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A Simple Story

Elizabeth Inchbald

Book Overview: 

The story could really have been simple: Miss Milner, who is admired for her beauty and charm, could have been a socialite, marry a respectable and good looking man and be happy in the standards of her time. But if it was so, why would there be a book? Miss Milner, beautiful and charming as she is, announces her wish to marry her guardian, a catholic priest. But women in the 18th century do not declare their wishes or speak about their passions, and- after all- he is a catholic priest… And if he finds a way to marry her, is this her road to happiness?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . pass in violent haste through the hall; he seemed to fly."

"Ladies, the dinner is waiting," cried Mrs. Horton, and they repaired to the dining room, where Dorriforth soon after came, and engrossed their whole attention by his[Pg 49] disturbed looks, and unusual silence. Before dinner was over, he was, however, more himself, but still he appeared thoughtful and dissatisfied. At the time of their evening walk he excused himself from accompanying them, and they saw him in a distant field with Mr. Sandford in earnest conversation; for Sandford and he often stopped on one spot for a quarter of an hour, as if the interest of the subject had so engaged them, they stood still without knowing it. Lord Elmwood, who had joined the ladies, walked home with them; Dorriforth entered soon after, in a much less gloomy humour than when he went out, and told his relation, that he and the ladies would dine with him the next day if he was disengaged; and it was agreed they shou. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Not bad, and as a book has been severely overlooked for a number of years, but I feel that the two halves of the book (originally conceived as separate novels), don't quite sit together. Further, the ending seems a bit of a let down after the denouement which precedes it.

I'm giving this novel four stars because it explores that unusual and electrifying topic: female desire and the will to power.
The novel begins with Miss Milner (who dominates and powers the entire book despite being absent for the latter half of the novel) as a young coquette who falls in love w...more

Inchbald's A Simple Story is quite aptly titled—the story at its core is indeed simple. While it doesn't shine plotwise, Inchbald's real strength is her characters. In a time ripe with virtuous characters, Inchbald's Dorriforth and particularly Miss Milner must have felt like a breath of fresh ai...more

Loved this book!
The back gave nothing away , a well paced story with a few twists.
Gothic in parts.
Loved the last volume where all ends happily.

This was an effective and enjoyable novel. I preferred the last two volumes compared to the first two, but I think the structure and plot of this novel were my favourite parts, the dual timeline worked really well, and was used in a way that emphasised the differences between the various characte...more

Oh my gosh I LOVED THIS! ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS! It didn't change my life, but this was SUCH an unexpected piece of work! The back does not even begin to tell you the full plot of this story, which is good because I ended up being pleasantly surprised! I expected the usual "she confesses her love,...more

*3.5 stars

This is an amazing novel. It's very different from most 18th-century novels. It's way more naturalistic, in that it's not as mannered and self-consciously 'literary' as a lot of the other novels of the time. Which is not to say that they are bad, it's just that this is just so different. It's ama...more

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