Top critical review
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on 25 February 2012
Published in 1797 this was the final novel from one of the early initiators of Gothic Romance - and many would say the genre's queen. The story begins as a Romeo and Juliet type affair: Vivaldi has fallen for Ellena, an enigmatic orphan, but his family strongly oppose the match. The plot moves fast, with lots of gorgeous descriptions of travel in the Alps and across Italy, and it takes in along the way many of the deliciously overwrought staples of the genre: ghostly appearances, deathbed confessions, evil priests, sequestered monasteries and even the Inquisition. But the main attraction is surely the dark character of Father Schedoni, the confessor of Vivaldi's mother, who, once drawn in to oppose the match using any means possible, finds his own shady past and web of deceit begins to unravel.
This is well worth a read, particularly if you are interested in the early history of the Gothic novel. Sadly the Kindle edition is riddled with typos, which - even for 77p - was a real shame.