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The Horrors of Oakendale Abbey Paperback – August 1, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Mrs. Carver's Horrors of Oakendale Abbey has been been one of the more enjoyable reads. This is the story of the lovely Laura, a foundling forced to flee Revolutionary France during the Reign of Terror when her foster father's severed head is found mounted on a stake outside the family home. In the confusion of emigrating to the coast of Wales she becomes separated from her foster mother, and while wandering along the shore in her forlorn state she is discovered by the aristocratic sensualist Lord Oakendale. He wisks her off to his London mansion where she resists his efforts to seduce her. In order to place her in an even more desparate situation, he sends her away to live in the vast, ancient, abandoned, and reputedly haunted Oakendale Abbey in Cumberland. His theory is that after being subjected to the horrors of solitude in this loathsome setting, she will rush into his arms and gladly accept the least odious of her disagreeable choices.
The rural Oakendale Abbey is the site of very real horrors. Laura (an unusually spirited protagonist) encounters skeletons and hanging bodies during her explorations of the Abbey that are real and not just figments as is the case in the more genteel gothic romances.Read more ›
For those who think I'm being unfair to this brilliant editor, here's an example of what I consider to be utterly unnecessary footnoting by an editor who's in love with his own voice. Mrs. Carver, at p. 41:
"All these relations, when repeated in the morning to Laura, she treated as idle chimeras of a fearful apprehension; declaring she had never in her life slept better, and that it was her fixed resolution to explore every part of the Abbey before the ensuing night."
And the immediately following footnote by Mr. Herr:
""Where all others fear and dread the Abbey, Laura desires to expose 'every part' of it. She intuitively understands the need to explore her world."
Erm. Does a halfway intelligent reader need to be informed that the heroine understands the need to explore her world?
Along the same lines, Mr. Herr defines "enervate" for the reader. (P. 55, fn 16.)
This reader did not require and does not appreciate that service, well-intended as it may have been.
And, on page 155, Mrs.Read more ›
Oakendale Abbey is a totally readable, enjoyable Gothic that plunges the reader into the story without delays or poetic effusions. Beautiful young Laura arrives suddenly at ruined old Oakendale Abbey. Ghostly noises and gruesome apparitions have successfully kept visitors and villagers at bay for generations. But Laura is being forced to reside there until the gloomy rooms and isolated situation break her spirit.
Rich, haughty, handsome Lord Oakendale wants to make Laura his mistress, but although a friendless orphan, she's staunchly resisting him.
Laura has a fascinating back-story carrying her, as a lost child, from the East Indies to France to England. And she's in love with a young man (Eugene) whose parentage is also veiled in mystery. These personal histories combine with the horrid proceedings at Oakendale Abbey to make for an eventful plot.
Oakendale Abbey is indeed a terrible place, with blood-stained chambers and underground dungeons concealing dreadful deeds. But I'll leave it to you to discover the horrific reality behind the ghostly horrors.
The authorship of Oakendale Abbey (1797) has been a mystery for two centuries. I came across an article on the Web asserting that "Mrs. Carver" was actually Sir Anthony Carlisle, surgeon (a professional carver of bodies). Carlisle had good reason to hide behind a pseudonym, since the dissipated Lord Oakendale was probably inspired by Carlisle's father-in-law!
I highly recommend The Horrors of Oakendale Abbey as a clever, fast-paced, well-written Gothic with a delightfully feisty and fearless heroine.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was just okay, had some exciting pieces but didn't have the wow factor, where you couldn't put the book down. I did put the book down a few timesPublished on August 27, 2013 by rhonda wells
The cover tells it all - Horror . Again the beautiful introduction by Dr. Curt Herr... and you know it is going to make the hairs on your neck stand up. Mrs. Read morePublished on April 28, 2013 by Nancy H. Herr
Thought I would enjoy reading gothic books, but not that interesting really. But quite enjoyed it . Recommend to people who like this sort of bookPublished on January 3, 2013 by sheila lockwood
It started out really great. It began very mysterious and I wanted to know what was really going on. What was the secret of the abbey? Read morePublished on July 31, 2008 by A. mancebo
Oakendale Abbey, in what may be deemed as "ancient" in it's literary composure, presents the reader with the genre's very intention: the mysteries of things unseen and the... Read morePublished on December 18, 2006 by MJames