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The Beguiled

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  3,544 ratings  ·  455 reviews
Wounded and near death, a young Union Army corporal is found in the woods of Virginia during the height of the Civil War and brought to the nearby Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies. Almost immediately he sets about beguiling the three women and five teenage girls stranded in this outpost of Southern gentility, eliciting their love and fear, pity and ...more
Paperback, movie tie-in, 372 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Penguin Books (first published 1966)
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Eucalypta The book will be reprinted - published in June 2017 - so before the movie comes out.
No news on an audio version.
Personally I'd borrow it from the…more
The book will be reprinted - published in June 2017 - so before the movie comes out.
No news on an audio version.
Personally I'd borrow it from the library then, as it doesn't enhance the story line or understanding of the motives for the women's behaviours.
Looking forward to the Sophia Coppola version of the movie, which airs July 2017, with a.o. Nicole Kidman and Colin Farell - I rewatched the 1971 version with Clint Eastwood. In the trailers of the new movie there were no remarkable differences as of yet.(less)

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Amalia Gkavea
"How deep do the layers of deception go, I wondered one day."

I wasn't aware of this novel,until I saw an advert for Sofia Coppola's recent film version,starring Colin Farrell. I didn't know there was a 1971 version either (and I wouldn't watch a Clint Eastwood film if my life depended on it). So, being a Colin fangirl, I thought "well, I'll read the book and then I'll watch the film and find all kinds of fault with it,because I am an unashamed purist.And the only thing I'll admire is Colin's
Nancy Oakes
At the end of this novel I was left sort of speechless, and left in awe after finishing it.

As the blurb tells us, as the story begins we find ourselves in Virginia, "during the height of the Civil War." The residents of the Miss Martha Farnworth Seminary for Young Ladies find their routine interrupted when thirteen year-old Amelia Dabney is out picking mushrooms one day and comes upon a wounded Union soldier. Surrounded by cannon fire, she helps him to his feet and takes him to the school.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Beguiled is a novel of rivalry, manipulation and revenge with psychological suspense and sexual tension
a Union soldier in the American civil war is found injured in woods at south, near a seminary for young women
his presence caused a state of disruption, the women at school are different in backgrounds and beliefs, but some of them had something in common which is their fascination with the enemy soldier
the narration display the effect of lies and isolation on characters, and to how extent,
The knowledge of unhappiness makes it impossible to ever more experience unalloyed bliss. That's only possible in a state of innocence.
Thomas Cullinan, The Beguiled

Well, if I cannot be sensible and popular at the same time, then I will always choose the virtue rather than the friends.
Thomas Cullinan, The Beguiled

Simmering. Southern. Gothic. Madness.

This is a Historical Fiction novel that I would also not hesitate to call Gothic or even Horror, set in the time of the American Civil War where
Dec 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dead-tree
ETA (6/15/17): I guess I better specify I'm referring to the 1971 film version with Clint Eastwood & Geraldine Page, now that Hollywood's lazy, unimaginative ass has decided to do another remake of something that was pretty perfect to begin with.

Somewhere between a 3 and 3.5....

A seemingly charming Irish soldier full of blarney and charisma is brought into a Virginia girls' school to be healed of his wounds in battle. But he ends up inflicting pain on nearly everyone before
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
BORING! I am giving 2 stars because I liked the atmosphere the author created but it was just so boring. This book was not on my radar but a friend suggested we read this and see the movie. It took me forever to read cuz it was so boring. Hope the movie is better. Did I mention I think it's boring? Moving on.
mathilde maire

Like many people I think, I had never heard of The Beguiled before I had heard of Sofia Coppolas adaptation (I wasnt even aware of the adaptation of 1971 starring Clint Eastwood) (but then again I dont care much for Clint Eastwood.) I watched the trailer and was entranced by what I saw: a gothic tale set in the Civil War with a wounded Union soldier rescued by *Southern belles* from an all-girls boarding school. This screamed of my favorite trope (dangerous girls and women) and when I saw
I picked it up ahead of Coppola's movie coming out this week and I honestly think this is going to be one of those cases where the movie is better than the book. I've been waiting months for the book to come out of out-of-print status.

1) It's told from alternating points of view. It becomes a really fascinating example of unreliable narration because the various views correct each other and you come to read through the lies each of them believes about themselves. But there are 8 goddamn women
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this novel, set in the time of the American Civil War. I had not heard of this until the film came out, but never got to see it. The story has a feel of Gone with the Wind with a touch of the War of the Roses (film with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner) and was told from several different points of view. It took a while to get the characters straight but after that, I couldn't put it down! Slightly wordy in places, but a really good read for historical fiction lovers.
Tatevik Najaryan
Quite a book! I have mixed feelings about it. First of all, it was a really good book, but at the same time, difficult to read - 50 pages maximum in one sitting. Actually, rather long one, too. This could have been a good 100-150 page novella instead of about 400-page, single-space, 8 font book. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading it. And still trying to figure out the moral. I need some thinking.

Hate when the cover is from movie, especially when I don't like 2 actors from 3, but couldn't resist
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Upon seeing a trailer for the upcoming Sofia Coppola remake, I was quick to pick up the creepy and disturbing 1971 film adaptation of this book, which piqued my interest in the source material. Tracking down a copy was a challenge, but my local library's interlibrary loan came to the rescue and got an old, battered edition into my hot little hands. Unfortunately, after all of that buildup and trouble, I was left unsatisfied after finishing. There is an intriguing tale centered on lies and ...more
Roman Clodia
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found him in the woods

Ok, this is a crazy-mad piece of fiction which takes the Southern Gothic genre and ramps it up so far that it teeters on the brink of bonkers black comedy - yet I enjoyed it hugely.

Set against the American Civil War, a group of girls and women are holed up in a schoolhouse while the fighting goes on around them. The introduction of a wounded soldier into this hothouse atmosphere releases high emotions of sexuality, jealousy, passion and lies... and not a little
It took me over twenty years to track down and read this book after seeing the 1971 Clint Eastwood/Geraldine Page film on cable, and I was not disappointed in the least.
Jessica T.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
You know how you read A Rose for Emily and your mind was blown? Well, The Beguiled tries so hard to capture that magic but fails... It's slow.. it's boring.. and when you're finally at the point where something does happen YOU DON'T FUCKING CARE anymore.
I was expecting a little more from this movie directed by Sofia Coppola, with Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning.

The unexpected arrival of a wounded Union soldier at a girls school in Virginia during the American Civil War leads to jealousy and betrayal.
this is one I might return to eventually and write a proper review about...

(can't wait to see coppola's version tomorrow ah!)
Sarah Marie
3.25 stars. This book was really slow. At times it was great, but for the most part it was... just good. Review to come.
Theresa Smith
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wasnt entirely sure what to expect with this novel, but goodness! As far as classic reads go, this is a pearler. Its a modern classic, given it was published in 1966, but a classic nonetheless. It absolutely ripples with atmosphere, set in Virginia (the South) during the American Civil War. The sense of time and place is vividly recreated; the old Southern customs standing strong against the incoming Yankee tide while also fraying them at the edges. The Beguiled has a gothic feel to it: the ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Along with many other readers, I came to this book first published in 1966 via the recent film adaptation by Sofia Coppola. The novel itself is a brooding, tempestuous slice of Southern Gothic, a mood that is mirrored in Coppolas adaptation, complete with its evocative Virginia setting. Even though the film had already shaped much of the visual imagery in my mind, it was still interesting to read Cullinans source novel to gain a greater insight into the characters. If the narrative is
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: at-library
I loved every minute with these dark characters in this secluded school. Nothing scarier than watching what humans turn into when fear, lies and pride get involved.
Shelby P
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I'm finally finished and boy was this a long book!!! It was very detailed and I felt like I didn't want to miss any small detail but after a while if I expected to finish in this century, I had to start skimming. So I was enthralled when I saw the preview for the 2017 movie with Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst. I was not impressed with the movie. Then I found out the original movie from 1971 with Clint Eastwood was on HBO so I watched it and it was better than the remake. Then I found out the ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 The impetus for reading this was, of course, the recent Cannes-winning Coppola film version (which I have yet to see), although I vaguely recall having read it before, way back after seeing the original 1971 film version ... which I re-watched about a quarter of the way through the book. Both film versions seem to diverge greatly from the original book, since the antagonist, John McBurney is a 20 year old blue-eyed, redheaded Irish boy here, which fits neither Eastwood nor Farrell (well, at ...more
Jenna Vahue
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've been looking forward all spring for a movie tie-in edition of The Beguiled. I adore all these actresses and I'm one of the unpopular few who don't mind the film covers. You can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be picking up my copy next week.


I had been anticipating The Beguiled for months and it was just as wonderful as I wanted it to be. It was a slow burning, literal chemise-ripping, southern gothic fanfare. I loved all the ladies individually with their separate
I'm kind of conflicted about this book. I couldn't put it down, and was very impressed by the number of narrators Cullinan managed to pull off, each one reasonably distinct, largely unlikeable and wonderfully unreliable. It got a lot darker than I was expecting, and I never did know who to believe, which is great. I also never worked out where the reader's sympathy was supposed to end up (except for maybe with Mattie) and that's pretty unusual too. On the downside, the final chapters get a ...more

Visit the locations in the novel

An interesting book this one. It was good but not great and the pacing although should have been slow building was a bit too slow in the beginning. Its quite a disturbing read in many ways a solider arriving injured at a house in Virginia only to be tendered to by women who have no idea of the world outside. They at first feel threatened but it soon becomes clear that it might be him who should be afraid.

There are several girls who give their viewpoint of the
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amazing that such an internal novel was made into a movie not once but twice. Told in the first person alternately,by the 5 students, black slave housekeeper and two sisters who run the school for young ladies in Virginia, only a few miles from some of the biggest battles of the Civil War. The moment wounded Northern soldier, the twenty year old and Irish born Johnny McBurney makes his appearance he has entered a simmering pot of adolescent jealousies and dramas just waiting for his presence to ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I don't have much patience for novels which paint women is such an unflattering manner, especially when the author is male. Characters were nonsensical, pathetic, and so bored with their existence that the mere presence of a male in their vicinity had them all acting like brainless creatures.
Polly Roth
Dec 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
1.5 Stars

This dragssss. Long story short, The Beguiled has like 6 uninteresting narrators and zero twists in its plot. From page one you know that something goes wrong with McBurney due to "clever" foreshadowing, so I was nonplussed when it did. Also, none of the characters have anything more to them than what you get on the first page. It seemed like the author was setting up some big reveals in regards to some, and then nothing ever happened. I felt bait-and-switched. Basically, there is zero
Marina Antunes
It starts off great and things get really interesting towards the middle of the book but the ending is very unsatisfying - Cullinan ratchets the drama to the highest peak and then pulls back completely. It works as an unconventional approach but I didn't love it.
A suspenseful and entertaining plot but executed a bit slow for my taste.
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Thomas Cullinan born on November 4, 1919. He was a Cleveland author and playwright. He graduated from Cathedral Latin High School in 1938 and attended Western Reserve University for three years. After leaving Western Reserve he worked as a roofing sales man for several years. In 1945 he started working for the Cleveland Plain Dealer where he worked for the accounting department. In 1957 he left ...more

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