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Dragonwyck (Rediscovered Classics)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,708 Ratings  ·  287 Reviews
First published in 1944, Dragonwyck was a national bestseller that was made into a major motion picture starring Gene Tierney and Vincent Price in 1946. A classic gothic romance, the story features an 18-year-old Miranda Wells who falls under the spell of a mysterious old mansion and its equally fascinating master. Tired of churning butter, weeding the garden patch, and re
Paperback, 342 pages
Published September 28th 2005 by Chicago Review Press (first published January 1st 1942)
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Lolly's Library
This is not a Gothic romance novel. This is a handbook concerning A) a sociopathic* personality, how its psychosis manifests in actions, words, and thoughts, and how with the smallest trigger, it spirals down into further depths of depravity and horror, and B) the warning signs of an abusive relationship, wherein a husband/boyfriend/lover mocks the low intelligence of his partner, disparages any independent thought, isolates his partner from outside influences, including friends and family, befo ...more
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like gothic literature with depth
Recommended to Tara by: Some book rack in Moore?
The first time I opened Dragonwyck was incidentally the first time I was exposed to Edgar Allan Poe. The novel opens with the poem "Alone," and Poe is one of the characters in this quintessential gothic tale. I first found this in a used book store when I was about 10 or 11, and every few years I am compelled to pick it up again, even though I know it through and through.

Dragonwyck is the story of Miranda Wells, a farm girl in upstate New York with dreams of a luxurious life she can never hope t
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
At first, Dragonwyck reminded me of Mansfield Park: the young girl summoned to live with her aristocratic relations--although in this case, it's American rather than English aristocracy--who trades poverty for their luxurious lifestyle. But that resemblance was shattered as soon as Nicholas Van Ryn appeared. He is no Sir Thomas, and certainly no Edmund Bertram. Nicholas is more like Maxim de Winter: glamorous, unapproachable, even unfathomable to Miranda. And when Miranda is introduced to Dragon ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
Miranda Wells is too dainty and flighty to fit in with her hard working, puritanical farming family. When a distant cousin invites her to act as companion to his young daughter, she leaps at the chance and soon arrives at the beautiful gothic mansion of Dragonwyck. It is ruled by the autocratic Nicholas Van Ryn, who is so handsome, powerful, cultured that Miranda falls for him immediately. Nicholas is haunted by his first wife, who cannot give him the son he craves, and by Miranda's beauty. (vie ...more
Bree Hill
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it

So many feels with this book. In this story you follow Miranda Wells. When we first meet her she is an 18 year old farm girl living with her family when one day they receive a letter from a distant relative on her Mother's side inviting one of her family's daughters to come stay with them and assist them with their young daughter Katrine.

Miranda is a young woman who wants more for herself. In a world where at her age she needs to be looking for suitors to settle down, her family mistakes h
Dragonwyck is a gothic romance in the vein of Jane Eyre, albeit set in America just before the Civil War. Nicholas Van Ryn is this novel's Rochester. A patroon in the dying days of feudal society, he clings to the trappings of fiefdom even when it becomes increasingly obvious that it is all going to end soon. He is also handsome, brooding, mysterious, and has a fat wife (Johanna) he doesn't care for to boot. So it's no wonder that his poor cousin Miranda falls hard for him when she comes to live ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barbara VA
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
How can it possibly be that I have NEVER read this book? I LOVED it! Many people told me that it was in the style of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, so it seemed a natural to me. I loved Katharine and Green Darkness many years ago but somehow this passed me by. I am a Hudson Valley girl and I have devoured gothic mysteries for years. I agree with many of the other posts that speak to the writing style and say that Miranda is not as well drawn a character as Jane Eyre and Nicholas is too evil but I pass o ...more
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: those interested in psychological, romantic thrillers
This is a very odd book. It is interesting, and I couldn't put it down while reading it, but now that I have finished, I have no inclination to read it again, and indeed, feel slightly embarrassed that I read it at all. It feels so teenager-ish and melodramatic, plus the title makes it sound like some crazy science-fiction book.
It is a book in the same vein as Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, though not quite as richly written. A young, simple, poor girl falls in love with a handsome, rich, mysterio
Nov 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
I pulled this off my Southern grandama's shelf when I was in high school. It's a gothic romanc set in New York's Hudson River Valley. Miranda is the poor but beautiful girl who dreams of living in Dragonwyck. The creepy lord of the manor has a sickly wife and hires Miranda as his housegirl and, duh, falls for her. My memory is sketchy on the details but there is conflict and Miranda may or may not learn to be careful what she wishes for. In any event, I loved this book when I was 15. Whether it ...more
Still not Katherine (all right, all right, I should just reread that already), but a reasonably good Gothic set in 1840s New York. Many of the standard ingredients are here, all well done: a young, beautiful naïve heroine comes to work as a governess in the magnificent mansion of a wealthy, dark, enigmatic man with a jealous wife. There are also a young, red-haired doctor, a mysterious and frightening servant, a family curse, and a ghost. Also, apart from the fairly effective Gothicness, there's ...more
This 1944 American Gothic novel is in the same category as Annemarie Selinko's Desiree for me: I'm glad I got round to reading it but I wish I'd got to it sooner, because I would have enjoyed it a lot more in my teens.

Dragonwyck follows in the tradition of Jane Eyre and Rebecca as far as plot and tone are concerned. Farm girl Miranda is catapulted into high society when her wealthy cousin Nicholas van Ryn employs her as a governess. Like Seton's later, historical heroine, Katherine Swynford, Mir
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Normally I'm annoyed when an author throws real people into a historical novel, but I thought Anya Seton did it rather well. I never felt like I was being beaten over the head with how familiar she was with the authors in the book (Poe, Melville, etc), or that Miranda was lost behind all the other characters. I actually enjoyed the book so much that I'll probably end up buying it to read again, even though I haven't re-read a book in about four years (something you can do when you have a great l ...more
Nov 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this because I liked the movie and it takes place where I live (shout-out to the historical aspects of Catskill and Hudson and everything down to NYC that made it into the story). I also tend to like stories about a sort of tortured love that can't really work set in Gothic manor houses. Go figure.

The movie follows the book very closely until about mid-way through. The movie puts more weight on the ghostly singing and playing from the Red Room and on the Dutch patroon chair. It also makes N
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
I loved the book as a girl. Recently I took it out of the library and was sooo disappointed. Am I wrong or is their major head-swimming going on here? (Head-jumping some call it.) Maybe I am too critical in my older age as I write a bit myself and try to keep in mind the POV I write in. But I couldn't keep track of things - maybe I just need to let myself go and READ.

Couldn't get more than half a chapter in before returning it.
it is definitely a very interesting book. According to my experience, it isn't a typical piece, it is hard to mark it as one genre.

First of all, it is in the atmosphere of a gothic story. But it isn't "too much gothic" so someone like me (I mean, someone who isn't a fan of the gothic story) isn't bored. I confess I was even sucked a little in this atmosphere ;-) Anya Seton wrote in the way that I felt like I was been with characters, like I was felt fear with them.

"In after years Miranda knew t
Dragonwyck is a difficult book to LIKE. And yet its very good. I'm in a quandry...

5 star writing skills
3 star enjoyment
Rounded off to 4 stars

In a nutshell, a country girl has high aspirations and jumps at the chance to leave the farm for an extended visit at her cousin Nicholas' vast estate. (I thought Miranda was much like Hettie from Adam Bede ) Of course, she doesn't know her cousin Nicholas at all; nor does she understand why his corpulent wife, Johanna would rather bury herself in teacakes
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
I always had a soft spot for Gothic novels like Rebecca and Jane Eyre, so Dragonwyck seemed like a must read to me, especially when a brooding and mysterious character like Nicholas Van Ryn is involved. Nothing could be more perfect!

Honestly, in the beginning, I had some troubles warming up to Miranda Wells. In the movie adaptation, she's more sympathetic and we easily relate to her wish to see the world, where in the book I found her a tad unpleasant and extremely snob. I wasn't very sure I was
Jul 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I can tell you that the first 3/4 of this book I did not like. I thought Miranda a fool, didn't know WHAT Nicholas or Jeff saw in her.

I was completely intrigued by Nicholas and couldn't wait to find out what was behind his behaviors. Unfortunately that is never fleshed out and I was disappointed when, in the end he turned to (view spoiler) as a release. I was hoping to reveal his reasoning for the dark and sinister man, but that was never explored in too much depth. The (v
Dec 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: february-2011
I liked this book as it was quite gothic in its environment. The characters were typical, the beautiful heroine, the dark mysterious man, and the good looking fine charactered other "man in my life" figure. Taking place along the area of the Hudson River and NYC, the book evoked a setting that was both familiar and beautiful.

The rich of Dutch New York are explored with all their wealth, society, and social strata. Into that setting comes the beautiful Miranda, distant cousin to Nicholas a wealth
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
A gothic romance novel that has moments of great potential but ultimately falls flat. One of my main critiques is the fact that the main character Miranda is uninteresting and unsympathetic. She aids and abets cruelty and selfishness over and over until the very end when her victimhood finally forces her to wake up and find untapped reserves of fortitude. The male characters were much better developed and interesting, the sociopathic Nicholas van Ryn and the rough, heroic young doctor. The main ...more
Holly Weiss
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have many Anya Seton books on my TBR shelf, but was drawn to this one because it was set in an area where I used to live.

Country girl, Miranda, is invited to her cousin’s manor house. There she learns not only how to accepted by high society, but also is drawn into the macabre household. Cousin Nicholas dominates the story with his unyielding, misogynistic tendencies. As their relationship deepens, Miranda discovers that being a grand lady has severe consequences.

Seton is a great storyteller.
Mar 14, 2010 rated it liked it
I thought this was on my "to-read" list, and now I don't see it there. So why did I have the author and title written down when I went to the library?

I thought it was some sort of fantasy. Dragons, right?

So imagine my confusion to find myself reading a 1944 gothic novel set in pre-Civil War upstate New York. But it was great fun. I kept thinking of Rebecca, although the plot was actually much more traditional than that. I also really liked the ways this was historical fiction as much as it was g
May 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Laurie J.
Recommended to Christy by: Janet Stratton, in 1962
A bodice-ripping gothic romance from the 40's, when housewives were known to tuck it behind the more respectable books on their shelves. High school girls of the 60's (like me) passed it furtively to each other, and stayed up late finishing it. It wasn’t as racy as Peyton Place, but we agreed it was a lot more exciting. Now in the 21st century, it’s still in print, and it will still keep you up late reading. Trust me.
Apr 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
So far so good. This book is one where you are grabbed on the first couple of pages. I'm only a couple chapters in but I suddenly realized that this book is why Anya Seton still enjoys popularity today. Forget your trashy Harlequins that melt your brain! Rise against it and read old romance novels that got your grandmother kicked out of school!!
Jun 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would be tailor made for me, a gothic, historical fiction novel with comparisons to du Maurier, but aside from both writing gothic novels, that's about it. The writing lacks the rich language used by du Maurier, so much so that it reminds me of YA books. I also found the book to be very clichéd and predictable with one dimensional characters.
Anne Hawn Smith
I don't know how it is that I haven't read this book before. It is excellent. It's a Gothic novel which takes place in the Dutch settled area of New York. The plot centers around a young girl, Miranda, who marries an extremely controlling "Patron" whose wealth and estates dominate the Hudson River area. His desire to control and his rigidity make him hard to get to know, but he operates socially with the most wealthy and prosperous Dutch families.

After Miranda marries him, she begins to see the
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
This is the third Anya Seton book I've read. This book reminded me a lot of Daphne DuMaurier's writing, who I love, too. Dragonwyck is full of eeriness, and suspense. Much recommended if you liked DuMaurier's Rebecca!
Jan 13, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Anya Seton (January 23, 1904 (although the year is often misstated to be 1906 or 1916) - November 8, 1990) was the pen name of the American author of historical romances, Ann Seton.

Ann Seton was born in New York, New York, and died in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. She was the daughter of English-born naturalist and pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America, Ernest Thompson Seton and Grace Gallatin Seton-
More about Anya Seton...

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“Her lips were drawn to his like a moth to a flame.” 24 likes
“He was all sin and mystery, and Miranda feared the pleasures he offered as she feared the fires of hell. Yet when she succumbed at last, it was not because her body was weak but because her mind was curious.” 4 likes
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