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The Mask Of The Enchantress (1985)

The Mask of the Enchantress (1985)
3.81 of 5 Votes: 1
0449244180 (ISBN13: 9780449244180)
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The Mask Of The Enchantress (1985)
The Mask Of The Enchantress (1985)

About book: The Mask of the Enchantress made me feel severly uncomfortable in parts. Why? The overtly sexual atmosphere, and how sex was used to characterize and establish certain characters; their respective sex life went hand in hand with their charaterization and their behavior.So, sex in books, I don't have a problem with that. I don't mind sex scenes, I think they can be nice and fluffy; advance the plot sometimes; sometimes not so much. I don't like erotic literature though, neither do iI enjoy bodice rippers. Too many sex scenes make me feel uncomfortable, especially if they are not written tastefully. I do appreciate the use of correct terminology. I draw the line when it comes to certain deragotory terms used for either gender's genitals. I am not a prude, I have no problem with promiscuous people, and that is exactly where my problem with this book lies.Promiscuity is used to condemn and disaparage characters during the whole of the novel. Let me start with the people indigenous to the island near Sydney where the main character, Suewellyn, grows up on, (Yes, I am aware of how awful that name is. The book also presents us with a Jessamy, with a Garth, an Esmond, and a weirdly spelt variation of Annabell, Anabel.)The indigenous population of the island is generally depicted in a very problematic, borderline racist manner: all of them are capricious, insidious, jealous of Suewellyn's family (who is white...), and none of them can speak proper English, even though they have been in contact with Australians for over 20 years, and Cougable, a "friend" of Suewellyn's took classes with her. Yet she still cannot grasp the concept of grammer properly. So, Cougabel is depicted awfully, as jealous of "poor" Suewellyn, and they have a really fucked up "friendship" that runs along the lines of "look at my indigenous friend!!!! I mingle with the people who live here!!! They love me!!!!"Furthermore, they are superstitious and dumb and need to be educated by the clever white man who knows what's best for them. Back on track, the autochthonal people have a disgusting ritual, during which everyone wears a mask, and leading up to which no one is allowed to have sex for a month. The masks render them unrecognizable, and random people start having sex in the forrest. A child born nine months later is revered, because it was beget by the vulcano, which the people look to as their God. During the description of the ritual, which is basically a giant orgy, girls are apprently frightened and confused, and although not rape, I would personally classify this as dubious consent.Moving on: the people living on the island are promiscuous and sex-positive, as evidenced by the "primitive", admittedly disturbing, tradition so gaily celebrated, Suewellyn's family is not, as they are typical conservative British people, and thoroughly respectable. Suewellyn's parents basically only have sex with each other, therefore they are good; the indigenous people are promiscuous, therefore they must be bad.Anyhow, Susannah shows up, Suewellyn's half-sister, and we are constantly reminded of (Victoria Holt loved repeating things ad nauseam, as if she thought the readers were to dumb to keep them in mind) the impression she makes on men and how licentious, lecherous and sex-crazy she is! That evil, man-eating slut!!!!1111!!!1!!Susannah's evilness is directly tied to her promiscuity, and she works as foil for Suewellyn's steadfast character, her virginal and pure self. Basically, people who enjoy sex (Cougabel, the indigenous ppopulation on the island, several of the Matelands, including David, who begot several children, one of them Garth, who is also evil, Philip, and Susannah) are bad and disgusting and tainted, and people like Suewellyn, Malcolm, Laura, Suewellyn's (damn, writing that name is so annoying and I keep making typos, Mrs. Holt must have had so much fun using that name all the time) parents, who, although adulterers, are faithful, therefore they must be too, are good.It's noticeable how the former group fares: They all die, some more horribly than others, whereas people of the latter group at least partly survive, or lead a happy life.Life isn't as clear cut as that, and sex is such a natural thing that condemning people for their enjoyment of it is, was, and always will be stupid.Yes, I am aware of the book's setting, and that during the reign of Queen Victorian everyone was a prude, and yes, I am aware when Mrs. Holt wrote this, people weren't as open-minded as they are today (lol), but still, it bugged me.My stance on slut-shaming is that I despise it, be it in a book set in the 19th, 20th, or 21st century, and so I simply had to write a lenghty, ranting commentary on the book.Furthermore, 3/4 of the book were spent on the island near the coast of Sydney, alsmost putting me to sleep, and all the Gothic parts the characters spent in England were so much more intriguing, yet so sparse. What a waste of a good plot.

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.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.Find out more about this book at A Million Kindle Books.
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Laurie Rizzolo
I always enjoy a Victoria Holt novel. I did get frustrated with the lead character she just didn't become suspicious of things until the end. That was unsusal for a Victoria Holt novel.
Cada vez que leo algo de esta autora me sorprende, que bien me la pase leyendo esta novela, tiene de todo, un par de amantes traicioneros que poco les importa hacer daño a quien "aman" con tal de darle rienda suelta a sus pasiones.Una pequeña huerfana que desea tener a sus padres a su lado, un castillo que atrae a todos con su hechizo y que los incira hacer cosas terribles con tal de poseerlo. Un asesinato, una aventura en barco, una isla exotica, un volcan en erupcion que arrasa todo a su paso cambiando el destino de una mujer y la hace cometer un crimen del que jamas se hubiera creido posible. Me encantó.
This book has a lot of the things that I've come to dislike about VH's books. The long opening chapters about the heroine's childhood and family. The non-appearance of the hero until page 100 or 150 or worse. The lack of any passion, even passionate kissing. The hard-to-believe or totally absent ILY's. The first-person POV. Still, still... I enjoyed this one. The volcanic island scenes were good, maybe cuz you just knew what was gonna happen. The heroine's impersonation - will she/won't she get away with it? The suspicious hero. The deadly family secrets. The taciturn servant. The gradual revelation of the impersonated woman's true character. Is the hero a murderer? Even the first-person POV works, as you feel the net tightening along with the heroine. I was totally absorbed and had to keep reading to see what would happen.The heroine is likable, and sympathetic despite her deceit. Unfortunately the hero didn't make a strong impression. I never felt I got to know him. And the romance suffers. So I'm torn. As a romance, it's barely 2*. But as a cracking good read, it's 4*.PS. hero and heroine are second cousins, from what I can make of the convoluted family tree. So don't read if that kind of thing squicks your boat.
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