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The mistress of Trevelyan by Jennifer St. Giles
A formulaic gothic: heroine's point-of-view, sensible plain-looking heroine becomes governess to two sons of owner of imposing mansion whose wife supposedly committed suicide.
It's like the author read Victoria Holt's "Mistress of Mellyn" and said "I can do that too". So she wrote an immitation and added quite a bit of sex, because that's what romances seem to need these days. Sorry if I don't read gothics for the sex scenes. A reader who never read "Mistress of Mellyn" would probably love this book, but to me it's just a copy. No points for originality here. Victoria Holt has a special way of speaking to readers; a gift not many authors possess. The setting is 1873 San Francisco; there are a few references to life in the West, but apart from that it could just as easily have happened in Cornwall England. Two things bugged me in the story: (1) The bookstore owner has a parrot that quotes Shakespeare very appropriately, and (2) throughout the book the hero and heroine know that a marriage between them is out of the question because of their differences in station etcetera, and of course by the end of the book he proposes.

My verdict: a 7 out of 10

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