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Lorna Doone: 12/27/08

Back in March I tried to read Lorna Doone but realized too late that my copy was a horribly abridged edition. The book was barely recognizable as the original R. D. Blackmore romance. By July I had found a second, older and complete version and added it to my list for the Classics Challenge. In the meantime, other obligations got in the way and I was forced to leave Lorna Doone to the wire.

Lorna Doone is framed around the Monmouth rebellion but the book isn't a historical fiction. The Doone clan's ties to Monmouth serves as a way to explain their antagonism to John Ridd and his family. It's also a narrative excuse to throw in adventure, danger and derring-do.

In all of this political unrest, Lorna escapes the Doone clan and seeks refuge with Ridd's kith and kin. They had been friends (on and off and in secret) since they were children after a chance meeting at a waterfall. Though no one is pleased with John's plan to help Lorna for fear of retaliation from the Doones, he is supported and Lorna is welcomed into their household.

As so many romances do, Lorna Doone has a nail biting climax. If Blackmore had been writing a tragedy, the ending would have been very different. To the observant reader, the outcome won't be to much of a surprise (but still a relief) for the opening chapters where John, now an old man, is looking back on his life as his grandchildren tease him for his sentimentality.

Had I more time, I would have preferred to go through Lorna Doone in greater detail as I am doing with Don Quixote (next post coming in two weeks). Maybe sometime I will go back and reread Blackmore's novel a third time. Right now, though, I'm planning to walk through Ulysses after I finish with Don Quixote.

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Comment #1: Sunday, December, 28, 2008 at 15:14:27


I read Lorna Doone MULTIPLE times in my 7th grade English class because the teacher didn't believe I'd finished it so quickly and the rest of the class took EONS to finish it.

I don't often stop to comment, but I do follow you in my 'reader' and enjoy your book reviews, but most of all ... I'm delighted to know you're out there sharing about books in this way. Happy New Year to you and yours!

Comment #2: Saturday, January 3, 2008 at 17:48:12


Thank you for your lovely comment. I had a similar experience with The Scarlet Letter which I finished before the rest of my class back in high school.

I am planning to go back and re-read Lorna Doone in smaller chunks like I'm doing with Don Quixote. I was coming down with the flu when I was finishing up the book and I feel like I missed a lot.

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