The Secret Woman by Victoria Holt
Rating: 2 Stars
Description: Anna isn't happy as the poor relation living with her antique dealer Aunt Charlotte. She keeps herself happy by learning all there is to know about antiques. However when Red Stretton, the illegitimate son of Edward Crediton, shipping magnate and owner of Crediton Castle briefly enters her life she finds both joy and tragedy. She finds herself living in the Castle with her Aunt Charlotte's former nurse, Chantal, Redvers, and the legitimate son of the Credition fortune, Rex.
Why I Picked This Book: I had read some of Victoria Holt's book in high school and college but didn't really remember much about them other than they were fairly gothic-y. When I saw this on NetGalley I thought it'd be a fun read.
Pros: The actual premise is good and the atmosphere is interesting from the Queen's House, Crediton Castle, the ship and the island. Chantal is an interesting character despite the feeling that she's up to something. While she might not actually make the best decisions she at least makes decisions.
Cons: It's probably a bad sign when the notes I made for the first 1/3 of the book consisted of one word - "sssllllllooooooooowwwwww". While I liked Chantal I found Anna to not be particularly inspiring. It wasn't that I didn't like her - I actually did. It was more that she didn't do anything except worry and think and worry and think and swoon and then worry some more. There were some timeline inconsistencies too. At one point it sounds like events occurred in one order, then a story is told that has them in a different order and then later we're back to the first way. There's lots of foreboding and foreshadowing but not much after that.
Overall Impression: I didn't dislike this book but I didn't really love it either. In many ways I just never quite got interested in it. While I really wanted to like this book if I had to sum up my opinion in one word unfortunately that word would be "boring".
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I'm not going to discount Holt altogether because I really did enjoy Chantal's part in the story and her ability to create exotic and dramatic settings is impressive but the premise would really have to interest me or it would have to be very highly recommended.
Would I Recommend this Book?: No