Sunday, August 5, 2012

Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

I love Victorian novels, but I love creepy Victorian novels the most and Uncle Silas certainly falls within the category of creepy.  It is very difficult for me to write non-spoiler book posts when mysterious are the subject, so consider this your warning:  there are spoilers out the wazoo ahead.

Maud Ruthyn is a very naive and very wealthy young woman who lives with her eccentric, kind, and bordering reclusive father.  Her father is a follower of Emanuel Swedenborg (an odd Christian oculist and scientist) and has a reserved, yet odd affectation.  Maud learns early on about her shamed Uncle Silas; in his youth Uncle Silas was a gambler, made an unfortunate marriage, and has been disgraced by a suicide committed by one of his house guests years earlier.  When her father dies, Maud learns -- much to the horror of other family members -- that she is to live with her Uncle Silas until she comes of age and if she dies before the age of 21, Uncle Silas inherits her fortune.  The book is chock full of  mystery, greed, murder, an evil governess, dark rooms, laudanum, lies, and hints at the paranormal.  Oh, and someone dies by being beaten with blunt object.  I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN.  It certainly remind me of the perfect mix of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins meets The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe. 

Sorry this review is so short -- I really want to be reading right now and not hammering away at the keyboard. Ha!

This book is #3 on my Classics Club list.

#2 -- The Collected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen
#1-- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

1 comment:

Arie Stotle said...

I have never heard of this one before, but if it's like Wilkie Collins it has got to be good!