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The Heir of Redclyffe (World's Classics) Paperback – 22 May 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 639 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (22 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192831321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192831323
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 2.9 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,228,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Charlotte Mary Yonge (11 August 1823 – 24 May 1901) was an English novelist known for her huge output, now mostly out of print. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
THE drawing-room of Hollywell House was one of the favoured apartments, where a peculiar air of home seems to reside, whether seen in the middle of summer, all its large windows open to the garden, or, as when our story commences, its bright fire and stands of fragrant green-house plants contrasted with the wintry fog and leafless tress of November. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By helen on 2 Jun. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Haven't read it yet but am looking forward to doing so.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
"The Heir of Redclyffe" is an original and powerful experi 5 Aug. 1999
By Austin Elliott - Published on
Format: Paperback
Charlotte Yonge's "The Heir of Redclyffe" is the Victorian bestseller that many critics,along with much of her other work,are attempting to revive.I had trepidations before I read this novel.The only things I knew about Charlotte Yonge before this were - her novels were considered models of virtue and propriety and that Charles Kingsley loved her work.This was not very encouraging.But,after reading "The Heir of Redclyffe" I realized that Yonge was well worth reviving.Charlotte Yonge was probably the Victorian Christian novelist par excellence.Even they who are neither theists or Christians would be impressed with Yonge's intense conviction.Unlike most of her contemporaries her use of religion never feels perfunctory or insincere-she wrote as she believed and practiced."The Heir of Redclyffe" tells the story of a flawed yet saintly young man who is persecuted to death by his jealous and self-righteous cousin.Despite its sentimental theme the book is surprisingly restrained and ultimately moving.Its minute depiction of family life in the 1850's is so evocative -that it is worth reading for that alone.Charlotte Yonge, unfortunately,lacked the literary skill to be ranked with the best of the Victorians,but "The Heir of Redclyffe" is an original and powerful experience.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
A Book to Experience and Grow From 25 Feb. 2004
By Catherine Decker - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Heir of Redclyffe is book that brings both pleasure and pain, but pain that causes the reader to think about the nature of good, evil, and human beings. Like Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, you are fully confronted with the pain of likeable human beings doing immoral, selfish things. The world of the Heir of Redclyffe is realistic in its depiction of complex characters with flaws and weaknesses. You meet a family of two parents, three sisters, a cousin, and a ward (the heir). There are also plenty of fully sketched and realistic minor characters as well. Part of Yonge's power is to make you care about a great many characters and to understand them, their different values, temperments, and personalities. There are five major characters that dominate the novel: Charles, the invalid brother with his clever sense of humor; Laura, the serious older sister; Amy, the sweet and charming younger sister; their cousin, Philip, a brilliant scholar who sacrificed his chance of a fulfilling intellectual life for a sister who betrayed him; and Guy, the heir of money, a title, a terrible education, and a family tradition of a wild temper.
If you haven't read the editorial review above, please don't--it's a spoiler. I don't know if being told the fate of a particular character before I read the book would have changed my experience of the novel, but it certainly would have reduced my surprize and sense of "oh my, god, what next!" The major twists and turns of the plot had for me the same sensational impact I felt when reading Frances Burney's Cecilia or the great Chinese classic, The Dream of the Red Chamber. I realize many of my readers here might be unfamilar with these two works, but the common experience I had in reading all three books was to feel extremely moved and upset by the book. In all three books, characters had become so real to me that I felt intense emotional responses to their pleasures and pains. I think one reason I felt so moved reading these three books was that none of the books involves a world in which you expect extreme horror. For example, in reading The Color Purple, a novel narrated by a young girl raped by her father, the extreme horror and sordid nature of novel's entire world in a way protected me from deep shock and pain. In a tale of a lovely family with a lovely home, fun friends, beautiful gardens, balls, walks, fun after dinner games, discussions of great books and art, the realistic introduction of painful situations moved me greatly.
The book displays a complex web of characters with flaws and assets, much like other Victorian novels such a Eliot's Middlemarch and Martineau's Deerbrook. Like these novels, it also gives you a vivid sense of upper middle class life in Victorian England. I have a Ph.D. in British literature, and I focused on eighteenth-century literature and the novel for my fields of specialization. While reading this Charlotte Yonge novel will certainly not give the social rewards you get for reading more famous authors such as George Eliot or Anthony Trollope, it will give you a wonderful literary experience. I also recommend, although less highly, Yonge's The Clever Woman of the Family and The Daisy Chain. These novels more directly address intellectual, feminist, and religious issues of the Victorian period. For some, particularly fans of Eliot's work, this may make them more highly reguarded. I perfer the focus on more timeless problems of human relationships, pride, and honesty that is found in The Heir of Redclyffe.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An engaging novel of life in the nineteenth century 4 Aug. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Heir of Redclyffe is a wonderful novel that vividly depicts life in the nineteenth century. I greatly enjoyed this novel for its superb characterization. I was truly captivated by the main character,Guy Morville. He is a character that the reader genuinely admires and likes for both his nobility and humanity. The writing is excellent and the novel flows more easily than other Victorian works of fiction.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Worthy Victorian Novel 17 Dec. 2003
By Raymond Banner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In general I prefer Victorian novels to modern novels. Victorian novels frequently have a higher moral standard and a more classic literary style. Charlotte Yonge was a prolific writer and The Heir of Redclyffe was a popular and classic novel in 19th century England. While I do not share the author's ritualistic High Anglicanism, I do appreciate her Christian orthodoxy and her lifelong dedication to Christian piety, virtue and nobleness of character. Once I got well into the novel I found my interest increasing rather than diminishing. There is struggle "within" and "between" the main characters and even the tragedy that ensues is what I would term a "pleasing melancholy."
One critic said that Charlotte Yonge had the ability to make virtue appear interesting. I think she does that here.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Of him whom I knew too late 26 Oct. 2012
By upfront_reader - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an emotional journey that drew me in and made me care about its characters and their lives. I can't say it turned out anywhere near the way I wanted it to. In fact, the author set me up to want one thing, and then snatched it away, but still managed to (mostly) reconcile me to the result. The book presents a stark contrast between two men, Guy and Philip, one the heir of Redclyffe, and the other the next in line. Guy and Philip reminded me of that line from Pride and Prejudice "One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it." Philip, with his sententious pride, is a difficult character to accept. Without Charles, self-appointed pin-prick to Philip's complacence, I might not have been able to take much of Philip's character. The two sisters, Amy and Laura, are also a study in contrasts. By the end of the novel, they seem to have switched roles, and the sister who is presented as rather silly and heedless, has grown into a formidable woman, while the sister who was presented as calm and rational has allowed herself to be led astray, to the great detriment of her family and herself. Along the way, the author includes hints and episodes that foreshadow the outcome, which is perhaps what gives the story a rather ominous feel at times.

The beginning of the book was a little difficult to follow. The author introduces her characters and their surroundings gradually, which is fine, but it made it seem at times as if she assumed we knew more about them than we did. I also found it fascinating to glimpse how upper-class young people spent their time back in the Victorian era (or at least in this novel). Even though they are out of school, the Edmonstone siblings spend their time studying, reading poetry, learning languages, etc., and feel guilty if they waste time in less worthy pursuits. (At one point, a visiting character refers to it as being "rational.") Also very interesting to see how courtships were conducted and what was expected as far as the man disclosing his affections to the girl's family.

Overall, this was an absorbing read and I was amazed at how the author was able to create such complex characters, describe their believable world, and make me care so much for what happened to them. I can certainly understand why this novel was popular when it was written.
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