Tuesday, August 7, 2012

47. Cecilia

Cecilia
Fanny Burney
1782
Around 1000 pages

Yay!  Another Fanny Burney!  I have recommended her to several people now.  Some people have just ignored me while others tried her and didn't like her.  However, I am still going to do my best with this review to get you to at least give her a shot.

This novel is actually strikingly similar to Pride and Prejudice; in fact, Jane Austen took that phrase from this novel.  In this book, Cecilia is a charming young heiress with one problem: a clause in her inheritance states that if she were to marry, her husband must take her surname.  I actually imagine that that clause would be a big problem for male egos now, so I can only imagine how huge it would seem during the 1780s.  Anyway, naturally she falls in love with a man who has a lot of family pride.  Will they be able to get over their pride and prejudice (see what I did there?)?

This is a notable book for several reasons.  As in all Fanny Burney books, the secondary characters provide hilarious comic relief during the story.  I tried to explain one of the more amusing scenarios when I was out to dinner and failed so miserably that it is a wonder my face still isn't red.  Anyway, the pacing is perfect.  I guess I should specify that if you don't like Jane Austen you won't like this novel since they are so similar.  Still, I believe everyone can enjoy this book, it is a beautiful combination of humor and social critique.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:


Jane Austen refers to this novel in Northanger Abbey.

Referenced in Vanity Fair.

Burney was under considerable stress while writing this novel due to her determination to follow up on her success from Evelina.

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