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The Real Charlotte Paperback – 11 Jan 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: A.& A.Farmar; New edition edition (11 Jan. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1899047476
  • ISBN-13: 978-1899047475
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,141,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross were second cousins born to distant branches of a prominent Anglo-Irish Ascendancy family. They lived together at the Somerville home for most of their adult lives, traveling frequently to Europe and collaborating on numerous books and articles. Their most famous novel, The Real Charlotte, was published in 1894. After Ross's death in 1915, Somerville continued to write and publish under both names, claiming that the partnership endured beyond the grave. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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An August Sunday afternoon in the north side of Dublin. Read the first page
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
A long novel to say the least, this story of wonderfully weaved insanity, sexual jealousy and criminal activity, cannot fail to tug at those heart strings. A must read book over a long, long, long winter will soon have you selling up and moving straight to Lismoyle faster than you can say Charlotte Mullen!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Anjou on 27 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a delightful and illuminating book but the meanness of the margins and the minuscule typeface in the Sanders edition are such that I advise anyone over about thirty-five to try to find another! It is very well worth reading and will give great enjoyment if one can find a way round this problem;
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Francis Ford on 26 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
a favourite book. I re-read it every year.
Elegant, witty and moving.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
Although the novel was very lengthly it was throughly enjoyable and really gave a sense of Anglo-Irish life.While reading the novel you really were able to identify with all the troubles the characters endured and also feel their pain-A truely good read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The Real Charlotte Incomplete Kindle Edition 17 Mar. 2011
By Steve Coe - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Don't buy the Kindle edition of this book. It consists only of Volume 2. Basically you are getting a book that starts out in the middle and omits the entire first part.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Will the real Charlotte please stand up? 8 April 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book presents an interesting tale and lesson for those who do not adhere to the concept of "to thine own self be true." The novel is set in late Victorian-era (1890s) Ireland, alternating between Dublin and the countryside. The main characters are Anglo-Irish, ruling class, aristocracy and gentry, and the novel focuses upon their relationships to eachother, both real and perceived. The title character, Charlotte, is an unmarried, middle-aged woman who behaves differently with each person with whom she interacts. She is romantically interested in Mr Lambert, an old (and married) friend, and does much for him, including lending him money. She behaves another way with Sir and Lady Dysart, and with their son and heir Christopher (respectful, accommodating). She has far less patience and love for young, beautiful Francie Fitzpatrick, a distant relative who is sent to live with her when Francie's family falls upon hard times financially. She (quite rightly) perceives Francie as a threat, and treats her poorly from the moment Francie arrives at Charlotte's home. Charlotte is outright mean and cruel to servants, Lambert's wife (who is supposed to be a good friend), tenants, and anyone she ranks as below her socially.
Charlotte is not the only one who hides her true nature. Mr. Lambert married for the income his wife brought to the marriage, but pays no attention to her, obviously does not love her, and openly courts Francie and displays jealousy and anger when he notices the mutual attraction between Francie and a young British army officer. He acts respectful to Christopher Dysart's face, but privately despises him and talks about him behind his back. He uses Charlotte--borrowing money from her, being friendly with her (which Charlotte interprets to mean something more than mere friendship), yet privately acknowledges to himself and others that he is not attracted to Charlotte. He also embezzles money from his employer's estate to pay for his horses, drinking, and gifts to Francie, without so much as a single thought that what he is doing is not only morally wrong but is a crime!
Francie is perhaps the most honest of all of the characters in this Irish tragedy, but even she is not entirely honest, not to others nor to herself. I find it easier to excuse her because she is a teenager in a difficult situation, has extremely limited options, and acts accordingly. She is honest about her growing feelings of love for Gerald Hawkins, the British officer, but he does not reciprocate that honesty--he is engaged to another woman (who will bring money to the marriage) but does not tell Francie. When she learns about his fiancee and realizes that the love between them is not enough, she breaks off her relationship with Gerald. Francie also receives the attentions of the socially-challenged (shy) Christopher Dysart, but she turns down his marriage proposal. A huge fight with Charlotte ensues, and she returns to her family in Dublin.
After Lambert's wife (conveniently) dies, Lambert follows Francie to Dublin, and makes an offer for her (in marriage), even though she has no money. He is physically attracted to her youth and beauty, and she, seeking to escape the hopeless poverty she faced with her family in Dublin, marries him even though she does not love him. It is this marriage, which set Charlotte over the edge, and she seeks her revenge upon him in a manner true to the saying "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
This Irish tragedy could have been averted had all of the characters displayed greater moral turpitude and honesty with both themselves and with others in their lives. The novel presents an interesting glimpse into a society which places a value upon people relative to the class into which they are born, and illustrates how unhappy people are when they marry for money instead of love. The characters are dishonest because the society in which they live values and rewards dishonest behavior and superficial values. Physical appearance (beauty) is valued above integrity, love, kindness, etc. One of the reasons Lambert is so taken with Francie is because she is young and beautiful, even though they are not a good match. Francie receives most, if not all, of the male attention because of her physical appearance, and has a greater chance of marriage than Charlotte, who is not physically attractive.
The novel is well-written, the characters well-developed, and, even though I found none of them to have any redeeming characteristics, the story was compelling to the end. Highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
With cousins like this. . . 28 Mar. 2014
By Deborah Barchi - Published on
Format: Paperback
Somerville and Ross were two women writers and cousins who wrote rollicking stories about the Anglo-Irish and their trials and tribulations in Ireland during the late Victorian period. Their best known work, which was dramatized by the BBC is Some Experiences of an Irish RM. Yet Somerville and Ross considered The Real Charlotte to be their best work.

Part farce, part drama and in the end, part tragedy, The Real Charlotte might be said to be a combination of the deep seated vengeance found in Balzac’s Cousin Bette, the sad fate of the heroine in Hardy’s Tess of the Durbervilles, a good dash of the broad silliness of Dickens’ Pickwick Papers and the vivacious candor of Fieldings’ Tom Jones!

Pretty, inexperienced, yet ultimately manipulative Francie Fitzpatrick has lived a life of genteel poverty in her small Irish town, and so is happy to take up refuge with her older, seemingly sedate cousin Charlotte. Within weeks of her establishment in the rustic town of Lismoyle, Francie has conquered the male population pretty completely, including Christopher Dysart, the son of the local squire, Gerald Hawkins, a dashing English army officer and Roddy Lambert the estate land agent, with whom Francie was acquainted as a child.

Charlotte watches these goings on with increasing displeasure, particularly since she has herself been enamored of Lambert, the land agent for years , who is himself married to a dull, nervous, semi-invalid wife. Francie, unaware of Charlotte’s passion for Lambert, keeps him dangling with her other suitors as she sets out to have the best time possible before making any permanent choice of her own.

The passionate rivalries, overt or unspoken continue to heat up, with Francie flaming the fire with her dazzling loveliness and headlong pursuit of amusement. Charlotte, thwarted and bitter and neglected one time too many, begins to concoct her own schemes, with tragic results. Meanwhile a motley crew of locals, replete with thick layers of ignorance, superstition, and age-old resentments comment on the unfolding drama like a kind of Irish chorus, discoursing on the action with censorious tongues.

The Real Charlotte is not as well known at it ought to be. Although written more than a hundred years ago, it raises questions of morality, psychology, and social interaction that are entirely relevant today. Its humor, at times broad, at times subtle, stands the test of time. Lastly, the lovingly detailed descriptions of the Irish countryside elevate the spirit, as all carefully observed writing of the natural world inevitably does.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
real charlotte book 20 April 2014
By sam mcgrath - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
good read but not to happy with the book's cover,payed good money all it say's is real charlotte with some dumb paint job :(
7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
real charlotte 27 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
everything you hope for in a classic. complex characters, interesting plot, the story pulls you along and it makes you think. when you are finished you feel you have gained something.
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