2. Tuesday · Mysteries Of Udolpho

Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe – Part Six Review Volume 2 Chapters I & II


I should probably have included this book as a resolution but I am determined that this year will see me finally finish it.

It was actually quite fitting that the New Year saw me pick this back up and starting the Second Volume, I think it is interesting to pause to consider the was this book would have originally been read in the separate volumes via a lending library which would have ensured a fixed period for the reading of each.  Possibly in the individual volumes the book would not seem so daunting and I do question whether the book would have been quite so influential if the reader had been faced by it in its entirety.

Volume 2 sees our heroine being removed from her aunts home following her aunts marriage and the party are journeying to Montoni’s home in Venice.

Now I have to be honest the first chapter of this volume annoyed me, when reading any story we are expected to suspend our disbelief and go with it but to suggest that Valencourt could sneak up to the side of the halted carriage and peep in to hand her a note without anyone in either of the two carriages noticing him is rather pushing it.  I would much rather she had left him looking longingly from a distance then have him claim to have been able to sneak up on people who we know would be watching for him to attempt some form of communication.

The journey is only really of note for the descriptions of the way war had ravaged the country and the interaction between the travelling party and the troops whose path they cross.  The fact that Emily shows no reaction at the sight of prisoners who are being held for ransom from their families suggests she has not led as sheltered a life as we are earlier led to believe.

Once they arrive in Venice we finally have some description which did grip me though it does feel to be briefer and less detailed than the earlier descriptions of the mountain passes.  The strolling players described beneath the window are very evocative of the period and I wish she had given the same amount of description for the wonderful cities as for the wildernesses.

I am hoping though the story will pick up pace now.




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