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3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  2,690 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
Cecilia is an heiress, but she can only keep her fortune if her husband will consent to take her surname. Fanny Burney's unusual love story and deft social satire was much admired on its first publication in 1782 for its subtle interweaving of comedy, humanity, and social analysis. Controversial in its time, this eighteenth-century novel seems entirely fresh in relation to ...more
Paperback, 1056 pages
Published July 22nd 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1782)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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I happen to love this book more than the combined works of Jane Austen (blasphemy, I know). While lacking Austen's sparkling style, I find this book has emotional connection and focus on social issues than I find lacking in Austen's works. It's probably my favorite 18th century novel, in fact.

The story revolves around Cecilia, a young woman who has inherited an enormous fortune but who can keep it only if, upon marriage, her husband agrees to take her name. Unfortunately, Cecilia has fallen for
Dec 09, 2008 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
Cecilia Beverly is a young orphan whose relatives left her with a large fortune, three quarelling trustees, and a mind of unsurpassed delicacy and gentility. The first volume is set during the tumultuous time Cecilia spent with one trustee, who "borrows" huge sums of money from her and eventually kills himself to avoid his debts. Cecilia moves back the country, but her Love Interest, a man of good character but very proud parents, follows her there and begs her to marry him. ALAS! According to ...more
Jul 17, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, read-again
Cecilia, or "Memoirs of an Heiress", is the second novel by English author Fanny Burney, published in 1782. Burney was a novelist, diarist and playwright. She wrote in all four novels, eight plays, one biography and twenty volumes of journals and letters. Fanny was the third child in a family of six. Fanny's sisters Esther and Susanna were favored over Fanny by their father, for what he perceived as their superior attractiveness and intelligence. I'm not sure how he felt about the rest of his ch ...more
Sep 05, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
In short, Cecilia is an heiress of great fortune who is also blessed with a wealth of beauty, native refinement, and intelligence. She is a year or so from reaching her majority. Until then she must reside with one of her three guardians. These all prove to be a problem. While Jane has told us that an unmarried man of fortune must be in want of a wife, Cecilia's case proves the same for unmarried young ladies. From the minute she is introduced into London society she is beset with the mostly ...more
Justin Evans
Oct 01, 2015 Justin Evans rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
We need to get a couple of things out of the way before I get to the proper review.

i) This is too long.
ii) This shouldn't be read the way you'd read a Hemingway novel--sitting down and intensely fretting through the intense pages of intensity. This should be read the way you watch a TV series: a few chapters here, a few there, letting the various plots lines wrap themselves up, taking a pause while the next one gets going, all the while keeping in mind that there is an overarching point to the
Aug 11, 2009 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One might think Cecelia would be right up my alley. I love social commentary with a healthy dash of romance, I enjoyed Burney's Evelina and I've reread Austen too many times so it was time to branch out. I really cannot recommend this book to anyone. I read the unabridged version, being a snob, and it was somewhere around 950 pages long. I read the first four hundred or so then decided I couldn't take reading about her vicissitudes and skipped to the last 100 pages. I have never done this before ...more
Feb 06, 2010 Lynne-marie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Barbara McIntire or any JA fan
I was interested to know what Jane Austen was reading that moved her to be an author, and this surely must have made an impression on her because it is pretty clear in the ending where PRIDE and PREJUDICE are mention three times in a row within a short space in an editorial diatribe, that they furnished the eventual name of one of her best known novels. Of this novel, itself, I may say that it gave me more insight into what the state of literature was like at the time JA was writing -- one ...more
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
Morty, Morty, Morty. You know, people complain about asshole, alpha-male protaginists in, like, Bronte novels, but I am craving one of those after suffering through his indecisive momma's boy bullshit. At least Heathcliff knew what he wanted!
Feb 23, 2012 Alice rated it did not like it
J'ai d'abord apprécié de me replonger dans les délices de l'Angleterre du 18ème siècle et suivre la jeune héritière Cecilia dans ses péripéties. A la fin du premier tome, j'aurais pu dire que sans retrouver l'esprit de Jane Austen, j'avais passé un agréable moment... Mais à la fin du troisième et après plus de 1000 pages de récit qui se répète et qui n'avance pas, mon desespoir me fait porter un jugement bien plus sévère sur cette oeuvre!

Tout d'abord, inutile de chercher la finesse de Jane, ni
Verity Brown
Jun 14, 2012 Verity Brown rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jane Austen fans
I read Evelina for a class back in college, and I found it amusing enough (although not as amusing as The Female Quixote: Or the Adventures of Arabella, which was my favorite book from that class). But I developed a taste for the literature of that era, and I've been wanting to read more by Fanny Burney.

I was delighted to find that this book was better written than Evelina. And I was amazed to discover the very real influence of this book on Jane Austen. Admittedly, Austen far exceeded Burney in
Dec 07, 2010 Jaylia3 rated it really liked it
Though her parents and the uncle who raised her have died, life should be almost perfect for open-hearted Cecilia. She has inherited enough money to be independent and to live the life that is her ideal, righting wrongs and helping the less privileged. Unfortunately, anything in this long book that could go awry does. Cecelia is not quite 21, and until she is of age she needs to reside with one of the guardians her uncle has carefully but misguidedly chosen. The first guardian, the husband of a ...more
Sep 16, 2016 Eva rated it liked it
My apologies as this will sound like a petty rant but I can't help it...

I want to know what's happened to the DOG!?! A well-loved dog, loyal to his master blah-di-blah-blah... used as instrument of discovery and then dropped into the ether, never to be heard of again! I did mention this was going to be petty, didn't I? Gah!

I like that Cecelia was meant to be sensible, virtuous, and all that is kind and good. You can hear a 'but', can't you BUT BUT BUT why does she need to shed so much tears? Exp
Krisette Spangler
Jun 17, 2011 Krisette Spangler rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Wow, when I started this tome I didn't realize it had 1000 pages. I orginally picked it up, because I knew that Jane Austen liked reading Fanny Burney's novels. This was the closest I've ever come to another Jane Austen novel. However, I will say that Austen masterfully completes in approximately 300 pages what it took Burney 1000 pages to do.

Burney has created some amazing characters in this novel, and the story is very good. However, I did alternate between loving it and wanting to tear my hai
Jul 31, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Tis great fun. Relentlessly plagiarised by Austen. Although, malice 'n' insularity are Jane's own work. Credit where credit's due. :p Towards the end, one of the characters even proclaims:
"The whole of this unfortunate business has been the result of PRIDE and PREJUDICE." (Burney's capitalisation, not mine.)

Anyway... 1780s heiress must get husband to take her name. Complications ensue. Influential on Dickens, too. Georgian society depicted in entirety.

*covets flouncy frocks*

*points and laughs a
Philip Lane
Nov 06, 2011 Philip Lane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting. I'm not sure how to reconcile Cecilia's uncle's provisions in his will and apponed guardians. From a singularly bad piece of judgement her whole catalogue of woes follow. Her relationship with the son of one of her guardians is the central romantic story which bears a strong resemblance to the central romance in Pride and Prejudice and indeed the labelling of the characters with these qualities is made towards the end of the book. Jane Austen presumably got the idea from here.
May 28, 2012 Steven rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1001-books
It was hard to read this book without thinking of Jane Austen. This book had a big influence on Austen and her writing. There are parallels between several of her characters in Pride and Prejudice and the characters in Cecilia. I also found it interesting that near the end of the book the phrase "Pride and Prejudice" is used three times within a couple of sentences. I am looking forward to reading more of Burney's novels.
Apr 22, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it
For its length you would think this would end up being really dry and boring, but Burney makes this book a real page turner (and believe me it has been a long time since a book I had to read for school made me turn pages). I had to stay up until three in the morning to finish the last two hundred pages. The ending is, admittedly, a little bizarre, but the book is still amazing.
Oct 31, 2015 Laura marked it as to-read
Shelves: kindle
Part I: Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Part II: Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Part III: Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Natalie Sue
Apr 27, 2016 Natalie Sue rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I feel actual triumph in saying I've finished reading this book. It took me much longer than anticipated, but I'm glad I pushed through. Cecilia is an enjoyable read and feminist novel when you least expect it.
Vincent Rivas-Flores
I actually cared whether Cecelia lived at the end. I did not expect a book just shy of 1000 pages to do that.
Jul 08, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
I love this's such an agonizing love story, but so good!!! Burney is so good at torturing her reader, then totally delivers in the end!
Doreen Petersen
Sep 23, 2015 Doreen Petersen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paranormal
A really well written paranormal book with many twists and turns. I would recommend this one.
Oct 16, 2016 Lucy rated it did not like it
There should be a Goodreads shelf for 'gave up on'. I think this is only the fourth book I've ever not completed, I've ground my way determinedly through Clarissa, Pamela, Evelina, Roderick Random, and much else from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But this has defeated me. I can't bear a single character I've met so far, don't believe in any of them, can't make sense of the plot - and when Firefox lost my place on Project Gutenberg, I seized on it as an omen. Really, it's a truly ...more
Nov 10, 2016 Jeannie rated it did not like it
I could not read this book it is too tedious !
Jun 08, 2014 kingshearte rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, fiction, 2014
If you like Jane Austen, why not read one of her inspirations — specifically the book where she got the title for Pride and Prejudice? It does read very similar to Austen, except perhaps a bit wordier. I don't think any of the Austen I've read has been quite as long as this one. And at 888 pages in the edition I read, I really did think it was too long. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy it, because I did. But there were definitely parts that could have been trimmed. Some parts were very re ...more
Do you love pages and pages of people saying things like, "O! My beloved one! But ah! What shall I do? Must we be parted for ever?" and then collapsing into fits of passion? Then you'll love Cecilia!

Okay, quick rundown: Cecilia is an heiress who will get the bulk of her estate provided that should she marry, her husband take her last name. An neighbor of hers, Mr. Monckton, who rashly married an older woman in order to get her money, has been plotting to marry Cecilia for a long time, providing
Lane Pybas
Sep 19, 2013 Lane Pybas rated it it was ok
Shelves: undergrad
I don’t have the endurance to finish this novel.

But what happens to all of Cecilia’s MONEY? Who does she MARRY?

Luckily, everything we need to know is revealed by the hundredth page. What happens in the other 900 pages, you ask? WELL.

Masquerade scenes. Evil suitors grabbing at Cecilia’s money. Scandal. Drawing room scenes. Discussions of aforementioned masquerade scenes. Moral outrage. Repeat.

Cecilia’s coming of age story in a world of social plotting and excess would have been all good and w
Jess Swann
Dec 27, 2015 Jess Swann rated it it was ok

Un classique qui a inspiré Pride & Prejudice à Jane Austen et à la lecture on comprend bien dans quel sens. Les Delville sont vraiment arrogants... (surtout le père). Pour Cécilia, je l'ai trouvée sympathique mais très (trop) naïve et un peu gnangnan(plus Jane Bennet qu'Elizabeth en fait). L'histoire, passionnante au début (lorsqu'on a le chassé croisé entre les différents amoureux, et qu'elle se fait utiliser par les Harrel ) s'essouffle et devient lassante lorsque Cecilia hésite sur la con
What attracted me to reading Fanny Burney is that she was the favorite author of Jane Austen and since I have read all by Jane Austen, I surmised I would like Fanny Burney's writings. I really enjoyed this, but I don't think Cecilia is as good as Pride and Prejudice, I have read P&P was inspired by Evelina, but the title has to come from the ending of Cecilia since the expression is used more than once.

Cecilia is the journey of an heiress in a world she is ill made for. I really enjoyed the
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British Literature: Cecilia 2 8 May 21, 2015 05:29AM  
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Also known as Frances Burney and, after her marriage, as Madame d’Arblay. Frances Burney was a novelist, diarist and playwright. In total, she wrote four novels, eight plays, one biography and twenty volumes of journals and letters.
More about Fanny Burney...

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“Her next solicitude was to furnish herself with a well-chosen collection of books: and this employment, which to a lover of literature, young and ardent in its pursuit, is perhaps the mind's first luxury, proved a source of entertainment so fertile and delightful that it left her nothing to wish.” 2 likes
“...let me counsel you to remember that a lady, whether so called form birth or only from fortune, should never degrade herself by being put on a level with writers, and such sort of people.” 1 likes
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