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The India Fan

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  4,131 ratings  ·  239 reviews
Drusilla Delaney, the daughter of an impoverished minister, becomes fascinated with the wealthy Framling family—especially with the son and daughter, the mysterious Fabian, and the beautiful, impetuous Lavinia. Through them, she finds herself the unlikely heir to an extraordinary bejeweled fan made of peacock feathers. But though priceless and dazzling to behold, the fan b ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 396 pages
Published July 30th 1989 by Ivy Books (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,131 ratings  ·  239 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
1.5 stars. This book almost put Victoria Holt on my list of never-read-again authors. The India Fan didn't quite plumb the depths of awfulness to the extent that I demand before I one-star a book, but it was a close call. I actually clicked back and forth between one star and two several times.

Drusilla Delaney--who, despite what the GR blurb says, is not beautiful--grows up in the mid-19th century in England in shadow of the wealthy Framling family who lives nearby. Lady Harriet Framling bosses
Nandakishore Varma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I don't even know how to start this review. I really enjoyed the other Victoria Holt book I read, Mistress of Mellyn, but this one, no. A thousand times no. There was sexism, classicism, racism, I am sure I am forgetting some -ism. And yes, I do get that the setting that this book takes place in is just echoing what these times were like, it still doesn't mean I have to like it. But more than that, the main character Drusilla sucks. She does. From her shaming a woman who was raped and wants to g ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
For a woman we are told is "plain" (nearly as many times as we are told Fabian "kidnapped" her in infancy), she certainly does seem to attract male attention.
Edited 1 April 2013

I wrote a second review for All About Romance and rated this a Desert Isle Keeper.

4.5 stars

I read a lot of novels by Victoria Holt when I was in my twenties, so when I saw that Sourcebooks was reissuing The India Fan, I was eager to discover how it would hold up twenty-five years after its original publication.

I am extremely happy to report that the answer is “very well indeed”.

This isn’t one of the titles I’d already read, so all I had to go on was the synopsis, although I a
I honestly do not really care one tiny bit that Victoria Holt's 1988 novel The India Fan is obviously set in 19th century England and India and is thus of course also meant to display a certain and specific historical attitude and point of view (and yes indeed, the only part of The India Fan that actually did make me somewhat smile with personal if also a bit guilty Schadenfreude was when that horrid, nymphomanic and full of herself Lavinia Framling actually got her in my opinion just desserts). ...more
The Lit Bitch
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved Drusilla as the heroine in this novel. She is a modernized Jane Eyre, the poor plain country lass seducing the dark and mysterious lord of the manor. She was intelligent and never careless like Lavinia. She always did what was sensible and I admired her greatly for that. She was strong but at the same time vulnerable. The audience really grows up with her throughout the novel and though there aren’t drastic changes to her character, she is solid and continues to grow into herself though ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I can't believe I just discovered Victoria Holt! She's described as the Queen of Gothic Romance, and she has tons and tons of books. I feel like I just found a hidden stash of Oreos.
Regan Walker
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweeping Victorian Tale of Adventure and Love in England, France and India

This is the story of Drusilla Delaney, daughter of a rector living in England in the mid 19th century. Near Drusilla’s home was the elaborate Framling estate, or as she thought of it, “the big house”. The Framlings were an old wealthy family tied to the East India Company and they were significant in Drusilla’s life.

We meet Drusilla as a young girl when she is taken to the big house to be the playmate of the spoiled but
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-hrs
It had some issues, but at the end of the day I loved this book. I'm putting it on my favorite historical romances shelf, but just a head's up: though there's a romance element it's more of a coming of age story than anything. The book follows the heroine from birth until her late twenties. There's a romance thread throughout but it's in the background for much of the story.
Although somewhat rambling and a bit longer than a bit longer than I thought it should be, I gave this five stars as it is on the whole an excellent read. Druscilla Delany is the daughter of the rector. Nearby is Framling, a house of nobility which of course has two spoiled children. Druscilla is elected to be companion to the younger child Lavinia with whom she goes away to boarding school first in England and then in France. For all her beauty, Lavinia is remarkably empty headed and constantly ...more
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I stayed up all night on a Sunday to finish this book and when it ended I laid in bed for another hour just thinking, and feeling, and recapping in my head all that I'd taken in over the last two days. I was haunted by the ebb and flow of this story, the characters, and the ending.

This is my first Victoria Holt novel, but from what I understand this is how one typically feels at the end. This story was long and detailed, it was a slow burn with potential that was obvious by the end of the fist c
Rebecca Huston
A vicar's daughter, Drusilla, is swept off to India when the local aristocratic family takes interest in her. Unfortunately, the Great Mutiny is about to happen. This romantic suspense novel is set in the 1850's, and is full of the usual tropes -- milksop heroine, nasty bitchy friend, sarcastic hero. Unfortunately, the reader is kept at arm's reach throughout this one, the heroine not much more than a very passive observer. There's not a lot of character development, the Indians are portrayed in ...more
Drusilla’s life has been somewhat governed by the Framling family, especially by young Fabian who considered her his toy for a brief time in their childhood and his sister Lavinia, a spoiled beauty who finds Drusilla a perfect friend and accomplice…

This is a great romance novel (especially for a huge VH fan like me), sweeping the reader from England to France, and India with its exotic environment, sometimes frightening customs, and historical struggle to rid itself of the British occupation. Co
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
This taught me, if nothing else, the etymology of the word "thug."

2.5 stars. I was hoping for a gothic romance (haunted mansion, family secrets, maybe a moor or howling wind or secret passageway to dungeons) but this is more a historical coming of age novel with an extremely dry and passionless romance woven in. Holt was certainly a capable writer, so it was painless to read, and the historical details of the uprising of India against British rule are interesting. I wasn't thrilled about the he
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-childhood
Books written by Victoria Holt are so cheesy, but sometimes that's exactly what you need. I've read a loooot of her books when I was 14/15 years old..that was the last time I've read them. I absolutely loved them at the time. I'm thinking of reading one of her books just for the old times sake! =)
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never gets old

This is my favorite classic novel. This is my third time reading and I see myself rereading again a few years from now. The romance between Drusilla and Fabian is so sweet, and the adventures faced by the main protagonists never gets boring.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mother and I used to read these and Mary Stewart's books. This was a reread, but a very enjoyable one with great memories!
2.5 stars. Rounded up, but barely. This book was so long and slow, although part of that might be due to a general reading slump I'm in rather than the book itself. But what I thought was going to be a romance was more of a girl's entire life story with the romance sort of tacked on. There were bits that were more exciting, especially the last quarter, but this was way longer than it needed to be. However, as long as it took me, it was always just interesting enough to keep reading, and as I'm g ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
It has been many a long year since I read anything by Victoria Holt... Quite possibly even many a long decade... and I may not have read this one if it had not been for a group challenge and the word 'India' in it's title. That said it was a much more complex, well written story than I expected.

Drusilla is the rectors 'plain' daughter who is used as a suitable playfellow for the pampered daughter up at the manor house (Hello: Jane Austin, said my inner book monitor), she spends her childhood hap
Katie W
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
I started reading this on a digital loan from the library and it suddenly went back--without warning!! I had to get a paperback copy to finish it. :) I'm glad I did. I read this years ago, late HS or early college and enjoyed it then too.

Drusilla Delany is a pastor's daughter and lives near a very wealthy, controlling family, in England. The Framlings rule the land, so it seems. When the lady of the house determines that Drusilla is a suitable enough companion for her wild, tigress daughter, Lav
May 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Melissa by: Deann
Shelves: clean-romances
This was my first Victoria Holt novel. There were things I liked and things I disliked about the book. I really liked the main characters. They were vividly described and stayed true to who they were throughout the book. The story had places it caught hold of me and flew and was so interesting. I learned about a time period I didn't have much knowledge of before. I did like the whole idea of the story and was happy with the ending. But oh my gosh it took forever to get there. There was a lot tha ...more
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
An enthralling read set partially in India at the time when the British Empire's control there became particularly tenuous. This had all the elements of a good story - a slow-burning romance between the sensible, "plain Jane" Drusilla and the dashing yet arrogantly domineering, wealthy aristocrat, Fabian. There was also a plethora of well-presented peripheral characters from the self-centred, entitled Lavinia to the unsatisfactory alternative suitor in Dougal, the demanding matriarch and the sen ...more
Anne Sexton
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent VH novel. Less formulaic than some others of hers. I thought the love story was very good and their relationship seemed realistic to me and the he was more than a stock figure too. This novel was less 'Gothic suspense' than most VH novels, the main drama was really what was really going on in India at the time, and that provided the danger and suspense rather than some more typical Gothic type of story. I also liked that the main character Drusilla wasn't just 18-21 during the novel, t ...more
Dec 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Having grown up reading Victoria Holt, I was very excited to find one I hadn't read. "The India Fan" is a plodding, poorly written Gothic romance novel. The main character is wholly unsympathetic and I found myself frustrated with her throughout the book. The secondary characters were written more as caricatures and they really didn't serve to advance the plot. The plot was winding and seemed to suffer from a lack of real purpose. Honestly, I hated the book and almost quit reading multiple times ...more
 Mummy Cat Claire
Got to page 134.

I had to stop with this book just as Fabian's personality was starting to show. His character was an enigma before Drusilla and him travelled together.

The book was somewhat slow. The story wasnt as captivating as i had hoped. The chapters were so long and there were few stopping points. This is a frustration I have. I hate just stopping wherever. It's not in me.

Drusilla described, " Lavinia was haughty, overbearing and very beautiful.". I would add, naive.

Miss Bucille's story
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I spent a way too much time reading this book. I am disappointed. I kept expecting greater things, but nothing.
I gave two stars because it was fine for someone else. It was just a chore for me by the end to finish it. And I really thought the ending should've been more than it was.
Lastly, it drove me nuts the way the character Polly kept using the word "reckon." Some of her phrases sounded like she was originally from Texas rather than Southern England.
I've read other books by the author that
Jan 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance
The India Fan is a book easy to read, but it's far away from being a good reading. The author consequently forgets to stick with time frames, jumping from days to years and backwards. Where else a 9-month old boy could grow up, start to talk and turn 3 in less than a year? The characters are shallow, the plot is ridiculous and this book makes me wonder why some people think that writing books is their destiny and how wrong they are.
Feb 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
I thought I remembered reading this in junior high...but was quite mistaken. I did not enjoy it at all, although I diligently TRIED to, perhaps in honor of my fondness for Victoria Holt when I was a preteen. I found this book (and its romance) to be dry, dry, dry. The main character was bland, "morally superior" and really unsympathetic. I actually empathized more with silly, frivolous Lavina - she at least had a personality.
I don't remember much about this book except that I did a book report on this book when I was fourteen. I made this book seem quite smutty to my classmates and thus fascinating until my teacher made me stop. I really played up the Lavinia character to be a tart. Another kid made the Lord of the Rings trilogy sound quite dull.
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