Why you should never read Lorna Doone


When I first picked up this book I thought it was going to be one of those classic romances taking place in the English countryside.

The first couple of pages really drew me in. I mean, a group of highwaymen who murdered the main character's father? It had all the makings of Star Wars in the 17th century. Plus, these guys had dead babies on their saddles. They sounded like bad news.

Little did I know that I would soon be disappointed. The main character, John Ridd isn't believable. First of all he's the tallest toughest man in the area besides the Doones (the bad guys). He's also apparently the hottest guy in the area because all the young girls practically fall over each other trying to get to him.

Don't even get me started on how he acts around Lorna.

Lorna is part of the Doone clan, a group of six foot, barrel-chested men who rape, kill and pillage everything in their path. She's their little "queen" and the way Blackmore tells it, she seems to be the only other female Doone in the clan. Yes there are multiple wives for each Doone but they've been kidnapped from their homes, husbands and children. Oddly enough, these kidnappings don't seem to phase the other people in the area.

Lorna is like those sickeningly perfect princesses you read about in fairy tales. She's petite, has perfect manners, she's modest and apparently the most beautiful women in all of England. She's also fainting constantly. Her delicate disposition must be to blame.

But John goes gaga around her. He can't even bring himself to look at her and doesn't dare think of even holding her hand. Please, no self-respecting teenagers would act the way they do, not even in the 17th century. It's like the perfect courtship even though John consistently reminds himself that Lorna can't think for herself and because she's a woman can't be trusted with certain things.

Of course this drives me nuts but it was written in the 19th century, so I forgive Blackmore for this. But the novel's supposed to be taking place in the 1600's and he's writing from two centuries later. I don't know what historical information was available to Blackmore but I didn't feel like I was in the 1600's. It was only when King Charles was mentioned that I was reminded about the time period.

Also, the part about his father being killed by the Doones was never really addressed in the rest of the book. I though John was going to get his revenge or at least work out his "daddy issues" because growing up without a father is tough. But he never does this.

As well, several battles take place in the book and they're glossed over. Now the book is written as if it's John Ridd writing an autobiography and Blackmore says that he didn't want to go into the details of the battles because they were too gruesome and he didn't want to dwell on it. Well, unfortunately, detailed battle scenes were exactly what this book needed.

It was so boring in parts with too much description. Now, Blackmore really seemed to like his description but in some places that's all that's going on. Granted, there are some beautiful passages in the book but it was just too much and really kept me out of the story. The fat really needed to be cut from the story and by fat I mean description.

While the characters were too perfect to exist and some of the language was archaic you have to remember that it was written quite a while ago. At that point in time, books were written a different way. But, while I did make myself finish the book, I removed it from my essentials list because it was pure agony to reach the end.

If anybody else has read this book I'd love to hear some feedback.