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Memoirs of Miss Sidney Biddulph

Frances Chamberlaine Sheridan

Book Overview: 

Sidney and Cecilia are best childhood friends who are forced to part for 5 years. In that interval, Sidney Bidulph - an undoubtedly good and dutiful woman - writes to her friend about everything: her marriage, her children, her other friendships and, above all, about her great love for Mr. Faulkland. In an amazing and unforgettable way, this book shows us that the road to happiness is not always clear - and that sometimes doing what seems to be right is not really the right thing to do. With Rachel's lovely reading, we see her - Sidney Bidulph - as she was meant to be, and as she really is.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .right; and being exceedingly provoked at my mother’s behaviour, wrote to her immediately on his return home; and having informed her of the settlement made on me, on account of the fortune already paid, and what was farther agreed on to be paid by my father, told her, he expected that this promise should be punctually fulfilled. He said, he knew she had it in her power to do this; and since it was by her contrivance I had been robbed of my just right, if honour, and the duty of a parent, would not induce her to make me proper amends, she must excuse him, if he made use of such means as the laws allowed him, in order to compel her.

Such a letter, to a woman of my mother’s temper, met with such a reception as might be expected. She tore it before his messenger’s face; and desired him to tell his master, that as what he had already obtained was by fraud, so he was at liberty to make use of force to recover the remainder; but with her consent, he ne. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I've given this book too many reads to count, since it's central in my dissertation. If you like eighteenth-century literature, this is a great text about a "woman in distress."

i read this after hearing prof. john bender digress briefly about it. he was right that it was emotionally tortured -- but so compelling, like an opera in letters. her exquisitely sensitive manners just make it that much more torture, in a way that reminds me oddly of the remains of the day.

Sidney Bidulph Arnold gets increasingly more annoying throughout the book by continuing to do what's "proper" without enough information, therefore inadvertently screwing everyone over. She ends up dying unhappy, but it's cool because her reward will be in heaven.

An unexpectedly gripping book, which reveals the inability of women in the 18th century to guarantee their own financial and emotional security despite their attempts to read male (and female character), practice virtue, and exercise judicious caution. Several times I was astonished by the plot t...more

A story of troubled love from the 18th century that shows us a lot of things about the customs of the time. The book's heroine knows love at an early age but quickly realizes that her beloved is not exactly the knight with the shining armor. This perception then follows her as she understands tha...more

Enjoyable 18th century melodrama about the romantic and economic trials of a "good" woman in a wicked, chaotic world; although obviously, best suited for those who enjoy old-fashioned prose and pacing.