I read the first volume of The Italian by Ann Radcliff for Jean's readalong this weekend. So far, I'm enjoying it, but not as much as The Mysteries of Udolpho.
I really like Ellena, the main character's love interest. She's smart and strong, willing to stand up for herself even when it's the hard thing to do. I like that she doesn't fall for Vivaldi immediately, which is what you expect when the handsome rich man woos the poor young girl. She doesn't go for him for shallow reasons. I liked hearing things from her perspective, so I hope the narration continues to switch between her and Vivaldi.
The Marchesa's hatred of Ellena seems a bit over the top, so I'm curious if that's just the melodrama common in Gothic novels or if it's something deeper. I'm also interested in learning more about Olivia and what brought her to the convent.
I think the action will pick up more in volume 2 and have a feeling bad things are in store for Ellena in next week's reading.