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Mistress of Mellyn

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  7,208 Ratings  ·  444 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
...more
Paperback, 330 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  ꧁꧂
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 ☮
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.

~~~~~~~~~~~

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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Jane
Aug 31, 2012 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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Veronique
Mar 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, stars-3-5
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 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
...more
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
Wanda
***2017 Summer Lovin’ Reading List***

After two misses, it was nice to score a hit. Apparently, I am an old-fashioned woman. I prefer a story with some mystery, some history, and some romance. Leave out the sex scenes and let’s have an actual plot, please.

Stereotypical as can be, Mistress of Mellyn gave me the usual Victoria Holt offering. An impoverished gentlewoman with no options except being a governess, a student with potential and problems, an attractive employer with an air of mystery, a
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Regan Walker
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, victorian
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
...more
Hana
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic-scary, romance
An entertaining Gothic with much to like for genre fans.

Martha Leigh, is a gentlewoman, orphaned with no income. What to do? In Victorian times, with few options, she must become a governess to a lonely and difficult child in a country manor in Cornwall.

I loved the Cornish setting--I kept picturing those cliff scenes in the BBC version of Poldark.



Marty was a pleasant and believable heroine and Connan was okay, but somehow the romance never clicked with me. (view spoiler)
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Kavita
Jun 05, 2016 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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Misfit
Jun 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
"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
...more
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.
Bee (Heart Full of Books)
Well, it's certainly no Jane Eyre.
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 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
Meagan
Dec 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Lauren Stoolfire
This novel is going for Jane Eyre meets Rebecca, but it never quite gets there. Decent storyline, but difficult for me to really connect with the characters.
Laura
Jun 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Graham
Jan 20, 2014 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 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
Misha  Mathew
Review:
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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The Lit Bitch
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 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
Hasan
Jan 07, 2014 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
...more
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785 followers
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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