Lorna Doone

Beth Elliott writes a love letter…

Lorna Doone love letterAt my first reading of Lorna Doone, I was swept into an adventure that kindled my youthful imagination. Ever since, I find great delight in this complex tale of life in stirring times.

The wild background of the moors and the rhythm of farm life that binds the people to the land appeals to me. The initial murder of John Ridd’s father makes me burn for him to take revenge on the villainous Doones.

As the story weaves its way towards this event, tension mounts with one gripping scene after another: John’s climb up the waterfall into Doone Valley, his secret meetings with Lorna, their escape by sledge in the great winter, John’s visit to London and meeting with the King, the moment Lorna is shot at her wedding, and the fight to the death with Carver Doone.

What also touches me profoundly is the love story. This is an incredible romance, which endures against all odds. That makes it even more powerful and precious, as it affirms that love will flourish no matter what reasons there are to make it impossible.

John Ridd won me over from his description of Lorna as she was when he first saw her, with her long dark hair reaching the ground by a solitary primrose. He says “and since that day, I think of her through all the rough storms of my life when I see an early primrose.”

Lorna Doone love letterLorna’s love is equally intense and unswerving. John is her rock; she is drawn to his upright character and solid courage. She rejects the status her rank gives her among the nobility at Court, wanting only to spend her life with John. She tells him that noblemen at Court covet her, but “I merely compare them with you, John Ridd, and all thought of them is over.”

Differences of rank and religion have no power to separate this couple. Their youthful adventures and shared hardships have bound them together forever. In telling his story, John often refers to “my love” and “my Lorna”, these simple words revealing his enduring romantic love, for all he claims to be a plain yeoman farmer.

John Ridd is a stalwart in my hall of heroes. Calm, honest and faithful, he remains the yardstick by which I measure others. John often protests his lack of intelligence but he has sound common sense and the courage to act honourably. I love him for his sincerity, for his devotion to all those he holds dear, but above all for his lifelong love of his sweetheart. And Lorna is a worthy partner for him. She has beauty, wit and charm, but what appeals to me the most is her keen sense of loyalty, her determination to choose the life she wants and the fact that she achieves this by her own efforts.

The full story proceeds at a pace which might daunt a modern reader, yet, as I picked the book up to check on a few things, I couldn’t resist reading the whole story once again and being thrilled by it. Tears, laughter, suspense, drama, even horror, and at the end, a feeling of pleasure at sharing the story of John and Lorna.

For me, this is a great romance.


About the author of this love letter

Beth Elliott is a writer of tales set in the Napoleonic era — adventure, romance and intrigue — but with a light touch and a happy ending. You can visit Beth’s website here.

Libertà is very grateful to Beth for sharing her love of Lorna Doone with us all. If you love it too, please leave a comment to tell us. Or if you disagree with Beth, do tell us why.

4 thoughts on “Lorna Doone

  1. helenajust

    I haven’t read Lorna Doone for years, but I remember loving it as a child. It was great to see your enthusiasm for it; I must re-read it!

  2. Christina Hollis

    Yes, I remember feeling exactly like this about Jan and Lorna when I read this book as a child. On holiday with my grandparents, they took me to see “the church where Lorna was shot” but whether it was Blackmore’s setting or a film set, I don’t know. I was too small (and overawed) to care!

  3. sarigelin

    It really is a heart-warming love story, a bit like the knights of medieval romance, who never faltered from loving their lady, while they performed great deeds in her name. Visiting the church where a poor bride really did get shot is on my to-do list. What a climactic moment in the story, just when you think John and Lorna have finally arrived at their happy-ever-after.


Have your say . . .

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.