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Dragonwyck (Rediscovered Classics) Paperback – September 28, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Rediscovered Classics
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (September 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556525818
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556525810
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Early 19th century decor for a good story - a holding drama and colorful. Miranda, Bible-bred farm girl with a romantic head and pretty face gets a chance to live her dream when she is requested as companion to the child of a wealthy relative. He is Nicholas Van Ryn, upper New York state Dutch aristocracy, arrogant, handsome, married to Johanna whom he loathes, Johanna, heavy, indolent, gluttonous. Impressed with the elegance of Dragonwyck, the dark glamour of Nicholas, Miranda falls in love and after Johanna's sudden death, they are married. Then she realizes his satanic qualities, his violence, the latent egomania; eventually facing the fact that he had murdered Johanna and that he was a victim of opium. Her baby has died and she fears that she too will be his victim. Finally, with the aid of a young doctor she breaks away, and Nicholas is killed in a last flamboyant gesture. (Kirkus Reviews) --Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

About the Author

Anya Seton was the author of 10 bestselling historical romances, including Avalon, Devil Water, Foxfire, Green Darkness, The Hearth and Eagle, Katherine, My Theodosia, The Turquoise, and The Winthrop Woman.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 29, 2003
Format: Library Binding
This is a beautifully written work of historical fiction, set in 1840s New York. It focuses on a young Connecticut woman, Miranda Wells, who sees a change in her station in life through a chance invitation by a wealthy distant cousin. Handsome, gallant, and a renaissance man in terms of his interests, Nicholas Van Ryn invites his young cousin to visit and stay at his lavish home in upstate Hudson, New York and act as a companion for his young daughter.
When she meets him for the first time, Miranda is smitten, as Nicholas is the embodiment of all her romantic yearnings. Moreover, her stay at his luxurious, palatial home on the Hudson River, a mansion with the fanciful name of Dragonwyck, is an answer to her prayers and a chance to escape the hard work and tedium that has been her lot on her family's Connecticut farm. Dragonwyck, however, has its share of secrets and a miasma of evil that lurks in its halls and grand rooms.
The only thorn in Miranda's side is her cousin's wife, Johanna, who does not care for having a younger, more attractive woman, bustling about the house and preening before her husband. Johanna finds ways to make her feelings understood by Miranda, but Miranda, reckless in her admiration for her cousin Nicholas and relatively naive, is somewhat obtuse. Moreover, there is a pre-existing undercurrent of tension between husband and wife in the Dragonwyck household of which Miranda is seemingly oblivious.
Miranda's presence exacerbates the tension in the household that, ultimately, ends in tragedy for all concerned. It is that tragedy that will, for Miranda, mark the beginning of a life journey that will provide some painful and unsettling lessons.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 11, 2002
Format: Library Binding
This book enjoys a special place in my grandmother's bookshelves, and both she and my mom always told me when I was little that I should read it someday. So a few years ago, on an extended vacation to my grandparent's house (which, I have to say, can be nearly as creepy at night as Dragonwyck) I picked up the book and curled up in a corner with it. I absolutely couldldn't put it down. Miranda is an engaging character who you instantly identify with because I think everyone feels sometimes the sense of oppression of their mundane lives. It definitely fits in nicely with the Gothic romance of the time, though doesn't *quite* stand up to Hawthorne's THe House of the Seven Gables. However, Seton's language is wonderfully detailed and captures the beauties and terrors of the moments to a point where you are nearly breathless. I highly recommend finding yourself a copy, no matter how dog-eared, and immerse yourself in Dragonwyck.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Linda McDonnell on May 25, 2001
Format: Library Binding
I searched for years for a copy of "Dragonwyck" and finally found an old copy in an East Hampton church sale. Why such a quest? Because I had seen the movie version with Gene Tierney and Vincent Price at least 10 times as a child. And the book is no disappointment--rather, it went beyond my wildest expectation! I've read it over quite a few times. The most appealing part for me is the early part of the novel, when Miranda is first in love with her handsome but remote cousin Nicholas, a married man whose daughter she is governess to. Seton captures the inexpressable longing of a crush that can never come to fruition. How every glance, every chance encounter takes on a significance to us alone. Then, the unthinkable happens, and Miranda gets her wish, marriage to Nicholas. But like most answered prayers, the reality bears no resemblance to the fantasy. In spite of riches and every kind of luxury, Miranda cannot find happiness in her marriage to Nicholas, a man incapable of spiritual and emotional intimacy. I highly recommend "Dragonwyck", for this wonderful plot and also its considerable research in the period, 1840s New York.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on September 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am quite a big fan of classic gothic love stories. Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite gothic romances, which is why I cannot believe it took me so long to give Anya Seton's Dragonwyck a whirl. This is a wonderful, yet underrated piece of fiction, "a classic in the tradition of Jane Eyre and Rebecca," as the back cover blurb says. Set in the year 1844, Dragonwyck tells the story of Miranda Wells, an eighteen-year-old daughter of a strict farmer. She has romantic notions of being swept by her feet by a tall, dark and handsome man. She also dreams of a better life. So when she is invited to work as a governess for her cousin, the dark and dashing New York aristocrat Nicholas Van Ryn at the Dragonwyck estate, she feels her dreams are coming true. Dragonwyck is an enormous estate that is often visited by the European nobility and American gentry. And Nicholas is as handsome as the men in the romance novels she reads and, in spite of his being married to the unpleasant glutton Johanna, Miranda cannot help but fall for her charming, yet mysterious cousin. But Dragonwyck is full of dark secrets and mysteries, taken from a curse that began some generations ago. And the rent wars that go on between the disgruntled farmers and their proud, arrogant master make things all the worse. A local doctor, Jeff Turner, is in charge of helping the farmers change the farm-rent laws, and in the process more conflict ensues between the people in Hudson Valley and the Dragonwyck estate. There are more twists throughout the novel.

This is one dark novel! The gothic elements aren't overdone here like I've read in some novels.
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