Rivetting read by the original proponent of gothic mysteries. Racy, smooth, contiguous narration, without superfluity, combination of excellent writing, combining philosophical thoughts, romance, sentiments and mystery. Very intricate plot. The reader’s attention is fully engaged from beginning to end. Wonderful description of Italian life, scenery and countryside and customs. Very good dramatic and suspense effects in place, which systematically and incrementally increases in its effect.
One wonders what is the purpose of Emilia’s character as she is very less called into play, unlike the others who have significant roles. As in JA’s Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, the elder sisters are given the more mature but less interesting roles, while the younger and more impetuous sisters take precedence.
The personalities of the marquis, the duke, Maria de Vellamore and the Abbe, their magnificent, passionate, obstinate, intemperate ego and well etched characters and their conflicts, adds fire and vim, to what would otherwise have been a mild and romantic novel.
One insight I obtained was that whether it is europe or Asia, regardless of times, the position of women as objects of their fathers/husbands to be bartered and sold, without any consideration for their feelings and opinions, was universal and deplorable. Though Europe may have progressed a lot, a lot still remains to be achieved in Asia, Africa, Middle east in this regard.
In that, Julia’s character is admirable, being of both a fighting disposition and yet being tender and feminine enough to retain the feminine graces.
Overall, a great read with excellent use of language. I will love to read it again and again because of the fine writing.
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