First published in an era when most novels about young women concentrated on courtship and ended with marriage, The Recess daringly portrays women involved in political intrigues, overseas journeys, and even warfare. The novel is set during the reign of Elizabeth I and features as narrators twin daughters of Mary, Queen of Scots, by a secret marriage. One of the earliest Gothic novels, The Recess pioneered the genre of historical fiction. The novel was also one of the first to describe characters and events from conflicting points of view and was wildly popular in its day.
"Will interest both lovers of the gothic genre and those wishing to explore the literary tradition to which Austen pays smiling tribute in Northanger Abbey." -- Jane Austen Society of North America Newsletter
"Tells the supposed life story of twin sisters, unacknowledged daughters of Mary Stuart who are brought up in the subterranean recess of an abandoned abbey." -- Rain Taxi Review of Books