Nick's Reviews > The Betrothed

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
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's review
Apr 25, 2011

bookshelves: baroque-beauty, lost-in-wonder, timeless-stories

This book could probably be summed up best as the sort of story you could read to a bunch of 8th graders--substantial, long, and detailed, yes, but full of action and love and villainy, too. Perhaps it was my responsibilities to the school (and the consequent anxieties they generate) that drew my thoughts in that direction, but I certainly did bookmark a number of short sections that would be sufficient to stand alone on a sleepy Thursday afternoon when they need a break from the normal modes of learning. There are some great characters here--the virtuous maiden, her scheming mother and hot-headed fiance, the spineless parish priest and saintly Archbishop, the petty criminals and nefarious plotters all find their proper places in a narrative that includes midnight raids, riots, plagues, betrayal, redemption, and the fulfillment of long-awaited hopes. For such an early example of lengthy narrative fiction, its polish and tight composition make it an exemplar of the genre.

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