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Victoria Holt

(including the other many pseudonyms of Eleanor Hibbert)
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Post by Misfit » Tue June 9th, 2009, 2:40 pm

Mary Stewart was my absolute favorite for romantic suspense. I read everything she wrote up to the mid 80s (except the complete set of Arthur novels; I think I only read the first one, and have been meaning to buy the set and read them all).
I know I read MS when I was a teen, but I don't recall any of them. Recently read Nine Coaches Waiting and loved it. Not a five star book but a perfect comfort book. I'm going to get more of hers from the library very soon.

I finished The Shadow of Lynx yesterday. Not as good as Bride of Pendorric.
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Post by LoisAnn » Tue June 9th, 2009, 10:05 pm

Hmm, so now I see how to get a good conversation going - just mention a favorite author from our younger, teen-ager years!!!

Victoria Holt was the first author I read when I moved from the Children's Library (upstairs) to the "Downstairs Library." Fast forward a generation later, & my daughter read several of VH's novels. In fact, Night of the Seventh Moon is one of her favorite-for-all-time books.

Other favorite authors from my teen-age years were Mary Stewart, as others have mentioned, Phyllis A. Whitney and Jane Aiken Hodge.

So funny - I can think about those books & remember exactly where they were on the library shelves, how the library smelled, where the reading tables were, etc., etc. What a pleasant trip down memory lane!
I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. ~ Charles de Secondat

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Post by Chatterbox » Tue June 9th, 2009, 10:56 pm

Misfit, comfort books -- what an appropriate description!!! You are not only my literary doppelganger but an absolute arbiter of the mot juste. First wallbanger, and now comfort book/comfort read.

Ludmila, yes, I also liked Jane Aiken Hodge and still have many of hers, although some stylistic quirks (staccato dialogue mostly) irritates me more now than it once did. I quickly 'outgrew' Phyllis Whitney. Great when I was 13 or 14, but after that, nope.

My comfort books would definitely include Mary Stewart, many by Reay Tannahill, SKP, a fun contemporary series by Elizabeth Pewsey, some mystery series, etc. etc. Like a hot cup of your favorite soup after you've been shoveling snow.

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Post by Leyland » Wed June 10th, 2009, 1:10 am

Although I don't want to add to a near thread highjacking regarding Mary Stewart - but she's the best! Storytelling via her entire body of work simply doesn't get any better. I can't even begin to tell y'all how many times I've read The Moonspinners, This Rough Magic, My Brother Michael, and so many others.

Holt's entire body of work is a very worthy runner up to MS for me. On the Night of the Seventh Moon remains one of my all time favorite books, too. Many re-reads over the years! I just found The Time of the Hunter's Moon at a Goodwill store today and vaguely remember it being another fave 70s read. I'm looking forward to discovering it again soon.

J A Hodge is an excellent favorite, too. And Madeleine Brent .....
We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams ~ Arthur O'Shaughnessy, Ode

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Post by Sheramy » Sat September 26th, 2009, 11:49 pm

The Victoria Holt novels are slowly coming back into reprint: Mistress of Mellyn and Bride of Pendorric are already available, and Lord of the Far Island is being re-released in November.

Victoria Holt/Jean Plaidy, Agatha Christie, Phyllis Whitney, and Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels supplied most of my high school fun-reading between them. On the Night of the Seventh Moon, The Queen's Confession, and Curse of the Kings were my favorite Holts.
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Post by Misfit » Sun September 27th, 2009, 12:14 am

I'm glad to see these coming back in print (as well as Du Maurier), just be careful to take them in small doses. Holt's heroine in peril formula wears thin if you read too many back-to-back.
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Post by Madeleine » Sun September 27th, 2009, 12:49 pm

Some of the VH's were re-issued in the UK a few years ago, with lovely Gothic-style covers!
Currently reading: A Winter Beneath the Stars by Jo Thomas

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Post by Nefret » Tue September 29th, 2009, 4:46 am

I think the only one I read under that name was My Enemy the Queen. Waiting for a reissue of that one.

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Post by SCW » Wed November 3rd, 2010, 10:51 am

I bought a whole heap of Victoria Holt novels 10 years ago at a second hand book shop (They were selling for $1.50 each)
My favourites are On the Night of the Seventh Moon, The Queens Confession and My Enemy the Queen.

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Post by Michy » Wed November 3rd, 2010, 2:29 pm

I'll add my two cents to this conversation -- a little late, but I didn't know about this thread until today. :)

Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney were the backbone of my reading material from about age 12 or 13 until about my mid-20s. I believe I read every title either one of them ever wrote (except for their last few -- by that time I had started to outgrow them and move on to other things). I also read several Jean Plaidys in my 20s, mostly her books on the Normans and Plantaganets. I think I only read one or two Philippa Carrs -- by the time I discovered that pseudonym I was already losing interest the author.

Over the last couple of years -- after a hiatus of 20 or so years -- I decided to give them each a try, again. I've tried one or two titles by each and, alas, none of them have held up well for me. I now find Plaidy/Holt/Carr's style of dialogue waaaay too stilted and emotionally flat -- I suppose one could argue that it works in conjunction with her books' typically Victorian settings, but I find it unappealing as well as too predictable (if you've read one Holt heroine, you've basically read them all). Phyllis Whitney's style of characterization and dialogue held up much better and, surprisingly, the two books I tried didn't feel dated. However, her method of creating suspense is way too heavy-handed and melodramatic.

So -- I will always have a nostalgic fondness for Plaidy, Holt and Whitney as the authors I cut my teeth on, but their books will remain in the attic, so to speak. :)
Last edited by Michy on Wed November 3rd, 2010, 2:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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