SHIVERING SANDS Mass Market Paperback – Mar 12 1985
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"For a good escapist read Victoria Holt never disappoints." Netta Martin, Annabel --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Born Eleanor Alice Burford, Victoria Holt was one of Britain's most prolific writers of historical romance. Always determined to keep her birth date and private life a closely guarded secret Holt wrote under many pseudonyms -- Jean Plaidy was one of her most popular, and was created when she lived near Plaidy Beach in Cornwall. Having written over ninety historical romances, she then began a new series of Gothic romances, the first of which, Mistress of Mellyn, appeared in 1961. The Shivering Sands was first published in 1969 as part of the same series. She died at sea in January 1993, somewhere between Greece and Port Said, Egypt. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Caroline Verlaine is a young widow. She put her musical career on the shelf to be married to Pietro Verlaine an extremely gifted pianist, only to be left to her own devices when he died prematurely. She visits her sister at Lovat Stacy's newly arranged archaelogical digs and is intrigued by the great house, and her second hand impressions of the people living there. Later when Caroline is back in London, she hears of her sister's disappearance and can't quite believe in the explanations that are given. The digs were not popular, and Caroline's sister, Roma as a single woman is an unusual figure as the head of such a project. When the opportunity presents itself, Caroline decides to go to Lovat Stacy without revealing she is Roma's sister to investigate the disappearance.
In this novel, the plot centers on family relations and a rift that happened when an accident took the life of the cherished first son of the Stacy's. It makes the plot doubly interesting because it is rooted in long festered emotions. At the same time, those meanderings bring about a reflection of Caroline on her mourning of her late husband, and what the relationship meant. It is very well written that at the end, two avenues for Caroline's future have been explored and her choice ends up making perfect sense with a conclusion that seems almost inevitable because it is rooted in Caroline's personality. It is the author's clever work in characterisation that makes this happen.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
What a mystery. A widow works incognito as a piano teacher to solve the mystery of her sister's disappearance. The title may give it away, but throughout the book, the reader is given many chances to figure out who, how, and why before it is actually revealed. There is an eerie "haunted" mansion, lots of shocking secrets, desire, and many disturbing encounters. This was a perfect introduction to Victoria Holt. Read it, you'll like it.
Carolina Verlaine suffered tragedies. Her parents, both archeologists, died in a train crash in route to a dig. She forfeited a promising career as a pianist in deference to her husband Pietro who was more talented, but he dies, leaving Carolina a widow at age 28. Then Carolina's only sister, Roma Brandon, also an archeologist, disappears just as her team finishes excavating Roman ruins at the Lovat Stacy estate in eastern England. Carolina's former piano teacher who is teaching four young women at Lovat Stacy decides to retire and recommends Carolina to replace her, but without mentioning to her employer that Carolina is Roma's sister. Carolina, determined to learn what happened to her Roma, accepts the position without revealing her relationship to Roma.
The story, in the 1880s, is set in near Deal on the eastern shores of the United Kingdom. Four to six miles east of Deal, across the Downs channel, lays the Goodwin Sands, shifting quicksand. Over the past couple centuries, the Goodwin Sands became the graveyard for an estimated 2000 vessels. Although Lovat Stacy and the nearby village, Lovat Mill, are fictional, the actual village Martin Mill appears to be close to the fictional setting between the exiting Walmer and Dover castles.
The story gradually reveals the tragedies of the Stacy household over the past several decades leading to the conflicts and intrigues in the narrative present. SHIVERING SANDS is well written in the first person, giving Carolina the only point of view, which keeps the reader engaged in trying to solve the mysteries of Lovat Stacy along with her.
After reading three best selling contemporary romance thrillers, which I rated three stars, I found THE SHIVERING SANDS without a dust jacket amongst our books of unknown origin. I began reading it without knowing the genre. What a nice surprise. This is a five-star historical, romance, mystery, psychological thriller.
Caroline soon found herself enmeshed in the lives and scandals of estate and village of Lovat Stacey, including her students - shy Edith soon to wed Napier, the heir, quiet Alice, the housekeepers daughter, lively Allegra, Napier's illegitimate child and Sylvia, the vicar's daughter and the rest of the household - Sir William the patriarch of the family, his ne'er-do-well son Napier, Mrs. Lincroft, the housekeeper and Sybil, Sir William's sister as well as the ever present ghosts of Sir William's dead wife, Isabel and favorite son Beau. As Caroline began to sort out the truth from the lies and gradually uncover what had happened to Roma new complications arose in the unwanted attentions of Napier and the comforting ones of the new curate.
This is a romance novel in the finest tradition, young heroine with a sad past finds herself in a romantic isolated spot as teacher/governess/companion to a wealthy family swept into danger complicated by old scandals and pursued by two handsome men. The formula never varies, the appeal is the variations on the theme, the clever twists and turns the author inserts into the story. Few do this better than Holt, her heroines come to life, the twists in the plot come as a total surprise, keeping the reader guessing until the end.