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Favourite Victoria Holt Novel

(including the other many pseudonyms of Eleanor Hibbert)
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon June 13th, 2011, 4:38 pm

Like Michy, I read a pile of Holt/Carr in my teens. They all run together in my head, although I can kind of remember the plot for the night of the seventh moon, and I recently read nine coaches waiting for brain candy. But yes, too much formula, and once past my twenties, I couldn't suspend disbelief and get into the novel--the situations were too improbable.

I recently chewed through the Spanish Bridegroom, which I found stiff.

The only one that I really remember was My Enemy the Queen. I liked that one.

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Michy
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Location: California

Post by Michy » Mon June 13th, 2011, 5:24 pm

[quote=""MLE""]I recently read nine coaches waiting for brain candy. [/quote] Isn't that Mary Stewart?
The only one that I really remember was My Enemy the Queen. I liked that one.
Same here -- I read it in high school and I remember that it got me digging into the Encyclopedia Brittanica in the school library (this was back in the stone ages before internet or even computers ;) ) to find out more about Lettice Knollys and the two Dudleys. I have been trying to get my hands on a copy, as I would like to give it a re-read. Holt/Plaidy's dialogue and characterization is stiff, flat and almost painfully restrained, and her Holt heroines are all so much the same they're interchangeable -- just change the name and you've got the heroine of the next book. So I don't expect to like the book much this time around, but I want to try it again, anyway.

SGM
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Post by SGM » Mon June 13th, 2011, 6:05 pm

[quote=""Michy""]I pretty much agree with this. Holt was one of my favorite authors in my younger years -- I devoured nearly all of her books in my teens and early twenties. In my mid- to late-twenties I discovered her Plaidy titles, although by that time she was losing steam with me and so I only read a few before dropping her altogether. In the last couple of years I decided -- after a hiatus of 15 or so years -- to give her another try, so I read one Holt and one Plaidy. And both of them fell pretty flat with me.

That being said, when it comes to naming a favorite Holt out of the many I read it's pretty easy. All of her books were formulaic and so similar that they all run together in my memory now. The only one that stands out as different was My Enemy the Queen. So I guess I'd have to say that was my favorite.[/quote]

i agree about the formula. I used to get a lot of stick from the family for reading these books in my teens but my Dad used to be able to look at the title and summarise the plot on the back of a pstage stamp. Not that the Plaidy ones even had a plot.

That's why i agree with the comment about not wanting to read novels about royals as they tend to have no plot.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Mon June 13th, 2011, 7:52 pm

[quote=""SGM""] That's why i agree with the comment about not wanting to read novels about royals as they tend to have no plot.[/quote] Well, that's because they're based on real life and real life most of the time doesn't have a "plot." :) I'm not much interested in novels about royals, but that's because I'm far more interested in the way common people (the vast majority) lived.

That being said, I understand that novels about royalty are immensely popular with many HF fans, and they are, perhaps, a more interesting and entertaining way to learn about history than reading an encyclopedia or other NF book. A good author will, of course, flesh out the story as much as possible, but they still must remain true to the historical record. So expecting a HF book about royals (or any other well-documented person in history) to have plot and story arc like a purely fiction book isn't quite fair.

SGM
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Post by SGM » Mon June 13th, 2011, 8:36 pm

[quote=""Michy""]That being said, I understand that novels about royalty are immensely popular with many HF fans, and they are, perhaps, a more interesting and entertaining way to learn about history than reading an encyclopedia or other NF book. [/quote]

Unfortunately, I can't read historical fiction to learn about history. I have to read non-fiction. I am not even fond of biographies (except the really exceptional ones by the professionals) because I prefer to read about issues and varying analyses which is probably why I like my fiction to be fiction and have a plot. I know other people feel differently and have a different take on it. If that is what works for someone that's fine -- it just doesn't work for me. I want to scream watching programmes (Starkey) or reading books about Elizabeth and her relationship with Dudley etc etc. So much more was going on in Elizabeth's reign that was to have a major impact on future government and generations and that is what I am interested in.

Yes, I need to know that there was a potential alliance through her marriage with this or that state and the impact that would have on the relationship between states in Europe or about the breakdown of the Elizabethan system and the problems it caused for James and Charles and yes, Elizabeth's lack of marriage did have important ramifications for the succession but I am really really bored with the concentration on her relationship with Dudley (except when played by Joseph Fiennes) and Essex etc. And that is just one example of why I don't really read historical fiction that doesn't have a plot and why I am not interested in fiction about royals.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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