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Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt
#1
*possible plot spoilers*

   

Victoria Holt has long been one of the top shelf names in modern Gothic Romance writing. Bride of Pendorric is written in the first person, and has a contemporary setting in Cornwall, England circa 1963 (publication date).

The plot follows a classic template borrowing elements from other classic novels, namely Rebecca and Jane Eyre. After a brief courtship in Italy, Favel Farrington marries Roc Pendorric (what names!) and returns as his Bride to the ancient manor house, Pendorric.

The family is over flowing with sets of twins, most notably Roc's younger sisters Hy and Lo (I'm not kidding) who are generally creepy, attempting to frighten our heroine with family legends of the previous Brides who do not rest in their grave until a new Bride is claimed to join them in the great beyond.

There is danger aplenty: a near fatal slip in the mud, an evening spent locked in the family tomb, a burning bed.

It's a short read and Holt has a firm grasp on narrative writing. She never stoops to cheap gimmicks. Despite the plot, her writing style does not leaned itself to Gothic tension. The suspense is underplayed to the point where I never felt I was in Gothic territory. Maybe it is because the book was written before the Gothic craze kicked into high gear, and writers had not yet begun to lose constraint on the way they told their stories.

Cover: 10
Plot: 8
Style: 5
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