I finally finished reading A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe. Got a bit sidetracked going away on a mini holiday, then coming back, being ill and other things have kept me occupied. But yesterday evening, I made myself sit down for 2 hours and finish all that was left of the book. I must admit I had goosebumps by the end of it, and as cliched as it sounds, I honestly was frantically page-turning to get to the end. I really seem to be enjoying reading Gothic texts. Think it has developed since half way through my second year to the point that now I’m having to force myself to read books for my other modules rather than focus on this particular one!
With this one, it was the rich landscape described with so much detail that really engrossed me. It sometimes definitely gets tedious when there are lines and lines of description on every page. And perhaps the idea of a sympathetic background becomes too obvious as well but I absolutely loved it for some reason. It really set the mood for me, and I felt equally as tense, or nervous or peaceful as the characters did while reading. I was able to imagine just about every castle, cathedral, ruin, forest. As well as having themes of religion, patriarchy, parental authority I found that the some of the plot also mirrored aspects of the fairytale genre. I’m not whether that’s just me though as I think it’s subtly done, but that could be a different reading.
The book is amazingly written though. Radcliffe has a lyricism to her writing and the twists of the plot such as the mysterious appearance of the ghost at the beginning of the novel which is fully explained at the end is brilliant. The perseverance that is shown in Julia, who constantly runs from the clutches of her father and the marriage unwanted by her is one of the things that really stood out for me as well. At so many points in the book I expected her to get caught, or give up or anything and she came pretty close to doing so which probably only added more to the thrill of it.
A lot of fainting happens in the book from the females which gets a tad ridiculous but to mistake it as a book not about female strength would be a mistake. I think it just depends if you’re into that sort a genre. I mean I love reading modern books with ‘strong’ depictions of females and what not but I have a huge amount of respect and love for the more ‘older’ books because it gives you a lot of perspective when comparing. I realise that summarising it in this way is doing it very little justice and this is not quite a review, but more my initial thoughts on it.