Julie's Reviews > Mistress of Mellyn

Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt
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bookshelves: vintage, suspense, retro-read, gothic, from-my-personal-collection, mystery-shelf, 2018

The Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt is a 1960 publication.

Everyone knows I am a huge fan of these old Gothic suspense novels and love to collect the old paperbacks.Those covers are just fantastic!!

Victoria Holt’s name is nearly synonymous with this genre and she was quite prolific.

As such, I’m still hunting down some of her harder to find books and haven’t come close to reading all of her novels. So, it’s fun to pull one of these off the shelf and lose myself in a different time, despite the datedness of some of these stories.

They are often a representation of a simpler time, in the days when the suspense was more reliant on atmosphere and dialogue, and the romance was about as chaste as it comes.

Holt’s books may be true the era of time in which she sets her stories, the women of the day having little opportunity and often at the mercy of men, but her heroines are rarely ‘too stupid to live’, or present themselves as the proverbial ‘damsel in distress’.

Her writing style is still quite effective and can create a strong sense of unease, even for the most jaded modern reader.

However, this book is, more or less, a poor man’s Jane Eyre. The old mansion, the governess, the gruff master of the house, the mystery surrounding his wife’s death, and the relationship that begins to develop between the master and the governess. All of these are classic Gothic mystery elements, but, this plot was just too familiar and Holt was quite capable of more originality than this.

But, to be fair, the ending was a lot more sinister than Jane Eyre, as there is a legitimate murder mystery and our heroine is in genuine danger which for its day was probably a little shocking. It was not an unpleasant read, but it wasn’t the best of Holt’s repertoire.
3 stars
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Reading Progress

March 25, 2018 – Started Reading
March 25, 2018 – Shelved
March 25, 2018 – Shelved as: vintage
March 25, 2018 – Shelved as: suspense
March 25, 2018 – Shelved as: retro-read
March 25, 2018 – Shelved as: gothic
March 25, 2018 – Shelved as: from-my-personal-collection
March 25, 2018 – Shelved as: mystery-shelf
July 24, 2018 – Shelved (Other Paperback Edition)
July 24, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018 (Other Paperback Edition)
July 24, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018
July 24, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 59 (59 new)


Suzanne Mistress of Mellyn was one of the first romance novels I read, so will always hold a special place in my heart.


message 2: by KAS (new)

KAS Sorry this one disappointed a bit, Julie, but hopefully this author will pleasantly surprise you on your next read! Fantastic review, as always ;) 😘


message 3: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Suzanne wrote: "Mistress of Mellyn was one of the first romance novels I read, so will always hold a special place in my heart."

Aww, I love it when books that bring back good memories. I vividly remember my first romance novel too! 💕


message 4: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie KAS wrote: "Sorry this one disappointed a bit, Julie, but hopefully this author will pleasantly surprise you on your next read! Fantastic review, as always ;) 😘"

Thank you, KAS!! 😊


message 5: by *TUDOR^QUEEN* (last edited Jul 24, 2018 02:21PM) (new)

*TUDOR^QUEEN* Wonderful review! I love basking in the nostalgia you call to mind :-)


message 6: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Awesome review!! :)


message 7: by Jaline (new)

Jaline Terrific review, Julie! I loved this book, but I was also quite young when I read it. I read many of her books "back then", and as you said - she was so prolific that I know I missed many titles. I started to find her books in digital format and have a few of them. I hope I'm not too disappointed - maybe these books are more aimed at teens and YA? I guess I'll see. :)


message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul Falk Concise review Julie!


message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane Wallace Insightful m honest review, Julie! :)


Cherie I think I have read all of her novels. I really loved this one, but it was over 20 years ago when I read it, it may not be as good to me now as it was way back then. Holt used to be my fav author, then she stopped writing and she changed to a pseudo name that I just didn't enjoy.


Cherie She then started writing under the pen name Philippa Carr. I didn't enjoy her historical fiction. I miss good old fashioned gothic novels with governesses & huge castles.


message 12: by Julie (last edited Jul 24, 2018 09:33PM) (new) - added it

Julie Cherie wrote: "She then started writing under the pen name Philippa Carr. I didn't enjoy her historical fiction. I miss good old fashioned gothic novels with governesses & huge castles."

I do too, Cherie! I am enjoying the modern day resurgence of this genre!! I have not read Phillipa Carr or Jean Plaidy, but do have a few of these in my collection. The Plaidy books are of particular interest to me, but collecting the many series in order is a daunting task.


message 13: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Deanna wrote: "Awesome review!! :)"

Thank you, Deanna!! 😊


message 14: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Diane wrote: "Insightful m honest review, Julie! :)"

Thank you, Diane!! 😊


message 15: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Paul wrote: "Concise review Julie!"

Thank you, Paul!! 😊


message 16: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Jaline wrote: "Terrific review, Julie! I loved this book, but I was also quite young when I read it. I read many of her books "back then", and as you said - she was so prolific that I know I missed many titles. I..."

Thank you, Jaline!! Maybe if I'd read this one years back I'd have enjoyed it more. I've really enjoyed her other books, though. I don't think they are aimed at the YA audience when they were written. I think teens and young adults would enjoy these stories though because they are clean. Some of her books were a little edgy in the suspense department and still packs a good creepy punch, even now. I never could completely trust the hero! LOL! This one just struck me as too similiar to Jane Eyre, although she may have meant it as a homage and I missed the point entirely. I am so happy to see these books in digital format!


message 17: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie *TUDOR^QUEEN* wrote: "Wonderful review! I love basking in the nostalgia you call to mind :-)"

Thank you, TQ!! I know what you mean! I love nostalgia and sometime wish for those simpler times.


message 18: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda Klinedinst I did read this one very long time ago but I am going to re-read this one since its been so long ago since I read this. I love all of Victoria Holt's Books.


message 19: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Linda wrote: "I did read this one very long time ago but I am going to re-read this one since its been so long ago since I read this. I love all of Victoria Holt's Books."

I have enjoyed her books, too, even though this one didn't wow me. I hope you enjoy reading it the second time around! 😊


Brenda - Host of Traveling Sisters & Friends Great review, Julie!


message 21: by StMargarets (new)

StMargarets Victoria Holt was gateway read into romance. LOL I read this in 8th grade and loved it.

Great review!


message 22: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie StMargarets wrote: "Victoria Holt was gateway read into romance. LOL I read this in 8th grade and loved it.

Great review!"


Thank you, StMargarets!! I love it- a gateway into romance! I quite agree. These books are perfect for teens and young adults, too. Kind of refreshing, though 😊


Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* Wonderful review, Julie! I love this author too. I havent read this one yet.


message 24: by Meredith (new)

Meredith A poor man's Jane Eyre? Nope. I'm going to have to pass on this. Love your review, Julie!


Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader Thoughtful review, Julie! I hope you love your next Gothic suspense!


message 26: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* wrote: "Wonderful review, Julie! I love this author too. I havent read this one yet."

Thank you, Mary Beth!! 😊💕


message 27: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* wrote: "Wonderful review, Julie! I love this author too. I havent read this one yet."


message 28: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader wrote: "Thoughtful review, Julie! I hope you love your next Gothic suspense!"

Thank you, Jennifer!! Me too! 💕😊


message 29: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Meredith wrote: "A poor man's Jane Eyre? Nope. I'm going to have to pass on this. Love your review, Julie!"

Thank you, Meredith!! 😊💕


message 30: by Kendall (new)

Kendall Awesome review Julie! 😊👌


message 32: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Kendall wrote: "Awesome review Julie! 😊👌"

Thank you, Kendall!! 😊


message 33: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ wrote: "Great review!"

Thank you, Nenia!! 😊


message 34: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore Great review Julie- I have this one lying somewhere but haven't read it yet. Must dig it out. I haven't actually read any of her books though I have enjoyed a couple of hers written as Jean Plaidy.


message 35: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Lady Clementina wrote: "Great review Julie- I have this one lying somewhere but haven't read it yet. Must dig it out. I haven't actually read any of her books though I have enjoyed a couple of hers written as Jean Plaidy."

Thank you, Lady Clementina!! I am still hunting down the Jean Plaidy books. She wrote A LOT of books under that pseudonym. I can't wait to read a few of them. I know I'll enjoy them!! 😊


message 36: by Sandra (new) - added it

Sandra Wonderful review Julie! I've never read anything by Victoria Holt but I have a few of her books in my TBR pile, I'll have to read one soon! :)


message 37: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Sandra wrote: "Wonderful review Julie! I've never read anything by Victoria Holt but I have a few of her books in my TBR pile, I'll have to read one soon! :)"

Thank you, Sandra!! I think you will love her books! 😊


message 38: by Icewineanne (new)

Icewineanne Terrific review Julie. I’ve always been a fan of VH’s gothics. I wanted to go back & read her books in publication order so i checked out my fav site for complete listings of books (they list over 40,000 authors) but was very disappointed when I couldn’t find anything listed for her.


message 39: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Icewineanne wrote: "Terrific review Julie. I’ve always been a fan of VH’s gothics. I wanted to go back & read her books in publication order so i checked out my fav site for complete listings of books (they list over ..."

Thank you, Icewinenne! I've run into that problem as well. I'll see if I can find a list for you. Also look for Jean Plaidy and Phillpa Carr- two of her pseudonyms. The Jean Plaidy books are not Gothics though.


Julie  Durnell Great review, Julie. I recall this from my teenage years when I devoured all of Victoria Holt's books and many others of the genre. I agree with you on the covers-they are so dramatic!


message 41: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Julie wrote: "Great review, Julie. I recall this from my teenage years when I devoured all of Victoria Holt's books and many others of the genre. I agree with you on the covers-they are so dramatic!"

Thank you, Julie!! These older books are so fun to rediscover. Some of them actually stand the test of time beautifully. 😊


message 42: by Ellen-Sue (new)

Ellen-Sue Shaw I grew up reading Victoria Holt books. My grandmother got me hooked on them. Thanks for reminding me of this author. Next time I'm at the library I'll check one out. 😊


message 43: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Ellen-Sue wrote: "I grew up reading Victoria Holt books. My grandmother got me hooked on them. Thanks for reminding me of this author. Next time I'm at the library I'll check one out. 😊"

I am so happy to hear this!! I hope you enjoy revisiting her books! Let me know which one you pick!!


message 44: by Sonja (new)

Sonja I love Victoria Holt 💕


message 45: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Sonja wrote: "I love Victoria Holt 💕"

Me too, Sonja!! I'm so thrilled to see all these lovely comments about this wonderful author. I thought I was the only one who still enjoyed her books, remembered her- or even knew who she was!! 💕💕


Mackenzie - PhDiva Books Jane Eyre with a murder mystery?? Sounds amazing!!! Great review, Julie!


message 47: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Mackenzie - Traveling Sister wrote: "Jane Eyre with a murder mystery?? Sounds amazing!!! Great review, Julie!"

Thank you, Mackenzie!! You'd enjoy VH's books, I think, despite their age.


message 48: by Supratim (new)

Supratim Great review, Julie! The good old Gothic mysteries are really fun to read. :)


message 49: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Supratim wrote: "Great review, Julie! The good old Gothic mysteries are really fun to read. :)"

Thank you, Supratim!! They really are! 😊


message 50: by Icewineanne (last edited Jul 28, 2018 10:54PM) (new)

Icewineanne I do remember Jean Plaidy and Phillpa Carr- had no idea that these are all written by the same author!
Think i actually read only one Jean Plaidy (never got around to Carr) .......at the time I was just too addicted to gothics to read many historical novels.......i really enjoy them now though. Hmmm.........perhaps I should go back & read a few of these. How do you think they hold up with time?


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