Victoria Holt reminds me of high school, where I first found friends who had the same love for reading and writing that I did. I remember one of my friends having a fondness for Holt novels. I just knew they were historical fiction; I wasn't really into that at the time, so I didn't explore any further than that. Since then, I've heard Holt's name mentioned more than a few times, but I never got around to picking up her novels.
So I got a late start, but I think I understand the fondness now, if "Mistress of Mellyn" is indicative of Holt's writing in general. The atmosphere and overall feel of the book reminded me of "Rebecca," never a bad thing. I love that the heroine actually has a brain that works well, and the story is interesting and kept me guessing, for the most part. I mean, I knew there was SOMETHING up with Celestine, but I didn't see the whole picture until I was almost done with the book.
The ONLY thing that really, really bugged me was: WHY was Martha in love with Connan? I just didn't get it. He seemed like a jerk. I mean, I do understand the Momentary Lure of the Jerk, but she was actually DEEPLY IN LOVE with him, and I just don't get it. I didn't think they had enough interaction for it to be plausible, but maybe I am just a horrible cynic. Or maybe I missed something. Or maybe I should learn to suspend my disbelief when it comes to romances, even good ones.
Anyway, I enjoyed it. But then I always knew my friends had good taste.
(I didn't know Jean Plaidy was a pseudonym for Victoria Holt until ten minutes ago! Awesome!)