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The Heir of Redclyffe Paperback – January 1, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

First published in 1853, The Heir of Redclyffe was among the most successful novels of the century, equalling even the work of Dickens and Thackeray in popularity. The story of a clash of personality between well-born cousins, Guy Morville and Philip Edmonstone, the plot focuses on Guy's spiritual struggle to overcome the darker side of his nature. Philip's sinister insinuations about Guy's character almost thwart Guy's marriage to the gentle Amy, yet despite their bitter feuding the novel reaches an unexpected and dramatic conclusion that vindicates romantic virtue, self-sacrifice, and piety, epitomizing the period's nostalgia for an idealized chivalric past. Adopted by William Morris and Burne-Jones as 'a pattern for actual life', Guy was a popular role model of noble virtue, while Amy is the ideal Victorian wife - redeemer and inspirer, support and guide. The Heir of Redclyffe is a virtual paradigm of the trends of thought which characterized the middle decades of the nineteenth century. It is deeply marked by the influence of the Oxford Movement, an aspect explored by Barbara Dennis in her Introduction to this unique critical edition.

About the Author

Charlotte Mary Yonge (11 August 1823 – 24 May 1901) was an English novelist known for her huge output, now mostly out of print. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 632 pages
  • Publisher: BiblioLife (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1437524729
  • ISBN-13: 978-1437524727
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,559,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Charlotte Yonge's "The Heir of Redclyffe" is the Victorian bestseller that many critics,along with much of her other work,are attempting to revive.I had trepidations before I read this novel.The only things I knew about Charlotte Yonge before this were - her novels were considered models of virtue and propriety and that Charles Kingsley loved her work.This was not very encouraging.But,after reading "The Heir of Redclyffe" I realized that Yonge was well worth reviving.Charlotte Yonge was probably the Victorian Christian novelist par excellence.Even they who are neither theists or Christians would be impressed with Yonge's intense conviction.Unlike most of her contemporaries her use of religion never feels perfunctory or insincere-she wrote as she believed and practiced."The Heir of Redclyffe" tells the story of a flawed yet saintly young man who is persecuted to death by his jealous and self-righteous cousin.Despite its sentimental theme the book is surprisingly restrained and ultimately moving.Its minute depiction of family life in the 1850's is so evocative -that it is worth reading for that alone.Charlotte Yonge, unfortunately,lacked the literary skill to be ranked with the best of the Victorians,but "The Heir of Redclyffe" is an original and powerful experience.
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Format: Paperback
The Heir of Redclyffe is book that brings both pleasure and pain, but pain that causes the reader to think about the nature of good, evil, and human beings. Like Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, you are fully confronted with the pain of likeable human beings doing immoral, selfish things. The world of the Heir of Redclyffe is realistic in its depiction of complex characters with flaws and weaknesses. You meet a family of two parents, three sisters, a cousin, and a ward (the heir). There are also plenty of fully sketched and realistic minor characters as well. Part of Yonge's power is to make you care about a great many characters and to understand them, their different values, temperments, and personalities. There are five major characters that dominate the novel: Charles, the invalid brother with his clever sense of humor; Laura, the serious older sister; Amy, the sweet and charming younger sister; their cousin, Philip, a brilliant scholar who sacrificed his chance of a fulfilling intellectual life for a sister who betrayed him; and Guy, the heir of money, a title, a terrible education, and a family tradition of a wild temper.
If you haven't read the editorial review above, please don't--it's a spoiler. I don't know if being told the fate of a particular character before I read the book would have changed my experience of the novel, but it certainly would have reduced my surprize and sense of "oh my, god, what next!" The major twists and turns of the plot had for me the same sensational impact I felt when reading Frances Burney's Cecilia or the great Chinese classic, The Dream of the Red Chamber.
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Format: Paperback
The Heir of Redclyffe is a wonderful novel that vividly depicts life in the nineteenth century. I greatly enjoyed this novel for its superb characterization. I was truly captivated by the main character,Guy Morville. He is a character that the reader genuinely admires and likes for both his nobility and humanity. The writing is excellent and the novel flows more easily than other Victorian works of fiction.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an emotional journey that drew me in and made me care about its characters and their lives. I can't say it turned out anywhere near the way I wanted it to. In fact, the author set me up to want one thing, and then snatched it away, but still managed to (mostly) reconcile me to the result. The book presents a stark contrast between two men, Guy and Philip, one the heir of Redclyffe, and the other the next in line. Guy and Philip reminded me of that line from Pride and Prejudice "One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it." Philip, with his sententious pride, is a difficult character to accept. Without Charles, self-appointed pin-prick to Philip's complacence, I might not have been able to take much of Philip's character. The two sisters, Amy and Laura, are also a study in contrasts. By the end of the novel, they seem to have switched roles, and the sister who is presented as rather silly and heedless, has grown into a formidable woman, while the sister who was presented as calm and rational has allowed herself to be led astray, to the great detriment of her family and herself. Along the way, the author includes hints and episodes that foreshadow the outcome, which is perhaps what gives the story a rather ominous feel at times.

The beginning of the book was a little difficult to follow. The author introduces her characters and their surroundings gradually, which is fine, but it made it seem at times as if she assumed we knew more about them than we did. I also found it fascinating to glimpse how upper-class young people spent their time back in the Victorian era (or at least in this novel). Even though they are out of school, the Edmonstone siblings spend their time studying, reading poetry, learning languages, etc.
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