Guardian Newspaper 1000 Novels discussion

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Monthly Book Reads > Evelina - June 2017

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message 1: by Kaycie (last edited Jun 01, 2017 12:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kaycie | 455 comments Mod
Here is the thread for June 2017's Family and Self read.

I plan on starting in maybe a week. Who will be joining me?

message 2: by Christopher (new) - added it

Christopher (Donut) | 241 comments How did all my picks win this month? (and not just here)

I do want to read EVELINA, but I'm also reading BELINDA for Forgotten Classics.

Leslie | 825 comments I plan to join in but am not sure when I will start.

message 4: by Christopher (new) - added it

Christopher (Donut) | 241 comments Can you change the header? It says "July," not June.

Kaycie | 455 comments Mod
Done! thanks for pointing that out!

Kaycie | 455 comments Mod
Finished the second half of Evelina yesterday, which is no small feat considering this is a 450 page novel!

I spent the first 10% of the novel afraid this was going to be a repeat of Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady due to the format of the story (letters), and the plot that I knew contained a young, innocent woman (though comforted myself knowing it was only 450 pages...). It was much lighter than Clarissa, though, and I enjoyed the story (I can see some of Austen's inspiration here!). The treatment of women in those times was a bit too much for me to stomach at first, though, so it hovered between 3-4 stars. This first half focused more on Evelina's crazy relations and the even more crazy captain, and while entertaining, did not hold a candle to the second half of the novel when the love story and family intrigues really came in to play. I loved the second half so much I sat down to read a bit while I drank a tea and accidentally read 30% of the novel while forgetting my tea. Whoops! I couldn't put it down in the last 50% of the book, and even got annoyed when my mom called and I needed to stop to talk to her!

Burney did a fantastic job of conveying the innocence and excitement of a young girl seeing the world for the first time and falling in love. The writing is beautiful, the wit is biting, and the story is just plain good. I both want to pick up another Burney, but also want to avoid them because judging from reviews, it seems like Evelina is her most-loved and I am afraid of disappointment!

Leslie | 825 comments I am about halfway through so pleased to hear that you thought the second half is even better Kaycie!

I enjoyed the first half though the number of times Evelina manages to find herself separated from her companions strained my credulity a bit :)

Kaycie | 455 comments Mod
I really enjoyed the second much so that the two halves were nearly separate books for me. What did you think of the second half? I see you have rated already, so I guess you have finished! :-)

I think you'll find she manages to remain un-lost for the entirety of the second half (at least, nothing stands out...), so that should help!

Leslie | 825 comments I found this a very fun book - I read a lot of Regency romance so that I appreciated the descriptions of places like Ranelagh and the assembly dances, as well as the satire of the various social types (the fop, the military man, etc.). I loved Mrs. Selwyn!

The overall plot was a bit predictable but that didn't diminish my enjoyment.

message 10: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I've only just started the book. At first I thought the style of the letters would put me off. But once Evelina started writing, the narrative cleared up quite a bit.

It is kind of funny how many V's show up in the names: Evelina, Milvar, Villars, Orville, etc.

Kaycie | 455 comments Mod
Ha, if you were concerned about the letters, maybe keep that in mind if you ever look into Clarissa! 1200+ pages of excruciating letters... I actually think I had a bit of PTSD from that one when I picked up Evelina, because it was making me super nervous to see the style!

I didn't even see the V names. Cool!

Leslie- I also found it predictable, but sometimes with books like this, I WANT them to be predictable. I think it comes from reading too many...serious/dense/list-y books, and not enough just nice, fluffy, predictable books. I've recently had more Eugenie Grandet's in my life than Evelina's, and I needed the Evelina! :-) I've started trying to add Discworld for my nice, fun, fluff reads, though!

message 12: by Christopher (new) - added it

Christopher (Donut) | 241 comments Incidentally, there are some funny parts of Miss Burney's diary regarding this book:

This year was ushered in by a grand and most important event! At the latter end of January, the literary world was favoured with the first publication of the ingenious, learned, and most profound Fanny Burney! I doubt not but this memorable affair will, in future times, mark the period whence chronologers will date the zenith of the polite arts in this island! This admirable authoress has named her most elaborate performance, "Evelina; or, a Young Lady's Entrance into the World." [...]

I have been serving Daddy Crisp a pretty trick this morning How he would rail if he found it all out ! I had a fancy to dive pretty deeply into the real rank in which he held my book; so I told him that your last letter acquainted me who was reported to be the author of "Evelina." I added that it was a profound secret, and he must by no means mention it to a human being.

He bid me tell him directly, according to his usual style of command—but I insisted upon his guessing.

"I can't guess," said he - "may be it is you."

Oddso! thought I, what do you mean by that?

"Pooh, nonsense!" cried I," what should make you think of me?"
"Why, you look guilty," answered he.

This was a horrible home stroke. Deuce take my looks! thought I- -I shall owe them a grudge for this ! however I found it was a mere random shot, and, without much difficulty, I laughed it to scorn.

And who do you think he guessed next ?—My father!—there's for you!—and several questions he asked me, whether he had lately been shut up much-and so on.

And this was not all—for he afterwards guessed Mrs. Thrale and Mrs. Greville.

There's honour and glory for you!—I assure you I grinned prodigiously.

[end quote. Filibustering until I get a chance to read the real thing..]

The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay - Volume 1

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