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Dragonwyck

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  3,445 Ratings  ·  267 Reviews
This story was suggested by a news item in the New York Herald, 1849, but the main characters are entirely fictional. The historical framework -- manor system, anti-rent wars, Astor Place massacre, and steamboat race -- is, however, founded on fact, and I have tried to be accurate in presenting it and all background detail. There was, on the Hudson, a way of life such as t ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published September 6th 2013 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1942)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle)
This is not a Gothic romance novel. This is a handbook concerning A) a sociopathic* personality, how its psychosis manifests in actions, words, and thoughts, and how with the smallest trigger, it spirals down into further depths of depravity and horror, and B) the warning signs of an abusive relationship, wherein a husband/boyfriend/lover mocks the low intelligence of his partner, disparages any independent thought, isolates his partner from outside influences, including friends and family, befo ...more
Tara
Jan 17, 2008 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like gothic literature with depth
Recommended to Tara by: Some book rack in Moore?
The first time I opened Dragonwyck was incidentally the first time I was exposed to Edgar Allan Poe. The novel opens with the poem "Alone," and Poe is one of the characters in this quintessential gothic tale. I first found this in a used book store when I was about 10 or 11, and every few years I am compelled to pick it up again, even though I know it through and through.

Dragonwyck is the story of Miranda Wells, a farm girl in upstate New York with dreams of a luxurious life she can never hope t
...more
Sophie
Aug 06, 2011 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books
At first, Dragonwyck reminded me of Mansfield Park: the young girl summoned to live with her aristocratic relations--although in this case, it's American rather than English aristocracy--who trades poverty for their luxurious lifestyle. But that resemblance was shattered as soon as Nicholas Van Ryn appeared. He is no Sir Thomas, and certainly no Edmund Bertram. Nicholas is more like Maxim de Winter: glamorous, unapproachable, even unfathomable to Miranda. And when Miranda is introduced to Dragon ...more
Lori
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barbara VA
How can it possibly be that I have NEVER read this book? I LOVED it! Many people told me that it was in the style of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, so it seemed a natural to me. I loved Katharine and Green Darkness many years ago but somehow this passed me by. I am a Hudson Valley girl and I have devoured gothic mysteries for years. I agree with many of the other posts that speak to the writing style and say that Miranda is not as well drawn a character as Jane Eyre and Nicholas is too evil but I pass o ...more
Wealhtheow
May 13, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Miranda Wells is too dainty and flighty to fit in with her hard working, puritanical farming family. When a distant cousin invites her to act as companion to his young daughter, she leaps at the chance and soon arrives at the beautiful gothic mansion of Dragonwyck. It is ruled by the autocratic Nicholas Van Ryn, who is so handsome, powerful, cultured that Miranda falls for him immediately. Nicholas is haunted by his first wife, who cannot give him the son he craves, and by Miranda's beauty. (vie ...more
Chaitra
Dragonwyck is a gothic romance in the vein of Jane Eyre, albeit set in America just before the Civil War. Nicholas Van Ryn is this novel's Rochester. A patroon in the dying days of feudal society, he clings to the trappings of fiefdom even when it becomes increasingly obvious that it is all going to end soon. He is also handsome, brooding, mysterious, and has a fat wife (Johanna) he doesn't care for to boot. So it's no wonder that his poor cousin Miranda falls hard for him when she comes to live ...more
Margaret
Still not Katherine (all right, all right, I should just reread that already), but a reasonably good Gothic set in 1840s New York. Many of the standard ingredients are here, all well done: a young, beautiful naïve heroine comes to work as a governess in the magnificent mansion of a wealthy, dark, enigmatic man with a jealous wife. There are also a young, red-haired doctor, a mysterious and frightening servant, a family curse, and a ghost. Also, apart from the fairly effective Gothicness, there's ...more
Leigh
Nov 06, 2007 Leigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I pulled this off my Southern grandama's shelf when I was in high school. It's a gothic romanc set in New York's Hudson River Valley. Miranda is the poor but beautiful girl who dreams of living in Dragonwyck. The creepy lord of the manor has a sickly wife and hires Miranda as his housegirl and, duh, falls for her. My memory is sketchy on the details but there is conflict and Miranda may or may not learn to be careful what she wishes for. In any event, I loved this book when I was 15. Whether it ...more
Jessica
Jul 08, 2008 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in psychological, romantic thrillers
This is a very odd book. It is interesting, and I couldn't put it down while reading it, but now that I have finished, I have no inclination to read it again, and indeed, feel slightly embarrassed that I read it at all. It feels so teenager-ish and melodramatic, plus the title makes it sound like some crazy science-fiction book.
It is a book in the same vein as Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, though not quite as richly written. A young, simple, poor girl falls in love with a handsome, rich, mysterio
...more
Moppet
This 1944 American Gothic novel is in the same category as Annemarie Selinko's Desiree for me: I'm glad I got round to reading it but I wish I'd got to it sooner, because I would have enjoyed it a lot more in my teens.

Dragonwyck follows in the tradition of Jane Eyre and Rebecca as far as plot and tone are concerned. Farm girl Miranda is catapulted into high society when her wealthy cousin Nicholas van Ryn employs her as a governess. Like Seton's later, historical heroine, Katherine Swynford, Mir
...more
Laura
Normally I'm annoyed when an author throws real people into a historical novel, but I thought Anya Seton did it rather well. I never felt like I was being beaten over the head with how familiar she was with the authors in the book (Poe, Melville, etc), or that Miranda was lost behind all the other characters. I actually enjoyed the book so much that I'll probably end up buying it to read again, even though I haven't re-read a book in about four years (something you can do when you have a great l ...more
Susie
Nov 16, 2009 Susie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this because I liked the movie and it takes place where I live (shout-out to the historical aspects of Catskill and Hudson and everything down to NYC that made it into the story). I also tend to like stories about a sort of tortured love that can't really work set in Gothic manor houses. Go figure.

The movie follows the book very closely until about mid-way through. The movie puts more weight on the ghostly singing and playing from the Red Room and on the Dutch patroon chair. It also makes N
...more
Mela
it is definitely a very interesting book. According to my experience, it isn't a typical piece, it is hard to mark it as one genre.

First of all, it is in the atmosphere of a gothic story. But it isn't "too much gothic" so someone like me (I mean, someone who isn't a fan of the gothic story) isn't bored. I confess I was even sucked a little in this atmosphere ;-) Anya Seton wrote in the way that I felt like I was been with characters, like I was felt fear with them.

"In after years Miranda knew t
...more
Jaksen
Jan 03, 2014 Jaksen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the book as a girl. Recently I took it out of the library and was sooo disappointed. Am I wrong or is their major head-swimming going on here? (Head-jumping some call it.) Maybe I am too critical in my older age as I write a bit myself and try to keep in mind the POV I write in. But I couldn't keep track of things - maybe I just need to let myself go and READ.

Couldn't get more than half a chapter in before returning it.
Sabrina
I can tell you that the first 3/4 of this book I did not like. I thought Miranda a fool, didn't know WHAT Nicholas or Jeff saw in her.

I was completely intrigued by Nicholas and couldn't wait to find out what was behind his behaviors. Unfortunately that is never fleshed out and I was disappointed when, in the end he turned to (view spoiler) as a release. I was hoping to reveal his reasoning for the dark and sinister man, but that was never explored in too much depth. The (v
...more
Oriana
I always had a soft spot for Gothic novels like Rebecca and Jane Eyre, so Dragonwyck seemed like a must read to me, especially when a brooding and mysterious character like Nicholas Van Ryn is involved. Nothing could be more perfect!

Honestly, in the beginning, I had some troubles warming up to Miranda Wells. In the movie adaptation, she's more sympathetic and we easily relate to her wish to see the world, where in the book I found her a tad unpleasant and extremely snob. I wasn't very sure I was
...more
Marit
Sep 26, 2014 Marit rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A gothic romance novel that has moments of great potential but ultimately falls flat. One of my main critiques is the fact that the main character Miranda is uninteresting and unsympathetic. She aids and abets cruelty and selfishness over and over until the very end when her victimhood finally forces her to wake up and find untapped reserves of fortitude. The male characters were much better developed and interesting, the sociopathic Nicholas van Ryn and the rough, heroic young doctor. The main ...more
Wendy
Mar 14, 2010 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was on my "to-read" list, and now I don't see it there. So why did I have the author and title written down when I went to the library?

I thought it was some sort of fantasy. Dragons, right?

So imagine my confusion to find myself reading a 1944 gothic novel set in pre-Civil War upstate New York. But it was great fun. I kept thinking of Rebecca, although the plot was actually much more traditional than that. I also really liked the ways this was historical fiction as much as it was g
...more
Holly Weiss
I have many Anya Seton books on my TBR shelf, but was drawn to this one because it was set in an area where I used to live.

Country girl, Miranda, is invited to her cousin’s manor house. There she learns not only how to accepted by high society, but also is drawn into the macabre household. Cousin Nicholas dominates the story with his unyielding, misogynistic tendencies. As their relationship deepens, Miranda discovers that being a grand lady has severe consequences.

Seton is a great storyteller.
...more
Christy
Jun 04, 2009 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Laurie J.
Recommended to Christy by: Janet Stratton, in 1962
A bodice-ripping gothic romance from the 40's, when housewives were known to tuck it behind the more respectable books on their shelves. High school girls of the 60's (like me) passed it furtively to each other, and stayed up late finishing it. It wasn’t as racy as Peyton Place, but we agreed it was a lot more exciting. Now in the 21st century, it’s still in print, and it will still keep you up late reading. Trust me.
Jaie
Apr 27, 2009 Jaie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far so good. This book is one where you are grabbed on the first couple of pages. I'm only a couple chapters in but I suddenly realized that this book is why Anya Seton still enjoys popularity today. Forget your trashy Harlequins that melt your brain! Rise against it and read old romance novels that got your grandmother kicked out of school!!
Heather Love
So, I have this collection of old and interesting novels. I'm attracted to the beauty of old books, the richly colored covers, the bright foil lettering, the enigmatic titles. I found Dragonwyck while browsing an antique store. It had a royal blue cover, and lovely silver lettering in a gothic-tinged font. I had no idea what it was about, but I was charmed by it and had to have it. It sat on my shelf, so lovely and mysterious, for years, until one day, I decided to crack open its pages and see w ...more
Rosemary
Jan 17, 2012 Rosemary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first introduction to Anya Seton's brand of American historical novel. I found it fascinating, in the way that she took themes of Victorian British novels and translated them into a 19th century American setting.

Published in the 1940s and set one hundred years earlier, this is the story of Miranda Wells, the daughter of a New York State farmer who is taken up by a rich second cousin and taken to his gothic home (complete with ghost) where she innocently falls for the master despite
...more
Kathy Schultz
Jul 29, 2013 Kathy Schultz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me this was a great read. I loved Seton's Katherine and The Winthrop Woman, two of my all-time favorites.

This is a great read for the gothic romance fan. Yes, the story was predictable. However, Seton has an excellent vocabulary and I liked that the tale was set at a place and time in American history that I was less familiar with. Most pre-civil war books I've read were either set in the south or in New England. I love reading books where I learn something new. I didn't know anything about
...more
Marialyce
I liked this book as it was quite gothic in its environment. The characters were typical, the beautiful heroine, the dark mysterious man, and the good looking fine charactered other "man in my life" figure. Taking place along the area of the Hudson River and NYC, the book evoked a setting that was both familiar and beautiful.

The rich of Dutch New York are explored with all their wealth, society, and social strata. Into that setting comes the beautiful Miranda, distant cousin to Nicholas a wealth
...more
Christina
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dorcas
Dragonwyck is a difficult book to LIKE. And yet its very good. I'm in a quandry...

5 star writing skills
3 star enjoyment
Rounded off to 4 stars

In a nutshell, a country girl has high aspirations and jumps at the chance to leave the farm for an extended visit at her cousin Nicholas' vast estate. (I thought Miranda was much like Hettie from Adam Bede ) Of course, she doesn't know her cousin Nicholas at all; nor does she understand why his corpulent wife, Johanna would rather bury herself in teacakes
...more
Bee
Miranda Wells is a naive farmer's daughter in 1840s Connecticut who daydreams of romance, wealth, and a different kind of life than the one she was born into. It seems that she will achieve at least the latter dream when a wealthy distant cousin, Nicholas Van Ryn, invites her to come live with his family in his upstate New York mansion. She is immediately transfixed by her mysterious, tempestuous cousin, while his food-obsessed wife, Johanna, takes an instant dislike to her and attempts to keep ...more
Celestem
Aug 19, 2014 Celestem rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I should have read in high school. I would have love it immensely! If you like dark, traditional gothic (think Jane Eyre), twisted love stories with psychopath husbands, then this is the book to read. Unfortunately, Anya Seton lacks in the dialogue department. Lots of melodramatic silliness with lots of exclamation points in each character's dialogue. Characters are wooden and seem to be straight out of a 1949 movie. The main character, Miranda, is such a silly and, seemingly, stu ...more
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Anya Seton (January 23, 1904 (although the year is often misstated to be 1906 or 1916) - November 8, 1990) was the pen name of the American author of historical romances, Ann Seton.

Ann Seton was born in New York, New York, and died in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. She was the daughter of English-born naturalist and pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America, Ernest Thompson Seton and Grace Gallatin Seton-
...more
More about Anya Seton...

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“Her lips were drawn to his like a moth to a flame.” 19 likes
“He was all sin and mystery, and Miranda feared the pleasures he offered as she feared the fires of hell. Yet when she succumbed at last, it was not because her body was weak but because her mind was curious.” 4 likes
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