Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt

Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt. St. Martin's Griffin Press. June 2009. ISBN #: 9780312384166

How much of fear is imagination or reality? That's the dilemma Favel Farrington faces in her new life in England. Having grown up poor but happy with her mother and father in an artist's colony on the island of Capri, Favel is overwhelmed when a mysterious visitor arrives and slowly begins to woo her heart. Roc Pendorric loves to gamble and certainly attracts many young women astonished by his good looks and suave manner. Favel wonders if she can find permanent happiness with such a philanderer; but little by little, her heart yields to Roc's love and persuasion.

After the sudden, very sad death of her father, Favel agrees to wed Roc; and after a luxurious honeymoon in Europe, they go "home" to the Cornwall section of England. A magnificent, beautiful yet ghost-ridden castle is to be her new home. Being a practical, down-to-earth woman, Favel attempts to dismiss the tale delivered by the very strange twins, Hyson and Lowella, about the supposed curse of the Brides of Pendorric which promises death at a very young age. The previous Bride of Pendorric cannot rest until the next one dies. As Cornwall is a place abounding in tales and superstitions, Favel sets about dismissing such horrific thoughts and avidly seeks to learn as much about her new family and the grumpy next-door neighbor who has created a duplicate castle of Pendorric.

The plot thickens as Favel realizes there is a looming threat when she comes close to disaster in a situation that is far too threatening and alarming to be more than mere coincidence. Her love for Roc is a mixture of passion and confusion as he attempts to calm her fears and distract her with intimate passion. Little by little, she is forced to face the reality behind the lore and on top of everthing else discovers that she is not quite the orphan she imagined herself to be.

This very old classic mystery that was a notable bestseller back in the 1960's indeed stands the test of time and is just as thrilling, dark and tension-ridden as when this reviewer first read it almost fifty years ago. Its reissue in 2009 promises to introduce a whole new generation to one of the most exciting mysteries that the prolific author, Victoria Holt, wrote for many delighted and hooked readers! A welcome new edition will definitely please both old and new readers galore!

Ms. Holt's legacy deservedly lives on in Bride of Pendorric!

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