The Mask of the Enchantress is a must read for Victoria Holt lovers and lovers of Gothic romance. Victoria Holt is one of my favorite authors, and this book did not disappoint.
Suwellyn lives in a small village and is raised by her aunt and uncle. Aunt Amelia is pretty strict and Suwellyn looks forward to the visits of Miss Annabel who is gay and happy and brings her gifts. On her seventh birthday, Miss Annabel takes her on a train journey on a picnic. There she meets a handsome man called Joel and they have a fancy picnic. Through the trees, they can see a real life castle which seems magical to the little girl. She secretly wishes that Miss Annabel was her mother and her wish comes true.
Suwellyn is really a Mateland, born out of wedlock to Annabel and Joel. They sail the seas to Australia and on to Vulcan, a remote volcanic island in the South Seas. Joel is a doctor and wants to help people. Island life is very different, but the Matelands slowly settle down and make a place for themselves among the locals. Suwellyn is sent off to school when she is thirteen where she meets Laura. Laura becomes her staunch friend and often invites her to their property or station.
As Suwellyn grows up, Laura’s brother shows interest in her and they have an understanding. Meanwhile, Annabel has shared their story with her daughter. A ship comes to the island every two months, and just when the Matelands have relaxed enough to not fear it, the ship brings a surprise visitor.
Suwellyn’s life turns upside down after this and she finds herself in England in a very difficult position. Her inherent good nature shines through and endears her to those around her. Will Suwellyn be able to claim her legacy? How does the mask figure in all this?
The Mask of the Enchantress has all the elements of a true Victoria Holt novel. The impoverished heroine, scheming relations, a long sea journey, heartbreak, loss, and the constant anticipation and suspense that gives you goose bumps. Since so much happens across the course of the novel, it is hard to figure out how much of the story to share without giving away too many spoilers.
Enjoy reading The Mask of the Enchantress if you can procure a copy. You won’t be disappointed, guaranteed!