4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A classic Scott-novel, though not my personal favorite,
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This review is from: The Bride of Lammermoor (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
A while ago I decided that it simply could not do that I hadn't read a single novel by Sir Walter Scott yet in my entire life (which is statistically speaking beyond its mid-point). So I read, in rapid succession, several of his novels: Waverley; or 'Tis Sixty Years Since (Oxford World's Classics), Redgauntlet (Oxford World's Classics), and Old Mortality (Oxford World's Classics) were good, Rob Roy (Oxford World's Classics) was better still, and The Antiquary (Oxford World's Classics) was marvellous, I hadn't a clue before that Scott was capable of such high humour!
But I find it hard to determine how I feel about the 'The Bride of Lammermoor' having just finished it... On the one hand, it has what I've come to recognize (and appreciate) as lots of the elements typical of Scott's novels: the setting (Scotland, obviously) and period (early 18th century), an effort to investigate the relationship between past (the once wealthy family of Ravenswood), present (Edgar Ravenswood being the last of the line, and impoverished to boot), and the future.
Contrary to the other novels I've read, this is however not the Scotland of wild 'romantic' beauty, but a place of gloom and desolation, with the seat of the Ravenswood family, Wolf's Crag, as good as in ruins, and throughout the novel there is in general a sense of foreboding: from the very start it doesn't seem likely or even possible that much good will happen to the principal characters, prophecies about the cursed Ravenswood family abound, and you won't find yourself expecting a happy end. However, this is not to say that the novel doesn't have many qualities: the whole atmosphere and characters are admirably drawn, and the Scottish vernacular and dialect (as always) definitely adds to this. Edgar Ravenswood especially captures the imagination, a tragic 'dark hero' both honest and upright, but also frustrated at his family's fortunes, and consumed by his desire for revenge. Until, that is, he falls in the love with the daughter of the very man who - using all possible loopholes in the law - has bought the former Ravenswood castle. Against all odds, and perhaps against their better judgement, Edgar and Lucy Ashton pledge themselves to one another.
And, strange to say perhaps, to me personally it is most of all the character of Lucy Ashton that makes me hesitant to give 'The Bride of Lammermoor' five stars. Although she is one of the protagonists, to my mind she is largely 'absent' from the novel. We rarely get an insight into her mind and emotions, if she is present at all in scenes it is as someone being observed by others. She's talked about a lot, but rarely speaks herself. Now in a way, one might argue that this is simply in keeping with her character: a shy and withdrawn young girl, as indeed she is. And yet, I would have loved to have 'known' her better so to speak.
But all in all, this is definitely still a book well worth the read!