from The Critical Review’s 1798 review of Mrs Regina Maria Roche’s classic Children of the Abbey.
The novel was praised for being a ‘very entertaining and well-written production’, to which was appended the assurance that the novel can ‘safely’ be ‘recommended to our female readers.’
Such a remark placed the novel immediately in the realms of the mass of mediocre, circulating library fiction, an association that as Dorothy Blakey points out in The Minerva Press 1790-1820, had become for critics of the time, a ‘convenient epithet of contempt’ (p1). As such, this bestseller was deprived of the notice of which its success suggested it worthy.
Some things never change.
A Review of the Contemporary Critical Reception of Regina Maria Roche by Emma Hodinott