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Lorna Doone

Lorna Doone Plot Summary














Exmoor is primarily an upland area made up mainly of small villages and hamlets. The largest settlements are Porlock, Dulverton, Lynton, and Lynmouth, Simonsbath and Wheddon Cross.

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The book 'Lorna Doone - a Romance of Exmoor' is set in the 17th century in the region of Exmoor in Devon and Somerset, in west of England. John Ridd is the son of a respectable farmer who was murdered in cold blood by a member of the notorious Doone clan, a once-noble family now living in the isolated Doone Valley. Battling his desire for revenge, John also grows into a respectable farmer and continues to take good care of his mother and two sisters. He falls hopelessly in love with Lorna, a girl he meets quite by accident, who turns out to be not only the granddaughter of Sir Ensor Doone (lord of the Doones), but destined to marry (against her will) the impetuous, menacing, and now jealous heir of the Doone Valley, Carver Doone. Carver will let nothing get in the way of his marriage to Lorna, which he plans to force upon her once Sir Ensor dies and he comes into his inheritance.

Sir Ensor dies, and Carver becomes lord of the Doones. John Ridd helps Lorna escape to his family's farm. Since Lorna is a member of the hated Doone clan, feelings are mixed toward her in the Ridd household, but she is nonetheless defended against the enraged Carver's retaliatory attack on the farm. A member of the Ridd household notices Lorna's necklace, a jewel that she was told by Sir Ensor belonged to her mother. Further investigation reveals the necklace belonged to a Lady Dugal, who was robbed and murdered in her carriage by a band of outlaws. Only her daughter had survived the attack. Evidently being the long-lost girl in question, it becomes apparent that Lorna is in fact heiress to one of the largest fortunes in the country. She is required by law, but against her will, to return to London to become a ward of the King. Despite John and Lorna's love for one another, their marriage is out of the question.

King Charles II dies, and the Duke of Monmouth (the late King's illegitimate son) challenges Charles's brother James for the throne. The Doones, abandoning their plan to marry Lorna to Carver and claim her wealth, side with Monmouth in the hope of reclaiming their ancestral lands for their services. However, Monmouth is defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor, and all his associates are sought for treason. John Ridd is captured during the revolution. Innocent of all charges, he is taken to London by an old friend to clear his name. There, he is reunited with Lorna Doone, whose love for him has not diminished. When he thwarts an attack on the patriarch of Lorna's new family, John is granted a pardon and a title by the King and returns a free man to Exmoor.

In the meantime, the surrounding communities have grown tired of the Doones and their depredations. Knowing the Doones better than any other man, John leads the attack on their land. Most of the Doone men are killed, but Carver Doone escapes, vowing revenge. After Lorna is granted her freedom to return to Exmoor and marry John, Carver bursts into the church during their wedding. He shoots Lorna and flees. Distraught and filled with blinding rage, John pursues and confronts Carver. A struggle ensues in which Carver is left sinking in a mire. Against his better judgement, John attempts to save Carver, but his help is rejected, and Carver dies. John returns to discover that Lorna is not dead, and after a period of anxious uncertainty, she survives to live happily ever after.

Study Guide

Lorna Doone - a Romance of Exmoor


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Exmoor is a National Park situated on the Bristol Channel coast of south west England. Exmoor is located in two counties, with 71% of the park located in Somerset and 29% located in Devon