As mesmerizing as the title is, the book is even more so. This was the first Victoria Holt book I read, and there was no looking back. I still remember the day I came across this book in my small neighborhood thrift store. I had never heard of the author, the title seemed catchy, so I decided to give it a shot. After reading several of her books, I recently realized that this style is probably called modern Gothic. Whatever the genre, any book lover should treat themselves to this haunting mystery that will take you around the world and give you goose bumps.
Jane Lindsay is born to loving parents. Her father is a gentleman who was disowned by his wealthy family. On his unexpected death, her mother takes up a job as housekeeper and Jane visits her during school holidays. Sylvester Milner is a mysterious figure and trades in chinoserie. Jane willingly becomes his apprentice but love offers a distraction. She is curious to see the house of a thousand lanterns, the Milner house on the island of Hong Kong. Life in Hong Kong is eerie and enchanting at the same time. It is hard to figure out who is a friend, and who is a foe.
There is an air of anticipation throughout the book, indeed on every page. You get goose bumps more than a few times. How exciting ocean voyages must have been in the nineteenth century! The characters are colorful and come to life. The language is rich compared to contemporary times, but not tough to read. The narrative style is now familiar to me, and some elements are a trademark of the author. But in spite of knowing it, every story has its own charm, and is so detailed that it makes scenes a hundred year old come alive.
Victoria Holt has been known by other pseudonyms like Philippa Carr and Jean Plaidy. I look forward to adding more reviews of her books on this blog. This book is Not on the Kindle yet, as far as I can see. But I hope to generate enough interest that it will be, soon.