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A Sicilian Romance

3.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,315 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
In A Sicilian Romance (1790) Radcliffe began to forge the unique mixture of the psychology of terror and poetic description that would make her the great exemplar of the Gothic novel, and the idol of the Romantics. This early novel explores the cavernous landscapes and labyrinthine passages of Sicily's castles and convents to reveal the shameful secrets of its all-powerful ...more
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published (first published 1790)
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K.D. Absolutely
Mar 11, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, gothic, romance
Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) was considered the pioneer of gothic literature. The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole came first but Radcliffe legitimized the genre by her brilliant use of the supernatural elements and thorough handling of the inexplicable phenomena that, critics said, made readers accept and love gothic works. This work, A Sicilian Romance was parodied by Jane Austen in her Northanger Abby. Radcliffe influenced not only Austen’s works but also those of Charlotte Bronte’s Ja ...more
Jul 10, 2014 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Classics Club Spin spun me A Sicilian Romance,and I’m very pleased that it did.

I’ve always hoped that I would fall in love with Ann Radcliffe’s novels, with the coming together of the gothic and the romantic, but I was scared to take the first step and so I needed that spin.

It was love, of course it was.

The opening chapter was wonderfully readable and it set the stage for what was to come. A traveller was struck by a sight on the north coast of Sicily: a ruined castle that had clearly once b
Only part way through this one. Oh, how I love gothic romance.

P.S. Wondering what exactly the most common cover picture has to do with the plot. I looked it up and it turns out it's a picture of Julia after she was banished to the island (you know, after Augustus found out she was sleeping around with just about every other man in Rome, and went all, "Family values, my dear!" on her, even though he was part of one of the most dysfunctional, sex-crazy families in history. The moment was immortal
There is a massive difference between reading something for fun and reading something for class. This is the second book I have read for my Gothic Literature course and I am having trouble finding the words to describe this book without it sounding like an essay.
I really enjoyed reading this book purely for the fact that it kept me entertained. Gothic Literature back in its day was seen as a popular yet low-cultured novel and after reading this book I kind of know why that was. A Sicilian Romanc
Julia and Emilia Mazzini are happy with their lot in life. Having lost their mother at an early age, they dwell alone in the castle Mazzini, with their governess and companion Madame de Menon to look after them. Their father, a marquis, prefers to dwell elsewhere with their brother, Ferdinand, and his new wife, the beautiful but cunning Maria de Vellorno. Julia and Emilia have never known another way of life, and so this isolation from society does not chafe them, though Julia (the more spirited ...more
Oh, how I enjoy a good gothic story in autumn and winter!
Although I like the genre I haven't read much of Ann Radcliffe. I used to read these kind of novels when I was a teenager, but at the time my English wasn't fluent enough and I had to rely on translations. The local bookstore or library didn't have a proper gothic section.
So here I am, 25 years after, trying to close the gap between Ms Radcliffe and me. She's an excellent storyteller. She managed to put a lot into this short novel: love, h
Nov 02, 2015 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Not much to say. Except in the Librivox recording I listened to, a cat could be heard in the background of some of the chapters. :)
Oct 20, 2014 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, romance
I picked up A Sicilian Romance on a whim. I'd read and enjoyed Udolpho, and I wanted to experience more of Radcliffe's work. This was a new offering from Librivox, it was relatively short (well, compared to Udolpho ), and though I didn't know much about it I figured it was worth a try.

The first quarter of the novel didn't do much for me. "Oh," I kept thinking. "It's a partially run-down castle, and a young lady who is in love with one man but being forced to marry another." And so on and so for
Grace Harwood
Sep 29, 2013 Grace Harwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I so enjoyed reading this work which just typified Gothic excess at its very best. What we have here is the story of Julia and Emelia and their brother Ferdinand, children of the autocratic Marquis Mazzini who is every bit as diabolic a villain as Radcliffe's more famous Count Montoni. The children are motherless and live in a castle (in the same sublime species of landscape as Udolpho) which has an entire ruined southern hall which is reputed to be haunted. Of course, this is Radcliffe, so we k ...more
Jul 21, 2014 Pınar rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tamam dönemine uygun, tamam dili ağır falan ama gitmedi. İlk yarısı aktı biraz ama 2. kısım bitmeyen kitaba döndü. Bu yaştan, bu kadar kitaptan sonra ah dese bayılan kızları kaldırmıyor bünye. Tabiatıma ters. Bu kadar, her şeye bayılan insanları da yeni gördüm. Adamlar düşmanla mı uğraşsın bayılan kızlarla mı? Konu da sürekli tekrar bağladı. Kaç-öldü zannet, kaç-öldü zannet. Kaçıp kovala bitmeyecek sandım bir ara. Allah'tan geberdiler sonunda da (spoiler değil bu hemen küfretme kardeşim) yeşilça ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Teaqueen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! After reading and super enjoying Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest, I had low expectations for Sicilian as it was an earlier book. Wow! Was I pleasantly surprised! Much tighter and less convoluted then romance of the forest, this story really moves! Plot was easier to follow... Even with all the twists and turns. Excellent characters… Wonderful villains, wonderful heroes, wonderful women in distress. I also love how the story changed from scene to scene in different part ...more
εlﻨբ ツ
Olayların seyri başımı döndürdü:) Ağır biraz ama eski bir kitap sonuçta.Julie babasının onu zorla evlendirmesine göz yummak istemez ve kaçar ama ne kaçma.. sonunda olaylar birleşiyor ve gizli kalmış sırlar ortaya çıkıyor.Sevdim ben..
Berfin Basak
Saatlerdir labirentten çıkmaya çalışıyormuş gibi bir his, ve nihayet kurtulduk & mutlu son!
Oct 20, 2015 Lois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like any dedicated Austen fan, I have always been intrigued by the books her characters—and especially her heroines—read, and Radcliffe's novels stand out among them. As a result, many years ago I bought a few of them, determined to round out my knowledge of Austen's world, but am only just now getting around to actually reading them (what can I say, I've been distracted). It has been an interesting experience. The plot is fun, albeit in a didactic, moralising, 'I have to justify this whole nove ...more
I sometimes get the impression that people before the Industrial Revolution had a completely different type of cultural consciousness than we moderns do. One of the reasons is reading more and more social science revolving around technology's impact on society, but another that I've expanding my literary horizons further and further back in history which requires adjusting to very different storytelling paradigms than I'm familiar with from most of the fiction I read.

A good example is this late
Mar 12, 2012 Gio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is told by a traveller to Sicily who reads a manuscript about a castle and his inhabitants, the Mazzini family. The story is set in he late 1500s. After his first wife dies, the cruel marquis of Mazzini, remarries to a beautiful but selfish and vain woman and the couple moves to Naples. He brings his son Ferdinand with him but his daughters Julia and Emilia are left at the castle in the care of one of their late mother's relatives. The two girls grow up into beautiful, charming and gen ...more
Dec 14, 2011 Jesse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This was intriguing and a decent read for the gothic genre, and while I believe that this is supossed to be one of the earliest examples of this style of book, it is not the first one that I've I think that I'm comparing it to books that had a chance to perfect the genre.

Anywho, this was still entertaining. Classic themes of love, betrayal, evil and innocence. I enjoyed the creepiness of the supossed super natural and hauntings. However, the plot seemed to drag at times and ending was
Bandits! Fainting maidens in distress! Duels to the death! Hidden castle passages! “A Sicilian Romance” is the epitome of a classic gothic novel in every way. I love this stuff. However, “Romance” was a little too clichéd to be completely enjoyable. The men were either totally evil or totally heroic and the females were just… well, fragile and tending to hysterics. Except for the evil step-mother, of course... but that's a cliche too, isn't it. And all the convenient coincidences were a bit much ...more
Yeliz Ulucay
Mar 29, 2016 Yeliz Ulucay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okurken bir an gereksiz karmaşık ve anlamsız uzun cümlelerden dolayı boğulacağım zannettim ama bitirmeyi başardığım için mutluyum, gururluyum. :) Gotik roman tarzı benlik değilmiş bu okuma deneyiminden onu anladım. Sürekli şatolarda ve manastırlarda geçen gereksiz koşuşturma yüzünden bana ilginç gelen şato ve manastır kavramlarının bile bu gotik roman tarzı yüzünden itici gelmeye başladığını söyleyebilirim.
Feb 24, 2015 Laura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hannah
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
Quite a few twists and and an alert pace. And even if the seed of the story is predictable, with all the turns and twists you kind of lose faith in it.
G.D. Master
May 07, 2015 G.D. Master rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of mystery, adventure, and gothic literature
The Mazzini sisters live on a large estate with their father and stepmother. Strange things are happening in the Mazzini house. Shadows appear in windows and sounds occur during the night in a closed wing of their home. Along with supernatural apprehensions, the sisters must coexist with their overbearing parents who want them to participate in the conjugal arrangements of the upper class. Like all parentally oppressed youths, the sisters soon find themselves confronting their mother and father ...more
Jul 08, 2015 Andre rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ann Radcliffe is a master of pastoral, haunting, and or elegant description.

However, that didn't make me like this novel particularly much. It's a novel of much suspense and misfortune that attests to its status as a Gothic horror (again, beautifully crafted imagery, both light and dark), but much of the novel feels like a lot of suspense built up for nothing. There's certainly themes of imprisonment, nature being a source of inspiration and imagination, violence against women, men as prideful
Dec 28, 2011 Lavinia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
I was both hoping and expecting something better, but considering the fact that Ann Radcliffe was a pioneer of the genre ... hat's off! The novel has everything a Gothic novel should have: haunted, old castles, dungeons, dreary passages, gloomy atmosphere, a heroine in danger, forbidden loves, women threatened by evil males, and so forth.
All in all ... a pleasant read.
May 16, 2015 Samantha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not Ann Radcliffe's best work.

This was entertaining in some ways-and at least mercifully short and better toward the end-but it hardly qualifies as true Gothic, or even suspense. Mostly it's the tale of What Happens When One Goes On The Run From One's Tyrannical 15th Century Father But Is Incompetent At It.

The protagonists are incredibly lucky, and the story moves along only due to an alarming number of ridiculous coincidences (Oh Wow! We have all somehow ended up at the same deserted manor in
Feb 05, 2014 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 stars? 4 stars? This was a free audiobook, an enjoyable listen. Not positive I would have had the patience to finish entirely by book, the plot was so—meanderingly suspenseful. But excellent background listening if you're doing something boring. And believe it or not I enjoy this kind of formal language. It's almost funny when our heroine needs to quickly communicate urgent information and she winds to the point by apologizing for surprising her listener with unexpected news—then delicately in ...more
Apr 11, 2011 Elisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh lord... Had to read it for a study group. Florid. Horrid. No wit, just melodrama. No character development and no study of motivation. I do understand this was fashionable when written, but why it fell out of favour ....
When I was trying to figure out which classics I should read this year, I decided it was time to read one of Ann Radcliffe's novels as she influenced such well known authors as Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. I know this was one of the first Gothic novels, so at the time the story was probably a bit more surprising. But the writing and the setting were beautifully haunting. I can see why Jane Austen decided to parody the genre in Northanger Abbey, and while it may have been a few years since ...more
Oct 20, 2015 Alcieta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, classics
I actually enjoyed this; it was a good story, full of action and conflict and well-paced. My main issue, that quite severely hampered the novel, was the writing style. Everything was written in summary format, which utterly distanced me from what was happening. It wasn't immersive. The characters were flat. Crucial moments, such as reuniting with someone a character thought dead, are silenced. We get mere impressions of emotions, or deluges of emotions, but dialogue is sparse and mostly exists o ...more
Charlotte Jones
Not surprisingly, this is another one of my university books for my upcoming exam and although I listened to an audiobook of this, I was reading along with my paperback copy too.

I went into this short novel not really knowing what to expect. Having attended university lectures on this book and having read some very mixed reviews, I expected that I would not enjoy this very much but I was thankfully proven wrong!

This is by no means a perfect novel for a modern reader with its fainting women, ster
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Ann Radcliffe was an English author, a pioneer of the gothic novel.

Radcliffe was born Ann Ward in Holborn. At the age of 22, she married journalist William Radcliffe, owner and editor of the English Chronicle, in Bath in 1788. The couple was childless and, to amuse herself, she began to write fiction, which her husband encouraged.

She published The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne in 1789. It set the
More about Ann Radcliffe...

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“How short a period often reverses the character of our sentiments, rendering that which yesterday we despised, today desirable.” 1 likes
“Wisdom or accident, at length, recall us from our error, and offers to us some object capable of producing a pleasing, yet lasting effect, which effect, therefore, we call happiness. Happiness has this essential difference from what is commonly called pleasure, that virtue forms its basis, and virtue being the offspring of reason, may be expected to produce uniformity of effect.” 0 likes
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