🎧 The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt #VictoriaHolt @kittykelly1616 @TantorAudio #LoveAudiobooks @sophiarose1816

Posted March 13, 2024 by Sophia in Book Review / 10 Comments

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

🎧 The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt #VictoriaHolt @kittykelly1616 @TantorAudio #LoveAudiobooks  @sophiarose1816The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt
Narrator: Kitty Kelly
Published by Tantor Audio on December 26, 2023
Genres: Historical Mystery, Historical Romance
Length: 11 hours, 45 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

A young widow takes a job with a bizarre family at their seaside estate hoping to find her sister who had disappeared in the same area of Kent.

One earlier visit with a Victoria Holt tale on audio whetted my appetite for more. I was pleased to take up The Shivering Sands and listen in as new to me narrator, Kitty Kelly, took me back to Victorian times so I could savor a gently-paced gothic romantic suspense.

The Shivering Sands opens with the heroine’s dilemma- her beloved older sister Roma, an archeologist, has gone missing at her dig on the Kentish coast and the authorities are at a loss.  Caroline has been in a state of numb grief for first both her parents who were killed together in a train accident and for her young talented pianist husband, who died of a heart attack.  The first moments of the book are followed by Caroline’s reminisces of her past that led her to this point.  A slow, but a cozy way to bring the reader into the world of the book, the heroine’s thoughts, and the atmosphere of the story- because, oh yes, this is Victoria Holt so there is much atmosphere.

Though I read The Shivering Sands, the decades since I have utterly forgotten the story so other than the familiar feel of the writing and style?  This was a new book to me.

Wow, I forgot how zany some of the plots could get.  Well, not so much the plot though yes, in the end, the dramatic climax and reveal left me startled, but I was referring to that very dysfunctional household of Sir William Stacy.  To investigate her sister’s disappearance, Caroline comes to the Stacy estate along the Dover coastline as piano teacher, for she is talented at the piano though her late husband tried to crush her confidence to further his own ego, to three young ladies- two are girls, one the vicar’s wife’s, and the other an illegitimate daughter of the household, and the third is the ward of Sir William and his son’s new wife.

I read this as a teen and things like a woman falling in love with a married man didn’t phase me too much, but now, it is a plot I don’t read and purposefully so.  But, the romance is mild in these older ones (The Shivering Sands was written in 1969) so I let it ride and kept listening.  In truth, I was more preoccupied with the suspense side and the larger cast of oddly assorted people than Caroline’s interest in Napier Stacy, the stark, brooding and sometimes arrogant son.  As Caroline learned the secrets of the Stacys and there was rising chill of suspense, I got more into the story.  The truth of what happened to Roma came out of nowhere in a way and I had no suspicions of that person or their reasons.

Ultimately, I enjoyed the story and the nostalgic feel I got for the older style that could still captivate me.   Those who enjoy old-style gothic atmosphere and gentle romantic suspense should definitely give this one a go.



Kitty Kelly was a sensational match for the story.  Her low lilting voice captivated and drew me more deeply into the story.  Her low voice made voicing women or men sound well and she distinguished the various characters for me easily.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star


Listen to a clip: HERE


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Posted March 13, 2024 by Sophia in Book Review / 10 Comments

10 responses to “🎧 The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt

  1. Sometimes oldies don’t stand the test of time and sometimes they do. I’m glad you could enjoy it, even if some of the aspects were a bit outdated now.

  2. I haven’t read Victoria Holt in forever! I avoid this kind of plot too but I do love how Holt creates atmosphere. I might have to try one of her books again.