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Heartsease, Or, the Brother's Wife   By: (1823-1901)

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Heartsease, Or, the Brother's Wife by Charlotte Mary Yonge is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that delves into complex themes of family, duty, and moral decisions. Set in the mid-19th century, the story revolves around Anne and Philip, siblings who find themselves entangled in a web of love and sacrifice.

Yonge's writing style is pristine and displays a sophisticated understanding of the human psyche. The characters, particularly Anne, are intricately developed, making it easy for readers to empathize with their experiences and internal struggles. Anne's unwavering loyalty towards her family, even as circumstances become increasingly complicated, is both admirable and heartbreaking.

One of the strongest aspects of Heartsease is Yonge's exploration of societal expectations and the constraints they impose on individuals. She presents a nuanced examination of the roles women are forced to play, highlighting the limited agency they possess in a male-dominated world. The novel serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of questioning established norms and traditions, ultimately encouraging readers to reconsider their own beliefs and values.

The pacing of the novel is consistent, allowing the story to unfold gradually and naturally. Each chapter adds a layer of complexity to the plot, keeping readers eager to discover what awaits the characters in their emotional journey. Furthermore, the detailed descriptions of the English countryside and the period's social customs create a rich and immersive atmosphere, contributing to the overall authenticity of the narrative.

Despite its strengths, Heartsease does delve into lengthy moralistic discussions, which can occasionally slow down the pace of the story. However, the insights gained from these discussions are valuable, allowing readers to reflect on their own moral compass and the decisions they would make in similar circumstances.

In conclusion, Heartsease, Or, the Brother's Wife is an enthralling novel that explores timeless themes with intelligence and passion. Yonge's masterful storytelling and well-drawn characters make this a must-read for fans of Victorian literature. The novel's powerful message about the complexities of love, duty, and societal expectations will resonate with readers long after the final page is turned.

First Page:



By Charlotte M. Yonge


And Maidens call them Love in Idleness.

Midsummer Night's Dream


There are none of England's daughters that bear a prouder presence. And a kingly blood sends glances up, her princely eye to trouble, And the shadow of a monarch's crown is softened in her hair.


The sun shone slanting over a spacious park, the undulating ground here turning a broad lawn towards the beams that silvered every blade of grass; there, curving away in banks of velvet green; shadowed by the trees; gnarled old thorns in the holiday suit whence they take their name, giant's nosegays of horse chestnuts, mighty elms and stalwart oaks, singly or in groups, the aristocracy of the place; while in the background rose wooded coverts, where every tint of early green blended in rich masses of varied foliage.

An avenue, nearly half a mile in length, consisted of a quadruple range of splendid lime trees of uniform growth, the side arcades vaulted over by the meeting branches, and the central road, where the same lights and shadows were again and again repeated, conducting the eye in diminishing perspective to a mansion on a broad base of stone steps. Herds of cattle, horses, and deer, gave animation to the scene, and near the avenue were a party of village children running about gathering cowslips, or seated on the grass, devouring substantial plum buns... Continue reading book >>

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