Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore is considered a classic work of literature and for good reason. John Ridd is an amiable protagonist who falls in love with the equally amiable Lorna Doone, a young woman from a criminal, thuggish family which he has always hated (and for good reason – his father was murdered by the Doones and he yearns for vengeance). Included in this retelling as in the original, we get murder, a highwayman, the Monmouth Rebellion, true love separated, and a bride shot at the altar. Gripping stuff, and written in first person from the viewpoint of Mr Ridd himself.
Personally, I would recommend readers read Blackmore’s book first, and if they enjoy more of an erotic feel to their books, then they should give this a shot. That being said, I know that for many readers this whole concept is pretty sacrilegious, and I also understand that. Even for someone as open-minded about literature as I think I am, this much more sexual John Ridd took some time to get used to, but ultimately, I don’t think Porteus’s characterisation of Ridd strayed too far from Blackmore’s original.
Of the four volumes in this retelling, I felt that the first volume was the least good, but that the subsequent volumes made up for this. I’d be too daunted to attempt to emulate Blackmore’s style, but Porteus does a capable job at making her prose mesh well with his. As for the additions themselves, a fair amount of the love scenes are voyeuristic or imagined, but they supply the intended effect. All rather titillating – and some scenes certainly were wanton and wild.
This review comes **very** late, I’m afraid, for M.J. Porteus sent me an ARC of Volume 1 back in 2014, and one thing led to another (mainly working on my own books) and I didn’t get to read and review it until now.
I thought the concept was interesting, so I purchased the whole Wildly Wanton series, which includes Wuthering Heights, Dracula, North & South, and finally, the aforementioned Lorna Doone. Again, these are some truly beloved works of classic literature and some might find this reworking entirely inappropriate, yet – it has to be said – I enjoyed reading the whole lot. This reworking of a classic story with a new author’s additions is nothing new, I believe that Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice combined with the horror elements of zombies – but I can’t be sure because I haven’t read that.
IF you like both erotic literature and classic literature, you’ll probably enjoy these versions. I certainly did.
SCL rating: 4/5