Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lord of the Far Island-Victoria Holt

Lord of the Far Island
Victoria Holt
St. Martin’s Griffin, Nov 24 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9780312384173

When she was five years old her mother died so Ellen Kellaway moved in with her wealthy adult third cousins William and Agatha Loring and their daughter Esmeralda. Cousin Agatha never conceals for one moment she resents the poor relative living with her and cannot wait to toss Ellen out of the house. That moment occurs when Ellen turns eighteen as Agatha informs her charity ends now. She is directed to accept a position as governess to Cousin Agatha's friend, the Honorable Mrs. Oman Lemming, which is as unappealing as remaining in the current household where she is unwanted. Her handsome childhood friend Phillip Carrington proposes and Ellen accept. A tragedy prevents their nuptials as apparently he commits suicide though Ellen cannot believe he was so filled with despair as to shoot himself.

Adapting once gain to her dismal fate, Ellen receives a letter from Jago Kellaway, who claims to be her guardian and the Lord of The Far Island, inviting her to meet her family at their ancestral home. Without a look back, Ellen travels to Kellaways Island, off Cornwall. Jago and Ellen are attracted to one another, but she believes he is concealing something sinister. She begins to fall in love with him as she begins to uncover his dark secrets that he hides from her.

This reprint of a 1975 gothic romance remains an exciting tale with a final spin that will stun the audience although a coda denouement helps explain what happened. The story line is in two parts: London and the Far Island with the first hundred pages setting up the remaining two hundred plus pages. The action is a bit slow until Ellen goes to Far Island when the story line switches gears. Fans will enjoy Victoria Holt’s fine tale that holds up nicely three and a half decades after it was first released.

Harriet Klausner

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