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Evelina (Oxford World's Classics) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Evelina is our heroine, sent to town by her guardian to enter society. Her guardian, who raised her after her mother faced an unfortunate early demise, is a country parson. Evelina's father, of noble blood, is guilty of denying his legal marriage to her mother and essentially putting her out on the streets, and has refused to acknowledge or support Evelina through the years. She has now grown to a great beauty and has been raised with a very innocent and gentle disposition.
When thrown into the midst of a worldly London society, she faces one embarrassing circumstance after another. Surrounded by nothing less than idiots, she is faced with many situations which require wisdom and guts. Not unlike Bridget Jones's Diary, Evelina's story is told through letters, which may make this period novel easier to read for some, but may also at times be confusing if you forget who is writing to whom. This letter format can also seem unrealistic at moments but is forgiven as easily as we forgive some of the unrealistic format of "Bridget Jones". Another note, there are so many passes in this book that singletons could almost use it as a field guide to the world of men.
There are some twists throughout to keep your mind turning and your heart flying and sinking. At times, this lighthearted novel is incredibly moving (i.e. Evelina's reunion with her father)and of course, the ending is sweet and satisfying.
Overall, Jane Austen's inspiration is a marvelous, lovely, and surprisingly modern read.
The beginning of Evelina is a little hard to get through, but once the title character appears it will have been worth it. Evelina is a country girl who comes to the big city and makes every possible faux pas. Along the way she faces near incest, a bitch of a grandmother, other embarrassing relatives, near rape, clinging prostitutes, and a mischievous monkey. The book is full of unforgettable scenes that stick with you long after you close the cover.
But for all the humor, the book is also moving as Evelina it traces Evelina's moral growth.
First, the novel is written as a collection of letters--mostly Evelina's, though we do get to read many of the replies--which allows us to experience the story through the mind of a young woman in a personal, intimate way. Male readers, both in Burney's time and ours, are given a vivid picture of how women experienced the social world of eighteenth-century England. I must admit that at several points in the novel I was embarassed to witness things I have said and done to "court" a woman today done pretty much the same way toward Evelina--and realized how ridiculous it looks from the other end. The experience has been educational, to say the least.
Secondly, the plot is well-developed and keeps your interest throughout. The two big mysteries of the novel are whether Evelina will be officially acknowledged by her biological father and be reunited with him (he refused to raise her, and her mother died during childbirth), and which of her suitors she will end up with. A note on the two principal suitors: one could be seen as Burney's picture of a man who knows how to treat women right, and the other is quite the opposite. I certainly learned much from both examples.
Thirdly, Burney was one intellectually sharp lady and no man should think this novel is a sappy romance. Far from it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I understand that this novel was written in 1778 England, but I still don't have to like it. And I don't. I believe the language and action in this thing was quite overdone. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Viktor Wolfe
This was written in a different era. However it was entertaining and definitely inspired more modern romance writers. Enjoyed visiting the early roots of the romance genre.Published 2 months ago by Barbara Dan, award winning author of Silent Angel
Rich people in the 1700s were bored and did weird s*** to compensate.. Good read overall. Gets a bit repetitive in parts, but I enjoyed it overall.Published 4 months ago by seltzer
I haven't yet finished this book, but I love it. Frances Burney has a subtle wit that keeps me laughing all the way through. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Allen P. Chase
You will like this book if you enjoy Victorian novels. It isn't in the class of Jane Austin, but still a very good read. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Beverley Rafayko
This was a unique book, I have never read a book of letters to form a story.
Some of the antics of the characters were just plain silly, but nevertheless it was entertaining.
This was a recent selection of our library literature group. I tried to read it while I had company visiting, and I couldn't get through it. Read morePublished 8 months ago by L. M. Keefer