Monday, September 23, 2013

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

To be honest, I picked up this book because Jane Austen mentioned it. And satirized it in her book Northhanger Abbey (You should read that book if you haven't read it yet!). It's a long long book and it was written a long long time ago, which means some people would think it boring straightaway.

But once you get used to the writing style, it's actually not that bad.

The book is about Emily, a poor heiress. She fell in love with this guy called Valencourt, but since her father died, her aunt dis-approved of him. And then she was carried away by her new uncle to a remote castle in Italy (to use Singlish 'and den she kenna carry by the uncle to some ulu place lor' - Maybe I should do a Singlish summary?). The rest of the book is about her trying to run away from her evil uncle, and when that happened, about her romance with Valancourt (that took up the last of the four volumes).

I'm not sure why the last volume existed. Sure, it cleared up a few mysteries, but it could have been done by some fantastical plot twist at the end (I mean, the plot twist was already fantastical enough).

For me, the trick to enjoying this book was to learn to live with long long sentences. (If you want an example of the long sentences, just look at my Teaser Tuesday). For someone used to slightly shorter sentences (and having read a few books that keep emphasizing a 'clean' writing style), this got a bit tiring to read at times. The other thing I had to get used to were all the sonnets. It seemed like as soon as Emily was moved by something, she composed a sonnet. For me, it broke up the flow of the text, and well, if it came during a particularly exciting section, it dragged the book a little.

Still, it's something that I enjoyed much more than I expected!

Note: This book was read for the Tea and Books reading challenge.

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