Roche, Regina Maria. Contrast, A Novel.
New York: J & J Harper, 1828.
First American Edition. Two vols. 8vo. 268pp., 252pp. + 4pp. ads. Bound in original publisher’s cloth backed boards, yellow paper printed title labels to spines, edges untrimmed. General scuffing and edgewear, with some minor surface loss, title label of Vol. II has some loss. Vol. II appears to be lacking a preliminary blank. Internally clean, some minor browning, a very good copy indeed in original boards with deliciously untrimmed pages, something which never fails to fill me with delight. Ink ownership to title pages. An elusive novel from the bestselling author of “The Children of The Abbey” (which was right up there with “Udolpho”), too often described as one of Anne Radcliffe’s rivals, Regina Maria Roche was a highly successful gothic novelist in her own right. She fell foul of an unscrupulous financial adviser (something that happened to a number of 19th century lady novelists, I should imagine) and fell into financial distress, this caused her to return to rural Ireland where she remained, she continued to write whilst never regaining her prior fame, and succumbed to bouts of depression and despair (which is itself, whilst undeniably sad, also pretty hardcore gothic). Like a number of women writers of the time she is currently being revisited from the perspective of gender issues and keen social observation rather than how happy she made Walpole fanboys. Scarce.