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Clarissa Harlowe, or the History of a Young Lady - Volume 3

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Clarissa Harlowe, is the tragic heroine of this story, she is a beautiful and virtuous young lady whose family has become wealthy only recently and now desires to become part of the aristocracy. Originally they planned to concentrate the wealth and lands of the Harlowe's into the possession of James Harlowe, Clarissa's brother whose wealth and political power will lead to his being given a title. Clarissa's grandfather has left her a substantial piece of property upon his death, and a new route to the nobility opens through Clarissa marrying Robert Lovelace, heir to an earldom. James's response is to provoke a duel with Lovelace, who is seen thereafter as the family's enemy. James also proposes that Clarissa marry Roger Solmes, who is willing to trade properties with James to concentrate James's holdings and speed his becoming Lord Harlowe. The family agrees and attempts to force Clarissa to marry Solmes, whom she finds physically disgusting as well as boorish. The story continues to twist and turn through a series of letters written between two women, two men and a variety of other characters which continues throughout the 9 volumes of the book. (Summary by Michele Eaton)
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