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Love and Life An Old Story in Eighteenth Century Costume   By: (1823-1901)

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Love and Life An Old Story in Eighteenth Century Costume by Charlotte Mary Yonge takes readers on a captivating journey through the tumultuous landscape of love and life in eighteenth-century England. With her expert storytelling, Yonge weaves a rich tapestry of romance, tragedy, and societal expectations that will leave readers both enchanted and enlightened.

Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society, the novel explores the lives of two young women, Ethel May and Mary Ogilvie, as they navigate the complexities of love, family, and societal norms. Through these characters, Yonge brilliantly captures the essence of the era, with its rigid class divisions and unwritten rules dictating every aspect of their lives.

What sets Love and Life apart from other historical novels is Yonge's meticulous attention to detail. The author masterfully recreates the period's lush settings and regal lifestyles, immersing readers in the splendor and opulence of eighteenth-century England. From the elegant manors to the grand balls, every scene is brought vividly to life, transporting readers back in time with remarkable authenticity.

Yonge's characters are equally captivating, each with their own distinct personalities and struggles. Ethel, the novel's protagonist, is a strong-willed and independent young woman, determined to challenge societal expectations and forge her own path. In contrast, Mary embodies the idealized image of a young lady, torn between duty and her own desires.

Furthermore, the exploration of love and its various forms is a central theme in the novel. Love is portrayed not only in its romantic form but also in its familial and platonic permutations. Yonge delves deep into the intricacies of these connections, presenting love as both a source of profound joy and heartbreaking pain. The way she depicts the protagonists' relationships with their families and friends adds depth to the overall narrative, emphasizing the importance of human connections during a time when social status dictated so much of one's life.

While the prose can occasionally feel dense and verbose, Yonge's dedication to historical accuracy compensates for any shortcomings. Her meticulous research and thorough understanding of the era shine through, immersing readers in a world where societal norms clashed with human desires.

In conclusion, Love and Life An Old Story in Eighteenth Century Costume is a breathtaking novel that seamlessly transports readers to another time and place. Charlotte Mary Yonge's command of the period, combined with her compelling characters, make this an irresistible read for fans of historical fiction. With a narrative that effortlessly blends romance, tragedy, and social commentary, the novel stands as a testament to Yonge's talent as a storyteller. If you have a penchant for British history or simply enjoy beautifully crafted tales of love and life, this book is a must-read.

First Page:


An Old Story in Eighteenth Century Costume

By Charlotte M. Yonge

Transcriber's note: There are numerous examples throughout this text of words appearing in alternate spellings: madame/madam, practise/ practice, Ladyship/ladyship, &c. We can only wonder what the publisher had in mind. I have left them unchanged. D.L.


The first edition of this tale was put forth without explaining the old fable on which it was founded a fable recurring again and again in fairy myths, though not traceable in the classic world till a very late period, when it appeared among the tales of Apuleius, of the province of Africa, sometimes called the earliest novelist. There are, however, fragments of the same story in the popular tales of all countries, so that it is probable that Apuleius availed himself of an early form of one of these. They are to be found from India to Scandinavia, adapted to the manners and fancy of every country in turn, Beauty and the Beast and the Black Bull of Norroway are the most familiar forms of the tale, and it seemed to me one of those legends of such universal property that it was quite fair to put it into 18th century English costume.

Some have seen in it a remnant of the custom of some barbarous tribes, that the wife should not behold her husband for a year after marriage, and to this the Indian versions lend themselves; but Apuleius himself either found it, or adapted it to the idea of the Soul (the Life) awakened by Love, grasping too soon and impatiently, then losing it, and, unable to rest, struggling on through severe toils and labours till her hopes are crowned even at the gates of death... Continue reading book >>

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