Victoria Holt

Photo by Godfrey Argent


Her novels had amounted to over 200 and had crossed the world, being translated into many different languages. She has been cited as 'trashist', 'pulp romantic', 'historically detailed', 'ladies role model' and as a 'excellent storyteller'.


Victoria Holt is in fact a pseudonym, one of many along with Jean Plaidy and Philippa Carr, her real name is in fact Eleanor Alice Hibbert. a Londoner, born 1st September 1906 (this has been disputed as she never disclosed her actual birthdate, but this is the most widely accepted one).

She covered the romantic novel in many forms using her pseudonyms as genre types. Jean Plaidy was Historical Romance; Victoria Holt was Gothic Romance; Philippa Carr was the author of the St. Bruno series, covering a families history and affairs within 17 novels.

1947 was the year of her first book, Beyond the Blue Mountains, as Jean Plaidy. It was 1960 when she first released her gothic romance novel, Mistress of Mellyn, as Victoria Holt; after her American agent suggested she wrote something with a darker element to it, while her posthumously published novel, The Black Opal was her last and 32nd as Victoria Holt.

Other pseudonyms that she has used are, Eleanor Burford (her maiden name); Elbur Ford; Kathleen Kellow; and Ellalice Tate.

Eleanor Alice Hibbert died at sea between Athens, Greece and Port Said, Egypt on 18th January 1993.

Mistress of Mellyn

I, myself can so far only vouch to of read one book, that is Mistress of Mellyn, but I have found it certainly to be a very good read, stimulating and not overly done. It gave good background to an age gone by and although no date is actually mentioned in the book, anyone with any knowledge of our British past will recognise the feel and time of the novel.

Her leading character, Martha (or Marty), is so individual in her creation and the way Holt brings her to life with her thoughts, fears and delusions. She tangles herself up in daydreams and then straightens herself out by coming back down to earth with sensible, common sense and firm control. You feel all the intensity growing around her, and although I would perhaps of liked a little more 'darkness' to it, a bit more mysticism, I thought the whole thing very well done, and certainly not 'too' romantic. The ability to keep people guessing right to the end is difficult and she does it so well here. I will definitely be trying something else by Victoria holt based on this her first book as Miss Holt.

Book list:
(Not in order)

Mistress of Mellyn
Bride of Pendorric
The Captive
The Curse of the Kings
Daughter of Deceit
The Demon Lover
The Devil on Horseback
The House of a Thousand Lanterns
The India Fan
The Judas Kiss
The King of the Castle
Kirkland Revels
The Landower Legacy
The Legend of the Seventh Virgin
Lord of the Far Island
The Mask of the Enchantress
Menfreya in the Morning
My Enemy the Queen
On the Night of the Seventh Moon
The Pride of the Peacock
The Queen's Confession
The Road to Paradise Island
Secret for a Nightingale
The Secret Woman
Seven for a Secret
The Shadow of the Lynx
The Shivering Sands
The Silk Vendetta
Snare of the Serpents
The Spring of the Tiger
The Time of the Hunter's Moon
The Black Opal

"We are born, we suffer, we love, we die, but as the waves continue to beat upon the rocks, the seed time and the harvest come and go, but the Earth remains."

From Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt.


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Last updated: 14th August 2000