Monday, February 8

Victoria Holt: Mistress of Mellyn

A penniless young gentlewoman takes a job as a governess in a lonely house on the Cornish coast. But, if the servants’ gossip is to be believed, the house has dark secrets and its enigmatic owner is only one of them. The man is insufferable and it is only her concern for her poor motherless charge that stops her from leaving and leads her to seek the truth behind multiple family tragedies.
Little does she realise that uncovering that truth may cost her life.
This book was exactly what one would expect of an old-school gothic romance.
Spooky old house-check.
Dark and mysterious man-check.
Unsolved mystery-check.
Heroine in danger-check.
Secondary characters with ambiguous motives-check.
Possible paranormal element-check.
It was all here. No wonder I loved this book.
I read somewhere that old style gothic romances are love stories between a woman and a house and in this case, at least, nothing could have been truer. A fan of the modern romance is bound to be disappointed. The hero barely rates a mention for the bulk of the story. To say he is two dimensional is to give him more substance than he possessed. He is present only insomuch as he is required to move the plot forward. The supernatural elements hinted at are, in the end, quite mundane, but I think, no less interesting for that.
Victoria Holt is the Grande Dame of gothic romance and this book is a prime example of how she became so. I just wish there was more of the same around today.-Lynn

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