as Jocelyn Crane, a young carcinologist who had first worked for Beebe at Nonsuch Island in 1932, and who would subsequently be among Beebe's most cherished associates for the rest of his life. Like Hollister before her, Crane would eventually become Beebe's lover during the long expeditions that Beebe made without Elswyth's companionship." [Wikipedia]

How Would You Rate the Book

On a scale of 1-7, what did you REALLY think?

See results

I read this when I was about 12 years old. I am now 58 and still think this is the best romance I have ever read. It made a great impression on a young reader.

— Nona

© 2011 Virginia Allain

Tell Me about a Novel That Touched You - and that you found very romantic

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    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 

      8 months ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      Your post really got me to thinking! I probably started reading Daphne DuMaurier's novels about the same time I discovered Elswyth Thane. My favorites of hers are The King's General, Jamaica Inn and, of course, Rebecca.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 

      8 months ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      Of course, Tryst is one of my all-time favorites, as is Elswyth Thane in general. The first book of hers I read was The Light Heart, from her Williamsburg series, and it remains probably my top favorite. Also Yankee Stranger from the Williamsburg series. Another one that comes to mind is The Lost General, a standalone novel.


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