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Ormond, Volume I (of 3) or, The Secret Witness   By: (1771-1810)

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Charles Brockden Brown's Ormond, Volume I (of 3) or, The Secret Witness is a captivating tale of mystery and suspense that keeps readers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. Set in late 18th century America, this novel delves into the complex themes of love, betrayal, and the struggle for personal identity.

The story follows the life of Constantia Dudley, a young woman grappling with her family's dark secrets and the burden of her own past. As Constantia navigates her way through a web of deception and danger, she finds herself entangled in a series of unforeseen events that test her resilience and determination.

Brown's vivid descriptions create a richly textured backdrop for the narrative, immersing the reader in the sights, sounds, and emotions of the time period. The author's attention to detail brings the setting to life, transporting readers to a world where social customs and political intrigue set the stage for the characters' fates.

One of the novel's strengths lies in Brown's ability to develop multi-dimensional characters who evoke both empathy and curiosity. Constantia is a relatable and sympathetic protagonist, grappling with her own inner demons while attempting to navigate the treacherous landscape of her family's secrets. The supporting cast adds depth to the narrative, each with their own motivations and secrets, weaving a complex tapestry of relationships and conflicts.

Furthermore, the book's suspenseful plot keeps readers guessing at every turn. Brown masterfully builds tension and anticipation throughout the story, gradually revealing shocking truths and unexpected twists that leave readers clamoring for more.

While Ormond, Volume I (of 3) or, The Secret Witness is a delight to read, it is worth noting that Brown's writing style can be challenging at times. His use of verbose language and intricate sentence structures may require some extra effort from the reader to fully grasp the narrative. However, the reward is well worth the investment, as the story gradually unfolds into a mesmerizing exploration of human nature and the consequences of secrets.

In conclusion, Ormond, Volume I (of 3) or, The Secret Witness is a masterfully crafted historical novel that grips readers from the very first page. Charles Brockden Brown's ability to create a compelling plot, fleshed-out characters, and an immersive setting sets the stage for a thrilling and thought-provoking reading experience. This volume serves as a promising start to what promises to be an engaging trilogy, leaving readers eager to follow Constantia's journey in the next installments.

First Page:



The Secret Witness.



Author of Wieland, or Transformation.

In Three Volumes.


"Sæpe intereunt aliis meditantes necem."


"Those who plot the destruction of others, very often fall, themselves the victims."

Philadelphia Printed, London, Re Printed for Henry Colburn, English and Foreign Public Library, Conduit Street, Bond Street. 1811




are respectfully inscribed,

by her Ladyship's

most obedient, and humble Servant,



To I.E. Rosenberg.

You are anxious to obtain some knowledge of the history of Constantia Dudley. I am well acquainted with your motives, and allow that they justify your curiosity. I am willing to the utmost of my power to comply with your request, and will now dedicate what leisure I have to the composition of her story.

My narrative will have little of that merit which flows from unity of design. You are desirous of hearing an authentic and not a fictitious tale. It will therefore be my duty to relate events in no artificial or elaborate order, and without that harmonious congruity and luminous amplification, which might justly be displayed in a tale flowing merely from invention... Continue reading book >>

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