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The Recess

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  48 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
First published in an era when most novels about young women concentrated on courtship and ended with marriage, The Recess daringly portrays women involved in political intrigues, overseas journeys, and even warfare. The novel is set during the reign of Elizabeth I and features as narrators twin daughters of Mary, Queen of Scots, by a secret marriage. One of the earliest G ...more
Paperback, 326 pages
Published March 30th 2000 by University Press of Kentucky (first published January 1st 1783)
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Community Reviews

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Bri Fidelity
Pros: Beautiful writing; every silly Gothic trope under the sun (I of course count this as a plus); heroines that - by 18th Century standards - are positive dynamos of determination and agency; no trees.

Cons: Highly dodgy history; poor romantic choices, all in a row; a deadening misery-memoir tendency for nothing nice to happen to anyone ever; O!s and em dashes.

Early in Part III, Our Heroine - who has already gone through so many trials and miseries and intrigues and swoons that it's a source of
Charlotte Rose
I didn't enjoy this as much as I hoped I would. It's an early example of speculative/historical fiction (what would have happened if Mary, Queen of Scots had two secret children?) but really doesn't get too interesting until volume 3, when everything gets really exciting and you forget how unlikely any of the rest of the plot was (conveniently, these secret daughters comfortably hang out with all the big movers and shakers in Elizabeth's court, despite growing up in a cave). I'm not sure what it ...more
Nov 20, 2015 Mandor rated it liked it
I read this for a Historical Fiction class. It's an example of an early attempt at the budding genre based around the idea: what if Mary, Queen of Scots, didn't miscarry twins and they actually survived to adulthood? How would that disrupt Elizabeth's reign?

The story also has a bit of a Gothic Romance flare to it, with some insanity, poisoning, secret love, verboten love, etc. I enjoyed the writing and the concept of the story; in fact I was only to read 40 pages of it but ended up tearing thro
Elizabeth Rogers
Mar 02, 2015 Elizabeth Rogers rated it really liked it
A historical-fiction, gothic novel narrated by the twin illegitimate daughters of the condemned Mary, Queen of Scots. I mean, do I need to write anything else here?

There's literally everything: murder, kidnapping, secrets, intrigue, an evil Queen Elizabeth I, babies, marriages, insanity, prison...the list could go on. It might not be too well written (it needs some editing and a better edition--this is the only one), but it's well worth the read for all the craziness. Sophia Lee is one of the fo
I read this book for an English lit course on the rise of the historical novel. Once I got past the *glaring* historical inaccuracies, I found it fairly entertaining.

The titular Recess is the hiding place for the twin illegitimate daughters of Mary, Queen of Scots. The first-person narrator, Matilda, is writing a letter to her friend, Adelaide, talking about her adventures in the recess and at court ... including her marriage to Robert Dudley, Lord Leicester.

This is one of the earliest historica
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She was the daughter of John Lee (died 1781), actor and theatrical manager, and was born in London. Her first piece, The Chapter of Accidents, a three-act opera based on Denis Diderot's Le père de famille, was produced by George Colman the Elder at the Haymarket Theatre on 5 August 1780 and was an immediate success.

When her father died in 1781, Lee spent the proceeds of the opera on establishing a
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“Alas, it is the dear-bought privilege of the unfortunate to be tedious!” 2 likes
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