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Abbeychurch   By: (1823-1901)

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Abbeychurch by Charlotte Mary Yonge is a heartwarming novel that takes readers on a journey of self-discovery, love, and friendship. Set in a small English village in the early 19th century, the story revolves around two very different sisters, Ethel and Margaret May.

Ethel, the eldest sister, is well-educated, highly social, and vivacious. Margaret, on the other hand, is delicate, introverted, and often overshadowed by her sister's personality. Despite their differences, the bond between the sisters remains unbreakable throughout the book.

The novel explores themes of societal conventions, religious beliefs, and the struggles faced by women during that era. Yonge beautifully captures the atmosphere of the time, immersing readers in a world where social norms dictated the behavior of individuals. She seamlessly weaves together the everyday lives of the characters, demonstrating how they navigate through societal expectations and personal desires.

One of the most striking aspects of Abbeychurch is the characterization. Yonge presents a diverse cast of characters, each with their unique quirks and flaws. Ethel's fiery spirit and determination make her a captivating protagonist, while Margaret's quiet strength becomes increasingly apparent as she comes into her own. The secondary characters are also well-developed, adding depth and richness to the narrative.

The sisters' journey of personal growth and self-discovery is beautifully depicted throughout the story. From Ethel's struggles with societal expectations and her eventual realization of what truly matters, to Margaret's gradual assertion of her own desires and autonomy, the reader is left rooting for the characters' happiness and fulfillment.

Yonge's prose is elegant and evocative, capturing the beauty and simplicity of village life. Her descriptive language effortlessly paints vivid pictures of the pastoral landscapes, charming cottages, and the bustling village atmosphere. The author's attention to detail allows readers to truly immerse themselves in the world she has created.

While Abbeychurch may not have the rollercoaster twists and turns of some other novels, its strength lies in the exploration of the human condition and the complexities of relationships. The author's ability to portray the emotional nuances and challenges faced by her characters is commendable.

In conclusion, Abbeychurch is a delightful novel that will transport readers back in time, inviting them to accompany the May sisters on their journey of self-discovery and growth. With its well-rounded characters, engaging plot, and elegant prose, this book is a timeless tale of love, friendship, and the pursuit of happiness in a society bound by constraints. Charlotte Mary Yonge's classic work offers a poignant reminder that beneath the surface, every individual harbors dreams, aspirations, and the potential to shape their own destiny.

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Second Edition

The Original Printed Text of this work is in the possession of The Charlotte M Yonge Fellowship.

'Never think yourself safe because you do your duty in ninety nine points; it is the hundredth which is to be the ground of your self denial, which must evidence, or rather instance and realize, your faith.'

Newman's Sermons


Rechauffes are proverbially dangerous, but everyone runs into them sooner or later, and the world has done me the kindness so often to inquire after my first crude attempt, that after it has lain for many years 'out of print,' I have ventured to launch it once more imperfections and all though it is guilty of the error of pointing rather to a transient phase of difficulty than to a general principle. The wheels of this world go so quickly round, that I have lived to see that it would have been wiser in the clergyman to have directed rather than obstructed the so called 'march of intellect.' I have lived also to be somewhat ashamed of the exuberant outpouring of historical allusions, which, however, were perfectly natural among the set of girls from whom my experience was taken: but these defects, as well as the more serious one of tyrannical aversion to vulgarity, are too inherent in this tale to be removed, and the real lesson intended to be conveyed, of obedience and sincerity, of course remains unchanged... Continue reading book >>

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