Cecilia: Or Memoirs Of An Heiress, Volume 1 by Frances Burney

alicechannington's review against another edition

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Frances Burney is a brilliant writer. Why is she not appreciated more or well known as Jane Austen? Cecilia was an interesting story.

It’s about a heiress who were left with two fortunes, one from her father and one from her uncle and she wasn’t 21 yet, so she had three guardians. On turning 21, she would receive her fortunes, but the fortune from her uncle came with a condition: any man who married her must take her name. If not, then she loses the fortune.

Throughout the story, there are men who are attracted to her (and sometimes her fortune), of course, causes complications due to the condition of accepting her name upon marriage.

Her dead uncle had pride about his name and it had became extinct with him, so he had hoped by forcing her to accept his fortune to keep his family name alive. Because of that, she was prejudiced for that.

Here’s a twist, she loves a guy (Mortimer) who has three relatives who plans to leave him fortunes: a title, riches, a castle, and fortune from his parents, his uncle, and his aunt. All were proud in the family name. It was generations of family name preserved in honor. To think Cecilia could threaten all their dreams for their son by causing him to fall in love with her.

Once again we are reminded of the family’s pride and how a rival of Mortimer decided to prejudice the family against Cecilia in order to keep Mortimer from falling for Cecilia. While that rival was doing that, he in turn tried to cause Cecilia to take pride in her name and be prejudiced against the family she had grown to love.

Hence the title Jane Austen was inspired to use for her Pride and Prejudice: The whole of this unfortunate business has been the result of PRIDE and PREJUDICE.

When I learned that Cecilia influenced Jane Austen greatly and was one of her favorite books, I decided to read the book, having no idea it was three volumes of 1,056 pages long. However, I am grateful I did read it at least once, such wit, such brilliance, and such charm. It may be long, but how lovely it was to read smoothly, even with the old English and long winged sentences that conveys a 18th century period of talking.

Also, the characters were written so well that you couldn’t help but adore them or hate them. Some you root for and some you felt the need to grab them by their throats and punch them! This is like watching opera soap show.

I particularly liked this section from the novel:

“Her next solicitude was to furnish herself with a well-chosen collection of books: and this employment, which to a lover of literature, young and ardent in its pursuit, is perhaps the mind’s first luxury, proved a source of entertainment so fertile and delightful that it left her nothing to wish.”

I approve, Cecilia, I approve! Books are the best thing in whole world.

c_totume's review against another edition

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oh it’s just to long and i don’t have the time at the moment…

pedantic_reader's review against another edition

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emotional funny lighthearted reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


juliapiercy's review against another edition

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Well worth reading, but very, very, very long

kah's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional funny hopeful informative mysterious reflective relaxing tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


una_macchia's review against another edition

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Super interesting, super claustrophobic. Like the whole thing feels so...suffocating.

whitneyborup's review against another edition

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I'm trying to figure out the ending of this book. It's 18th century comedy, so you know it ends in a marriage. But, it takes so long to get there, through so many frustrating, meandering paths, you wonder whether Burney meant that marriage as a be-all-end-all of happiness. Delvile is certainly a flawed character (far too jealous and quick to form opinions) and Cecilia is so gullible. What a pair!

iphigenie72's review against another edition

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What attracted me to reading Fanny Burney is that she was the favorite author of Jane Austen and since I have read all by Jane Austen, I surmised I would like Fanny Burney's writings. I really enjoyed this, but I don't think Cecilia is as good as Pride and Prejudice, I have read P&P was inspired by Evelina, but the title has to come from the ending of Cecilia since the expression is used more than once.

Cecilia is the journey of an heiress in a world she is ill made for. I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the book, but in the last third, I felt like the story was being stretch... I do not know if it needed to me a certain length or if other reasons existed for this fact, but it made the ending far less exciting and interesting that it should have been; it really felt too contrived and a let down from all the promises the beginning and middle had given.

This is not a book about surprises, I think an avid reader would guess many of the plot developments, but the strength of the story is its characters and how much you do care for them. I found all the characters interesting, some were clichéd, but it is hard to judge since what may seem repetitive in a character in our time might have been quite innovative when the story was written.

The story was mostly exciting and I couldn't wait to know the further adventures of Cecilia and her friends. Like I said, only the last part isn't as interesting, but it is compared to the beginning of the book and so it is only in reference to itself than I felt a little let down. This was worth the read and I will definitely read Evelina in a future not too distant.

booklifer's review against another edition

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Got into another book + it’s too big to travel with

goodthingsread's review against another edition

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Extremely long, but decent for what it is, which is a coming-of-age story written by a contemporary of Jane Austen, but not Jane Austen.