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The Black Opal

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,621 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
Abandoned as a baby, her exotic beauty prompted hushed whispers of gypsy blood. But lovely Carmel March remained shrouded in mystery....

When tragedy struck her adopted home of Commonwood House, little Carmel had been bundled off to Australia. Returning to England as a young woman, she became haunted by questions from her past, as well as the shocking revelation that she h
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 3rd 1995 by Ivy Books (first published 1993)
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Diamond Cowboy
Nov 11, 2015 Diamond Cowboy rated it it was amazing
The Black Opal is an other great book. I highly recommend it to all. It is a story of a Gypsy Foundling's life in England and then in Austrailia and then back home again. It speaks of how she finds her Gypsy Mom and her Captain sailer Dad. When she moves back home to England she discovers murder and betrail in her original family. She ends up living happily ever after.
Enjoy and Be Blessed. Diamond
Mar 20, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
Carmel is found under the Azalea bush, "the one that gave Tom Yardley all that trouble one year." She is taken in by the people at Commonwood House and is generally made to feel unwelcome. It is hinted that she might belong to the gypsies. She is championed by Uncle Toby as well as the two youngsters from The Grange, Lucian and Camilla. When the lady of the house dies, she goes off to Australia with Uncle Toby and only upon her return as an 18-year-old lady, does she find she's been whisked away ...more
Sep 22, 2009 Laina rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This book I really liked, but it's one I have to be in the exact mood for. There's no denying the writing genius of Victoria Holt, who also wrote under several other names. Her descriptions are breath-taking and whole, her vocabulary is miraculous, and her ability to weave a story into one's mind cannot be questioned. It's her style, though, to start at the beginning of a character's life and go to the end. Which is wonderful. But sometimes I'm too impatient a reader for that style.

However, I ve
Jacqueline O.
Jun 08, 2014 Jacqueline O. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Romance, Fans of historical fiction, fans of historical romance
This is a bit of an odd book. It's told in first person, obviously from an adult perspective as a woman looks back on her life. It can be split into three parts (although there are no formal "part 1", etc sections of the novel).
In the first section, young Carmel March is a foundling, brought into the care of a doctor and his wife. Carmel - was literally found under an Azalea bush. Although his wife objects, Dr. Marline insists that the family take Carmel in. They give her the name, Carmel, becau
Laura Monroe
May 26, 2016 Laura Monroe rated it liked it
The Black Opal follows the fundamental Victoria Holt formula: Lovely foundling girl (Carmel), handsome and mysterious rich neighbor (Lucian), large manor house, and a mystery. This time the heroine, Carmel, is found beneath a bush in the yard of a wealthy family. The father is a kindly doctor, the mother a malcontent, and the three children include a daughter with developmental delays. The early part of the story deals with Carmel's childhood with the family, being reminded regularly that she is ...more
Maureen Mullis
Sep 07, 2013 Maureen Mullis rated it really liked it
I think it's been over 25 years since I've read a Victoria Holt novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Mysterious, romantic, well written and filled with interesting characters and descriptions of England and Australia during the late 1800s. A bit old fashioned, true, but I felt it added to the book's charm. I think I might read another Victoria Holt book, this one was so much fun!
Liz Fortin
Aug 22, 2014 Liz Fortin rated it it was ok
My mother used to eat these books up. I remember her getting so excited when a new one came out. She loved them. And I had a friend recommend Victoria Holt when he found out I liked period/historical fiction. Frankly, this just wasn't my cup of tea. Disappointing. I had such high hopes. Oh well. Now I know!
Jul 01, 2014 Shelece rated it really liked it
Picked this book up at my grandma's and was amazed at how much I enjoyed it! Full disclosure--I skimmed the whole thing, rather that reading it in depth... but I loved the crazy twists and turns of the plot. I loved that it happened across the first twenty years of a girl's life--I thought the author handled the passage of time very realistically. I loved the characters, too, especially Toby. They were all very dynamic.

And the plot kept me guessing! So many plots and subplots and so much suspens
Meh. Not Holt's greatest. Still an interesting read, though.
Nov 12, 2014 Marty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookshelf, reviewed
I quite enjoyed this book. It was a little unexpected turn-of-events for me because I didn't know much about it at all. It's been on my shelf for a couple of years now and it looks a bit battered up and small because I bought it at a used book store type place.
But finally picking it up and finishing it has made me feel really good.

To me, there were three parts to it.

The first part was about Carmel and her childhood, Commonwood House, her family then, and the atmosphere in that first part was so
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2011 Hayley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: enjoyed, romance
I didn't think much to this book, I'll be honest. 8 people died and it only had 11 chapters, it just seemed to be rather morbid the whole way through and then magically had a happy ending. The author should have made their mind up one way or another!

I found the storyline quite commical and completely unrealistic. It was roughly about a half gypsie girl who was found under the azuala bush and was magically accepted into this rather rich family although lets be honest at that period of time that
Jul 28, 2011 Athena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Everytime I read a Victoria Holt novel I wait for the main character to fall in love, and sometimes I can guess who it is before it's revealed. Holt has a recipe for writing mystery novels; sometimes it can be redundant, sometimes it can really grab you. The Black Opal starts off with a baby found under an Azalea bush next to Commonwood House where Dr and Mrs Marline live with their two daughters, Adeline and Estella, and their son Henry. Hesitantly, the Marlines' take the baby in and name her C ...more
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Catherine's Review:
Left under an azalea bush at Commonwood House and reluctantly taken in by Dr. and Mrs. Marline, Carmel March has always felt like an outsider. Her origins shrouded in mystery, Carmel has always wondered why she was abandoned. Desperate for affection, she forms attachments with the gypsies in the woods, dear Uncle Toby, and Kitty Carson, her beloved governess. When Mrs. Marline is crippled in a hunting accident and becomes even more bitter and cruel, life at Commonwood becomes
Mar 14, 2014 Zora rated it really liked it
I like books like this. While categorized as romantic suspense, there's not much romance and zero sex for the main character (though there's no coyness or fabrications about human sexuality, either--lots of minor characters are impregnated outside of marriage in this novel). The book is more the tale of a woman's life, from childhood to marriage, which moves her across a few continents, and there's a murder and a mystery in it. It's well done and was a soothing day's diversion for me.
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
I really enjoyed this book. Its one of my favorites by Holt. It moved at a good pace, kept my attention. The story was well written. There wasnt alot of fluff or cut off endings. It was just written really well. She could have even added more to the story if she wanted to but it turned out nice how it was. I would recommend if you are looking for an easy read to fill the evening.
Jamey Mast
Apr 17, 2016 Jamey Mast rated it it was amazing
Found as a baby and raised by her uncle and his wife. We follow Carmel through hardships, love, intrigue, and see her life fulfill the destiny that was her fate. I could not put this book down every page was filled with a new adventure from finding her parents to falling in love and the characters are just so loving and waiting for you to get to know them.
Aug 13, 2014 Erin rated it liked it
Victoria Holt was one of my favorite authors when I was in high school and college. I was disappointed by this one, which sometimes felt too wordy and sometimes felt abrupt, but when I finished, I found out that it was published posthumously, which is rarely a good idea.
Jane Gardner
Jan 02, 2016 Jane Gardner rated it it was ok
What a disappointment! I'm a huge Holt fan, but this book went absolutely nowhere. I kept waiting for something to HAPPEN. The crime was so well hidden---it took place hundreds of miles away---that it had no drama whatsoever. This book was a waste of time.
Linda Brungardt
Baby was found under bush. Turned out to be daughter of a ship captain and a gypsy. Moved to Australia and then back to London when father went down with ship.
a half gypsie chick lives in house where she isnt wanted until some thing stirs up in there that her "uncle"toby came and got her to take a voyage with him and thats where he confessed to her he was her father. but later her father dies tragically and she is left to live with his wife her new mom. Later on she goes back to her origional home where she discovers that the poeple she knew and some she loved died or dissapeared fromt he house where she was raised. she is to be in a love triangle a d ...more
Mar 21, 2015 Jenny added it
Oh Victoria Holt.... I read a lot of you back in the day! Recorded in AR Journal. No teacher's comments!
Catherine Meza
Jul 19, 2014 Catherine Meza rated it it was ok
How can you write a romance/mystery with no physical descriptions of the characters? Very banal writing.
Cee Rosier
Jul 30, 2014 Cee Rosier rated it liked it
Is not bad. Is okay. I guess that's the problem for me? Is good if you want a easy, quick reading.
Ivan Sagesse
Feb 19, 2016 Ivan Sagesse rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Novela romántica...obviamente no pude desharía de ella si fuera mía.
I picked this paperback up on a swap site because I thought it was another book by Ms. Holt to do with opals. Either I remember the story drastically different, or this is a different book (this). It's a nice enough story if you want to read about someone's whole life. She didn't even return back to England and learn about "the murder" until half way through. And then she still fooled around another quarter visiting people and reuniting us with stuff from her past (which we JUST read, mind you). ...more
Chandrima Bhattacharya
Jul 03, 2014 Chandrima Bhattacharya rated it really liked it
I don't understand why this book is not very popular. Its really well written.
It was good. I liked Carmel. It was sort of predictable.
Delores Alger
Aug 14, 2014 Delores Alger rated it liked it
pseud Philippa Carr, Eleanor Hubbett, Jean Plaidy
Mar 16, 2016 LJ rated it really liked it
Kept me reading through the night!
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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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