Monday, April 11, 2022

[Review] - Victoria Winters by Marilyn Ross

Most tie-in novels tend to stay in the continuity of whatever television or movie series it's from, but that wasn't such the case with the Dark Shadow novels by Marilyn Ross (William Edward Daniel Ross). Between December 1966 to March 1972, Paperback Library published thirty-three Dark Shadows books (minus the House of Dark Shadows novelization), and all shared a different continuity than the 1966 - 1972 soap opera series. 

Victoria Winters was the second Dark Shadows novel, first released in March 1967. As the title suggests, the protagonist is Victoria Winters, the governess of young David Collins. She took the position at Collins House (Collinwood) in the hopes of discovering the mysterious benefactor who used to send her an allowance, which might help her connect the dots to her parentage. In this tale, she receives a letter from Ernest Collins, the cousin of Elizabeth (the matriarch of the family), and her brother Roger. After the events of the first novel, Ernest has been living in New York City to work out his demons with the hopes of one day returning to Collins House to declare his love for Victoria. 

Henry Francis and his two daughters moved to Collinwood for the summer. His daughter Dorothy is recovering from brain surgery. The other daughter, Rachel Francis, is nothing but trouble. Upon arrival, Rachel sets her eyes on the much older Roger Collins.

In an almost identical plot to the first book, Victoria starts seeing shadows and ghostly figures at Collinwood. Then an unseen stranger tries to strangle Victoria with a silk stalking. She survives, and the stranger disappears before she can see the person's face. Why would someone want sweet Victoria Winters dead?

Final Thoughts

Victoria Winters a lackluster second installment in the original Dark Shadows series. The first half feels more or less like a carbon copy of the first book, where Victoria once again is caught up in a whodunit mystery. It's only in the latter half that a few twists and turns occur and ultimately save the story from being a trainwreck. 

Overall, despite the repetitive plot, I liked Victoria Winters for it is - a fast-paced Gothic tale. 

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