Wednesday, June 13, 2012

43. Evelina

Fanny Burney
Around 450 pages

I just returned from a really fun girls trip to Denver.  Up until then, I had been reading Shakespearean plays and Mr. Vertigo, but on the flight there I was completely absorbed in Evelina, and did not stop until I finished.  I was so entranced with the writing, that I immediately got Cecelia, which is the next Fanny Burney on the list and am reading it right now.

At first, I was apprehensive about the novel because of the preface.  The writing style seemed very stiff, like every word was carefully thought about before it was written down.  However, as soon as the narrative starts, you are immediately immersed in the minds of the characters.  This book is written in epistolary form which gives incredible insight into the character of Evelina.  Evelina is a young country belle who comes to London to experience high society.  In the midst of hilariously embarrassing scenarios and amusing characters, she meets Lord Orville, who she has a schoolgirl crush on, and Sir Clement, who is a ridiculous and over the top admirer of Evelina.

So far in the list, the novels by women have not impressed me.  I felt like the list makers had put in certain novels merely because they were written by women even when they were really crappy.  However, this book actually had a remarkable writing style and insight into the high society of the time.  Actually, I felt like I had picked up another Jane Austen novel.  There were so many similarities in fact, that I felt bad for Fanny who never seems to get the acclaim Jane Austen does.  One of my favorites so far.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Early example of romanticism.

Heavy influence of Jane Austen and Maria Edgeworth.

Acclaimed by Samuel Johnson.

First published anonymously but it was revealed in a poem that Fanny Burney was the author.


  1. apparently her dad liked the book but didn't know his daughter had written it until it was made public!

    I'm currently listening to this and it's not bad. I've heard worse.

    For female writers, have you read any Atwood, Morrison or The Elegance of the Hedgehog?

  2. I absolutely love The Elegance of the Hedgehog but I haven't read the other authors. That is really interesting about her father; I wonder why she didn't confess! Are you going to continue reading Fanny Burney novels?

  3. I have to read this book now. I am a huge Jane Austen fan and now I am sold. I will write back after I read it.

  4. The list makers have indeed been keen on adding female authors simply for being women. This time though the entry is fully deserved. I loved Fanny Burney's writing and cannot wait for the next of her books to show up.