Review 1741: Classics Club Dare 2.0: The Bride of Lammermoor

If you’re not familiar with the plot of The Bride of Lammermoor, you might be wondering why I picked it for the Classics Club Dare 2.0, Time to Get Your Goth On. It’s not a gothic horror story common for the time but one of Sir Walter Scott’s historical novels about a doomed love. However, the ending, which I’m not revealing, puts it in a more appropriate category as do the dark local legends and prophesies of withered old dames (perhaps witches), not to mention the ruined tower.

Edgar, Master of Ravenwood, is from a proud Scottish family of distinguished lineage. His profligate father, however, did his best to waste the family estate and finished things off by fighting on the wrong side of the revolution. With other parties in power, lawsuits filed against the estate by William Ashton, Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, have resulted in almost all of the Ravenwood property being turned over to Ashton and in an early grave for Ravenwood’s father. The impoverished Master has sworn vengeance against Ashton.

Ashton, however, is a politician, and he hears that the political situation is changing. Things may be looking up for the Marquis of A___ and thus for his relative, the Master. After the Master saves Ashton and his beautiful daughter Lucy from a wild bull, Ashton tries to befriend him, even encouraging him to spend time with Lucy and Ashton himself considering the benefits of a marriage between the two. Against the Master’s better judgment (and supernatural warnings), he begins to fall in love with Lucy. They become betrothed, but Lucy wants it kept secret from her family.

Some meddling from a neighbor who is not a friend of the Master’s leads Lady Ashton, staying with friends away from home, to hear the rumors that her daughter is engaged to him. She is his implacable enemy, so she swoops home to Ravenwood Castle just as the Marquis of A___ comes for a visit. The Master has been residing there at Ashton’s invitation, but Lady Ashton unceremoniously throws him out. He has already agreed with Lucy, however, that he will consider himself betrothed until she herself releases him. Then he goes off to make his fortune.

This novel was quite hard going for me at times, particularly in the sections and whole chapters that are in Scottish vernacular. These are the parts concerning the common people, and some of them are supposed to be funny, especially the ones about the machinations of Caleb Balderstone, the Master’s only servant, as he tries to hide what everyone already knows—that his master is destitute. I just felt they slowed down the action as well as being hard to understand and not that funny.

The action, however, eventually gets going and really picks up toward the end of the novel. I read the second half twice as quickly as the first.

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7 thoughts on “Review 1741: Classics Club Dare 2.0: The Bride of Lammermoor

  1. piningforthewest October 22, 2021 / 5:31 pm

    I always find his books to be so – why use one word when I can use thirty – but I get used to it and like you, things go much faster after a wee while.

    • whatmeread October 22, 2021 / 5:40 pm

      I think that if you look at most novels from the 19th century, they use a lot more words than they have to.

  2. piningforthewest October 23, 2021 / 1:41 pm

    That’s beacuse they almost always got paid by the word and the chapters were published weekly in magazines.

  3. FictionFan October 23, 2021 / 6:26 pm

    Even as a Scot I find the Scottish vernacular slows me down in Scott (too many Scots in that phrase!) but it’s when he starts with the Latin and medieval French that it really drives me nuts! I haven’t read this one but it’s on my new CC list, so I’m glad to hear it picks up eventually.

    • whatmeread October 24, 2021 / 5:11 pm

      Well, the British authors up until WW II are good at throwing in the Latin and the French, too. I just skip over it if they don’t tell me what it says. Of course, very frustrating if it’s a clue in a mystery, but that’s what the internet is for.

  4. thecontentreader October 25, 2021 / 6:59 am

    This will come up on my 20 classic books to read, once I managed to read of the books that are there now.

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