Meg's Reviews > The Mysteries of Udolpho

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
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's review
Dec 30, 2011

it was amazing
Read in December, 2011

I have wanted to read the Mysteries of Udolpho for many years now, since I read Northanger Abbey in college and my professor continuously refered to 'The veil, the black veil!' Having just purchased my Kindle, I was able to find a copy of Udolpho and read it for free.

I am exceedingly glad I did. I have read many Victorian and Edwardian short stories based on horror and ghosts, and I was simply under the impression that with a few select exceptions (The Pit and the Pendellum) the older a book is, the less 'scary' it is. Udolpho has proved me wrong! While I didn't care much for the main character Emily - she was far too obedient to the laws of society and morality - I found her to be in situations that, had I been in the same ones, may very well have fainted myself! Following trails of blood up the castle steps in the dark of night; chased through the castle by drunken bandits; and what oh what is beneath the black veil?!

I also greatly enjoyed the plot twists. Again, having read the likes of Evelina, Pamela and others, I had assumed that this story would follow a simple storyline - and end happily ever after. I also imagined that it would be fairly transparent. Indeed, throughout the entire book I was sure I had all of the mysteries (and there are quite a few, some scandalous!) figured out. And then, when all is revealed, I physically gasped while reading this on the train!

This is probably one of the best books as far as plot goes that I have read in my life. Characters are a little weak (seriously I would have shot Valencourt if I could have) but the veil, the ghostly spectre on the ramparts, the banditti! They all rocketed this book to the top of my all-time favorites list.
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