Which Victoria Holt?

I was just asked which Victoria Holt to read as an introduction to the Holt oeuvre. And since I know there are many Holt fans out there– with many strong opinions– I thought I’d fling it open to all of you….

My gateway Holt was Curse of the Kings: Victorian Egyptologists, ancient curses, all that sort of thing. But the Holts I went back to again and again were Secret for a Nightingale and The Time of the Hunter’s Moon.

Which Holt would you recommend?


  1. Allyssa on August 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I would recommend Mistress of Mellyn! I have reread that one many times! I have always loved her plots.

    • Elaine Stoudt on January 17, 2024 at 7:25 pm

      I love Seven for a Secret.

  2. Ammy Belle on August 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Time of the Hunter’s Moon is probably my favourite!

  3. Dee on August 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    My favorite Victoria Holt’s are Pride of the Peacock, The Road to Paradise Island, The Mask of the Enchantress and The Judas Kiss. But all of them are great.

  4. Heather on August 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I look forward to these suggestions! I have never read any of her work, so this list is a great thing. Also, does anyone know if they’re in print? I haven’t seen any at the bookstore I work at, but that doesn’t mean they’re out of print.

    • KATHRYN ALEXANDER on June 14, 2020 at 4:09 am

      I loved the craftsmanship of “The Legend of the Seventh Virgin.” which is definitely not a formula gothic romance. The characterizations were unique, and the motivations, too. It turns our Cinderella story on its head. Her books can be found on Amazon.com through used bookstores.

  5. Lauren on August 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Heather, a bunch of them came back into print a couple of years ago– I remember buying a friend of copy of “Mistress of Mellyn” at the late, lamented Borders, just before the store went out of business.

  6. Céline on August 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Well, thanx a lot, Lauren, and all my fellow willig-maniacs! I’m pretty sure I’ll get many recommandations from you all! Then, I’ll have to choose! 😀

    (I checked, and they seem to have a lot of them at the library! Good thing, because only a few are in ePub or available at the bookstore!)

  7. Ren on August 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Mask of the Enchantress was my gateway Holt.

    • Debbie Baker on May 8, 2020 at 1:23 am

      Shivering Sands is my favorite. Had me guessing right up till the end!

      • Elaine Stoudt on February 9, 2024 at 5:01 pm

        Yes, I just finished that and was totally surprised

  8. Sheila on August 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    As I posted on Facebook, I think you should start at the beginning with Mistress of Mellyn, which I think I read 5 times. It is the first , I think, read it in Reader’s digest Condensed version, had to get the real one. My best friend and I decided several years ago to go back and read them all in series ( we did it with Veryan too, wonderful to have a friend like that) and discovered that there are some vague links book to book. Also some repetitive themes, but it didn’t keep us from loving the books. Holt is one of the standard bearer authors, like Heyer, I think. and don’t forget her massive output under her pseudonyms !

  9. Sherri on August 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Bride of Pendorric was my first. Mistress of Mellyn is also a very good start.

  10. Suzanne on August 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    My first Victoria Holt book was “Seven for a Secret”. I’ll never forget how my mom got it for me at the library when I was home sick with from school. From then on I was hooked! My all-time favorite Victoria Holt is, and will always be, “The India Fan”.

  11. Suzanne on August 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    My first Victoria Holt book was “Seven for a Secret”. I’ll never forget how my mom got it for me at the library when I was home sick from school. From then on I was hooked! My all-time favorite Victoria Holt is, and will always be, “The India Fan”.

  12. mq, cb on August 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Ah, Victoria Holt! I haven’t read those since I was 14 or so, which was considerably more than 14 years ago. Bloody hell, I’m old.

    • Sheila on August 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      I think that makes you , what? 28ish…my dear I started reading them when they first came out. No, you’re not old !

  13. Michelle on August 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    My first Victoria Holt was Pride of the Peacock. I recall loving Mistress of Mellyn too. It’s been many years since I’ve read her books. Maybe it’s time to go back for a re-read. Enjoy!

  14. Sherri on August 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Ooo, The India Fan is an awesome book. I think I have all of the Victoria Holt books I might be missing one. She’s one of my favorite authors.

  15. Cho on August 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Secret for Nightingale!

  16. Cho on August 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Well that’s mildly awkward…meant Secret for *a* Nightingale

  17. Michelle on August 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    ‘The India Fan’ is my current favorite. I need to read ‘Curse of the Kings’ though since I’m truly partial to Egyptian archaeology mysteries! 🙂

  18. Allison (Allure of Books) on August 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    My first Holt was Spring of the Tiger, and I definitely still gravitate toward it when making recommendations. Love the exotic feel!

  19. Vanessa on August 31, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    i was 12 when my mum got me into reading Holt and my first one was House of a Thousand Lanterns so that’s one of my favorite alongside The Captive and On the Night of the Seventh Moon

  20. Rosemary K on August 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    The Shadow of the Lynx was one of my favorites.

  21. Pam on August 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I started with Mistress of Mellyn and thought it was a pretty good introduction to her style and to the genre. The plot is a fairly standard governess meets brooding possibly murderous–yet oh so dreamy–employer, mysterious/sinister events transpire. Some of her other work goes in more specific historical directions (not to mention all the books under Eleanor Hibbert’s other pseudonyms). You are going to have so much fun!

  22. Linda Walkins on August 31, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I read a lot of Victoria Holt books when I was a teenager. My favorite was The Queen’s Confession, which was about Marie Antoinette.

  23. Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm on September 1, 2012 at 12:21 am

    I liked Bride of Pendorric a lot I remember.

    Also: I’m a huge fan of Madeleine Brent. Any of you Victoria Holt fans also like her books?

  24. Julie L. on September 1, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Mine was On the Night of the Seventh Moon, I was captivated by it, but then again, it was my first romance ever and I was 13 years old! The rest is history!

  25. Jessica on September 1, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I love Victoria Holt! Have read all her books and I cannot pick what ONE book so I have 3: The Road to Paradise Island, Kirkland Revels, The Devil On Horseback. She is the author that started my addiction to reading.

  26. Lady T on September 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    At a local rummage sale,I picked up a boxed set of Victoria Holt titles and so far have read two out of the four. The first one I tackled was The Landower Legacy,which was pretty good,but the second book really got me hooked.

    The Captive is quite a gem and parts of it have an Upstairs/Downstairs vibe(the heroine bonds more with the servants than her prim and proper parents). I’m saving the other two(The Road to Paradise and The Silk Vendetta)for a rainy day but would wholeheartedly recommend The Captive,if you can get it(it might be out of print,sadly).

  27. Pat on September 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    As a kid I read Mistress of Mellyn,Readers Digest Condensed version, and got hooked. I’d forgotten many of those titles. But Bride of Pendorric and Kirkland Revels were also good. Haven’t read any Victoria Holt in forever.

  28. Dianne on September 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Methuselah here! My mother gave me The Mistress of Mellyn way back in the late 70’s when I was home sick from school. I think I need to root around and find her old copies or see if my wonderful local library has them. A rainy day, a cup of tea and a Victoria – sheer bliss.

  29. jamie on September 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    yes! Mistress of Mellyn is a classic for a reason. I also adore Lord of the Far Isle, mainly cause it was the first one of hers i ever read. @jessica- yes I love Madeleine Brent too and have all books in my shelf. Did you know that madeleine brent is the nom de plume of Peter O’Donnell? 🙂

  30. Ingrid on September 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I really enjoyed V. Holt’s “The India Fan”

  31. Angie on September 7, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I am a huge Victoria Holt fan. I love on The night of the Seventh Moon too but some other stand out favorites are The Silk Vendetta, The Mask of the Enchantress, and The Legend of the Seventh Virgin. I have read each of these several times!! I personally own all of her books and will re-read one when I need something comfortable, great and easy to read. I also love her Jean Plaidy books. They are must reads for Historical fiction fans!!!

  32. Ginny on September 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I “discovered” Victoria Holt about a year and a half ago. Started with “Bride of Pendorric,” which is still my favorite of her titles … I love the Cornish setting and the twins and the eerie courtyard with all the windows! Lord of the Far Island was also a fun engrossing read.

    Am just starting her Daughters of England series (written under the name Philippa Carr). They’re seriously addictive … like potato chips or candy.

  33. Lora on November 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Are the books that she wrote at an older age as good as her earlier novels?

  34. Della Row on December 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    The india fan

  35. Paul John Perla on June 1, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    My first was The House of a Thousand Lanterns. EVERYTHING she wrote is SPECTACULAR!

  36. yvonne on June 14, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    I began reading victoria holt novels with Reader’s Digest condensed books because I lived on a farm. Then, my grandmother who lived in the city (New Orleans) took me to the library where I checked out the complete versions of Mistress of Mellyn and Lord of the far Island and Pride of the Peacock. Those have always been my favorites. Then, she took me to my first bookstore on Carrollton Avenue where I purchased The Spring of the Tiger – my love of both the theater and poetry came from that book. I always connect reading Victoria Holt books with my sweet memories of my gram. She always wanted to go to the old country and explore England.

  37. Victoria on December 10, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    I absolutely adore Victoria Holt’s books! I’ve been reading them since middle school, and I’ve read all but one (My Enemy, the Queen). I owned almost half of them in used hardcover until my house flooded a few months ago and I lost a good number. My great aunt passed her copies to my mother, who actually named me after Victoria Holt, as that was her favorite author at the time I was born. The first I ever started was Snare of Serpents, but I lost the book and was unable to finish it (I’m pretty sure I cried over that). So my tea first Holt was Seven for a Secret, which is still a favorite!

    Another favorite is The Pride of the Peacock (because I love a good tale of two people who hate each other but not really) and The Night of the Seventh Moon because it’s so wonderfully dramatic. My true favorite, though, might just have to be The Silk Vendetta. I just find myself so drawn to that one for some reason. I plan to pass down my copies to my own daughter when she’s old enough!

  38. Marguerite on August 31, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I read so many of Victoria Holt’s books as a teen. I started with Mistress of Mellyn. I also remember Bride of Pendoric, Kirkland Revels, The Legend of the Seventh Virgin, The Mask of the Enchantress, Legend of the Seventh Virgin, The Shadow of the Lynx, Manfreya in the Morning, and The Night of the Seventh Moon. I had them all in hard cover!! I wish I had saved them. I had totally forgotten about her books. I am definitely going to reread some and read others that I missed. It will be a wonderful remembrance of my youth!!

  39. H B VIRK. Mrs. I on December 8, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    One rainy day, I was coming home and found a sack full of books , I was in a mood to read my Jane Eyre , but could not find it . So I looked in to the sack all the books were wet but I found spring of the tiger in a better shape. It stayed on my radiators for a week . Then one evening I started reading it : the best I have ever read till then .. she has the first hand knowledge of what ever place. Situation or subject she is using in her gothic novel.. I liked the book so much . I have all of her books now , under all her names. She was a genius . All links up in the end how ever far fetched it looks in the beginning of the story .

  40. Sandy Hubbs on December 12, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    I also love, love Victoria Holt. I started reading her books probably 50 years ago and I’m now 74 and brought all her books that I had into my bedroom and put on a shelf. I have about 14 hard copies and about 40 soft backed copies. I prefer the soft backed copies as they’re easier to hold and read from. I’m starting to read them all again. Have read 7 of them in 8 days and will continue this reading marathon. I love them all❤️

  41. Nish on December 21, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Bride of Pendorric was the first book I read, but I fell in love with her work when I read Menfreya. All her books are good, although the heroes were pretty awful in quite a few.

  42. Sandra on March 15, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    My very favorite is Pride of the Peacock, then Mask of the Enchantress and Black Opal.

  43. Renée Fenn on July 12, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    What great memories the comments brought back and the great memories the commenters have posting, here.

    Although, I read them all, I would not be able to remember titles, the order I read them, and certainly not the first one I started with, either.

    I do recall being gleefully when my friend and I finished them all, then downhearted to discover her many pen names.

    Currently, over 40 yrs later, I’m re reading the all Holts, then plan to find & read all of the other, also

    Did she, Eleanor Hibbert, have eight pen names?

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