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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  4,723 ratings  ·  392 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

Hardcover, 316 pages
Published December 1st 1968 by Houghton Mifflin (first published January 1st 1944)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,723 ratings  ·  392 reviews

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Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Victorian and Gothic fiction
Shelves: read-in-2019
Some books have a magnetism that prevails over style, consistency in plot or used-to- death narrative formulas. Dragonwyck is one of them.
A mix between the Gothic ambiance of Du Maurier’s famous Manderley and Brönte’s Byronic Mr. Rochester that works phenomenally for fans of Victorian fiction.

Seyton knows perfectly well what her readers expect when they enter the sinuous darkness of her novels. A fair, gullible farmgirl; a seductive, mysterious nobleman and an impressive mansion, quaint during
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
I read this book the first time so many years ago I really had forgotten every word of it. I was pleased though that I still enjoyed it as I recall that Anya Seton was one of my favourite authors way back when.

Dragonwyck is a Gothic romance set in Connecticut in a magnificent house on the banks of the Hudson. I very much enjoyed the historical facts including the steam boats on the river, anti rent riots and the Astor Place massacre. That last item I had never heard of before and it made
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, ...more
Richard Derus
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
***$1.99 on Kindle TODAY 1 NOVEMBER 2019***

I plucked this off my mother's shelf in, oh let's say 1973-ish (before reading Green Darkness, anyway). She quirked an eyebrow at the choice, but (as was her habit) made no demur to the borrowing. I'd had some, well, sulphrous things to say about Taylor Caldwell. The term "snoozer biddy" might have been bandied about. However much I was unimpressed by later forays into these 40s icons of sudsy historical (loosely) fiction, I was captivated by this read.
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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 ...more
Bree Hill
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
May 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Barbara VA
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 ...more
Carol Storm
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sensual Gothic set in upstate New York. Magnificent ancestor of modern romance!

There are so many reasons I love this fascinating "missing link" from the romance novel family tree. I love the unique setting, upstate New York in the 1840's. Not an hour from where I grew up! I love the author's voice, so cynical and worldly wise yet full of tender sympathy for innocent Miranda. Most of all, I love the darkness and the sense that a happy ending is *not* guaranteed.

Miranda Wells is a bit clueless
Lauren Stoolfire
It's been ages since I've seen the movie adaptation, but from what I can remember I prefer it to the book. It's tough to go wrong with Gene Tierney and Vincent Price.
Wow! This was a compelling and, at times, horrifying book that I could not put down! If you like well written historical fiction along with characters and a setting you will not forget, Dragonwyck is the book for you, although it is extravagant in every way. I gather the movie is also quite enjoyable.
Bookish Ally
I’ve hit the jackpot on good books lately and the reading community on Goodreads gets that credit.

Imagine that you had a book that was a hybrid of Poe, Dumaurier and something earth shatteringly romantic while being unpredictable that all the time you have a terrible dread that something is going to go very wrong.

Dragonwyck was written in the 1940’s and it was positioned as a love story. I’m not one to give spoilers but I found the characters and storyline to be so well developed that I was
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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,
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
Nov 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ladies and gentlemen, I ask your forgiveness for succumbing to the phenomenon known to historians as the "delights of Cumas", which prevent the great purposes from being carried out. I pledged to try to write a review of the books, which I read this summer, but molicie, and personal ambitions (you know it's much more comfortable to attack, and conquer, as Alexander the Great, Ecaster, or Bayan* of the 100 eyes well known, to preserve and conserve and manage the conquests. In this case it would ...more
Ann (Inky)
"What a horrible thing for her to say—she was crazy then, poor thing?"
"Crazy with fear and misery, p’tite. A tropic flower cannot live without sun. A soul cannot live without love.'"

Miranda, Dragonwyck's heroine, is a character very near and dear to my heart; mostly because she is not unlike myself. Or rather, she reminds me much of my past self. She is naive, yes, but it is not from a lack of intelligence. Quite the contrary: it is her romantic heart that wins against her educated mind. “I’ve
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,
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
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
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 ...more
Sarah Baker
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Historical Fiction
Suggested Age: Adult (trigger warnings for spousal abuse)
What is this Book About?: It's 1844, and Miranda Wells is 18 and ready to see the world. The life of a farm-girl holds no appeal for her. So when a letter comes from a mysterious cousin (incidentally, no relation by blood) inviting her to come and live at his estate, Dragonwyck, and to occasionally serve as a teacher to his six-year old daughter, it seems like a dream come true. And meeting Nicholas Van Ryn, she is
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
I don't really enjoy Gothic or nasty men vs innocent maidens, but some of the historic detail of life in New York and Connecticut in the 1800s was of interest. It is, of course, well written and deserves more stars, but I didn't enjoy reading it. It kept me company during sleepless night.

Kindle Unlimited and now I can quit that subscription.
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first introduction to Anya Seton's brand of American historical novel. I found it fascinating, in the way that she took themes of Victorian British novels and translated them into a 19th century American setting.

Published in the 1940s and set one hundred years earlier, this is the story of Miranda Wells, the daughter of a New York State farmer who is taken up by a rich second cousin and taken to his gothic home (complete with ghost) where she innocently falls for the master despite
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I should have read in high school. I would have love it immensely! If you like dark, traditional gothic (think Jane Eyre), twisted love stories with psychopath husbands, then this is the book to read. Unfortunately, Anya Seton lacks in the dialogue department. Lots of melodramatic silliness with lots of exclamation points in each character's dialogue. Characters are wooden and seem to be straight out of a 1949 movie. The main character, Miranda, is such a silly and, seemingly, ...more
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Classic Trash: Dragonwyck: Finished (Spoilers) 11 9 Mar 11, 2019 02:01PM  
Classic Trash: Dragonwyck: In Progress (No Spoilers) 20 13 Mar 01, 2019 05:37AM  
The Gothic Novel ...: Dragonwyck 32 25 Jul 07, 2017 05:08AM  

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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
“Her lips were drawn to his like a moth to a flame.” 29 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.” 6 likes
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