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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gothic Excess, 29 Sep 2013
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This review is from: A Sicilian Romance (Kindle Edition)
I so enjoyed reading this work which just typified Gothic excess at its very best. What we have here is the story of Julia and Emelia and their brother Ferdinand, children of the autocratic Marquis Mazzini who is every bit as diabolic a villain as Radcliffe's more famous Count Montoni. The children are motherless and live in a castle (in the same sublime species of landscape as Udolpho) which has an entire ruined southern hall which is reputed to be haunted. Of course, this is Radcliffe, so we know there aren't any real ghosts and there's going to be a rational explanation (even if it is more unlikely than if there had been actual ghosts). The story mainly concerns Julia, who falls in love with the courtly Hippolitus. However, the evil Marquis has other ideas and tells Julia that she must marry the evil Duke of Luovo. There then follows a series of adventures whereby Julia escapes, ends up in a convent, is given the choice between marrying the Duke or taking the veil, escapes again, gets captured by banditti, caught up in a shipwreck, escapes again, gets caught up in another shipwreck and all kinds of adventures before the inevitable happy ending. In the meantime, the ghostly groans in the castle are explained and everyone (except those who had it coming i.e. the Marquis and his evil adulterous wife) get what they deserved. This is a brilliant example of Gothic fiction with fainting heroines, sword fights, shipwrecks (x 2) and lots of sublime rocky rugged scenery. I loved it so much although I've got to say I was exhausted by the end of it all. Poor old Julia really does go through the wringer to get where she needs to be. It's not too long - certainly not as long as the more famous Mysteries of Udolpho and is a brilliant introduction to the excesses of the gothic genre.
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