Novel 019: Lady Georgiana Fullerton, Grantley Manor (1847)

William Dyce, Christabel

William Dyce, Christabel


A young woman is perplexed by a man who seems and does not seem to court her, and by a half-sister who may be very good or very bad.

Lady Georgiana Fullerton (1812-1885), daughter of an earl and convert to Catholicism, wrote roughly a dozen novels between 1844 and 1883.  Though the plot here is not always plausible, it enables her to place fully realized, sympathetic characters in interesting dilemmas.

“The skill with which the plot … is constructed, the exquisite truth of delineation which the characters exhibit, and the intensity of passion which warms and dignifies the subject, are alike admirable…. The depth of passion which surrounds the story of Ginevra is the result of unquestioned genius.”  Times, August 24, 1847

“If sentimentalism is sometimes carried to a rather extravagant height, and tenderness and pathos are occasionally over-wrought, still it is impossible to deny to the work, striking and passionate scenes, exquisite and truthful delineations of English society and character, vigour and grace of language, and high intellectual power.” Ainsworth's Magazine, July 1847

Fullerton “takes a high place among writers of modern fiction.  We have not for many a day read so charming a story….  Though there is nothing violent in the nature of the interest, and weakness, not wickedness, induces the suffering, the suffering is deep enough for profoundest sympathy, and the feelings are moved and agitated to the last.  And neighbouring the pathos...we have occasional archness, simplicity, and quiet humour, the effect of which is most graceful and lovely.” Examiner, July 3, 1847

Download this week's novel: