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Mistress of Mellyn

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  5,389 ratings  ·  328 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 th
Paperback, 330 pages
Published December 23rd 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 1960)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.


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,
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
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
"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
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
Jul 05, 2009 CLM rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jul 01, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Oct 04, 2009 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Jill Barnett
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.
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?
The Lit Bitch
This book was a cross between Rebecca and Jane Eyre with a dash of The Woman in White. I adored it! I wasn’t crazy about the ending but that said I LOVED this book!

I thought the motive for the crime wasn’t substantial enough. I had hoped there would be more justification and explanation at the end but there just wasn’t. I didn’t think the motive justified the crime. The ending was WAY too fast for me….there was so much build up and then suddenly it was over.

But other than the ending, the novel w
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
There were elements of this story I really liked, but there were some I did not. I'm beginning to think this gothic author is not to my taste but I have so many of her books I'll keep reading them with hopes that I will find one that I truly like in every way.

I thought her descriptions were well done. I could picture the scenery around the estate, the type of food local to the area, their Christmas traditions and the clothes the characters wore. In that, the author did a wonderful job.

As far as
"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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Along with Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt's books were eagerly read by all the women in my family. I was in high school at the time, and I loved them. We loved the settings...always in a new area, a new country, sometimes an historical setting. When we traveled in Europe, Mother would tell me, "Becky, write down the names of some of the famous streets, and write descriptions of the things you see so you can write a novel about this place some day." I often did that, and observed ...more
Elizabeth Coult
This book is one of my favourite Victoria Holt books. It is about a young woman, Marty who, due to reduced circumstances and the inability to find a husband must find a job as a governess. She accepts a post in Cornwall as the governess of the daughter of the imposing Connan TreMellyn. Against her better judgement she falls in love with her Master, and her new home, but she is haunted by the ghost of Connan's deceased wife.

This story is full of intrigue and suspense. I love Marty as a character
Barbara ★
I know this was written in 1960 and they didn't actually have sex in books back then but this book is terrible! Even at the halfway point, no romance at all and not even a romantic interest. It's a story of a governess who travels to Cornwall (from England) to take care of a bratty unruly child who is ignored by her father (is he even her father?). It's a day to day log of what they do together and the power struggle between them. BORING! When the romance finally happens, surprise, surprise, it' ...more
Mistress of Mellyn is the perfect gothic novel. Mystery and intrigue, love and death.
Victoria Holt created a cast of characters that command attention and an old house whose walls could tell one hell of a story.
I was going to deduct a star because I guessed who the villain of the piece was long before the end, but then I realized that I was way off about what the villain's motive was...
Martha Leigh is to become the new governess at Mount Mellyn. She finds that her new charge, Alvean, lost her mother a year ago. Alice is said to have run off with her lover and then died in a train crash. Miss Leigh finds that Alvean tries to please her father and that Connan Tremellyn hardly takes any notice. The longer Martha is at Mount Mellyn the more curious she becomes about Alice's death. She also longs to have Alvean receive her fathers approval. The book is full of suspense and there is ...more
Jul 26, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars
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." (
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it hadn't been written in first person. I would also have liked to have been privy to some of Connan TreMellyn's thoughts. If I had, it wouldn't have seemed such a shock when he suddenly purposes marriage to Miss Leigh. Up to that point he acted so thoroughly indifferent to her romantically. Where this works for Mr Darcey in Pride and Prejudiced, it didn't works as well here.
This is one of those books that when you reach the end, you say WOW. Unfortunately, it's also one of those books that you'll never enjoy as well the second time because you'll never forget the end. It's been close to a decade since I've read it and I still remember. I'm sure I'd still like it the second time round but it won't have the WOW factor. :o)

Rating Clarification: 2.5 stars.

Rather 'meh' romance that neither worked as a Gothic romance nor as romantic suspense. Martha, the heroine wasn't all that likeable either. Apparently this was Holt's first foray into the Gothic genre and it showed.

Funny, I like Holt as Jean Plaidy but while this was adequately written it just never grabbed me.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

This book was chosen from a member of my book club. I had never heard of Victoria Holt before but found I enjoyed her work.
At first glance, this book really rang of Jane Eyre and Rebecca. Really a mash-up of the two.

Holt brought a huge mansion placed by the sea, the moors, a single rich man, a little girl in need of a governess, and a mystery to the house that involved the first mistress. I'm sure there are more but that is all I came up with.

Even with so many similarities, I found Holt wa
This was a book that I picked up when I was between textbooks. My mom had read the book six months prior and lent it to me to read. I figured that is had sat on my shelf of books to read long enough and I picked it up for a quick read.

I have read Victoria Holt books before, but I was in high school at the time. Once I started reading the book, I remembered many of the stories at once. Her books tend to follow a similar progression from a single woman taking a job out of necessity and falling in
Books by Victoria Holt are a must for all lovers of Gothic suspense/romance, I have been told. My mom devoured her books when she was a young girl herself. The problem was actually finding her books . Not many people read Victoria Holt , I guess . After a lot of searching, I spotted 2-3 Victoria Holt books in a library. Since Mistress of Mellyn was among her best known ones, I chose this.
I love anything gothic. Gothic Suspense had been one of my favorite genre since I discovered and read
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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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