Monday, May 19, 2008

Review: Belinda, by Maria Edgeworth


I picked up Belinda when I heard that it was similar to Jane Austen. While there are parallels to Austen’s work, Edgeworth differs in that she was slightly more worldly than Austen was.

In Belinda, we follow the story of a young woman of uncommon good sense, who, at the behest of her aunt, goes to stay with Lady Delacour in London. While there, Belinda meets Lady Delacour’s protégé Clarence Hervey, with whom, of course, she falls in love. Mr. Hervey, however, may or may not be attached to another young lady. Lady Delacour has a secret, which she keeps from everyone except her overbearing servant Marriott and Belinda. The book touches on colonialism when Mr. Vincent, a man with a deep secret, enters the picture and threatens to steal Belinda’s heart. Along the way, Belinda learns by the example of her friends how to and how not to behave.

The novel is an 18th-century “will they or won’t they?” and the plot unfolds neatly, albeit dramatically. For a novel (or, as Edgeworth would have called it, a “moral tale”), published in 1803, Belinda is highly (and compulsively) readable. It’s a must read for anyone who loves Jane Austen.

3 comments:

NotJustLaura said...

Thanks for the review. It sounds right up my street and has found a place on the ever-growing wish-list!

Terri B. said...

I have never heard of this book. Thanks for the review!

Nicole said...

I'm definitely into Jane Austen and now I'm going to check this one out.

Thanks for the review.

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