...making decisions on the basis of what seems best instead of following some single doctrine or style.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt Book Review...

I read this book for the first time in the summer of 1978. I was pregnant with my 3rd child and was having complications. I was ordered to be on bed rest for 4 months. It was really a tough time with two children age 3 and under running around. To brighten up my day a friend brought over a big bag of books. They were mostly Victoria Holt books. I had never even heard of her. What a treat. Mistress of Mellyn was the first one I read and fell in love. I devoured Victoria Holt that summer and now 32 years later I'm devouring them again.

I just finished Mistress of Mellyn for the 2nd time. I had forgotten most of it so it was really fun to read it all over again. What could be better than a suspenseful romance set in Cornwall. Martha Leigh "Marty" is forced into taking a position as a governess in Connan TreMellyn's household. Her charge is the bright, but sassy 7 year old daughter, Alice, of Lord TreMellyn. Martha has never been to Cornwall and is completely mesmerized by the place, so far away from every where else. Mellyn Manor is a huge house with spooky dark corners and hiding places. There are hushed secrets between the servants that Marty is dying to find out. What really happened to the late Mrs. TreMellyn? Was she really an adulterer or a victim of a murder? Marty will make it her mission to find the answers even if it will put her own life in danger. She can't help but notice how unhappy Alice and her father are and maybe uncovering the truth will help them move on with their lives.

What a fun and fast read this is. Mistress of Mellyn was the first book that Elenore Hibbert wrote under the pen name of Victoria Holt in 1955. As she continues to write as Victoria Holt the stories will get even more intricate and suspenseful. Ms. Holt wrote several books that will take place in Cornwall, Mistress of Mellyn, Bride of Pendoric, and Lord of Far Island. She must have loved the place. I can understand her love and fascination with the country. I had an opportunity last summer to stay in Boscastle, Cornwall. It's breathtaking. A place where land meets the sea. There is an aura about the place that is a little spooky no matter how beautiful it is. It is a place filled with stories and legends of smugglers, pirates, and witchcraft.

There is an amazing Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle that my daughter and I went in. We thought it was probably going to be silly, but I am here to tell you there was nothing silly about it. It was seriously spooky and I couldn't wait to get out of there.

Smuggler caves are all over the place. You can see how Daphne De Demauer was able to create Jamaica Inn and Frenchman's Creek.

Do yourself a favor and take an afternoon or two and sit back and enjoy Mistress of Mellyn. It's on sale right now on Amazon for $5.99.


  1. What a great trip down memory lane! I read VH books in high school. I think I'll find a few and re-read them. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Kathy I hope you will join my challenge. It will be fun!

  3. Mistress of Mellyn was one of my favorites back in high school. Gosh, Victoria Holt is one I'll have to read again. She and Daphne DuMaurier were my favorites!

  4. I've never participated in a challenge but this sounds fun and easy. I'll have to see which books I still have. VH and GH are great pool reads!

  5. Wonderful review and trip down memory lane -- Mistress of Mellyn was my first VH book. I adored Holt books in high school and would love to reread a few favorites. I've joined your Holt/Heyer challenge -- thank you so much!

  6. Cornwall and romance. Lovely mix. Always loved a Holt book.

  7. Sounds like a good book, and I have still not read anything by her

  8. When I was in high school our librarian recommended Victoria Holt to me for something to read for my own enjoyment - when I needed something off the scheduled required reading plan and I have thanked that kind soul from the bottom of my heart ever since. As long as VH was alive I eagerly awaited each book release and even now - years later - I miss those happy events! Favorite VH book? No question - it is The Night Of The Seventh Moon! Excellent fiction to lose yourself in! And if you can find one of VH's books read aloud by Donada Peters - you will have a real treat!

  9. I have this one on my shelves somewhere. Victoria Holt was an author I tried and liked after reading REBECCA. I have been buying her books. What I really need is time to read them all.
    I m not sure if I read it yet, but I haven't read a good gothic in a while. This is a good one to bring out.

  10. When I was a tween, I devoured everything by Victoria Holt. Maybe I should reread some her books soon.

  11. The child's name wasn't Alice. Her name was Alvean, which meant Little Alice, her dead mother was Alice. I know, I named my oldest daughter Alvean. And, she was 8. Other than that, your description was great.

  12. Susie,
    I'd love to connect with you on Goodreads (or FB or my blog: I just discovered Victoria Holt and have read 3 thus far. Just finished The Demon Lover and was wondering if she'd written any other bodice rippers.



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