Clarissa : The history of a young lady, or, The bumper book of pissed-off letters.

I am 250 pages into Clarissa, the third longest novel ever, so about one sixth done.

With no spoilers, mainly as I haven’t got to any yet, Clarissa is the classic tale of idiotic family behaviour forcing a rebellion. Clarissa’s parents want her to marry the repulsive Mr Solmes, who in my head, is played by Timothy Spall when he’s in Harry Potter, being Peter Pettigrew. There is a dashing, badly behaved immoral but rich man on the scene, Robert Lovelace, who I have cast Robert Downey Jr as, when he’s being Tony Stark, whom she claims she doesn’t fancy, but her parents have forbidden her to see him, so of course she is now going to fall for him as an escape. In various adaptations for TV and radio he has been played by Sean Bean and Richard Armitage, so you get the like of him. Hot n’ bad. She has her own money and wants to be single forever, but this is 1748, missy. No dice. Husband, or get thee to a nunnery.

Her parents have been keeping her under lock and key, and are about to physically force her to marry Wormtail. That is all that has happened in the last one hundred and sixty four thousand-ish words, but that doesn’t mean it’s been boring.  My outrage at Clarissa’s family has caused me to tut out-loud at them more than once, and I predict more Georgian-attitude (I had to look that up, no idea at all who was on the throne, turns out it was George II) related outrage on my part is to come.

This is how people looked in the 1740s, in case you were woundering. Hats were pointy and women resembled ships.

This is how people looked in the 1740s, in case you were wondering. Very few had chins, hats were pointy and women wore dressed that gave them the shape and wind-catching capacity of ships.