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Dragonwyck (Rediscovered Classics) Paperback – September 28, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 137 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Heart-stopping." -- "True Romance"

"Heart-stopping." --"True Romance" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

“There was, on the Hudson, a way of life such as this, and there was a house not unlike Dragonwyck.”

In the spring of 1844 the Wells family receives a letter from a distant relative, the wealthy landowner Nicholas Van Ryn. He invites one of their daughters for an extended visit to his Hudson Valley estate, Dragonwyck. Eighteen-year-old Miranda, bored with the local suitors and her commonplace life on the farm, leaps at the chance for escape. She immediately falls under the spell of Nicholas and his mansion, mesmerized by its Gothic towers, flowering gardens, and luxurious lifestyle—unaware of the dark, terrible secrets that await.

Anya Seton masterfully tells the heart-stopping story of a remarkable woman, her extraordinary passions, and the mystery that resides in the magnificent hallways of Dragonwyck.

Anya Seton (1904–1990) was the author of many best-selling historical romances, including Katherine, The Winthrop Woman, Avalon, Green Darkness, Devil Water, and Foxfire. She lived in Greenwich, Connecticut.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Rediscovered Classics
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 58227th edition (September 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556525818
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556525810
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,269,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER 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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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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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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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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