Why did I put Clarissa down for six months? Its great! Last week I read the May letters and have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been to pick back up. No more language struggle and I’ve finally got to the part where there is full on plot!
Spoilers in this paragraph only: May sees Clarissa and Lovelace hiding away in town. Surprisingly they are still not married and Lovelace trying to be controlling and adoring in turns. Officially, he is trying to sort out his inheritance and estate settlement but instead he is scheming. The women of the house they are living in are conspiring with Lovelace and stealing Clarissa’s letters. There is a bit of a twist towards the end of this section where Lovelace pretends to be uniting Clarissa with her Uncle. He isn’t though… because he’s Lovelace.
In this section, more than any others, I’ve really started to appreciate Clarissa and her risky position. I’m intrigued by what the eighteenth century attitude to her life choices so far would be, as Richardson seems pretty sensitive to the difficulties in preserving a woman’s reputation – especially when there is a dastardly man involved. Anna Howe is still my favourite character because she is both a voice of reason and helps to remind me that these are essentially the romantic problems of teenagers. I really enjoyed this week’s reading and am going straight for the next part.