|A small selection of my Victoria Holt books!|
The Victoria Holt novels tended to be historical, with unusual settings, dark and often dangerous heroes and a feisty heroine. Some were almost Gothic in their mystery and suspense, with titles like The Demon Lover and The Devil on Horseback. Exactly what this romantic, escapist teenager wanted to read. There were an incredible thirty two books under the Victoria Holt name, published between 1960 and 1993, and I probably read every one of them. I can't even pick out a favourite now, but the titles that come to mind first are The Shivering Sands and The Legend of the Seventh Virgin.
But Victoria Holt was only one of the pseudonyms of the remarkably prolific writer, Eleanor Hibbert. Born in 1906, this British author also wrote some of the best and most popular historical novels as Jean Plaidy, which taught me more about history than school ever did! But she didn't stop there - she also wrote as Philippa Carr and Eleanor Burford (her maiden name), as well as a few others. No wonder she sold a million books by the time she died in 1993.
I'm not the only modern writer who is still influenced by those Victoria Holt novels well into adulthood, for romantic suspense is high on the list of the type of novel many of us love to read - and hope to write! As with the Mary Stewart books, I'm still wondering whether to read all my Victoria Holt books again, or if perhaps they belong to a different time in my life and I'd be disappointed. Watch this space!