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    (Review / Leonora, by Maria Edgeworth)
  New Annual Register / JAS, 1806
  vol. 27 (1806): 372.
The two best novels that have occurred to us in the course of the year, are, 'Human Beings,' by Mr Francis Latham [sic]; and 'Leonora,' by Miss Edgeworth, both of whom have been long initiated into the science of novel-writing, and seem to have obtained high and patent posts in that department.... The fable of the latter is ... sufficiently original, and its characters sufficiently distinguished, but its morality is more exceptionable; or, to express ourselves in correcter language, theimpure characters are, in general, painted so much more piquantly and with so much more relief than the pure, that we are afraid the greater number of its fair readers may be rather induced to follow the former, while they approve the latter. Leonora is a faithful wife and an excellent woman: lady Olivia, an artful sentimentalist of the French and German schools of cosmopolitanism, who, with the cant of purity and sensibility for ever on her lips, is perpetually endeavouring to undermine the foundation of private happiness and domestic virtue. - She succeeds in obtaining the friendship and confidence of Leonora, and afterwards in intriguing with the heart of Leonora's husband, and obtaining the full possession of his affections. A dangerous fit of illness, just as he was on the point of quitting his wife for his mistress, and his native land for a foreign country, is made the mean of recalling him to a sense of conjugal duty - and the whole ends as it should do. The character of an elegant and intriguing French profligate, under the name of Gabrielle de P---, the confidential friend of lady Olivia, is drawn to the life, but affords, we are afraid, no useful lesson. [excerpt from review of many works]

Provided by Julie A. Shaffer, January 2000