Read by Tony Jay
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It starts out on as a happy day for Manfred, the lord of the Castle Otranto. His only son, Conrad, is going to be married to Isabella. However, right before the wedding, Conrad is mysteriously killed by falling helmet. Weird, right? That’s only the beginning: Manfred, distraught, does the only thing possible (huh??) and decides that, to insure his lineage will go on, he will marry Isabella. (Yeah, Manfred does have a living wife. And a daughter.) Isabella (rightfully) escapes (go girl!) with the help of a peasant, Theodore. Whom Manfred locks in the tower. Theodore’s rescued by Matilda, Manfred’s daughter (you’ve gotta love the pluck of these girls. The novel was published in 1764), and sent off to help Isabella. After almost nearly killing her father (who appeared out of nowhere, really), they head back to the castle to confront Manfred and the ghosts that have been haunting him.
It’s a melodramatic, over-the-top novel. But, I really had a great time with it. The best part of this one was the narrator. Jay was fabulous. I found myself gripped in the thralls of what I would have otherwise found to be a boring, hard to understand novel. I found myself listening in the car because Jay was so captivating.
And that made all the difference for me.