In the High Peaks

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wow! Dragonwyck by Anya Seton

The reading plan I ironed out yesterday seems to be working, but all my thanks go to Dragonwyck! I've only read 45 pages today, but I'm rivetted. The contrast between Miranda's rustic farm background and Nicholas Van Ryn's ultra-upper-class existence is so well done!

Seton published Dragonwyck in 1944. What an escapist treasure for the beleagured American WWII homefront, a time and place so far removed from today's world; yet here I am today and I don't feel I'm reading a book that's 66 years old at all!

I **love** this paragraph, taken from the "Author's Note" preceding the book:

"There was, on the Hudson, a way of life such as this, and there was a house not unlike Dragonwyck. All Gothic magnificence and eerie manifestations were not at that time inevitably confined to English castles or Southern plantations!"

Question: What Gothic novels were set on Southern U.S. plantations? If you know, please leave a comment. I don't have a clue at the moment.

I'm also entranced by the fine paperback edition I bought via Amazon. With permission from Houghton Mifflin (the original publisher), the independent Chicago Review Press reissued the book in 2005, with an afterword by Phillipa Gregory.

But wait 'til I tell you! The paperback cover is glossy and sturdy, with a beautiful period-piece illustration. I love to stroke my fingers across it. At least this cover won't curl up in humid weather! It's far too fine for that, and it wasn't expensive. Don't you love a book that's a delight to pick up? After reading, I put it down as if it were made of the finest lace.


  1. What a horrible thought,book covers curling up in humid weather. I've never had that problem! This may sound a bit weird, but I love to smell books, they're all different. Opening the boxes straight from publishers was a lovely job in the library I worked in.

    Dragonwyck must have been a real treat in 1944. I always look to see when a book was first published, and think of what was going on at that time,and what might have influenced it.

  2. Read Katherine by Anya Seton, The Winthrop Woman, Avalon, all by Anya Seton. But Katherine is my favorite. Love historical fiction!!