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Mistress of Mellyn

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  6,694 Ratings  ·  414 Reviews
Mount Mellyn stood as proud and magnificent as she had envisioned...But what bout its master--Connan TreMellyn? Was Martha Leigh's new employer as romantic as his name sounded? As she approached the sprawling mansion towering above the cliffs of Cornwall, an odd chill of apprehension overcame her.

TreMellyn's young daugher, Alvean, proved as spoiled and difficult as the thr
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ebook, 336 pages
Published December 23rd 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 1960)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Mistress of Mellyn is one of Victoria Holt's old gothic romantic suspense novels, published in 1960. It's the quintessential "governess in peril falling in love with someone above her station" plot. It's a pretty good, old-fashioned novel of its type, one of the better Victoria Holt novels I've read here and there over the years.

Martha (Marty) Leigh is an impoverished gentlewoman forced to become a governess due to her circumstances. She takes a job in Cornwall, a corner of England that, I was s
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Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕
I read a lot of Holt in my teens, then they started to feel both gloom laden and like they had come off a production line, so I stopped. I reread another favourite Bride Of Pendorric by Victoria Holt and while I didn't love it so much this time round, I rounded the book up to 4★ for old times sake. The Mistress of Mellyn, the first Holt I read (although I had read plenty of her Jean Plaidy titles) and the first one she wrote, has stood the test of time and I am happy to award 5★.

This books succeeds in so many areas, the Cornwall
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Enchantress  ☮Debbicat ஐ
Wow! I did not remember that! What a great read! I am still thinking about this book after finishing yesterday. This was really good! I know I read it as a teen. My mom had all those Victoria Holt's from the Doubleday Book Club. I remember this title quite well. And I read all of her books when she finished. I just don't remember any of this story. Great characters and setting. Oh so gothic!

I really enjoyed it quite a lot. So atmospheric. I didn't like Marty at all until about halfway thru. She
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Patricia Burroughs
This is one of those cases where the star rating is based on my memory of how much pleasure the book gave me when I read it as a young girl. Not sure how it holds up to contemporary scrutiny.

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Having just reread this book to see how it holds up I have this to say about it. The writing style is pedestrian. This is evidently Victoria Holt's first book and I will be curious to see if the style improves.

However, I still like the story a lot. The characters, setting, menace, use of location,
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Veronique
Mar 28, 2017 Veronique rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stars-3-5, 2017
3.5 (for Retro Reads)

“There are two courses open to a gentlewoman when she finds herself in penurious circumstances,” my Aunt Adelaide had said. “One is to marry, and the other to find a post in keeping with her gentility.”

I’d never heard of Victoria Holt but this gothic romantic story was full of suspense. The plot follows the well-known plight of the governess, having to find a position to survive, finding such role only to realise that all is not as it seems. Martha Leigh, vicar daughter with
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Rane
Oct 17, 2015 Rane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian-era

2.5 Stars

This happen to be one of those books with great writing that pulls one in, but not enough substance to truly make it shine.
For a Gothic romance it had the spooky house, strange happenings and the broody hero. That was about it. Most of the events were pretty much everyday things, with a few clues drops from time to time, but not enough to figure out what happen to the wife who all of a sudden- up and took off with the local man-hoe and then was killed. The clues that were dropped we
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Jane
Aug 31, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
I wasn’t at all sure that Victoria Holt was my sort of author, but I had to give a gothic romance set in Cornwall the benefit of the doubt. And when I read the opening words I was so glad that I did.

“There are two courses open to a gentlewoman when she finds herself in penurious circumstances,” my Aunt Adelaide had said. “One is to marry, and the other is to find a post in keeping with her gentility.”

As the train carried me through the wooded hills and past green meadows, I was taken this second
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MomToKippy
This is my second Holt and I am still thrilled with her. I think she will prove to be one of those authors I can pick up anytime and be assured of a good read. I see many similarities with her construction and characters compared to The Shivering Sands but that does not detract for me. I still love the way she slowly weaves the mystery, reveals the characters bit by bit and gradually builds the gentle romance. Just as in TSS, I found all the characters to be intriguing and developed. I love the ...more
Regan Walker
Feb 20, 2016 Regan Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian, gothic
Gothic Mystery set in Cornwall with a Wonderful Love Story

Set in Victorian England in Devon, Cornwall, this is the story of Martha Leigh (“Miss Leigh”) who, at 24, comes to Mount Mellyn to become the governess to widower Connan TreMellyn’s young daughter, Alvean.

After all, what’s an educated woman with no parents and no prospects to do?

Miss Leigh soon discovers that Alvean is spoiled, hard to manage and suffering from too little of her father's attention, which might explain the departure of the
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Hannah
Rating Clarification: 2.5 Stars

I've been doing alot of re-reads at the beginning of 2012; some from books of my childhood, others from books of my teen years. For the most part, these re-reads have stood the test of time between readings. Whether this is because of nostalgia or their overall quality it's hard to determine. Regardless, it's generally been a positive re-reading experience. However, the appeal of Victoria Holt's first published gothic novel, Mistress of Mellyn, faltered in my remem
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Cphe
More years than I care to remember since I read this novel. You tend to forget just what pure escapism this author offered to her readers. Loved the atmosphere and the Cornish setting. Somewhat predictable but still good fun........a dark and brooding hero and a determined and feisty heroine with a heart of gold that had the power to bring a family together. All the hallmarks that you look for in a "Gothic" romantic/suspense.
Misfit
Jun 14, 2009 Misfit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"There are two courses open to a gentlewoman when she finds herself in penurious circumstances.......One is to marry, and the other to find a post in keeping with her gentility."

With no other prospects in sight, Martha Leigh takes a position as governess for eight-year-old Alvean TreMellyn at her family's estate Mount Mellyn in Cornwall. Alvean's mother Alice has been dead for a year, after she ran away with her lover they both died in a tragic train wreck - burned beyond recognition. Her father
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Kavita
Jun 05, 2016 Kavita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martha Leigh has to earn her own living, and the only option open to her is to be a governess. Her aunt finds a place for her and Martha ends up in a household full of secrets. The master of the house is Connan TreMellyin, whose child Alvean she has to teach. There are the siblings from the neighbouring mansion, who are both friends and rivals of the TreMellyins. Clementine wants to marry Connan and mothers Alvean constantly, while Peter is a flirt.

Over time, Martha realises there are far too m
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Bree (AnotherLookBook)
I "discovered" Victoria Holt in my local library back in high school. My mom remembered reading and loving her books back when she was my age. This one was one of my favorites. My only complaint of Holt, even back in high school, was that nothing seemed to happen for ages, and then in the last twenty pages everything would happen! It always left me feeling like I'd just finished a great book, but also like I'd been deceived a little into that impression.

Recently, I got into D.E. Stevenson and fo
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CLM
Jul 05, 2009 CLM rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to CLM by: SLM
A classic gothic: when Martha takes a position as a governess in remote Cornwell, catering to a spoiled child, she does not expect to be surrounded by mystery and find herself in danger...
Marie
I almost want to give it that third star, but the melodrama didn't really start until three quarters of the way through. Before the fun stuff was a bunch of occasional musing on Martha's part about Alice, and no real searching. And I have no idea why Connan was such a catch. He was a jerk, Martha disliked him, Martha got a crush, Connan liked her interest, Martha loves children, Martha loves Connan, Connan loves Martha. So unlike the infamous gold-standard Mr. Darcy, Connan's full character arc ...more
Laura
Jun 19, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Misfit
We are born, we suffer, we love, we die, but the waves continue to beat upon the rocks; the seed time and the harvest come and go, but the earth remains.
Marija
Jul 05, 2010 Marija rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marija by: Mom
My mother gave me this book, telling me that I might get a kick out of it. She was right! This book gives a new meaning to a five star rating: “amazing”… Amazing in the sense—How could this book have been published?!

I’ll admit the story had potential. When I first started it, I thought it would be like those old Catherine Cookson novels I used to love to read in my early teens. Once I was a third of the way into the story, I was embarrassed that I even made that comparison. Cookson’s books are m
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Graham
Jan 20, 2014 Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, romance
NOTE: I've just discovered, purely by chance, that Goodreads have deleted a couple of my old reviews from the site. Luckily, I had a backup of this one:

This Gothic romance packs plenty of punch thanks to the myriad plot ingredients to be found lurking within the pages. The wonderfully Gothic setting is Cornwall, more specifically an ancient castle on the clifftops; it is a location haunted by tragedy, where people die, go missing and walk into the sea, never to return. There are secret peep hole
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Misfit
Feb 27, 2009 Misfit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"There are two courses open to a gentlewoman when she finds herself in penurious circumstances.......One is to marry, and the other to find a post in keeping with her gentility."

With no other prospects in sight, Martha Leigh takes a position as governess for eight-year-old Alvean TreMellyn at her family's estate Mount Mellyn in Cornwall. Alvean's mother Alice has been dead for a year, after she ran away with her lover they both died in a tragic train wreck - burned beyond recognition. Her fathe
...more
Rachel
I read this book as part of a Gothic challenge; I selected it because my task was to find a book with a Gothic looking cover on it. This cover obviously has everything you would want in a gothic novel: A woman looking ghost-like at twilight, near a rocky ocean side, with an old, foreboding mansion in the background. The content of the book is classic Gothic romance as well: the governess is taking care of a petulant child whose mother, Alice, is dead, and the father/man of the house, Connan, cou ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jul 01, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Gothic Romances and Mysteries
This Gothic romance first published in 1960 is one of those rare romance novels I read as a teen that I remember--and remember fondly; it still holds up on a read decades later. These days you find Holt in the general fiction section in my neighborhood Barnes and Noble, not the romance section--indicative of its near classic status as a work of "romantic suspense." Set in Victorian-era Cornwall, the heroine, Martha, is entering a position as a governess at Mellyn. This is a well-written first pe ...more
Meagan
Mistress of Mellyn is a great example of an old-fashioned gothic romance. It begins with the necessary heroine, an impoverished gentlewoman with no prospects for marriage (of course), who is pursuing a living as a governess in an isolated and somewhat spooky manor. The master of the house is a widower, handsome and forbidding, whose wife died in fantastic circumstances and whose body was never positively identified. All this is wrapped up in rumors and mysterious happenings while our heroine, ag ...more
Hasan
Jan 07, 2014 Hasan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of the books on my father’s bookshelves. Bought back in the year 1981. Over all, it was an interesting read with colorful characters. I haven’t read a suspense novel in a while so I suppose I enjoyed it a bit more. Miss Leigh is the most dim-witted governess ever. If one believes in the stereotype, that women are confused creatures, Miss Leigh, surely lives up to that stereotype. I really enjoyed the ending more than the start of this book.

The finishing lines by the author are worth mentioni
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Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran
Victoria Holt was largely responsible for my addition to gothic romance novels when I was a teenager, and so it was with great relish and nostalgia that I re-read "The Mistress of Mellyn." The book is delightful and perfect for a young adult reader. Holt writes with a sense of proper behavior that is sadly lost today. It was rather refreshing to have a character be flustered by a kiss.[return][return]The plot is typical of the genre: well-reared young woman becomes governess for naughty/misunder ...more
SarahC
Dec 05, 2011 SarahC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanticsuspense
Fortunately, I did not read ALL the Victoria Holt novels as a girl, so I still get to enjoy some afresh now. This was a good one, with a very likeable main character who goes to rural Cornwall as a governess to a wealthy but remote family. Love the setting, love the mystery, love the suspense. I did not find the leading man as interesting as some, but there were some intriguing additional characters that made the mark of a good story. Nice one for a cold winter day, when you want to escape to th ...more
Lobstergirl
Jul 26, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Larry Summers
Shelves: fiction
A hybrid between Jane Eyre and Rebecca though not even remotely as good as either. Holt should have worked on her descriptive skills. I do always appreciate when a book teaches me a new architectural term, like lepers' squint. "The leper's squint was a type of hagioscope, a window set at an oblique angle in a church wall to permit people to see the altar from areas where it was not otherwise visible." (tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com)
Cheryal
So if you combined Jane Eyre, Lady in White and The Forgotten Garden and made them into one well written book this would be it. Need I say more?
Barb in Maryland
The best of the old-style gothic romances. Mystery, thrills and true love--what's not to like?
Jill Barnett
Apr 20, 2012 Jill Barnett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this when I was 12 (1961) and remember I adored it and did a book report in school. all the girls in my class then went on to read it, too. Special early book.
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25092
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Eleanor Alice Burford, Mrs. George Percival Hibbert was a British author of about 200 historical novels, most of them under the pen name Jean Plaidy which had sold 14 million copies by the time of her death. She chose to use various names because of the differences in subjec
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“We are born, we suffer, we love, we die, but the waves continue to beat upon the rocks; the seed time and the harvest come and go, but the earth remains.” 2 likes
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