After the death of her parents, Emily St. Aubert leaves her beloved home to live with her aunt, a woman of much money and less sense. The marriage of Emily's aunt to a mysterious Italian begins a series of journeys that take Emily across the rugged beauty of the Alps to the wonders of 16th century Venice and then to an isolated and foreboding castle in the Apennines, where she must struggle against the malignant schemes of her aunt's husband and her own fearful imaginings.
This reader's edition has been edited to flow more smoothly to modern ears. The interspersed poems have been removed, and the parts have been named and redistributed. However, no scenes and no descriptions have been removed: the work stands as Ann Radcliffe wrote it, polished for today's readers.