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The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story

3.32  ·  Rating Details ·  277 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Matilda Weimar flees her lecherous and incestuous uncle and seeks refuge in the ancient Castle of Wolfenbach. Among the castle's abandoned chambers, Matilda will discover the horrifying mystery of the missing Countess of Wolfenbach. But when her uncle tracks her down, can she escape his despicable intentions?

One of the seven "horrid novels" named in Jane Austen's "Northang
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 23rd 2006 by Valancourt Books (first published 1793)
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Kaethe
Nov 02, 2016 Kaethe rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, gothic
The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story - Eliza Parsons,Diane Long Hoeveler Wow. So it’s clear why this didn’t remain a popular book for long. All of the creepy gothic stuff takes place at the beginning. Then there’s a section of characters acting like normal (aristocratic) people and traveling and having large house parties, and crushing on each other, and oh, if I had read this book before reading Mansfield Park I would never have cast an aspersions upon Fanny. Mathilda is rather unusually pe ...more
Bri Fidelity
I'd say something pithy about how this was, yes, horrid as advertised, but no, not the kind of horrid I was after, but I still have six other Horrid Novels to get through, and I suspect this won't be the worst-written of the bunch (there's even another Eliza Parsons in the list; oh, dear).

But.

It's pretty horrid, you guys.
Dawn
This is the first of the 'Horrid Novels' mentioned in Northanger Abbey that I have read (Udolpho not technically being one of them). I did not think it was particularly horrid, it was a lot more moralistic than anything else. Long suffering and abused women are urged to be even more long suffering and they will be rewarded, they are urged to forgive and be virtuous, and wouldn't you know it, everything turns out in their favour at the end and their tormentors all confess and repent.

The book als
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C.C. Thomas
Apr 02, 2015 C.C. Thomas rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Bad, just so bad.

It's a "horrid" novel, one that Jane Austen referred to in her "Northanger Abbey". While many believe that "horrid" refers to the gothic nature of the writing, I believe Ms. Austen was using her tongue-in-cheek wit to describe the experience of actually reading it all the way through.

In the overly long story, Matilda is an orphan, having been cared for by an "uncle" all her life. When she comes of age, and apparent hotness, the uncles announces they are not related and he wants
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Julie
May 30, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gothic
This is one of the books mentioned in the Jane Austen novel Northanger Abbey. At one time the list of books was thought to be fictional. However, it was discovered they were actual novels. These books are now described as "horrid" novels. Also, see " With this Ring" by Amanda Quick. These books were wildly popular in their time, and Miss Austen's novel poked fun at the melodrama, but one can see why they were so popular. I really enjoyed it. Loved it, in fact. An editor would have been great bac ...more
Sotiris Karaiskos
Jun 25, 2016 Sotiris Karaiskos rated it liked it
Shelves: gothic, classic
Από τον καιρό που διάβασα το Northanger Abbey της Jane Austen είχα την περιέργεια να διαβάσω τα περίφημα επτά horrid novels, τα γοτθικά μυθιστορήματα, δηλαδή, που αναφέρονται μέσα στο βιβλίο και που προέρχονται κυρίως από συγγραφείς που δεν έγραψαν ακριβώς ιστορία στη λογοτεχνία. Να φανταστείτε ότι μέχρι στις αρχές του εικοστού αιώνα υπήρχε διάχυτη η αντίληψη πώς ήταν απλά φανταστικοί τίτλοι.

Αυτό εδώ το βιβλίο είναι το πρώτο από τα 7 που είπα επιτέλους να ασχοληθώ. Πρόκειται για ένα βιβλίο που
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Lydia
Aug 23, 2014 Lydia rated it it was ok
"The men having withdrawn, the lady seated herself at the dressing table, and having opened her portmantua to take out some linen for the ensuing day, she burst into tears on viewing the small quantity of necessaries she possessed; she cast a retrospection on her past calamities, they made her shudder; she looked forward to the future, all was dark and gloomy; she wrung her hands"

Though I myself am often aghast at the shortage of undergarments in my possession, I do not suffer from most of the h
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Michael
Jan 02, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic
I'm a fan of gothic romances in general. I love Castle of Otranto, Frankenstein, and Dracula, but had a hard time getting through The Mysteries of Udolpho. Crimson Peak got me interested in the genre again though, so this year I want to visit some more of the classics. Jane Austen may have called them "horrid novels," but I have a fondness for the twisty, coincidence-filled plots about guileless maidens and the wicked counts who try to control them.

Castle of Wolfenback is a good one. It's full
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Suzanne
Jun 29, 2017 Suzanne rated it it was ok
Contains excessive amounts of fainting and moralising, even for the 18th century. Two self-denying and long-suffering women are far too happy to instantly forgive their long term abusers, rapists (yes, rapists - woman in forced marriage which she despises gives birth to her abusive husband's child = rape; and Mr. Weimar has a plan to drug and rape Matilda so she'll have to marry him) and would-be murderers the minute said abusers ask their pardon on their death beds so they can die with a clear ...more
A
Jul 14, 2017 A rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: terra
Ésta es una novela escrita a finales del siglo XVIII, y es mencionada en la novela Northanger Abbey de Jane Austen como un drama de horror. Hay que aclarar que es de un horror mundano, no sobrenatural (aunque al principio pueda parecerlo). Lo atrayente de una novela como ésta es siempre la descripción de las costumbres de la época y el uso del lenguaje, pues la trama no es necesariamente cautivadora.
MJ
Oh, Mr. Weimar, you are a creep. You too, Count of Wolfenbach.

Like most other people who have read this book, I read it because it is one of Austen's horrid novels.

Horrid, because of the jerk-face men who let their stupid jealousies override any decency and common sense. Horrid because they treat the women in their lives horridly. Commit murder, threaten to murder etc etc.

The gothic-ness of this book is contained in its beginning. After that, it's a book about a virtuous, exemplary woman who f
...more
Kirsten
May 26, 2015 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
This is one of the horrid novels that Austen refers to in Northanger Abbey (and the intro to my copy says that scholars originally thought those were all made-up titles, because copies didn't survive, by and large - these were trashy novels that teenaged girls checked out of circulating libraries and passed around and literally read to pieces). And it was *great*. Action-packed. The first 20 pages feature a haunted castle, part of the truth behind the haunting, a flashback of a running away from ...more
Jewell Moreno
This story is about a woman, Matilda, escapes from her viscious uncle to a haunted castle. Such begins the tale of two mysteries of two women who were mistreated by men, and their attempt to regain their life. If you're looking for a scary ghost story, this ain't it. Two things, first the book says it's only about 138 pages, add another thousand to that....it dragged on and on. Mostly in conversation that was unnessecary. I know that in Victorian times they were obsessed with language, but this ...more
Taylor
Apr 03, 2016 Taylor rated it liked it
A classic Gothic novel though obviously inferior to those written by Radcliffe. It's pretty evident that this was meant to be quite graphic for its time, especially as far as the violence. Still, I enjoyed it, poor grammar and style notwithstanding. Maybe it's because the present day is so vulgar and people are so rude, but I always really enjoy novels set in "courtly" time periods. Novels of manners are a favorite genre of mine and this fulfilled that nicely, with a dash of mystery and intrigue ...more
Hannah
Dec 15, 2015 Hannah rated it it was ok
Shelves: british, novel
This would have been a one-star review, since the writing in this book is plain awful, even considering it was another time, and the characters are infuriatingly dumb, but darn it all, there was one brief exciting passage where the main character is captured by corsairs! So I give it two. But never again, Eliza Parsons! When folks weren't bursting into floods of tears they were telling (or refusing to tell) long-winded stories about horrible murders. A great window into the world of books referr ...more
Nikolina Hatton
Nov 06, 2015 Nikolina Hatton rated it it was ok
This novel is not good, yet surprisingly enjoyable at moments nonetheless. Matilda is an interesting main character--being possessed of uncommon stubbornness for a traditional Gothic heroine. There is some equivocation on the part of the author regarding the role of birth and its connection to merit even if she succumbs to the popular view at the end. The novel is also more overtly didactic than higher-end Gothic writers. What saves it is Parson's dispatch in getting to the point, rather than dr ...more
Bettielee
Apr 16, 2011 Bettielee rated it it was ok
Shelves: gothic
This has all the problems of antiquated literature (if you want to call it that, gothic stories are pretty much like the pulp novels were to the 40's and 50's.) with little of its charms. Too wordy. too full of limp-wristed females who have to take to their beds when they hear bad news. Everybody has Mary Sue and Evil Villain disease. Oh well. On to the next tale of derring do and imperiled virgin....
Nikki
There's no doubt in the world that this novel is ridiculously over-the-top, full of damsels in distress fainting and bursting into tears and wicked men engaging in murder and kidnapping. The plot is dramatic to the extreme, with faraway castles, mysteries and dastardly schemes crowding the pages. However, that badness is actually what makes this book such great, relentless fun. Textbook gothic novel, highly recommended.
Sarah
Aug 28, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Fantastic gothic novel complete with ghosts, swooning damsels, castles & dark forests, mysteries and of course... a rich & passionate young man who falls in love with our heroine. This is also one of the seven "horrid novels" named in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. The Castle of Wolfenbach is perhaps the most important of the early Gothic novels, predating both The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Monk.
Keshena
Sep 10, 2011 Keshena rated it liked it
Another Of the infamous Northanger seven, but far less polished and stylistic than Clermont. The heroine, Matilda, is so charmingly, incorruptibly virtuous she even charms a Turkish pirate! Somehow the delightfully lurid escapism of the story itself manages to captivate in spite of the hurried pace at which it is told,
Vintage Jewel
Dec 07, 2008 Vintage Jewel rated it it was ok
The plot to Wolfenbach is similar to that of Udolpho, but Parson's writing style can feel abrupt and stilted at times. I liked the hero of this book more than that of Udolpho, and it didn't have the lengthy descriptive passages or poems that bogged Udolpho down. The ending felt was over the top and anti-climatic at the same time.
Joanna
Apr 24, 2014 Joanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first half of this was really good, but the second half was so boring I fell asleep multiple times.As a fan of the genre, I know it can get kinda boring in general, but come on! 500 pages about promenading around parties in Paris? They really should have stayed at that creepy castle longer.

As for the Kindle additional: absolutely atrocious formate.
JoAnn
A fun read, although some parts really drag on a bit.
I did recognize parts that were literally lifted out of history, though. Mary, Queen of Scots' friend Rizzo was the victim jealous Darnely and the tragic events that followed are eerily similar. I wonder how many 18th century readers would have recognized it.
Lucy
Jul 09, 2016 Lucy rated it really liked it
This is much more readable than any other Gothics I've ploughed through. It's fairly plainly written, and while the heroine is tiresomely good, and of course alternates between fainting and crying like they all do, the villains are excellent and it did keep me reading. I would like to know what's in those drops they take, though, they seem pretty magical to me.
Keith
Nov 24, 2013 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Castle of Wolfenbach' is a short Gothic novel written about 1793. Eliza Parsons included damsels in distress, swooning and fainting, weeping and wailing, incest, murder, kidnapping, a haunted castle ... .
I found this novel to be a fun read and this novel regularly brought a smile to my face.
Elizabeth Rogers
Feb 20, 2015 Elizabeth Rogers rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic-lit
This is a four-star novel on the Gothic Lit scale, which means it's really about a two. This novel follows the standard Gothic plot and contains the typical Gothic stock characters. For a novel of this genre, however, "Wolfenbach" is very well-written.
Jessica
Aug 26, 2013 Jessica marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: library-owns, gothic
Serious potential for eerie horror, along with family horror, but... the writing is so plodding, I can't progress more than two pages without hitting boredom. Since I'm not obliged to read this for any reason beyond my own interest, which died a quick death, DNF at about 25 pages.
Carla
Mar 24, 2016 Carla rated it did not like it
Shelves: gothic-romance
Let's just say that by the time Mathilda found herself on the ship bound for Tunis, I was hoping for a storm at sea and a merciful ending.
Dawn
Dec 30, 2015 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Well here is a new favorite author!
Leslie
Way over the top, but very readable all the same.
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Eliza Parsons (née Phelp) (1739 – 5 February 1811) was an English gothic novelist. Her most famous novels in this genre are The Castle of Wolfenbach (1793) and The Mysterious Warning (1796) - two of the seven gothic titles recommended as reading by a character in Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey.
More about Eliza Parsons...

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