Richard Doddridge Blackmore (1825 – 1900) wrote the equivalent of chic-lit in our era. That isn’t meant to be derogatory in any way, the man had a way with drama infused romance.
The story of Lorna Doone is essentially a TV movie on literary speed. It has everything you can think of to captivate readers. Villains, romance, betrayal, politics, court politics (even more sneaky than normal politics) and even a kidnapped heiress.
There is also a version with Sean Bean as Carver Doone. Just Saying.
Blackmore is known for his vivid and memorable descriptions of the countryside and scenery. Personally I think that is a really specific talent not all authors possess.
Some of them are capable of transporting you to places you have never been to, and of creating imagery so vivid it is almost as if you are there in that moment. Not every scribe is a good storyteller and not all of them can transport you elsewhere. Blackmore often makes you feel as if you are climbing those hills and walking along streams with the characters.
I love the preface, here is part of it:
And he knows that any son of Exmoor, chancing on this volume, cannot fail to bring to mind the nurse-tales of his childhood—the savage deeds of the outlaw Doones in the depth of Bagworthy Forest, the beauty of the hapless maid brought up in the midst of them, the plain John Ridd’s Herculean power, and (memory’s too congenial food) the exploits of Tom Faggus. (March, 1869)
It is based during the time of the Monmouth Rebellion, also known as the West Country rebellion, when the west decided to overthrow King James II of England, Scotland and Ireland. This was shortly after the death of his brother Charles II in 1685. James was a Catholic and the Protestants tried to replace him with the illegitimate son of Charles II, James 1st Duke of Monmouth.
John Ridd is the son of a farmer who was murdered by the Doones. The Doones were once a noble family, but are now criminals. A wee bit like a gang, but without the cars and semi-automatic guns. Then there is Lorna Doone, who falls in love with John, but hey-ho Carver Doone has his heart set on her too.
Think Dallas without the oil or Dynasty without the shoulder pads with a wee bit of Brit attitude and humour thrown in for free.
The political background is only a small piece of the story or rather the court politics play a greater role, especially in the case of Lorna and her real identity. A piece of jewellery leads to the discovery of her true heritage, but with her new-found wealth also comes the rather unfortunate circumstance that she is technically a ward of the king. In turn this means no hanky panky with the farmer, even if he is a bit of a stud muffin.
Thus the lovers paths go in opposite directions once again until the criminally inclined overambitious Doones catch up with them again. Then the battle begins.
This was one of the books I remember reading as a child. Probably my first romance aka chic-lit. It is certainly a good read.
Read Lorna Doone, A Romance of Exmoor, George Bowring – A Tale Of Cader Idris From “Slain By The Doones”, Dariel, Tales from the Telling House alternatively you can listen to Lorna Doone on Librivox.
Read and download Another Few Thousand Words, One Body Too Many, Anything for a Laugh, The Sorrows of Satan, The Dualitists, Kama Sutra, I Werks Long Hours, Spring Has Begun, Non Stop New York, Driving with a Dead Guy in the Backseat, The Life of Christ, Blast Off, Boop Boop a Doop, Queen of the Serials, The Hands, Here Comes Trouble, Heidi, Service with a Smile, Corruption, Just a wee bit of Arthur Conan Doyle, In the Year 2889, Them, South Sea Tales, Love Insurance, Horror and Spice, and all things nice, Wonders of the Invisible World, Prelinger Part 2: Healthy Habits, Prelinger Archives Pt.1 Teen Feelings, Wuthering Heights, Classical Music and the Public Domain.