Madeleine: A Regency Romance Novella


Learning her brother, David Deare, received a letter from Roderick Usher, inviting him to visit, Madeleine encourages him to make the trip. He warns he barely remembers Usher from school and the family is eccentric — and cursed. Arriving at Usher House, Roderick is puzzled as to why David is there. Mentioning the letter, Roderick vehemently denies writing David. Usher warms to Madeleine and invites their party to stay for several days. Madeleine is quite taken with the peculiar host, and he is with her. That night, they are encouraged to play duets and sing together. Roderick’s Aunt Janet and Uncle James live with him and are pleased to see him enjoying himself for once. Madeleine is determined to wed Roderick, but David will never agree to the match and Usher has not proposed. She is going to have to resort to desperate measures!  

“Madeleine” is a loose retelling of the Edgar Allan Poe story, “The Fall of the House of Usher” and therefore, not an original story, although an enjoyable novella.  The characters are all described well enough that the reader can easily imagine their appearance. Janet and James are delightfully eccentric with James’ forgetfulness and patient Janet keeping him on track. Daniel has an important part in this story, but he is not well developed. He is kept well in the background until it is his turn to act in the story, then he is larger than life. Usher House is ominous, dark, and brooding and so is the loch, which sets up the mood from the beginning of the story as well as prepares one for the first meeting with Usher. A delightful new perspective on a classic!

Belinda Wilson