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A Laodicean : a Story of To-day

Thomas Hardy

Book Overview: 

The Laodicean (someone whose religious beliefs are “lukewarm”) of the title is Paula Power who bought the ancient castle De Stancy which she is determined to restore. Being of a modern frame of mind, she has the telegraph connected to the castle – and uses it all the time in the course of the story.

George Somerset is a young architect who is invited to compete for the chance of the commission to restore the castle and who falls in love with Paula.

However, the brother of Paula’s great friend Charlotte De Stancy – of the aristocratic family that once owned the castle – aided by his villainous illegitimate son, sets out to win Paula for himself.

Although Paula likes the idea of being a De Stancy, she is drawn to George from the start. The various machinations of De Stancy and his son keep the narrative moving along at a fast pace.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Somerset overheard the words, though Paula was unaware of it—after which she clasped her fingers behind Charlotte's neck, and smiled tenderly in her face.

It seemed to be quite unconsciously done, and Somerset thought it a very beautiful action. Presently Paula returned to him and said, 'Mr. Somerset, I think we have had enough architecture for to-day.'

The two women then wished him good-morning and went away. Somerset, feeling that he had now every reason for prowling about the castle, remained near the spot, endeavouring to evolve some plan of procedure for the project entertained by the beautiful owner of those weather-scathed walls. But for a long time the mental perspective of his new position so excited the emotional side of his nature that he could not concentrate it on feet and inches. As Paula's architect (supposing Havill not to be admitted as a competitor), he must of necessity be in constant communication with her for a space of two. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A Laodicean: A Story of Today is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1881. The full title was "A Laodicean; or The Castle of the Stanceys. A Story of Today", and first appeared in serial form in thirteen monthly installments by Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, with George Du Maurier's illustrations,

I have read Thomas Hardy before, so I wasn't afraid to read this very-small-print-and-many-pages book that my book club chose for this month. Sadly, The Laodicean took me far longer to get into than Tess and I never did find any love or real sympathy for the main characters.

The plot is thus: George

The least pronounceable of Thomas’s novels (LAY-oh-du-SEE-an) is an overlong “romance” exploring one woman’s relationship between modernity and antiquity, the former an architect the latter a ramshackle Count. Paula Power’s POV is never explored in the novel, leaving her an arch and harried heroine,

3.5 stars. A well written, pleasant read that Hardy fans should enjoy. Paula Power is a well off young lady who has inherited an estate which includes the historic ‘Castle de Stancy’. Paula’s father was a railway millionaire. Paula is an interesting character who gives off the air of being lukewarm

Though it has a pretentious title by twenty-first century standards, Thomas Hardy’s ‘A Laodicean’ is evidence aplenty that one should not judge a book simply by its cover or title. If you have the strange wish of reading a Hardy novel that spends much of its time outside Hardy’s beloved Wessex, this

I picked up a cheap penguin classics version of this in Camden to read while we were on holiday. I have to say the penguin edition was quite annoying as it had lots of footnotes and I found them very distracting as it disrupted the flow of the story when I had to go, Wait they really don't think we

I was not familiar with this novel by Thomas Hardy until I read it. I found it a very frustrating read. The men in this story do not come off very well. They all fall in love with the same woman, and they won't take her admittedly wishy washy get lost seriously.
She accidentally gets engaged to one

Paula Power is a gothic YA heroine trapped in a Hardy novel about architecture and the decline of the English aristocracy. Also someone please get the poor girl away from all these stank ass men trying to manipulate her life.

There’s a particular pleasure that comes with having read so much of an author’s oeuvre that you find yourself reaching deep into the back catalogue for new experiences. I love reading the less-celebrated or more obscure works by a famous author. Sometimes they are less-celebrated and more obscure f

This is typical Hardy, but not one of his better known novels. I found this one very variable; in parts as good as Hardy gets, in other places too rushed, too formulaic and predictable.
The title is based on the Laodicean Church in the Book of Revelation; who were neither hot nor cold. They were des

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