Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The House by the Lock
by Mrs. C. N. Williamson  -  1906
313  pages
genre  -  Gothic, Adventure
my rating  -  4 out of 5 stars

This book has all the requirements for a gothic tale: a damsel in distress, a handsome adventurer, a clever villain, narrow escapes, visions, disguises and a thrilling ending.

Even the mansion owned by the villain is described as "gloomy and accursed".  The hero says, "Never, it seemed to me, had I seen a habitation so grim, so silently suggestive of haunting, evil things."  And of course the "wind moaned through the trees like the wail of a lost soul".

But I think the story crosses genres.  There is a lot more action than I suspect a typical gothic book would have. There's escaping from a burning building, fist fighting, and jumping onto a moving train.  And it's told from a male point of view.  So I would also call this an adventure story as well.

At the beginning of the story, Noel Stanton, our young adventurer, meets up with a friend from America. The friend invites Noel to the theater and at the show Noel sees a beautiful young lady, Karine Cunningham. With Karine are her guardians and a gentleman that seems very interested in being Karine's fiance. But Noel feels like he's met the potential fiance before. And Noel doesn't like him one bit!

The lock in the title of the story refers to the Mapledurham Lock on the River Thames. In the book it is called the Purley Lock. According to Wikipedia, "Despite its name, the lock is located in the Berkshire village and civil parish of Purley-On-Thames on the south bank of the river, rather than in the Oxfordshire village of Mapledurham on the other side of the river."

There are a couple minor formatting issues for the Kindle edition on Amazon. The page numbers show up in the middle of sentences. And for some italicized words, there are strange marking within the word; like a double dotted 'i', and upside down '?', and a '1/2'. But if you don't mind those, this is a very enjoyable, easy book to read.

About the author  -

Alice Muriel Williamson was a British author born in 1869.  She was only about 5 feet tall, a petite, graceful little figure, with English blue eyes and blonde hair.

She married Charles Norris Williamson in 1894.  They teamed up together to write under the name of Mrs. C. N. Williamson. There is an interview of Alice in the August 27, 1927  Morning Telegraph newspaper.  It reports that Mrs. Williamson says, "I wrote the plots for our stories, but he always planned our trips and made notes for me.  I consulted him on the way a man would do things. "Would a real man act as this man does under similar circumstances I would say, and Mr. Williamson would reply, 'No, my dear, he would not,' and then we would change the scene."

1 comment:

  1. Sounds great. Will have to download it.