Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ 's Reviews > Mistress of Mellyn

Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt
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it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-romance

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 setting, the era (I prefer my Gothics to be Victorian!) the faint air of menace and unease, an attractive hero. There is also just a faint hint of sexual tension. The biggest plus for me is the complex character of Martha Lewis. Forced by family circumstances and her own gentility to become a governess, Martha is overly prickly, puts herself down constantly and is a nosy gossip! Great! A real human. I think she is unnecessarily brusque with her charge, 8 year old Alvean - the child is difficult sure, but her mother only died in the previous year and Alvean's life is lonely and without much stimulation. Martha in her decided way, changes all that and the warming of their relationship and Martha's championing of another girl, traumatised little Gilly is lovely to read.

But, because I had read Bride of Pendorric (like I said these novels are formulaic) I could pick out the villain (although not the motive) and there is a major flaw in the resolution.. I'm reading this one with the Retro Reads Group. Maybe they will see something I've missed. And (view spoiler)

If you only ever read one Victoria Holt, make it this one!
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Reading Progress

March 22, 2017 – Started Reading
March 22, 2017 – Shelved
March 22, 2017 –
page 38
March 23, 2017 –
page 164
48.81%
March 24, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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message 1: by ☯Emily (new)

☯Emily Interesting that I read this author as a teenager and stopped reading her for the same reason. I remember enjoying this book and have no idea if I would today. (We must be around the same age.)


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ ☯Emily needs to protest again wrote: "Interesting that I read this author as a teenager and stopped reading her for the same reason. I remember enjoying this book and have no idea if I would today. (We must be around the same age.)"

I think we are (I'm a baby boomer)


message 3: by Margitte (new)

Margitte I can't remember if I read her, I think I did, but many years ago. Love your review, though.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ Margitte wrote: "I can't remember if I read her, I think I did, but many years ago. Love your review, though."

Thanks Margitte. :)


debbicat ☮~Traveling Sister 5 stars!!!! I've got to get back to this tonight. :). Didn't read your review yet. But I will as soon as I finish. It's good to see you liked so much.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Lol at your ending spoiler!


message 7: by Barb in Maryland (last edited Mar 31, 2017 05:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Barb in Maryland Carol
Lovely review, brought back fond memories of a favorite book. I was a young teen when this first came out and I gobbled it up. But even at 13 I was a bit taken aback by the spoilery part of the ending. However, I was happy that he still called her 'my dear Miss Leigh'. Happy sighs.
(After reading several paperback copies to death I managed to get my hands on a US 1st edition hardback--just like the one I first read so many years ago. That's the cover I pegged to my review).


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ Barb in Maryland wrote: "Carol
Lovely review, brought back fond memories of a favorite book. I was a young teen when this first came out and I gobbled it up. But even at 13 I was a bit taken aback by the spoilery part of t..."


Ha, yes although (view spoiler)

I found Conan more appealing than usual for a Holt hero.


Hana What's the flaw in the ending? I felt it was rushed but was there a plot hole?


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ Hana wrote: "What's the flaw in the ending? I felt it was rushed but was there a plot hole?"

Yes we discussed it over at Retro Reads. ;)


message 11: by Lara (new)

Lara Maynard I just learned through your review that Jean Plaidy and Victoria Holt are the same author. Never knew!


Joanne Holt was the first romantic writer I ever read and she has a true warm spot in my heart. Ever since I read this book all the way back in high school, I have always wanted to go to Cornwall.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ Lara wrote: "I just learned through your review that Jean Plaidy and Victoria Holt are the same author. Never knew!"

Just saw this Lara! Eleanor Hibbert had around 10 pen names! Philippa Carr was the other well known one.


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