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The Captive

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,730 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Rosetta knew little of life beyond the schoolroom...until she found herself shipwrecked off the African coast. Saved from the raging seas by the ship's handsome, mysterious deckhand, she soon discovered her hero was fellow-Londoner Simon Perrivale, an infamous fugitive accused of murder.

Her hopes of rescue were dashed when they were abducted by pirates...and the lovely fai
mass_market, 341 pages
Published September 30th 1990 by Fawcett Crest (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,730 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Regan Walker
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-reads
Originally published in 1989, the year after THE INDIA FAN, this is the story of Rosetta Cranleigh, named after the Rosetta Stone by her parents who were Egyptologists and “lived in a remote atmosphere of scholarship, apart from the mundane ménage of a household.” Thus, Rosetta lived among the family’s servants (a wonderful group of characters!) was content to because she felt safe and loved. Holt is at her best when describing the heroine’s life in the early stages.

As Rosetta grows up, her pare
Jess The Bookworm
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Rosetta is the daughter of academics who are obsessed with the study of ancient Egypt (hence her name). Rosetta was brought up by the servants in her household, as her parents were always too distracted to spend much time with her.

So when the chance to travel to South Africa with her parents arises, she jumps at the chance, travelling with a fellow academic who seems to have his eye on her. But then everything goes wrong, and the ship sinks, causing Rosetta to be separated from her parents and
A rather bizarre combination of a Bertrice-Smallish, swashbuckling adventure on the high seas, complete with pirates, stranded-on-an-island dilemma, slave auction and harem captivity (but minus all the purple bodice-rippery) and an old fashioned, Victorian, gothicky murder mystery.

The two halves did not mesh together for me and by the conclusion, I had lost interest in the rather tedious, mediocre, Sherlock Holmes tactics of our fixated heroine, trying to unravel the mystery behind the wrongful
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book was very different from what the synopsis promised, not in the events but in how interesting those events really are. One would think being ship wrecked, taken by pirates, sold into slavery, escaping and solving a murder would be exciting stuff. The author, however, wrote this story as one would write in a diary years later, just explaining the events instead of creating an exciting story out of them. At its best its mildly interesting at its worst, down right dull. The murder mystery ...more
Coleman Harrison
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
When I first picked up this book, I (like many others) was very skeptical. The cover looked a bit cheesy and I read a bunch of reviews on it. But to my pleasant surprise, this book was VERY good! Was it the best book I have ever read? No. Here is a list of the pros and cons of this book.
~Very suspenseful
~Great flow/clarity
~Easy to understand
~This book could appeal to many ages.
~Got a little slow in some parts.
~Ending was a bit slow.
Nenia ⭐️ Queen of Awkward ⭐️ Campbell

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**Warning: mild spoilers**

Jeez, that is some small font! I kind of want to channel my inner Derek Zoolander, and be all, "What is this? A font for ants?" The story was good, though. Even though Victoria Holt is mostly famous for her old-timey gothic novels, once in a while she'll attempt to write a bodice-ripper. While her last experiment was a bust for me, this one, despite the eclectic story line, was quite good.

Rosetta Cranleigh is t
Apr 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
Before I start, I must be clear that I actually LIKE many romance novels. I have read all kinds, and I have been a fan of Victoria Holt's for some time. Sadly, The Captive is not the best of Victoria Holt's work. As I said, I usually enjoy her books--the heroines are generally more along the lines of "Jane Eyre" than "Weeping Victim" in that they often are bold, intelligent women who have to find their ways in the world alone, and can't necessarily rely on their looks or charms. Some of the hero ...more
Nicole Marie
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I think the Captive was a really good read. It really got me thinking even though it’s a simple story that has a lot going on. Every time something good happens to the main character, Rosetta, another adventure begins for her. A lot of those adventures are the ones we dream could be ours, but in the story, such dreams turn into nightmares.

The title, the Captive is simply perfect for the story. It describes when Rosetta is held captive by a Pasha, but also when she is held captive by her own obs
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved it! This was one of the first romances I ever read. I found it on my much-older sister's shelf (she was a massive Victoria Holt fan as a teenager) and enjoyed reading it secretly, probably because I was quite young to be getting involved with romances.

This was a lovely story and included so many different interesting elements that it will stay a favorite for a long time.

Not only did it include elements of Ancient Egypt (the heroine being named after the Rosetta Stone as her p
Dot Dittman
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mostly women
Victoria Holt is always a good read when you want the bad guys to lose and the good guys to win and romance to overcome. But first, you have to figure out who the bad guys and who the good gus are Her stories are not terribly complicated, but always engrossing.
This story concerns a young woman brought up with her parents absent-mindedly ignoring her while she socializes with the servants. Then her life starts to speed up as she comes of age. She takes a sea journey with her parents, meets two y
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Story of a teenager girl growing up her life changing starting with a shipwreck, found by pirates, sold by a sultan, escaping, but the story is about a murder, her new found friend has not commited, she desperately wants to prove his innocence.
Very good book, it is a thicker book than I'm usually used to but I still finished it fast!! Very adventurous, I could not stop reading it :)
Lorraine Montgomery
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults
Eleanor Hibbert is a name that is not that familiar to many readers and yet she was one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century. She wrote in a variety of genres with several different pseudonyms. Most historical fiction fans will know her as Jean Plaidy; romance novel aficionados will recognize her as Victoria Holt. She used other pen names, some anagrams or portions of her real name, but these two are probably the best known.

This summer I read Holt's historical romance, The Captive. A
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I remember cringing a bit when I bought this novel shortly after its first printing. In those days the bodice-rippers often had their heroines enjoy stints in a harem, but I'd never imagined Victoria Holt to use this as well. I pictured her saying to her publisher "They want harems? I can give them harems, shipwrecks, pirates, deserted islands, just wait and see!" So she did, but it felt odd. Clinical. There was nothing sensuous about this harem life. Many Holt heroines aren't very sensual, but ...more
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wei Cho
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read most of Victoria Holt's novels, and after reading just a few, it became apparent that her novels are centered around plot and action, versus flowery prose, description or character. Holt excels at creating a mysterious tale of danger and intrigue, in which the mystery isn't solved until the last possible moment. That's what keeps me reading (and re-reading because I had forgotten what happened) Holt's books. They are light, fun and easy reads that don't disappoint--as long as you are ...more
Lynne Taylor
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
First book I have read from Virginia Holt. It's very good. Takes you from an upper class house in London, to a shipwreck, which leads the main characters to being trapped in a harem. They finally escape and then Rosetta ends up as a governess, trying to prove the innocence of one of the men she was shipwrecked with, who was running away because he was accused of murder. Many twists and turns. Keeps you reading.
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was getting a little bored of this book by the time she came home to England. It's not what you think the description says. So, I skimed through the pages at the back of the book, and read two very three word lines. I suddenly became interested again because of what I had read. By the end, I was expecting something, but the outcome was completely different. And once again, Victoria Holt made me go "ohmigod". I am very happy that the ending turned out to be! I was expecting cliché but nope.
May 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
A seraglio, a shipwreck and a murder! This story was too formulaic and there were no real character conflicts. The plot had lots of possibility but the read left me largely unfulfilled. I have tried to read her other newer books but have lost interest. Her older titles are still worth reading when you just want to escape.
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruby Hopkins
Oct 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
I don't really gravitate towards Christian/Mystery/Romance. They all tend to have the same plots, the same characters, the same more-scene-than-summary. And there is no deep thought behind them—nothing that stirs you and makes you want to live life.

I think I'll go read some Tolstoy now.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it 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! =)
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The cover of this book and the description make it sound like a steamy romance, but it is more of a gothic mystery. It was well written but dragged a bit waiting for the reveal.
Rian Monson
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Ok, so you have probably noticed that the books I'm interested in are a bit eclectic.
From my 1st reads of my parents reading to me the normal kiddy books...
Anne of green gables, Charlie and the chocolate factory series, and to young adult books....

As you can probably guess It took me a bit longer to read for myself then other kids. I forget the 1st book I read that, that launched my passion in books, just remember that it wasn't that big maybe 200 pages...

After that I started reading anything I
Phil Syphe
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Captive” is in some respects three stories in one: Rosetta’s childhood, adventures abroad, and a murder mystery.

I felt most engaged with the early part of the story where Rosetta – the heroine and narrator – is growing up. I like her interaction with the servants, and how they entertain each other in the kitchen.

Another engaging theme comes later when Rosetta, in her late teens, adopts the role of governess for a difficult girl called Kate. Their relationship is the most interesting one in
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: other-fiction
I found the very beginning of this book concerning the childhood of Rossetta Cranleigh to be very intriguing. The story then rapidly incorporates a sea voyage, shipwreck, capture and entrapment in a Turkish harem. I found these adventures to be interesting, but rushed and almost devoid of descriptive details concerning the setting, which would have added some color to the story. I thought the narrative was too focused on conversation. The last portion of the book, the solving of the murder of Co ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recall reading this in middle school and finding it ok, though not as fun a read as were the harlequin historicals that I so enjoyed.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
(view spoiler) ...more
Mary Miller
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Published in 1989 so a bit old fashioned but a reasonably enjoyable read although I skipped quite a few pages.
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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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