I just read a book.
Oh, I know, I read quite a few books. As a writer I am compelled to learn about the craft through reading other’s works. This book stems from that drive. I didn’t read the book because it was anything popular or on the best seller’s list. I found a sale at B&N and this was an author of renown (in the past) I thought it a wise choice to read her work.
The book is Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt.
I know little of Victoria Holt except that she is a well known author of romance novels and I read as many different romance authors as I can in an effort to learn the craft.
This book flew in the face of all the writing rules I learned this past year and a half, and yet it kept me spell bound. It seems to be one of her first novels, written in 1960. I like to read the early works of an author and compare her growth as a writer to her later works. It encourages me, a novice, to discover that the big dogs started out with skills, but those skill are honed to perfection in their later works. I justify my clumsy writing this way. I know eventually, as I write and write, I will actually write well.
Anyway, back to this book. It is written in first person, unusual in the romance industry, even in the sixty’s and the entire book is written in passive voice!! Can you believe a publisher printed a book in passive voice? As much as passive is considered a no-no in the industry presently, I am dumbfounded. Regardless, the story did manage to draw me in. The voice made me feel I watched it from outside a bubble. It was a strange sensation.
The climax came insidiously with little suspense in itself and ended within a two page span, but the whole story fascinated me.
Then there was the love story itself. This book didn’t employ any of the romantic suspense we write into the interactions between the characters. The author in this book alluded to negative feelings for the hero at the beginning of their relationship and I thought perhaps the hero was the first fellow in the story, not the second man. We were well into the story when the heroine decided she was in love with the hero. There were no longing glances or brushing of fingers. The conversations between the characters were straight forward and not suggestive at all until the heroine declared she was in love with the guy. Very unusual.
I really loved the way she put the suspense into the story in tiny tidbits here and there around the daily lives of the characters. Then the least likely person turned out to be the villain. If I hadn’t been so enthralled with all that passive voice and the first person narration, I might have figured out who was behind the mystery.
Very strange love story. It does have a HEA ending though.
I recommend the read as a necessary part of an aspiring authors education.
Thank you Victoria Holt for another notch in my education belt!
If you have read this book, or any others by Victoria Holt, I’d love to hear from you.
That is my little piece of heaven for today.