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There is no fool like an old fool...4 gennaio 2009
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida
This is a fast moving romance, originally published in the nineteenth century. The story is concerned with the trials of two related families, the Clifton cousins. Old Mr Clifton, Patriarch of Clifton Place, has two beautiful daughters, Carolyn and Zuleime, and a beautiful young wife, Georgia. Georgia was married at fifteen to the thrice widowed Mr Clifton. Captain Archer Clifton, heir to Hardbargain Farm, is the nephew of Old Mr Clifton. He is engaged to marry his cousin, proud Carolyn Clifton. Unfortunately, the subtle machinations of Stepmother Georgia have caused Carolyn to break off the engagement prior to the wedding. **Spoilers** Georgia, married to elderly Mr Clifton, is frustrated and jealous of her stepdaughter Carolyn's engagement. Georgia fosters Carolyn's mistrust of her handsome fiance's interest in a poor mountain girl. The couple quarrel, Carolyn impugns his honor and breaks off the engagement. Before the quarrel can be mended, Captain Archer receives orders to return to his Regiment. The mountain girl, Catherine Kavanagh, is the servant/companion of Captain Clifton's mother. She is loyal, humble and concerned about others. Archer respects and admires her. She is a complete departure from Archer Clifton's young Step-aunt and cousins. Meanwhile, we discover that Zuleime has entered into a secret marriage with Lieutenant Frank Fairfax prior to his joining his regiment. She had been promised by Old Mr Clifton to rich, lecherous Major Cabell for unexplained "family reasons". Zuleime loves Frank. Old Mr Clifton has forbidden Frank's suit. Unbeknownst to his family, is Old Mr Clifton's imminent financial ruin. The old man has been living beyond his means. Zuleime must marry Major Cabell if Old Mr Clifton is too avoid debtor's prison. Zuleime cannot tell of her secret marriage, cannot committ bigamy, but cannot bear to see her father suffer in prison. Georgia convinces Zuleime to run away. The story continues with Georgia manipulating and scheming her way to a relationship with the captivating Captain Archer. Heaven help those who stand in her way. Seventeen year old Georgia may be the evil force behind many Clifton family tragedies. But I must say that I found old Mr Clifton to be truly reprehensible. Everyone must pay for his selfish transgressions: his lust for a young girl, his uncontrolled spending, his sacrificing the happiness of his daughter for his own good name. We never know what kind of woman Georgia might have been if not forced to marry Old Mr Clifton at fifteen years of age. The message may be: Ladies, be good and honorable. Obey your elders, parents, and husbands. Suffer nobly and trust in god to make all things right. Candide, anyone? The female characters who are proactive and attempt to direct their own lives, generally come to a bad/sad end. Though we do have the example of Old Mr Clifton's sister, who takes a hardscrabble farm and turns it into a profitable enterprise. Obviously a better manager and farmer than the old Gentleman. This is a good, fast paced tale of obsession and misplaced trust. Recommended.
Nineteenth-century best seller3 dicembre 2009
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Mrs. Southworth was the most popular woman novelist in mid-nineteenth-century America. She offered her readers an emotional roller coaster ride that they happily took again and again.
Call me an escapist, but I always enjoy few days spent in Mrs. Southworth's melodramatic world. Before publication, her novels were serialized, and serialization encouraged a plethora of crises, adventures, reversals of fortune, tragic deaths and escapes from death.
Our heroine in this delightful book is Catherine Kavanagh. Kate is fourteen when we meet her, living in a crude mountain hut, keeping house for her hard-working brother and alcoholic grandfather. Even at this tender age she has no hope of personal happiness, except from serving others.
Her shyness disguises her perfect goodness and a formidable native intelligence. But several people find her out. Captain Archer Clifton of Clifton, for one, and his mother for another.
Captain Clifton, however, is cursed with pride and cannot bring himself to marry among the lower orders of society. In any case, he's engaged to marry his lovely and haughty cousin, Carolyn.
The plot takes many a twist and turn before the longed-for happy ending - and introduces us to a wonderful cast of characters along the way.
In later decades, Mrs. Southworth's brand of sensationalism was to fall out of favor and give way to realism. But I, for one, am glad her works can still be found among used booksellers and in historical reprints. Curse of Clifton is a pleasurable read in any century.