Before you think that we have another Clarissa in our hands, I want to tell you that my long hiatus is due more to my infidelities than the length of Amelia. I read the newest Sue Grafton and Tenant of Wildfell Hall since Peregrine Pickle (both were pretty amazing novels). I am back with a vengeance, though, and will hopefully churn out more than one a month.
This was Fielding's last novel and I am sincerely sorry to see him go. While this book certainly does not hold up against Tom Jones, it was truly great. The story centers on a young couple, William and Amelia, who are very poor but very much in love. Amelia is so charming and beautiful (we should count how many women have fallen under this category so far) that many men fall in love with her, much to her chagrin. I think I have said this before but characters who are absolutely perfect often bore me, and Amelia is one of those characters. However, the rest of the characters more than make up for her perfections. Possibly the most interesting two characters are Colonel James and his wife who mutually hate each other. Colonel James falls in lust with Amelia and comes up with really evil schemes to make her his mistress while Mrs. James loves William Booth. This has the makings of a great romcom!
Henry Fielding's writing style is, as always, flawless. Women are insulted a bit too much for my liking but it comes with the times. I wouldn't recommend this as your quintessential Fielding but it is certainly a great novel.
Fielding became involved in a "paper war" because of this novel.
John Cleland loved this novel. I am sure Fielding was glad to have his support...
Many allusions to literary works were about books that I have on the list (Metamorphoses, Clarissa, Tom Jones, Fanny Hill). I felt so smart!