Saturday 13 June 2015

Book Review: The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

Title: The Mysteries of Udolpho
Author: Ann Radcliffe
Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 2001 (1794)
Pages: 654
Format: Paperback
Genre: Gothic Fiction
Source: Bought Copy
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With The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe raised the Gothic romance to a new level and inspired a long line of imitators. Portraying her heroine's inner life, creating a thick atmosphere of fear, and providing a gripping plot that continues to thrill readers today, The Mysteries of Udolpho is the story of orphan Emily St. Aubert, who finds herself separated from the man she loves and confined within the medieval castle of her aunt's new husband, Montoni. Inside the castle, she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni's threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors that threaten to overwhelm her. (Goodreads Synopsis)

The Mysteries of Udolpho is one of those classics you just have to read. It's taken a while for me to get to this one, but I decided it was high time, especially since I am currently penning my own Gothic tale.
Overall, I found it enjoyable. The style is very much of its time, and the anachronisms made me smile. I was pleasantly surprised that neither the hero nor heroine were cast as 100% perfect, making them more believable as characters than I'd anticipated, and the story was suitably atmospheric. While not terrifying to modern readers, it still has its spooky moments and is well worth a look for fans of Gothic romance.

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