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The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  17 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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The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann RadcliffeThe Castle of Wolfenbach by Eliza ParsonsThe Italian by Ann RadcliffeThe Orphan of the Rhine by Eleanor SleathClermont by Regina Maria Roche
Jane Austen: The "Horrid" Novels
2nd out of 9 books — 11 voters
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Best Gothic Books Of All Time
142nd out of 325 books — 1,790 voters


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Community Reviews

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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.
Julie
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
Iasa
Mar 20, 2014 Iasa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: gothic
This is a sensationalist novel high on melodrama, with swooning fragile females, murderous kidnappers, and so many tears oceans could be formed. The prose is stilted and for a short novel there are parts that drag. There's not much to distinguish it from other popular novels of the time, but it's still capable of providing a fun read.
Lydia
"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
...more
Joanna
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.
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
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.
Bettielee
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....
Keshena
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
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.
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.
Keith
'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.
Jessica
May 25, 2014 Jessica marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: gothic, library-owns
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.
GirlGoneBookish
One of the best books ever written. Its creepy and dark, but has love and adventure too. A must read!
Wiebke
HILARIOUS!!!! Don't take it serious and you will have a lot of fun!
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...
The Mysterious Warning The Complete Northanger Horrid Novel Collection (9 Books of Gothic Romance and Horror) The convict, or navy lieutenant The Peasant of Ardenne Forest V4: A Novel (1801)

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