Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve

The Old English Baron is a light historical romance novel set in England in the time of Edward VI (which means lots of castles and even a joust).

Edmund, a local boy of the village, has been taken into the household of good Lord Baron Fitz-Owen and raised with his sons and cousins. One day a knight from the north, Sir Philip Harclay comes to visit-he has just retired from the wars and returned to England and wishes to find his old friend, Lord Lovel. He’s told that Lord Lovel died about 15 years earlier and his pregnant wife died just weeks after and that his heir, his cousin, sold the castle to his brother-in law, Lord Fitz-Owen. He is received by Baron Fitz-Owen and there meets young Edmund and struck by the boy’s demeanor and his likeness to his old friend, offers to adopt him. Edmund asks to remain where he is, with Baron Fitz-Owen and Sir Harclay states that nevertheless he will always be a friend to Edmund.

Have you noticed already the clue? Edmund looks likes the original Lord Lovel…yes, this is a tale of uncovering the true identity of Edmund with, since the author calls this a Gothic tale, the help of the ghosts of the dear departed.

This book was published in 1778 but it is so very modern in tone and style that if I hadn’t Googled to find the date of publication- I never would have guessed. The author, Clara Reeve, talks about the influence of the Castle of Otranto (you can read my review of this very first Gothic novel here) on her.

Pleasantly read by MaryAnne Spiegel, read my favorite way with no character voices just in a pleasant voice throughout, this is a very satisfying light entertainment. You can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.


concretenprimroses said...

Tuesdays tomes is such a fun idea!
I'd like to read this book. Hopefully dh gets the hint for a kindle for me for Christmas!

Micki said...

I will have to read this...It sounds great!