Book Review: Lorna Doone


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Synopsis:
“A tale of love, honour and treachery set in Exmoor during the time of James II and the Monmouth Rebellion. The Doone family are feared throughout the country. They have killed John Ridd’s father, but when he meets Lorna, a kind girl at odds with her evil family, he determines to rescue her.”


My Review: 
One of my goals in life is too read most, if not all the classics, hence why I chose this book to read. Lorna Doone is a beautifully written historical novel (published in 1869). I do really like this book, I found the storytelling engaging and entertaining with a few nice little plot twists thrown into the mix. Blackmores detailed descriptions really helped me to see the 17th Century Exmoor that he was trying to paint in my mind. Further, I found this quite a readable book for the time it was written, as in those days authors were paid by the word and boy does it show (Charles Dickens I`m looking at you)!

Whilst I enjoyed the adventure of the story and John and Lorna`s love story, I have an issue with the lack of strong female leads. I put this completely down to when the book was written but I was disappointed to find that the namesake herself Lorna Doone was quite one dimensional.

 I think my favourite character from the book is Ruth Huckaback who came across as a selfless and good person despite a few hiccups along the way. Ruth is one of the better developed female characters who features regularly in the book.  Another potential reason why I think I like her because the story is written from John`s perspective, and he had great affection for Ruth. As the book is written as a retrospective novel I think John may have painted her character kindly due to his potential regret for his misconduct regarding Ruth’s feelings.

I know that traditionally we are supposed to love the main character in the book but I’m not a fan of John Ridd this book’s protagonist. Young John is very easy to sympathise with and he shows many good qualities making him likable for a good chunk of the book. But, I found that as the story progressed, and John matured certain actions that he took made me think of him as selfish. On numerous occasions, John puts his family in danger and emotionally manipulated several female characters. Despite my underlying disdain for Johns character I still found myself rooting for him in times of peril.

To Conclude: 

 This book has stimulated various emotions ranging from dread to joy. I believe that any book that makes you feel and care is worth a read. In terms of recommending this book to read I think that novice readers should ere on the side of caution as it can be quite dry at times and the use of the local dialect can be a little challenging to interpret. With that said I think anyone could enjoy this provided they put the time in to read it (I often find period novels take longer to read/process).

Rating: 3/5


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