Friday, September 30, 2011

Lord of Far Island by Victoria Holt

The past is never far behind.…

Ellen Kellaway, orphaned at age five, was raised by wealthy cousins, but was never allowed to forget that her every advantage was owed to the charity of others.  However, when the son of a powerful London family asks for her hand in marriage, her world is opened up to untold wealth and social position. She never imagined that such an unlikely dream would come true.

Despite these wonderful new developments in her life, Ellen continues to be wracked by the bad dreams that have haunted her since childhood.  What is the meaning of the lifelong nightmare—the image of an unfamiliar room, a door opening and behind it a dreadful presence? Perhaps it is a message urging her to uncover the secrets of her long-lost family—the secrets of the ancient home of the Kellaways on the Far Island, off the wild coast of Cornwall.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Queen of Romantic Suspense

Victoria Holt was one of eight pen names for the British author, Eleanor Hibbert. Her best-known pseudonyms were Jean PlaidyVictoria Holt, and Philippa Carr, but she also wrote under the names Eleanor BurfordElbur FordKathleen KellowAnne Percival, and Ellalice Tate. She was well known for writing meticulously researched novels with strong plots and rich characterization. The popular novels of Victoria Holt were those of romantic suspense set in gloomy, old manor houses and were also known as gothic romance.

Friday, September 23, 2011

What is Gothic Romance?

The definition most commonly found for gothic romance is a romance that deals with desolate and mysterious and grotesque events. But, in my opinion there is really much more to it than that. The beginnings of gothic novels can be traced back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These stories were mysterious and suspenseful, heavily tinged with horror and terror, and often involved supernatural elements. The settings also played an important part in these novels. They had dark backgrounds, such as castles, medieval ruins, and monasteries. These usually were equipped with subterranean passages, dark battlements and hidden panels. Some examples of these stories can be found within the pages of The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, The Monk by Matthew Lewis, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and the works of Ann Radcliffe.